3D printing finds is finding its way into just about every aspect of jewelry manufacturing, due to the widespread adoption of CAD software among jewelry designers. Annual revenues from 3D-printed hardware, materials, services and software used in the jewelry industry is expected to top $900 Million in 2026. Even in traditional jewelry manufacturing with vulcanized silicon molds, the initial model is often 3D printed using high-temperature resistant photopolymer resins. Jewelry prototyping for size and shape verification is complemented by the use of directly 3D printed wax and resin patterns for direct casting and serial manufacturing. The next evolutionary step is direct metal 3D printing.
Although R&D facilities in the electronics industry have been using 3D printing for more than a decade, since 2015 3DP has begun to be mainstreamed for electronics applications. SmarTech is seeing a growing interest in using 3DP for customized circuitry and sensors, and in the longer term for wide- area electronics.
In addition, there is the opportunity for 3DP to become a major way of manufacturing electronic devices that are intrinsically produced in relatively low volumes -- high speed optoelectronics is a good example here. More prosaically, 3D printers are already in place customizing consumer electronics items and this turns 3DP into a valuable marketing tool in a crowded industry.
SmarTech believes that 3D printing of gold, silver, platinum and precious metal alloys will present important opportunities for the 3D printing community in the near future.
- 3D printing has been of growing importance in the jewelry industry for a decade and we are about see 3D printing enter new territory; directly fabricated jewelry, timepiece components, and accessories made from precious metal powder
- We also expect new opportunities for 3D-printed precious metals to emerge in the medical/dental and electronics sectors. For example, 3D printers can be used with additive-appropriate gold alloy powders as a result of increasing awareness of complications developing from use of less-inert gold substitutes
- The budding area of 3D-printed electronics are expected to use silver and gold inks for customized and short run fabrication of antennas and PCBs