Dec 8, 2015 | By Kira

The holiday season just wouldn’t be the same without the shimmer of lights, glittery jewels and sparkly champagne, and now, London-based inventor and designer Otto Souta has developed a new 3D printing technique for emulating the razzle-dazzle of diamonds in your very own 3D printed jewelry and accessories.

Utilizing Total Internal Reflection, a physics phenomenon that combines both refraction and reflection, Souta’s technique consists of 1000’s of individually 3D printed internal reflectors. When used with clear, rigid or rubber-like 3D printing filaments, the result is 3D printed jewelry and accessories that capture the light and delight your eyes.

Souta discovered 3D printing four years ago, and, given his background in engineering, mechatronics, optics and material processing, immediately became interested. He began by building his very own 3D Cube printer (not to be confused with 3D Systems’ Cube), which includes a 250x250x250mm build envelope, heated bed, and direct drive all-metal extruder. Since then, he’s gone on to develop a range of 3D printed products and add-on equipment for 3D printers.

With this latest 3D printing technique, no special filaments are required. He uses Sketchup, Slic3r and Netfabb as modeling programs, and his own highly-tuned 3D Cube printer with heated bed. “[The] reflectors are created by crossing filaments and exploiting different index of refraction between plastic and air,” explained Souta, who for privacy reasons could not disclose the full 3D printing process. “Reflectors can be printed from edge to edge of the item outline.”

Commercially available rigid and flexible filaments are used, and while any color will work, he says that the best effect is given by translucent colors, which catch the light better for stronger reflections. Additionally, since the method actually ‘embeds’ the reflectors directly into the object during the 3D printing process, they will not fade or become dull over time. He has developed a range of alphabet letters as well as watchstraps to demonstrate the effect.

Though he says the effect was discovered as a by-product of his research and development, he quickly saw applications for eye-catching 3D printed jewelry or other accessories. When using flexible, skin-safe, non-allergenic filaments, the resulting 3D printed products are resistant to breaking, smooth the touch, and light enough to be used in bold, large, and complex jewelry designs. Currently, Souta is looking to sell or license his technique to interested jewelry designers.

Souta, originally of Czech origin but now settled in the UK, began his career in engineering, with aviation, mechatronics, optics, pneumatics and material processing has his main interests. After starting at Otamat, a company that designs and manufactures portable microfilm equipment for aircraft manufacturers, airlines, and gas and electric utilities, and being selected ‘Inventor of the Year’ at an International Inventors Show in 1997 in Barbican, Souta discovered 3D printing technology, and has since retired and dedicated himself full-time to 3D printing work.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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yzorg wrote at 12/9/2015 6:40:47 PM:

i basically have this effect in all my clear PLA prints.. and not doing it on purpose :)

MK wrote at 12/8/2015 11:43:41 PM:

Funny, I was just wondering if this effect could be used for this earlier this day. Glad to see it works. :)

david clunie wrote at 12/8/2015 8:20:39 PM:

If he's not willing to disclose the "teqnique" then the title shouldn't really be "add" since all this is is saying you "might" be able to if you can decern the signs read the tea leaves and produce the effect via "his" method. Frankly this kind of article where "i want to be secretive" kinda of pisses me off. I mean I've seen the effect elsewhere and on some of my prints in various sections but never really sought it out as a "technique" and i find it rather amusing his use of open source to create a "closed source" technique. Sorry maybe i just woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning but this just irritates me.

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