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Texas Inventor Launches 3D Printed GemCreator Machine on Kickstarter

There are tons of affordable 3D printers out there to make jewels by lost wax casting, but no one is really thinking about the most precious part of jewelry: the gemstones. A Texas inventor  set out to change that by launching a Kickstarter campaign for the first affordable, 3D printed gemstone faceting machine, the GemCreator. If you are making jewelry, such as rings, earrings, pendants and other pieces, a gemstone can be a beautiful finishing touch and can be a beautiful centerpiece for your jewelry.  Beautiful custom jewelry deserves a custom gemstone.

Creating a gemstone can be a tedious and a time consuming process.  Making a gemstone manually can mean hours of hands on work with a lapidary and meticulous counting of passes to make sure each facet is similar in size as the other facets.  The GemCreator 3D Printed faceting machine helps to automate and make the process of making a custom gemstone easier.  The GemCreator can be configured to create a loop of facets, and do multiple passes of those loops moving in slightly between each pass automatically.  This means that after setting up a grind, you can walk away from it to do other things while it works away at its task.

How Does it Work?

A typical procedure goes like this:

  • Glue a marble or stone to the end of a dobstick (wait until dry).
  • Insert dobstick into machine head – zero dobstick and zero turret
  • Rough grind Girdle and Pavilion facets with 240 grit disc
  • Medium grind Girdle and Pavilion facets with 800 grit disc
  • Fine grind Girdle and Pavilion facets with 2000 grit disc
  • Polish Girdle and Pavilion facets with cerium oxide disc
  • Transfer dobstick to do the Crown
  • Rough grind Crown facets with 240 grit disc
  • Medium grind Crown facets with 800 grit disc
  • Fine grind Crown facets with 2000 grit disc
  • Polish Girdle and Pavilion facets with cerium oxide disc

Doing the Rough grind takes the most time to get the gemstone into the basic shape.  The other discs are only used for a few passes.  So after the rough grind the rest of the process goes quicker for the rest of the hemisphere.  Since the rough grind takes the most time, the automatic grinding makes it very handy.  Theoretically, the user can get the automatic grinding going and then walk away and come back when all of the passes are complete for the rough grind. A gemstone typically could be created in about a day or maybe faster depending on experience.

What You’ll Get

  • Grinder Tower – 4 inch (100mm) grinding wheel size, light, sponge holder, platten wrench
  • Water Tower – 2 liter bottle water tower system for dripping water on the grinder wheel
  • XY table – moves the head left, right, forward, back
  • Head – includes Turret and Dobstick Rotator – rotates to select various facet angles
  • Computer – Arduino Atmega 2560 with 4 line x 20 character display and custom keyboard
  • Transfer block – assists in transferring a half made gemstone from one dobstick to another
  • Power supply – 110v input to 12v output US plug (default)
  • Grinder discs – 240#, 800#, 2000#, Cerium Oxide coated disc
  • SD card reader and 4GB sd card – for saving recorded steps which can be reloaded and played back.
  • 10 dobsticks – the STL file will be available if more need to be 3D printed, or more can be ordered if necessary.
  • Instructions

Electronics Diagram

The GemCreator 3D faceting machine combines 3D printed parts with 3D printer electronics. Plastic parts were designed on a CAD system to be 3D printed. The advantages of 3D printing means that a small run of parts may be produced and parts can be revised and reprinted if need be. The electronics utilizes the Arduino Atmega2560 and the Ramps 1.4 board as the main electronics. The Arduino/Ramps combination main board currently drives 4 stepper motors, a DC grinder motor, lights, endstops, keyboard and display. Software was written from scratch utilizing various Arduino libraries for the display and other miscellaneous functions.

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