Trying to come up with ideas on what to print with my new MSLA printer. I stated before, number one plan is for printing castable items. That is top of the list. I have not yet accepted the reality… well, yes, I have… that the good castable resin costs about $300 per liter. Standard resins are in the $50/liter range.
It’s just hard to imagine paying out that much for jewelry making. Because I charge far too little for my custom work. Pricing an items’ value is only semi relevant to the cost of the metal such as silver. Gold is a different story. The real cost is ALL the materials consumed in casting and the extreme amount of labor for a hand finished piece.
I have no issue with passing through the cost of production. However, I subsidize myself immensely, as many of my designs are given away as presents by both my spouse and me. That’s not an issue. We do it because we want to. My craft hobby is not intended to put bread on the table.
But recovering materials cost helps keep the hobby going. There is also overhead keeping the books and paying taxes. KautzCraft Studio is a registered business in Texas.
Back to Printing
What this all implies is the product (the jewelry) must be of the highest quality I can produce. If the use of high cost and quality resin is necessary, then it is just a part of the production costs. The finial sell-price and value must be somewhere above the cost of creation.
The MSLA resin printer can produce acceptable jewelry quality (smooth) master models for casting. Lest expensive resins also print well. My issues with lower cost casting resins are with obtaining a clean burnoutof the investment in the kiln. With all the pre-work required before casting, anything lower than a 99% casting yield is not acceptable. I am very close to that expectation when doing lost WAX casting. Wax is figuratively the “gold” standard.
I have a good supply of non-castable resins. I will continue designing items not intended for casting. The type of non-castable resins I have are primarily suited for on the shelf “display” prints. Unsuitable for real world structural applications. Stuff I usually call display “Junque” as it is more suitable for looking at than real durable use.
The resin printing items in the previous post are examples of display only Junque.
A complete set of detailed chess board pieces would be a good example of light to medium duty resin printed objects. One step above fragile display only Junque. There are good uses for MSLA resin printed items. Specialty resins are available for producing strong and durable prints. It is all the makers options of material choice. One size (resin) does not fit all needs.
Also considering awards and tokens. Things cast of metal are far higher intrinsic value than the plastic original model of the same item.
My thinking is that a 3D printed item can be utilized as the master model in a quality casting, produced by the lost (wax/resin) process. I see 3D printed item used as an intermediate step rather than the finished product.
My home residential workshop is not suitable for any large-scale foundry-type casting. I live in a HOA residential neighborhood and a back yard foundry would not receive approval by the HOA-STASI Estate Security Ministry. It is my choice to live here
Of course, this is not the only way 3D printing is presently being used. The only limitation is imagination and suitability of purpose. Three-dimensional printing is not suitable for every end use item. I think about all the options.
Perhaps I could switch to a cast gold standard. The cost of gold will certainly keep the projects and cast items small. I wonder if solid gold is as popular in these times as silver. The items made will certainly have to pay their way into creation. Gold can be plated to a base metal. Yet another process to investigate. I am not headed in that direction at this time.
My Next Step
So what’s next? Whatever I find interesting. I have some professional grade 3D CAD and 3D Graphic software with which I can design almost anything. Pixologic ZBrush is a drawing tool with which I desire to become far more capable. I have used it many times for editing 3D models. Next step is “from scratch” creation of 3D printable models. I will get there as I have already printed a few (very) crude attempts.
ZBrush is a complicated professional level 3D drawing tool. I will get better with practice. So, “what’s next” for me is practice to become more masterful with ZBrush. It is a very good alternative to formal 3D CAD. The organic form in ZBrush is usually more important than exact geometric dimensional accuracy. However, dimensions are not absent in organic drawing, and precise scale can be maintained.
I think I have made this same “next step” ZBrush decision before. That’s OK. I don’t chastise myself for changes to plan. Life is too short. A plan is just that, a direction to take at a certain point in time. Personal plans can change without pain if I am the only one affected with the change. That’s a freedom of personal choice. If my free will has no effect on others, there are no issues to anyone but myself. I can live with that.
Where have I put that drawing pad… ??