3D Printers

3D Systems launches Figure 4 3D printing platform optimized for jewelry production

American 3D printer OEM 3D Systems has announced a new jewelry production solution for its Figure 4 3D printing platform. Designed for the 3D printed jewelry market, Figure 4 Jewelry consists of 3D systems’ hardware, software and materials optimized for providing high accuracy, fine-feature details and smooth surface finishes. 

Included within the Figure 4 Jewelry package is a 3D printer for jewelry production, jewelry castable material and 3D Sprint software. Combined together, 3D Systems aims to enable high productivity for jewelers, reportedly allowing them to create prints ready for casting or molding in a matter of hours.

“With the launch of our Figure 4 jewelry solution, 3D Systems continues to enable new applications for our Figure 4 production solution,” states Menno Ellis, senior vice president and general manager, plastics, 3D Systems. “Building upon our industry-leading technology and materials portfolio, we are able to help jewelers create designs with unprecedented speed and accuracy.” 

“This is just one more example of how 3D Systems is blending our expertise in materials science, application engineering, 3D printing technology and software to deliver solutions that keep our customers at the forefront of their respective industries and markets.”

The Figure 4 Jewelry. Photo via 3D Systems.The Figure 4 Jewelry. Photo via 3D Systems.
The Figure 4 Jewelry. Photo via 3D Systems.

The Figure 4 3D printing platform

3D Systems’ Figure 4 technology platform consists of three core products: the standalone, modular and production iterations. Powered by Digital Light Printing (DLP) technology, Figure 4 3D printing is reportedly capable of reaching print speeds of 100mm per hour and six sigma repeatability.

The Figure 4 standalone system was released in late 2018, and as the name suggests, it comprises of one 3D printing system. The Figure 4 Modular on the other hand is a scalable and semi-automated production system that can range from a single print engine machine to 24 or more print engines with integration of centralized post-processing, automated materials-handling, job management and queuing. Finally, 3D Systems’ Figure 4 Production is designed as a tool-less manufacturing solution with automated material delivery and integrated post-processing.

Figure 4 3D printing technology has been used to shorten lead times for various different companies, from Decathlon, a global sporting goods manufacturer, to ACS Custom, a UK-based customized ear protection and in-ear devices producer. Rapid Application Group, an additive manufacturing firm based in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, was able to “double its capacity while reducing its time-to-print process by nearly 90% – from seven hours to 45 minutes or less,” according to a 3D Systems spokesperson.

What’s in the Figure 4 Jewelry production solution?

The Figure 4 Jewelry 3D printer, included in 3D Systems’ new jewelry-specific production solution, has been optimized for resolution and print speed. Forming part of the Figure 4 technology platform, it is capable of printing at 16 mm/hr at 30 um layer resolution, enabling the production of a full platform of rings at a speed that 3D Systems claims is “4X faster than comparable printing systems.” 

Additionally, the Figure 4 Jewelry production solution comes equipped with 3D Systems’ MicroPoint support structures, which is designed to minimize part-to-support interaction. This enables easy support removal and a smoother surface finish, therefore reducing production time by minimizing polishing of support intersection points. 3D Systems has also integrated proprietary print build styles developed specifically for jewelry in the 3D Sprint software provided within the solution. This includes styles for thin, delicate geometries, as well as thicker designs.

Jewelry mold 3D printed using Figure 4 JCAST-GRN 10. Photo via 3D Systems.
Jewelry mold 3D printed using Figure 4 JCAST-GRN 10. Photo via 3D Systems.

Also included is 3D Systems’ Figure 4 JCAST-GRN 10 jewelry castable material. It is designed to yield minimal ash and residue after burnout, and is central to manufacturing jewelry patterns directly from CAD using the Figure 4 Jewelry 3D printer. It enables three different jewelry-specific production workflows: jewelry casting patterns, master patterns for molds, and prototype/fit check models. 3D Systems is planning general availability of additional materials for the master pattern molds and prototyping/fit check in the first half of 2020. 

Mo Kinj, managing partner, 3D Middle East LLC – a member of 3D Systems’ reseller network, comments: “With Figure 4 Jewelry, there was no compromise on part quality or CAD-to-cast workflow efficiency whether the job was investment casting, silicone molding or try-on prototyping. The system is fast, reliable and accurate. Figure 4 Jewelry allows jewelry manufacturing to be two or even three times more productive and costeffective compared to traditional methods and alternative desktop printers.”

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Featured image shows Figure 4 Jewelry 3D printer. Photo via 3D Systems.