Jewellery making is one of the crafts that best shows what 3D printing can offer in terms of mass-customized, on-demand production. Not just in terms of new possibilities, but also for broadening design and production access to a wide range of young creatives and startups. Elements Lab, a young company based in Taiwan and led by founder Ting Tang, began by offering a small scale 3D printing service. As the business and their design proficiency grew, they have expanded by leveraging new commercial channels, for example by opening a Shapeways Shop.
As their business grew, Elements Lab found jewellery to be the ideal product for exploring 3D printing. They have thus opened the EL Jewellery Maker portal to focus specifically on 3D printed and lost-wax cast rings, pendants, and other small decorative items. “We’ve been using 3D printing technology for quite a few years now. We understand the magic of 3D printing technology and realize that 3DP has changed the way we make things and it will change our future and next generation,” Ting says. “We find jewellery is the ideal type of production to transition into the new era of manufacturing.”
The next step for Elements Lab is to open up the creative process to the mass customization market. Once again, they are going to leverage technology and 3D printing to do so by developing an app (soon to be released on Android, with iOS and Windows to follow) that enables anyone to create their custom jewelry starting from some basic designs. Other than for the (not negligible) fact that it will be accessible on mobile devices, this is nothing entirely new in the 3D printing industry as we’ve seen dozens of parametric web-apps for jewellery making. However, it is yet another tool that makes it possible for a startup to grow its design business without huge investments.
“In all categories, we found jewelry is one great segment to demonstrate that 3D printing could help us become a jewelry designer,” Ting goes on. “More importantly, with the help of 3D printing technology, we make custom jewellery in an easier and faster way; however, 3D printed jewellery models still need massive traditional hand work, such as stone setting and polishing. We’re lucky enough to have talented digital and traditional makers to work together, and we want to bring other people into this new Jewelry Making Era.”
The Jewelry Maker App is about as easy to use and accessible as it gets. The designs are not too complex, but they allow for several types of customization by adding specific decorative charms. Users can select from several different metals and even send in a design or a sketch and have it integrated into the app. They can then share their virtual creation online or have it 3D printed. Ting hopes that “this app could help people at any age easily enjoy the fun of jewelry design and benefit from 3D printing technology.” This is just the beginning, though, as Elements Lab is currently looking for partners to develop a Pro version that will offer several new customization possibilities, even beyond jewellery. The possibilities are virtually – and physically – endless. It’s elementary.