Mixee Labs is the 3D printing startup behind customizable figurine platform Mixee Me and a customizable jewelry platform launched in June. Mixee Labs’ products were featured as Time Magazine’s Top 10 3D Printed Gifts of the year in 2012.
Using Mixee Labs, anybody can design their own cufflinks. You can select from a variety of different designs or even upload your own black and white graphic. Want cufflinks of your favorite team logo or your initials? Mixee Lab’s custom cufflink creator is perfect for you.
Mixee Labs manufactures each product on demand using 3D printed stainless steel (with optional gold or bronze plating) for $60, 3D printed sterling silver for $160, and 3D printed nylon plastic for $20.
3D printing is not limited to plastics, and Mixee Labs is taking full advantage of the wide variety of materials with this product. Each stainless steel or plastic pair will take about 2 weeks to print and ship; each silver pair will take about 3 weeks to ship.
Here’s a photo gallery to show how the creation process works and showcases some final cufflink designs.
We sat down with Nancy Yi Liang, co-founder of Mixee Labs for an interview.
On 3D Printing: First figurines, then jewelry, now cufflinks. Seems like you are building a full catalog of 3D printed goods. Tell us more about your expansion strategy.
On 3D Printing: These cufflinks are in stainless steel, right? What have you learned about working with that material?
Nancy Yi Liang: Stainless Steel is a great material–it has a real vintage-looking, raw quality to it. Moreover, you can coat it with gold and bronze, giving it some polish. A big part of designing for Stainless Steel is understanding structural strength. There’s a part of the 3d printing process (called the “greenstate”) where the model is not yet infused with bronze, and is actually quite fragile. During this stage, any thin parts of the model that is not well supported can break. In general, designing for 3d printing is very much about understanding the production process. “3d printing” actually covers a wide variety of production techniques (laser sintering, powder binding layer by layer with glue, jets extruding molten plastic). Each material employes different techniques and thus have different design restrictions. Shapeways provides excellent guides on designing for each material (hehe.. patting myself on the back a little since I wrote that section back when I was at Shapeways).
On 3D Printing: What’s been the biggest surprise about 3D printing jewelry and accessories?
Nancy Yi Liang: You know, sometimes people just want to put their names on things. I originally designed this with the mindset that people will want to upload all sorts of fancy graphics. But when I asked my friends who wear cufflinks, a lot of them got very excited when I told them that they can put their initials on the product. So ok, we added a custom text field to the cufflink creator. Right now, we are just beginning to venture into this space, so I’m sure there’s a lot more surprises coming down the road–we just need to keep our eyes and ears sharp!
Go to Mixee Labs to create your own custom cufflinks or other 3D printed jewelry.