Creating A Custom Engagement Ring With 3D-Printing

Even if you’re pretty sure what the answer will be, a marriage proposal is attended by a great deal of stress to make the event as memorable and romantic as possible. You’ve got a lot of details to look after, not least of which is the ring. So why not take some of the pressure off and just 3D-print the thing?

No, a cheesy PLA ring is probably not going to cut it with even the most understanding of fiancees, and that’s not at all what [Justin Lam] did with this DIY engagement ring. He took an engineer’s approach to the problem – gathering specs, making iterative design changes in Fusion 360, and having a prototype ring SLA printed by a friend. That allowed him to tweak the design before sending it off to Shapeways for production. We were surprised to learn that jewelry printing is a big deal, and Shapeways uses a lost-wax process for it. First a high-resolution wax SLA printer is used to make a detailed positive, which is then used to make a plaster mold. The mold is fired to melt the wax, and molten gold is poured in to make the rough casting, which is cleaned and polished before shipping.

Once he had the ring, [Justin] watched a few jewelry-making videos to learn how to set the family heirloom stone into the bezel setting; we admit we cringed a bit when he said he used the blade shaft of a screwdriver to crimp the edge of the bezel to the stone. But it came out great, even if it needed a bit of resizing. The details of the proposal are left to the romantically inclined, but TL;DR – she said yes.

Congratulations to the happy couple, and to [Justin] for pulling off a beautiful build. Most of our jewelry hacks are of the blinkenlight variety rather than fine jewelry, although we have featured a machinist’s take on the subject before.

11 thoughts on “Creating A Custom Engagement Ring With 3D-Printing

  1. Oh my ! I’ve been wishing to DIY such a ring, but was reluctant due to the complexity and unknown regarding the casting process. Never knew you could send 3D models to be printed with gold !
    Thank you hackaday ! Made my day.
    Shout out to Justin !

  2. Recently, I also designed organic shape engagement ring… My experience with 3d modeling was best with 3d max, its not parametric 3d modeling software but it worked well for me. The ring was milled with some sort of jewelry cnc machine. Result was flawless. From my experience can say that 3d printing and metal casting is not always best way to produce jewelry, in case of highly detailed models it’s better to mill it as it can tolerate smaller details.
    My personal journey was like this:
    1. Designed rough sketch what I wanted and went to discuss it with jewelry maker. He then pointed out what can be improved and what changes I should consider. And in instant he said that this type of design should be milled not casted.
    2. I redesigned model. For ring size measured all rings of future wife’s rings, took average number and was hoping it would fit (in the end fit was perfect).
    3. Jewelry master pointed out what size gems better to use. Not all sizes are common, other ones more expensive, round shape gems are more easily available and so on.
    4. After design was completed guy who was responsible for cnc milling did not have any comments. I was very satisfied with result and especially with my 3d modeling capabilities, even though I knew that I made few mistakes during modeling which cost me extra time to finish model.
    5. Materials: Palladium 14k white gold, 4 black diamonds, 1 emerald.

    Here is small rez picture:

  3. Shapeways jewelry printing is great, and also surprisingly cheap considering you get a fully unique result. A silver ring or necklace will cost about 50 EUR, and gold is about the price of the metal + 50%.

  4. FWIW a professional jeweler’s bezel pusher is a highly polished straight steel stick with a handle on one end. If you took some 1200 grit sandpaper to your screwdriver, you have a bezel pusher.

    1. I used to work for a custom jeweler who 3d printed rings in castable wax and used a 4 axis mill and Rhino software to 3d print investment molds for platinum, everything. This is correct info.

      Ironically I could go back there and reteach them how to polish jewelry completely in a new way after learning Menzerna in watchmaking school, as opposed to traditional tripoli and rouge at that place. But that’s the jeweler’s secret. All those black rags in a drum from the torit cleaners in the back of your jeweler’s shop- several hundred thousand $ in polishing waste from tradition abrasive polishing compounds.

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