Whether it is beaded necklaces made from shells found in the Blombos Cave in South Africa that date back to 75,000 years ago, to a necklace made of eagle talons discovered in Croatia and estimated to be approximately 130,000 years old, it is evident that humans have been creating jewelry for thousands of years.
Sometimes functional and often strictly for the sake of fashionable art and displays of status, we have been designing jewelry from a wide variety of materials since the beginning of our time on this earth.
If we weren’t handcrafting headpieces from seeds, polishing gemstones, carving bones, and dying feathers, we were melting down metals and shaping them into beautiful intricate shapes by hand.
Over the ages, humans have used numerous tools and technologies for forming, marking, cutting, welding, engraving, and cleaning jewelry. We have gone from relying solely upon traditional hand tools like hammers and wood carving knives to CNC machines, 3D printers, and laser cutters in less than 80 years.
The laser cutter alone has great potential to be used outside manufacturing and production. It can be used in jewelry making to give more accurate, precise, efficient, and customized cuts. This article sheds more light on using the laser cutter for jewelry making.
What is a Laser Cutter?
It is a subtractive manufacturing technology that employs a laser to cut flat-sheet materials. The laser cutter is equipped with a computer-controlled program to identify where and how to cut.
When the laser cutter was invented, it was expensive and first mainly used in mining or cutting metals. Thanks to advances in technology, laser cutters are now more accessible and less costly. Also, laser cutters are becoming more versatile and can be used in numerous industries, from manufacturing to medicine and jewelry.
Benefits of Using Laser Cutters for Your Jewelry Making
A laser cutter like 3D Universe‘s Dremel LC40 or the FLUX line of laser cutters can help you make jewelry that is functionally sound, aesthetically appealing, and professional looking. Here are more benefits of using a laser cutter for your jewelry making.
1. Ability to create unique designs
Among the main advantage of laser cutters is the ability to create unique shapes and custom engraved parts. Whatever shape and design you want, laser cutting helps you achieve it. Whether you want circle monograms, name necklaces, pendants, intricate patterns, or interlocking monograms, they are a laser cut away.
If you are in the jewelry making business, you need to create unique pieces that appeal to customers and differentiate you from competitors. A laser cutter allows you to meet the two objectives effortlessly. All you need is to be creative, and the laser cutter does the rest.
2. Wide range of materials
The Dremel and FLUX laser cutters can be used on a wide variety of different materials. You can use acrylics, wood, rubber, glass, paper, bone, felt, cork, anodized aluminum, leather, cardboard, a variety of fabrics and more. Regardless of the material you use, you are assured of efficiency, flexibility, and high accuracy.
3. Negligible risks of material contamination and deformation
During laser cutting, there is no direct contact with the work-piece and hence a low likelihood of contaminating the material. Also, unlike in the traditional separation process where the heat produced in the cutting would melt the material, in laser cutting things are different. A laser cutter focuses heat on a small area and hence lessening the probability of material melting and deformation.
4. Incredible precision
Laser cutters are precise because computer programs can control them. Their precision makes them ideal for the making of intricate jewelry designs that require minimal radii. Additionally, laser cutters allow for highly accurate cuts with a smooth finish while reducing material waste.
5. A low frequency of accidents and injuries
Among the most remarkable things about laser cutting machines like the Dremel LC40 or FLUX laser cutters is that they require minimal to no human intervention. You only need to intervene when inspecting and repairing the machine. In line with this, accidents and injuries are less frequent. This makes a laser cutter a jeweler’s best friend.
Using Laser Cutters for Your Jewelry Making
A laser cutter is a remarkable machine for jewelry making. You don’t need expertise or experience to operate a laser cutter. Hence, you can use it easily and conveniently to design and produce your jewelry and other accessories.
Using a laser cutter to produce your jewelry is cheaper. You can spend as low as $2 to make a creative and beautiful piece and sell it at a local fair at $10-$30. Here is a guide to making jewelry using a laser cutter in five simple steps.
Step 1: Design
When making jewelry using a laser cutter, the first step is to choose the design. However, before this, decide what you want to make and its dimensions. Is it a necklace, a ring, a bracelet, or a pair of earrings? You can either make your design or choose a ready-made design.
Making your design is more interesting than choosing an existing one. However, if you still need to use a ready-made design, you can find various designs in open design repositories. Next, sketch the design. Pay attention to ergonomics, edges, and dimensions. You can even make a prototype with paper and put it on your body to confirm the size.
Step 2: Draw
Use vector software like Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW or 3D software like Sketchup and CAD to draw. When drawing, you must adhere to some best practices like using different colors to engrave, indicating dimensions in millimeters, and saving the file in SVG format. Importantly, ensure you verify the size of the piece before you save it.
If you are a traditional artist and prefer to hand draw your pieces, you can take a photo of your hand-drawn art and engrave your design onto your piece of jewelry with your laser cutter.
Step 3: Get the material
Whether you decide to use plywood, acrylic, or rubber – get the material ready. You can buy plywood in stationary shops and acrylic in specialized stores.
Step 4: Use the laser cutter
It’s now time to use the laser cutter. Depending on the material you are using, you need different settings for it. You must balance between power and speed when using a laser cutter. Failure to find this balance can damage your material.
Step 5: Finishing
You can choose a finishing for your jewelry or leave the material raw. If you opt for finishing, you can paint the piece or use a sealant or stain on it. Finally, you have your elegant or unique jewelry.
Laser cutters are fascinating technologies that can be used in jewelry making. Jewelers can utilize laser cutters on different materials to provide precise, accurate, reliable, and unique designs.
Learn how to make jewelry using laser cutters with the five incredibly simple steps outlined in this article. If you are looking for a laser cutter for jewelry making, the Dremel LC40 laser cutter or the FLUX laser cutter family are both great options.
Learn More about the FLUX and Dremel Laser Cutters
FLUX offers a full range of affordable desktop laser cutters and engravers with exceptional features, including a powerful CO2 laser (30-50W, depending on the model), smart camera capture, intuitive software, ready-to-use material profiles, and more. Cut and engrave on materials like wood, leather, acrylic, cardboard, and many others. Bring your ideas to life!
The Dremel LC40 is specifically designed to meet the demands of hobbyists, educators and professionals looking for a desktop laser cutting solution. With Dremel’s consistent focus on safety, ease-of-use and reliability, we think that many will find the LC40 a perfect fit for their laser cutting needs.