Additive manufacturing of alumide jewellery

Additive Manufacturing (AM) has been used for various jewellery applications in the recent past - both through direct and indirect use of AM products. The typical trend for direct manufactured jewellery has however, been dominated by metals-based applications. Materialise, through their MGX collection, has helped to set a new trend of doing functional design / functional art through amongst others, direct laser sintered polymers. They have created a significant demand for direct manufactured products that are not possible to manufacture with conventional technologies. More importantly, some of these designs enable an element of personalisation, to lead to "bespoke art". Within a collaborative research project between De Montfort University (UK), Loughborough University (UK) and Vaal University of Technology (SA), one of the specific research outcomes was aimed at producing designs for direct AM jewellery in AlumideTM, an Aluminum and Nylon matrix. The objective was to go beyond complex shapes, to also create innovative techniques for insertion of gemstones in these designs, to result in limited production of "bespoke jewellery series". The paper and associated presentation will report on work in progress from the collaborative project, and will discuss first results, problem areas and future possibilities.