SOLide 3D Prints of Custom Cufflinks

Our Experience

When alternative technologies are not capable of the detail required for his custom project, Rein van der Mast turns to Brilliant Technologies’ EnvisionTEC machine for the answer.

A simple experiment: printed silver cuff links.

Recently I took a shirt with double cuffs out of my closet. It requires cuff-links. All the ones I had looked like gold or even were gold. Beautiful, however silver suits me better. And besides, where is the personal touch? What followed was an interesting little project. Last year I made me a monogram. It had to become the ‘knot’ of my cuff-links. There are the characters R, v, d and M, united in a sailboat, a reference to Willem van der Mast. He gave the family its name. William was a mast maker in Workum (Friesland, NL). The rest of the silver cuff-link, the mechanism, was available at a wholesaler’s.


I gave the monogram a little thickness using Rhino. I added some reinforcements and a connection to fix the mechanism. The result I put into a *. stl and I improved it with Magics. Nowadays Shapeways provides 3D printing of silver parts so I sent my file there to get the job done. They do it by the lost wax method; according to LayerWise ‘selective laser melting’ in silver and gold is possible, however it takes quite some pretty expensive powder to fill the machine with.


Unfortunately I got a reply telling me the details were too small to print. Apparently no EnvisionTEC or SolidScape machine is to their disposal. Luckily I found Maarten van Teeffelen of Brilliant Technology willing to participate. He printed the set on an EnvisionTEC in wax, and sent it to Atze-Jan de Vries of Nova Casting, the caster of the jeweler with whom I work, Brigitta Sueters.


The pieces of metal I polished myself after adding the mechanisms. All in all a relatively inexpensive method, especially in comparison with conventional jewelry. And Colorit (a kind of enamel) can be used optionally to color slightly deeper areas. As a result the costs are primarily the creation of the (virtual) 3D model. The method is very well suited for small series, exclusive cufflinks. Those who are interested, and have such a monogram, family weapon other image are welcome!