Re: suitability of machines for jewelry prototyping

From: Steven Adler \( A3DM \) (
Date: Sun Mar 17 2002 - 17:09:12 EET

Dear Jeffrey

    There are some important factors that you should consider for jewelry
prototyping. The first and most important is the suitability of the material
for investment casting.

    Most of the SLA materials are not designed for investment casting. The
Thermojet and Viper systems by 3D Systems have some problems with clean
burnout from investment. They require a higher than average temperature for
burnout and have a higher reject rate from residual ash after casting. This
can be very disappointing when the end product is revealed to be poorly
formed despite a precise model. It is doubtful that any of the SLA systems
will ever have a secondary support system like the Solidscape and Sanders
systems. This means that there will always be some question about the
ability to create undercut features and there will always be the need for
the stringlike features for support.

    The Solidscape MM2 and PatternMaster are well placed and successful in
the jewelry industry. They make an excellent model but, do require a good
deal of polishing to achieve a quality surface finish. If you are working
with designs that have small features this can be a problem since most of
the post-polishing can distort the original design. Still if you are willing
to work the model for a few hours after casting, this may be a cost
effective approach. The material is designed for investment casting so the
reject rate is much lower than SLA materials. There are however many Service
Bureaus who have these two systems, most of which operate at such low hourly
rates these days that there is a question if ownership is as cost effective
as contracting the work to an outside vendor. The rates are so low that it
may be less expensive to NOT own a system unless your volume of work
warrants the purchase.

    I own and operate the newer RapidToolmaker (RTM) systems which are a
significant improvement over the older Solidscape design. There is no
question in my mind that it offers the best surface finish and is far more
accurate than the Solidscape systems. Although the purchase price is much
higher than the Solidscape offerings, the time and money saved in post
processing more than makes up for the difference especially on small
settings where the work is hard to perform by hand. Unlike the SLA systems,
undercuts can be produced easily and the material is designed for investment

    To conclude, a choice depends on the volume and type of work that you
do. If you are considering a purchase for the long term, the RTM is the best
choice at this time. For short term needs, Service Bureaus offer the best
solution as interim limited production. I would suggest you perform some
parallel tests of the Solidscape vs Sanders (RTM). Please feel free to send
me a file for the RTM pattern and I will produce it for you ......

    PS If you are not in USA there are some other alternatives that are not
available in the United States. Please feel free to contact me offline and I
will provide you with more information

Steven Adler CEO
Automated 3D Modeling
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeffrey Everett" <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, March 16, 2002 2:09 PM
Subject: suitability of machines for jewelry prototyping

> A question to those of you using RP to create jewelry patterns. I'm now in
> the market to purchase or lease a new or used 3D wax printer. My question
> is, which is considered the most cost effective machine? I know the prices
> and basic capabilities of each of Sanders machines (and of course, I do
> the new RTM! sigh) and the Thermojet (has 3D Systems yet incorporated a
> support material to replace the break-away supports?). Will anyone with
> experience using these machines post a little feedback as to actual
> finish or difficulty of bringing cast pieces up to a jewelry level finish?
> have the funding in place to purchase or lease the MM2, but do I want to
> wait until I can afford the RTM? Opinions please, and thank you in
> Please feel free to email me directly if you wish.
> Jeffrey Everett
> For more information about the rp-ml, see

For more information about the rp-ml, see

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