Liquid gold or gold 3D printing can forever change the industry of jewelry design. But are all jewelry designers going to need to go learn CAD? Or will that limit their artistic skills and creative process? Also, you’ve got to have the right printer for these types of designs or you’re not going to get the feedback you need. One solution is to align yourself with someone who can do the more technical side of things for you as you focus on the design side.
Listen to the podcast here:
Gold Liquid 3D Printer
Hey, everyone. This is Tom and Tracy on the WTFFF 3D Printing Podcast. Today, we’re going to talk about gold 3D printing, liquid gold 3D printing. As I read into the details on this company, which is called Cooksongold E-Manufacturing, it’s a little bit of a misnomer to call it a liquid 3D printer because it’s powder but it turns into a liquid in the process, in the laser process. It does melt it, so technically it becomes liquid at some point.
I don’t really care about the technical side of that because it’s a commercial 3D printer. None of us are going to buy one of these for our home. But what I like about it and what’s so impressive is when you go to their website, they have a gallery there of all sorts of different images of jewelry that they have printed for other people. This is a service bureau. You can go and upload your design and go get it made there. This is serious printing here. The quality, the detail, the level of fine quality that they can achieve, the finish on it.
As I was looking at this, I kept thinking back to the traditional jewelry making industry. Our listeners know, we’re designers. We went to school at Rhode Island School of Design. One of the biggest departments there, and I think still today, was in jewelry making. These are artists that are very creative and they’re trained in the skill of manipulating all the different metals and materials in gems and all sorts of things to make jewelry.
When I looked at this company, Cooksongold, I tell you, I started thinking, “Wow, this is forever changing the industry of jewelry design.” It’s making it so much more accessible to such a larger audience and so many artists are able to do more work than they could do otherwise and sell multiples of something that would take them tens of thousands of hours to try to replicate them. That would be lots of hours to do it.
My point though is that this whole jewelry design industry and jewelry making industry that for centuries has been a handcraft, you had to be skilled with your hands to manipulate material to realize your vision for your design, and that’s all changed. All these jewelry designers need to go learned CAD, get proficient at it and use, if not for everything they do, for a large portion of what they do. They need to use services like this and learn how to do it because that’s the future.
I’m not so sure that everyone wants to be in that world. I think that there’s a definite case for it if you’re a commercial jewelry designer. I think there’s a case for the speed, there’s a case for the efficiency of it. But if you are an artist, a jewelry artist, really doing one of a kind pieces, then handwork may be very part of your process.
We talked to sculptures and other things. I just wrote another article for Artsy Shark that just came out, it would be January 26. It really was talking about some of the 3D print artists we’ve talked to in the past. People who are doing ceramics, like Bridgette Mongeon who’s the sculptor. They used 3D printing as part of the process also to make replicas after the fact as a promotional piece which has helped their business. But their hand process is still a very significant part of the process.
I can see why you wouldn’t totally want to do that. But gold 3D printing, it’s an expensive material to be working in and to be able to do it in another metal to get it right. Maybe then get it scanned. I’m just not so sure those same designers want to be in the computer. That’s my question to you. Maybe they don’t want to be and maybe it slows them down.
But another possibility is I think that eventually you learn CAD well enough, it becomes like breathing and it doesn’t have to slow you down. I know that there’s a lot of traditionalists that will disagree with me on this. You can, but even a fine artist can use CAD and use 3D printing of precious metals in their design. Honestly, if you’re not, I think you should. I’m not going to go that far. I’m going to say you should be, even as a fine artist, using this technology. It’s just a different kind. Instead, of a hand tool to manipulate material, it’s a digital tool to manipulate material.
Why are you going to restrict yourself? You could go from Boston to New York in a horse-drawn wagon, but why would you? You’d drive a car or you take a train or fly a plane. Why would you do that? You’re just slowing yourself down for the sake of doing it and the craft of doing it by hand? Maybe it sounds a bit tech elitist. But when I see the beautiful things you can achieve here, some of these things, the fine detail? You would never know that it was made by a machine.
But I don’t know that traditional jewelry designers jumping on the bandwagon of learning how to CAD design is necessary in the cards for things. I’ve been designing this long and the last thing I’m going to is learn CAD right now. It would be a waste of my time, it would be a waste of my artistic skills, of the creative process for me. That’s what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about there’s no reason for a jewelry designer, and we’ve reviewed a couple over time. Jenny Wu, LACE. Loved her stuff. Jenny Wu aligned herself with an intern who was her CAD guy.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying every jewelry designer needs to necessarily know CAD themselves. Although, I think it would be more efficient in the process if they did. I wouldn’t expect you to learn it either, but if this was your thing, I definitely think you would hire someone who’s a CAD technician, who would then create your vision that you would have had sketch out or something. Sketched out, modeled, whatever creative process you use. You could do that, sure.
Still the process, the manufacturing process, the technology should be used more often than not, in my opinion. I think there’s too many advantages of it. It was interesting, I had received on our ‘submit a question’ on our homepage at 3DStartPoint. I got a question actually this very day that we’re recording this, and this is airing maybe not quite a week later, but the very day that we’re recording this, from Simon Clegg who is out of New Zealand. He was asking, he’s a relatively new listener, says he loves the show and he wanted to ask a couple of questions. One of them is the most common question we got asked. He says, “My wife and I are looking at buying a 3D printer to do a couple of different kinds of printing with. What printer do you recommend?” By the way, it was a fabulous question and I am really glad you asked it. I’ve gone back and forth with him a couple of times.
He said he wanted to print architectural models, was one, and then his wife wanted to print jewelry designs. I said to him, “Wow. All right. I think you’re going to have to really think carefully about what it is you guys want to use the 3D printer for most.” Because I really doubt that the printer that’s going to print architectural models very well is going to print jewelry designs very well. Or the ones that’s going to print fine small quality of jewelry better is probably not going to be ideal for the architectural models.
I went through why. Mostly because of the fineness. I was saying, if you want print models of jewelry you’re probably going to go with a resin printer, like from Formlabs. If you want to print architectural models, you need a bigger build volume. You need something that’s going to print a little faster and maybe you need an FFF machine. I suggested a couple of different machines he could use. We went back and forth through a couple of e-mails.
I’ve been thinking about this jewelry thing more and more, and the fine detail you need. There are desktop machines that you can prototype things on and do it, review your designs before you go out to somebody like this, outsource for the service bureau for printing in gold or in any other precious metal from any of the other guys out there. But you’ve got to have the right printer or you’re not going to be able to get the response, feedback you need from the prints and advance your design.
Because An FFF 3D printer, by and large, just does not have the fine quality of detail to do small jewelry like a ring or an earring or something like that. We’ve tried a bunch of them and we just never have been able to get to the level of quality. It’s always a little bit of roughness and you have a hard time testing it. It’s always which angle do you lay it on the bed, there’s a whole bunch of logistical problems with how that works and it comes out better on the Formlabs. The resin printers are really made for that a lot better in the desktop world.
I can see a really a direct correlation between the risen printer and then going liquid gold and then liquid 3D printers from there. The gold 3D Printer, I do want to point out, that Cookson Gold has a great, they call it red gold but it’s what we would consider rose gold. You don’t find that rose gold, you can’t find that everywhere. There’s very few sites that have that as a service bureau output. That’s a really good benefit, especially if you’re a jewelry designer in today’s world. Rose gold is hot right now. It is hot. You see it everywhere. On their gallery page, the marquee object at the top is shown in rose gold because it is so hot right now.
The other thing I was thinking, to go the back to the comments before about the process and whether or not you should learn 3D printing. We’re going to have Leisa Rich back on the show. Lisa Rich is a fiber artist and does sculptural installations. Her husband, John Rich, who has also been on the show for Moxie, who we adore. He does the 3D printing portions for her. She sketches them out and then he does them. He’s her CAD technician, but he has a day job and he’s really busy. He just doesn’t have as much time.
When we met her at CES, we saw her briefly there, she was saying how she’s been trying to dive into the CAD side of it herself but it’s just so frustrating and slow. It’s not executing what she can draw faster and see in her head and it’s just not executing in her skill level and she just doesn’t know how to ramp that up faster. I think that is a significant problem with learning CAD software. This is why I think that most jewelry designers who had been doing this awhile, maybe not new ones coming into the industry, it should be a part of another tool that they teach them now. It’s just hard to switch games like that.
That’s where you hire an intern, you align yourself with someone who’s got a great service and you can hire on contract and things like that. It just makes more sense to not slow down your creative and artistic process. There’s definitely something to be said for the old dog new tricks sort of thing. I was really a CAD pioneer, if I can say that. Two-dimensional auto CAD in the mid 80s was my first thing and I’ve always done it. It’s now just second nature to me.
We have a review coming up on a different CAD software. I got a special demo of Autodesk Fusion 360, which is not expensive. It’s a paid program but it’s not what I thought it was. Any of you that are CAD people who really have struggled with the parametric side of certain CAD programs like SOLIDWORKS and Autodesk Inventor and things like that, and then also the more creative side like Rhinoceros or even ZBrush, things like that. Fusion 360 seems to really have a lot of the capabilities of each of them. I’d say more on the Rhino side, not as far as the ZBrush side. But, boy, I could take forms and I could just push and pull and manipulate them in ways that I can’t do on Rhino that I’m pretty excited about.
I think that’s one really good tip that you’re going to want to do though. Because if you’re going to hire someone, if you’re going to work with a CAD designer, you’re going to want to sit with them. Don’t hire someone over the internet and just say, “Here, do this for me.” Don’t do Fiverr. Find somebody you can sit down with and manipulate on site.
Kate Blacklock, the great ceramic designer from RISD that we’ve talked to many, many episodes ago, that’s what she did. She worked with the designer right there and then she started to get excited and realized the new forms and the new things that she could do by sitting there and watching them. She didn’t need to learn how to do it and wasn’t ready to, but she was able to make changes on the fly there right with him. That was really valuable to the design process.
I think that’s a great tip. Look forward to the upcoming Autodesk Fusion 360 review. After that review, I’ll let you know, I actually bought the software and I’m starting to use it and try it out myself. That’s pretty exciting. I haven’t done that with any other CAD software we’ve reviewed. I’ve been a Rhinoceros guy for so long. This impressed me and it wasn’t that expensive so it was an easy decision.
If you guys have done any cool jewelry designs, any jewelry designers who really are stepping into this gold liquid 3D printers or any of these other new processes, we’d love to know what printers you’re using at home or in your studios to do drafts and other things, because certainly you’re not going straight to the gold 3D printers, it’s too expensive. I’d love to know what you’re using. If you’re using Formlabs or whatever you’re using. We’d love to see your work. Please, send us your work. We’d love to see it. We’d love to talk about it on the air and we’d love to share it with our audience.
Please do that anywhere on social media @3DStartPoint or straight into the blog post and websites at 3DStartPoint.com. That will be a wrap for this episode. Thanks so much for listening, everybody. This has been Tom and Tracy on the WTFFF 3D Printing Podcast.
- Cooksongold Emanufacturing
- Cooksongold Gallery Page
- Artsy Shark Article: 3D Printed Art on the Rise with Artists & Sculptors
Listen | Download | View
Hear the episode of the WTFFF?! Podcast by using the player above OR click to download any episode.
Help Us Help You!
Have some feedback? Leave a comment below. We will read and respond
Please also review us on iTunes and share via the social media of your choice.
- 3D Startpoint Facebook
- 3D Startpoint LinkedIn
- Hazz Design Twitter
- 3D Startpoint YouTube