How can I get a well-made custom metal tie clip?
August 11, 2013 9:54 AM   Subscribe

I want to get a friend a reasonably high-quality metal tie clip with a custom design (which would require an unusual shape, not something like an engraving) as a gift. A professional-grade 3D printer of the sort used on Shapeways seems like an option, but I don't know any well-recommended company or designer who could design the clip and help me print it. There are companies that do "custom" clips online, but they seem like tweaked mass-produced junk. So, two questions: Is there a method that would be simpler/easier/cheaper than 3D printing for this? And based on the first answer, how can I actually make this happen?
posted by Tubalcain to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total)
Have you looked for a vendor on etsu?
posted by bq at 9:57 AM on August 11, 2013

I have a friend who makes jewelry. She made a lavender jade tie-tack for our wedding. If you want her information, memail me. It won't be cheap, but I know that 3-D printed stuff can become extremely expensive it might not be more expensive. (My brother-in-law is a Shapeways designer, but I have no idea if he could do a tie clip or not.)
posted by wintersweet at 10:27 AM on August 11, 2013

My first thought would not be "3D printing", it would be "local independent jeweler who takes commissions".
posted by Lexica at 11:18 AM on August 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

I would look for an artist/ jeweler who does metal forming. If the shape is two dimensional, could it be cut out with a jeweler's saw, filed, sanded, then soldered to an off-the-shelf pin back? That would be pretty easy. 3D starts to get harder depending on what you are thinking of. A simple 3D shape might be easy to do with a dapping block, but something that requires a new mold to be made for a hydraulic press or for casting would be more difficult/expensive. An alternative might be to have someone make it from precious metal clay, which is molded like clay but when fired becomes solid metal.
posted by SandiBeech at 11:18 AM on August 11, 2013

Yes, the kind of jewelry shop that could make you a custom wedding ring setting will also be able to make all kinds of other small metal objects like this.
posted by steinwald at 11:24 AM on August 11, 2013

I think bq meant to type etsy, as in, and I second that idea.
posted by michellenoel at 4:14 PM on August 11, 2013

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