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CNC machining of precious metal jewelry

Blog sharing 2019-07-02

Precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum are the main cornerstones of many products. Although they are a core component of electronics, energy creation and the automotive industry, they are the most popular in the production of jewelry and accessories. These metals are often irreplaceable in their respective roles and have a variety of characteristics that make them a critical part of a variety of products. Whether they are merely decorative or functional, they are expensive and require precise processing.

Therefore, as modern manufacturing technologies such as CNC and 3D printing enter the industrial manufacturing field, they also need to meet the needs of companies that process precious metals in the production process. CNC machining is becoming more popular among large companies and artisan jewelers who often use a milling machine to engrave or engrave detailed designs into metal jewelry. CNC milling machines can also be used to engrave wax for lost wax casting projects. The CNC can provide added value for an object that a person needs and make his operation stand out for a number of unique reasons.



As mentioned previously, the manufacturing system can interact with precious metals in a variety of ways. Subtraction and additive manufacturing systems can be involved indirectly, such as producing castings for molding rather than processing actual metals. Indirect manufacturing is a safer option to reduce waste, but it takes longer and is more complicated.

CNC machines have impressive precision and speed, which is particularly advantageous because precious metals are expensive, so one might want to get the most accurate parts. Fortunately, metals such as gold, silver and most other valuable materials are very similar in processing to the more common metal materials. This means that the process is not much different from the usual situation. While CNC can be a waste, the performance and ability to produce unique shapes is undeniable, especially for aesthetics like jewelry.

It also eliminates the possibility of human error and reduces the need for additional machinery. Accuracy allows for better copying and standardization of the product, which is difficult to match for hand-made parts. The CNC can also be precise and versatile, allowing engraving and cutting in the same equipment, eliminating the need for external peripherals and even eliminating other steps in the process.

Processing Jewelry Tips

While most of the advice on how to create precious metal parts depends to a large extent on the details created, beginners should keep in mind some general rules of thumb.

Device restriction

First, not all CNC cuts are used to cut precious metals. In this process, open structures, mobile workbench and other metals may accumulate space for such purposes. Complex prints may require more than 4 axes of printing, and even then, CNC may encounter problems with hollow profiles. Similarly, many CNC devices have problems at a 90-degree angle and have a tapered effect in some areas. One solution is to add extra material to the CAD model stage to compensate for it and the glare angle.


However, equipment limitations do not necessarily mean that CNC milling cutters and laser cutters cannot be repaired. Of course, there are many machines dedicated to carving and carving jewelry, but not everyone can afford it or want something more diverse. As a result, certain CNCs can be equipped with jewelry-specific attachments and improvements, such as better spindles, allowing them to machine materials with higher RPM or adjust diameters to create specific objects. These types of additions can greatly increase the capabilities of a given device and allow more general-purpose machines to take on precise functions. Keep an eye out for which additives may be best for your use and materials, where to say...

Know your materials

Similarly, in terms of direct processing, materials have also attracted people's attention. For example, gold and silver may require lubrication or mist coolant applications to increase the feed rate (which also depends on your machine) because they are soft metals and they require more RPM.

Especially in jewelry, wax casting or other aspects, it is important to track heat and warpage. This applies in particular to wax mold manufacturing, which requires fine cooling applications to balance potential deformations in the intended part. Therefore, it may be helpful to have a machine with a cooling system, or if you can afford it, you can use a water jet CNC machine (which also eliminates the need for a replacement tool).

Minimize waste

One problem that CNC often faces is material waste, which is not a problem when dealing with cheaper metal blocks or waxes, but can become expensive when dealing directly with silver and gold. CNC milling is usually best for smaller parts, but another way to reduce waste is to bring the parts closer to the final product.