For over a decade, 3D printing has been used across industries in a variety of industries and is constantly finding new applications. But despite the wide range of possible uses and the associated professional prospects, 3D printing is not yet part of the curriculum for many apprenticeships in Germany.
In order to change this and to expand Germany's educational offerings, Pierre Urbanek founded the 3D Academy in Stuttgart. Since it opened in 2014, the academy has been training students and offering advanced training for various industries on the subject of 3D. This also includes the jewelry industry, in which the lecturer Maria Fernandez was once a student herself. In our interview, she tells us more about her career as a trained goldsmith, her path to 3D-printed jewelry and its advantages.
3D printing as a new professional perspective
In 2010, Pierre Urbanek also recognized that 3D printing offers a wide range of possibilities for applications and training. In search of opportunities for further training in this area, however, he quickly reached his limits in Germany - teaching institutes were limited, resources and knowledge were scarce.
After extensive training in the USA and with the vision of changing the problem in the long term, he founded the 3D Academy in Stuttgart in 2014. "It is a focused training with a high practical component around the topic of 3D" describes Pierre Urbanes the focus of the institute. Today around 80 students are trained annually in the 3D Academy and up to 150 additional courses are offered with Inkjet Printing. The range of training and further education is diverse and ranges from the 3D representation of fashion and architecture to virtual reality and advertising. But hard skills such as 3D printing itself are also offered in the form of jewelry and medical training.
The way to 3D printed jewelry
Maria Fernandez started very traditionally in a goldsmith's school in Schwäbisch Gmünd, after which she worked as an assistant in the design of a well-known jewelry manufacturer. It was there that it first came into contact with 3D printing, but at that time it was stored by external providers.
However, outsourcing manufacturing processes, as in the jewelry industry, did not prove to be an efficient solution - the models often had to be sent back and forth several times, which was time-consuming due to the shipping, among other things. "Individually manufactured models have different dimensions and adjustments in detail and size are often required - that was very time-consuming externally." says Maria Fernandez. With the support of her mentor Wolf Peter Schwarz, who encouraged her to combine traditional methods with modern technologies, Marias Weg then led her to the 3D Academy in Stuttgart.