The 3D printing industry has reshaped many procedures used in various manufacturing fields, and jewelry production is not an exception. 3D printers brought the ability to create specialized jewelry in the easiest and most accurate ways.
As technology advances, new 3D printing methods and materials become available.
There are many ways, like stereolithography and SLM, to produce pieces of jewelry. However, the easiest method is to use standard FDM 3D printers and composite filaments.
In this article, we will discuss the best filaments for jewelry production and their characteristics.
When it comes to jewelry production, our best options are:
- Gold filament
- Silver filament
- Wood filament
- Bronze filament
- Thermochromic Filaments
- Glow in the dark filaments
- Marble filament
- Carbon fiber filaments
- Sandstone filament
- Black PETG
Now, we go into detail, talking about each one of them individually:
The unique color, luster, and striking gold properties made this material a highly valued metal throughout history. It’s also the most ancient and popular material among jewelry makers.
Nowadays, 3D printing hobbyists can easily print filaments that simulate the appearance of gold. These filaments are most commonly known as gold filaments, and various companies produce gold filaments.
Silk Gold PLA is a popular and affordable filament from CC3D that simulates real gold color and shading properties.
It can easily be printed to create shiny objects. However, a slight sanding is recommended to eliminate the layer lines.
The term silk in the name is used for filaments with smooth and slick finishes. Some particles are added to change its characteristics.
Another advantage of this filament, unlike other composite filaments, is its non-abrasive nature. Therefore, you can use typical brass nozzles to print it.
The printer settings for the Silk Gold Filament is similar to PLA. The nozzle temperature should be around 190 – 230° C. Using a heated bed is not crucial though a 60° C heated bed is recommended.
In general, This filament is suitable for beginners that need a visually pleasant print.
GizmoDorks Gold ABS Filament is another famous gold filament brand that, unlike Silk Gold, is based on ABS.
You may know that ABS has superior characteristics compared to PLA. It’s more rigid, resistant to chemicals, and can withstand higher temperatures.
Because filament doesn’t contain solid particles, its printing process is almost like printing with ABS; so, if you have worked with ABS before, you can use this one without any difficulties.
The overall finish may become slightly dull. The filament’s color is more yellowish than bronze or brass. But, After some testing, you can achieve excellent surface finishes even without post-processing.
On the other hand, the ABS base allows the use of an acetone vapor bath to acquire glass surface finishes.
Silver is another popular material with a shiny look and excellent properties when it comes to jewelry making.
Several brands produce high-quality quasi silver filaments, but MatterHackers is probably the most popular one.
The company’s metallic silver pro series is an extremely easy to print non-filled PLA base filament. You can print it with almost all FDM 3D printers.
Also, this filament doesn’t require hardened or steel nozzles to print. The nozzle temperature should be around 190 – 220o C, and using a heated bed isn’t necessary.
You can find more about the mechanical properties of this filament in the table below:
|Tensile Strength at Break||7700 PSI||ASTM D638|
|Yield Strength||8700 PSI||ASTM D638|
|Notched Izod Impact||0.3 ft-lb/in||ASTM D256|
|Tensile Elongation||6.0 %||ASTM D638|
Wood filaments are a type of composites consisting of wood fibers in a thermoplastic base, mostly PLA.
Various types of wood can be composited with typical filaments. For example, you can choose between bamboo, cedar, birch, etc.
You can also create different colors by changing the nozzle temperature. Rising the temperature will add a darker shade to the printed piece, while lowering it will do the opposite. However, the user should be careful not to burn the filament or set the print on fire while printing!
The printed wood filament can entirely hide the layer lines because of its nature. This way, even with a cheap printer, the results can become astonishing. You can also use higher-layer heights to your advantage and create some unique pieces of jewelry.
Wood Filaments typically contain 30% wood fibers and 70% thermoplastic. Even though 30% may seem low, it’s more than enough to give a unique texture and smell to the print.
Objects made from wood filament also have similar properties to natural wood. You can sand or paint them just like a wooden object.
One of the best brands producing wood filaments is Colorfabb, a Dutch company. This company manufactures high-quality filaments in different categories.
Woodfill and corkfill are the wood filaments from the company. They are easy to print and have perfect surface finishes.
However, you should know that Colorfabb filaments are usually the most expensive ones in the market. The price of a 600g spool of woodfill is around $45.
Printing these materials is effortless. The printing temperature for corkfill is 210 – 230° C, and it’s around 195 – 220° C for woodfill. Using a heated bed isn’t necessary though it would be best to use a 50 – 60° C heated bed.
Colorfabb wood filament is the best quality option if your budget is large enough.
Another option is the Timberfill from Fillamentum. It’s a PLA-based wood filament that can promise an excellent surface finish and looks like carved wood. The filament is available in rosewood, cinnamon, champagne, and light wood colors.
The average price for 1 kg of Timberfill filament is $49. Unlike the previous option, this one needs a 50 – 60° C heated bed to achieve suitable layer adhesion.
Bronze filaments are another subgroup of composite filaments that provide the appearance of bronze. Unlike the introduced gold and silver filaments, the bronze ones consist of 40% real bronze particles. This feature gives your prints the cool appearance and weight of the actual metal.
The only drawback of the embedded metal grains is their abrasive nature. The bronze filament can quickly wear out brass nozzles, so the user should use steel or hardened nozzles.
If you want a high-quality bronze filament for professional jewelry making, look no further than Colorfabb bronzfill. As said before, this company provides excellent filaments. With an 80% bronze composition, bronzfill is still the most printable bronze! The high percentage of particles makes any print uniquely natural and heavy for sure.
You can get a 750g spool of this filament for around $55. The bronzfill is probably the most premium filament you can use. However, other brands provide affordable bronze filaments with acceptable properties.
GizmoDorks is another company that produces bronze filaments. It can also provide the great look of bronze to your prints though you may need to do some post-processing to achieve the best results. This filament comes at a much affordable price at $25 per kilogram.
Another interesting filament to try and use for jewelry is the thermochromic or color-changing filament.
The term thermochromic means that the material changes color in different temperatures. You are probably familiar with this feature by seeing the “mood rings.”
This filament is also a composite of unique grains and PLA.
This group of filaments may not be typical for jewelry. But with some creativity, you can design and produce unique pieces of jewelry from them.
The black to brown to yellow Amolen color-changing PLA is one of the popular color-changing filaments.
As the name suggests, in low temperatures, the filament has a dark greyish color similar to stone. The brown orangish color kicks in at around 30° C. This color has the unique appearance of molten lava, and if the temperature goes higher than 45° C, the orange color transitions into bright yellow.
Despite the unique feature of color-changing filaments, you can buy a big spool at a low price of $30.
There are different types of color-changing filaments like white to purple, purple to pink, and white to blue in the market. The video below is also an excellent example of thermochromic filaments in practice.
Glow In The Dark
The glow in the dark filament is standard thermoplastics infused with a phosphorescent material. In a way, this filament features the same structure that other composite filaments like wood filaments have.
The phosphorescent particles in the filament absorb energy from UV radiations then re-emit this energy at a slower pace.
As the name states, Using this material, you can print jewelry that glows in the dark. The ABS-based filaments are more durable and have prior properties. However, printing with PLA-based materials is much more convenient.
Many manufacturers sell glow in the dark filaments, and honestly, there is no significant difference between them. You can see how this unique filament works in the video below:
If you want to give a unique stone texture to your designs, marble filaments are the first option to consider.
They are mostly PLA-based with marble powder. Unlike standard filaments, the marble filaments are developed to require the least post-processing.
The marble particles are also less abrasive compared to wood or metal filaments.
The variety of marble filament brands is less than other options. However, they need different recommended printer settings. The best temperature range for printing this material is 190 – 225° C, and a heated bed isn’t necessary. So, you can print it with most desktop 3D printers.
Carbon Fiber Filament
Carbon fiber is another unique material you can use in pieces of jewelry. It’s made of long chains of carbon atoms bonded together, creating a thread.
Even though this material is known for its excellent strength and stiffness, the carbon fiber texture has been used for aesthetic purposes in several industries for years.
You may already know that this material is rarely used on its own, and the carbon fiber filament is not an exception. This material is used in a composite that consists of polymers.
The matrix material can be PLA, ABS, PE, etc. In most cases, the manufacturers choose PLA due to its simplicity. Therefore, the composite’s appearance is similar to pure carbon fiber.
There are many carbon fiber filament manufacturers in the market though Protopastas’s carbon fiber is my favorite. It’s much easier to print and gives the best aesthetic surface finish. You can buy a 500g spool of this filament for $40.
Sandstone filament can give the print a rock-like finish. The gritty feeling of sandstone is a nice change compared to the polished look of other composites. This feature makes the filament a suitable option for creating stone-like rings and bracelets.
Another cool feature of sandstone filament is its ability to change depending on the print temperature.
You can increase the roughness of your print by raising the nozzle temperature. The user can find the perfect temperature for their design and create unique outputs.
Printing this material is relatively easy. It doesn’t need extra high temperature or even a heated bed. The print temperature can usually be around 170 – 220° C.
Prints made from this filament can be finished in various ways. You can sand the piece to achieve a similar look to sand carving.
Speaking of filament brands, LAY BRICK is the dominating manufacturer of sandstone filaments in today’s market. The company’s filaments are easy to print and can be used in a wide range of temperatures. You can buy a 250g spool of filament for around $20.
Black PETG Filament
Nowadays, black jewelry is a popular trend in the fashion industry. The black necklaces and rings are pillars of fashion, and perhaps, they will continue to be in the industry in the long run.