Chandlers Manufacturing Jewellers PTY Ltd (Chandlers) is situated at the pivot building, Monte Casino Boulevard, Johannesburg, South Africa. The business has been operating for more than 25 years and during the past decade has grown to a staff of 40+ individuals.
Chandlers was founded as a manufacturer after its founder noticed that there was a lack of qualified hand craftsmen locally with the skills to provide retailers with the quality product they demanded.
Initially established to supply manufacturing services to retail clients, today the business has expanded its offering to group stores, wholesalers, fellow jewellery manufacturers and private clients. Chandlers now offers services such as 3D CAD design, printing, mold making and casting.
Why move to 3D printing for Jewellery Design and Manufacturing?
Coming from a background in the industry, Rodney Chandler was aware of the limitations of traditional hand-made models and saw the advantages new digital approaches brought to the industry.
Chandlers was pioneering, embracing 3D printing around 2011 when it was realized that it was possible to 3D design and print extremely complex pieces with high accuracy. They also identified the growth in popularity of specialized 3D CAD software such as Rhino and Zbrush and their ability to build accurate organic shapes.
“3D design combined with 3d printing is the only way to stay competitive and ahead of the competition” – Rodney Chandler, Director, Chandlers Manufacturing.
Prior to discovering the EnvisionTEC range of jewellery focused solutions, Chandlers had invested in a Solidscape 3D printer on the understanding that it was the only manufacturer with a castable material. This of course turned out to be false. Though the technology in place was supposed to be the ideal solution, the machine actually turned out to be unreliable and slow, which rapidly led to a backlog of commitments to its clients that it couldn’t deliver in time.
After experimenting with the Solidscape machine it was a meeting at a jewellery show in Bangkok that opened Rodney Chandlers eyes to EnvisionTEC, the quality of the 3D printers and the range of Jewellery focused materials.
He said, “After what I saw, I was instantly sold on the machine, I knew we had to get an EnvisionTEC.”
What Rodney witnessed was an EnvisionTEC Aureus 3D printer printing in Photosilver. The print demonstrated the extremely fine detail available from the printer. The mold was then injected with a polymer and pressure treated to remove any bubbles.
Rodney explained, “The detail was incredible, it was so fine that if the model had a scratch on it, then it was visible on the avatar which was now ready to tree up and cast.”
It was obvious that the quality of the EnvisionTEC machine, its speed, and accuracy were superior to the current machine. After returning from the Bangkok show and discussions with distributor Rapid 3D who became an EnvisionTEC distributor. They returned the Solidscape machine and ordered an Aureus. They were not the only manufacturers to make the move, several others followed.
“There is absolutely no competition in my mind, our old machine was more suited for hobbyists. It was slow and unreliable, and not a patch on the EnvisionTEC we have now.” – Rodney Chandler, Director, Chandlers Manufacturing.
Chandlers and its customers are using a variety of jewellery specific packages to produce designs, these include Rhino, Rhino Gold, Z Brush and also a number of freelance designers using Gemvison Matrix. The STL agnostic nature of the EnvisionTEC 3D printers ensures that files produced from any of the packages are compatible. For customers this means that designs can be submitted and produced no matter what their package preference.
Chandlers now runs three EnvisionTEC Aureus 3D printers. Two are dedicated to running the EC500 material with the third predominantly printing models in EPIC.
The EnvisionTEC range of jewellery materials provides a multitude of properties for different production uses. This has allowed Chandlers to switch, for example, from the production of molds for cold molding, to printing castable models extremely quickly as and when the need arises.
“After being in the jewellery manufacturing industry for some 38 years now, I can honestly say I still get excited at what can be produced with the EnvisionTEC.” – Rodney Chandler, Director, Chandlers Manufacturing.
Speed and accuracy:
The move away from hand modelling and implementation of EnvisionTEC 3D Printing technology has had a dramatic effect on the speed of production. Chandlers has been impressed with the ability to quickly design and produce fully castable models in 24 hours. This fast turnaround in the speed of production has allowed the business to adjust and expand its ranges faster than ever before.
“The fact you can do a CAD model, print it the same day, and have a cast working model the following day is a big advantage.” – Rodney Chandler, Director, Chandlers Manufacturing.
The 3D printers also allow the team to produce extremely accurate models and work within tight tolerances for castings. This accuracy has also allowed them to more precisely calculate metal weights, stone sizes and quantities.
Finally, the speed and accuracy of the EnvisionTEC 3D technology has reduced the man hours required to produce items, with models needing less finishing. Additionally there has been a large reduction in the waste over traditional methods.
“I would recommend envisiontec to anyone wanting high quality prints and reliable hardware.” – Rodney Chandler, Director, Chandlers Manufacturing.
The speed of the machines has allowed the business to grow, now able to fulfil more orders than before. Chandlers can now set 3 times the volume of settings without the need to increase staff numbers. The knock on effect has been that the implementation of EnvisionTEC printers has helped them to become more competitive.
“3D Design combined with 3D Printing is the only way to stay competitive and ahead of the competition” said Rodney.
The quality of the workmanship and fast turnaround has built Chandlers’ reputation in the market and pushed it ahead of the competition.
Special thanks to South African distribution partner Rapid 3D and thank you to Rodney Chandler for his extensive support in the making of this case study. For more information on Rodney and his services call: +27 826 060 493.