Every month, the award-winning MJSA Journal offers design ideas, fabrication and production techniques, bench tips, business and marketing insights, and trend and technology updates—the information crucial for business success. "More than other publications, MJSA Journal is oriented toward people like me: those trying to earn a living by designing and making jewelry," says Jim Binnion of James Binnion Metal Arts.
By John Shanahan
Jewelers tend to be innovators—if not by nature, then certainly often by necessity. It’s not unusual for a jeweler to modify a tool or create one from scratch to get the job at hand done. And sometimes they may even decide to try to put that new invention on the market. This month we spoke with several jewelers-turned-tool-inventors about what led them to want to turn their homemade creation into a mass-produced tool. They share the steps they took, the pitfalls they discovered, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
By Shawna Kulpa
Three-dimensional metal printing offers users the ability to take CAD files and print them directly in metal—no resin to cure or burn out, no casting necessary. Although the technology entered the jewelry industry in 2012, it’s made little headway since. But recent advancements have helped address some of the technology’s problem areas, such as the poor surface finish of printed models and the high price tag of equipment, that may have some jewelry makers taking a second look.
Suitable for welding gold, silver, platinum, palladium, titanium, copper, bronze, and stainless steel, the PUK 5.1 TIG welder can be used to weld materials with a thickness down to less than 0.2 mm. This up-dated model offers shorter repetition rates and serial pulses that enable a continuous workflow and allow users to shape the added material as desired. Available with or without a microscope and articulated arm, the welder has an electrode diameter from 0.5 to 0.6 mm. A continuous flow of argon allows for rapid retractions of the electrode. It has a program memory that can save up to 20 custom programs. Featuring a closed, tight housing that doesn’t have ventilation slots, the unit has a passive cooling system that is energy efficient and generates no disruptive noise. Contact: Paul H. Gesswein & Co. Inc., 201 Hancock Ave., Bridgeport, CT 06605; 1-203-366-5400; fax 366-3953; email firstname.lastname@example.org; gesswein.com. MJSA Member
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Designed to allow users to print dozens of castable jewelry models in a single afternoon, the SolidscapeDL is a digital light projection (DLP) 3-D printer that can print up to 15 mm per hour at 25 microns. Capable of producing high-resolution models, the printer offers 44 micron X/Y resolution. It has a maximum build area of 84 mm by 47 mm and a build height of 43 mm. It is suitable for use with proprietary materials that have been engineered specifically for jewelry manufacturing: ProtoPearl, a white material ideal for prototyping purposes; DiamondCast, a resin that produces crisp, intricate details and that is easy to handle; and EmeraldCast, a resin-wax with a high wax content for casting perfection. The printer measures 335 mm wide by 541 mm high by 349 mm deep (13.2 inches by 21.3 inches by 13.7 inches). Contact: Solidscape Inc., 316 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, NH 03054; 1-603-429-9700; e-mail precision @solidscape.com; solidscape.com. MJSA Member
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Oval Disc Cutter
Finished with a protective black oxide to prevent rust, this oval disc cutter features six oval shapes that measure 30x22, 25x18, 24x14, 20x15, 20x12, and 18x13. The system can cut material up to 20 gauge using a 2 lb. brass mallet; for material over 20 gauge, use of a hydraulic press is recommended. Featuring high carbon steel plates that have been heat-treated to 48 to 52 HRC, each punch comes with an angled end to cleanly shear the material without burs or raised edges. The unit comes with a 6 inch by 6 inch urethane cutting pad, nontoxic lubrication, and a laser-etched, high-density polyethylene base that holds the disc cutter and punches. Contact: Pepetools, 7601 SW 34th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73179; 1-405-745-4054; fax 745-4335; e-mail email@example.com; pepetools.com. MJSA Member
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Snapshot (Members Only)
By Harold Dupuy. FGA
A look at the latest jewelry industry statistics.
Savvy Shopping (Members Only)
By Andrea Hill
Six steps to better tool buying.
A Cure for the Blues (Members Only)
By Tina Snyder
Julie Lamb’s aquamarine ring.
If you’re not yet a member of MJSA, you can subscribe to the Journal for an annual fee of $47.
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Something Old, Something Bold (Members Only)
By Deborah A. Yonick
Big jewelry looks from the ’80s dominate.
At What Price?
Jeweler Mark Grosser breaks down a custom bracelet design, fee by fee.
Lay It on Thick (Members Only)
By Charles Lewton-Brain
Step-by-step: Creating a thick bezel setting.
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