Shapeways Has the Midas Touch, Adds 14k Gold to 3D Printed Products

You used to think that Shapeways was classless, only offering customers the ability to order 3D printed products made of Silver, Brass, Bronze, and Steel, in addition to an endless array of non-metal materials. How pedestrian! Well, Lucille Bluth, the online 3D printing service has met your luxurious demands by adding 14k Gold to the mix.  You know what that means! Hand-polished, solid gold Yoda rings for your next anniversary!

shapeways 3d printed gold rings

Shapeways transforms 3D prints into solid gold objects using a five-step, wax casting process.  I’m going to quote them to layout the process, as I’ve made mistakes in describing investment casting in the past: “First, the model is 3D printed in wax using a specialized high-resolution 3D printer. It’s then put in a container where liquid plaster is poured in around it. When the plaster sets, the wax is melted out in a furnace, and the remaining plaster becomes the mold, leaving a negative space where your model was, ready to become 3D Printed gold. Molten Gold is then poured into the mold and set to harden. The plaster is broken away, revealing your new product, which is then carefully cleaned and hand-polished to give it the trademark Gold luster.”

shapeways 3d printed gold key

The lead time on golden idols is only nine days, which makes it the fastest production time of any of their metal products. For the time being, the new metal option is only available in the US, but, if a two month trial period proves successful, our readers in other parts of the world will be able to enjoy the gold standard.   Your precious will arrive to its destination in a specially made jewelry box, where it must be signed for security purposes.

shapeways 3d printed gold key jewelry box

For those of you interested in getting in on the gold action immediately, here are the material’s design guidelines at a glance (Or you can visit the material page):

Min bounding box: 2.4 × 2.4 × 0.6 mm
Max bounding box: 89 × 89 × 100 mm

Min supported & unsupported wall thickness: 0.8 mm thick
Min supported wires: 0.8 mm thick

Min unsupported wires: 1.0 mm thick

Min embossed detail: 0.40 mm high & wide
Min engraved detail: 0.35 mm high & wide

Min escape holes: 4.0 mm diameter for one escape hole ; 2.0 mm diameter for two or more escape holes

Clearance: 0.3 mm clearance

It’s hard not to be taken in by the alluring sheen of Shapeways’ 14k objects, but the beauty of golden, 3D-printed complexity doesn’t come cheap.  The pendant below, about 1″ x 1″ x 1″, would cost about $900.  Save your golden prints for only the most special of occasions. You know: 3D printed wedding bands, anniversary gifts, or Labor Day figurines.

shapeways 3d printed gold pendant

Source: Shapeways