Srdjan Urosev can make an exact copy of your great-grandmother’s wedding ring. He can also duplicate your childhood charm bracelet. He can even take your favorite broach and give you three in return — the original, plus two more made of different materials.
Urosev has made a process that once would have been better suited for a sci-fi novel into a business. In fact, his company, eLUXE 3D in Shelby Township, has moved to the forefront of the 3-D scanning industry.
While 3-D printing has a solid foothold in the technology sector, Urosev says 3-D scanning is still a relatively new practice. His business, eLUXE 3D, is one of the few companies on the market that’s having success with scanning — particularly scanning detailed jewelry. “We’re kind of the first ones to be doing it,” he says. “It’s an exciting time to be in the industry. It’s extremely gratifying to be on the edge of this kind of innovation.”
Urosev says eLUXE 3D has two different 3-D scanners that it sells to businesses, mostly jewelers. There’s the Rexcan Silver, which scans with a camera resolution of 1.3 megapixels, or the more heavy-duty Rexcan Gold, which has a camera resolution of 5 megapixels.
The scanners are about the size of a large coffee maker, which means they’re relatively portable and easy to store. Urosev explains the scanning process is simpler than it sounds; a scanner is hooked up to a computer that runs Windows and a piece of jewelry is placed on a pedestal inside. Within minutes, the piece is scanned and a computer-aided design file is sent to the computer.
According to Urosev, the CAD file depicts an exact replica of the scanned piece, right down to the slightest contour. He actually measures the duplication in microns (think fractions of hairs). From there, he can load the CAD file into a 3-D printer and create a new piece that looks exactly like the old one.
“The pieces come out identical. If there’s a tiny flaw on the original, we can recreate it,” Urosev says. “It’s like making a perfect twin of a jewelry piece.”
Urosev says being able to recreate jewelry can solve some consumer problems. Thanks to this process, it’s possible to wear a special family heirloom every day without worrying about losing the one and only piece. The scanners are also useful for jewelers who want to have a digital archive of all the pieces they create.
“It’s the kind of business that’s very much a niche,” Urosev says, “but at the same time, it’s extremely attractive to both jewelers and consumers. It’s a technology that really can help a lot of people.”