Title:
PERSONALIZED ORNAMENTAL ARTICLES
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method for obtaining a fingerprint and making a fingerprint ornamental article includes sending a kit to a customer including a thermoplastic medium, so that a person can imprint a fingerprint, and receiving the fingerprint from the customer after the fingerprint is imprinted onto the thermoplastic medium. Using thermoplastic medium allows the fingerprint to be easily formed and sufficiently set, so that the fingerprint is not compromised between the time the fingerprint is made and the time the fingerprint is received by the ornamental article manufacturer.



Inventors:
Fuhrman, Jacob Paul (White Bear Township, MN, US)
Application Number:
12/464391
Publication Date:
11/19/2009
Filing Date:
05/12/2009
Assignee:
CUSTOM GOLDSMITHING INC. (Little Canada, MN, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
229/300, 29/896.43
International Classes:
B65D69/00; A44C27/00; B65D27/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BUI, LUAN KIM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HAMRE, SCHUMANN, MUELLER & LARSON, P.C. (Minneapolis, MN, US)
Claims:
1. A kit to obtain an order for an ornamental article with an impression made thereon comprising: a thermoplastic material, the thermoplastic material is configured to be softened so that an impression can be made thereon and is configured to be hardened after the impression is made to set the impression, the thermoplastic is configured for a molding process for producing the ornamental article with the impression made thereon; instructions for use, the instructions for use having information on how to soften and harden the thermoplastic material to respectively make the impression and set the impression; an order form, the order form is configured for completion with information on the ornamental article; and a packaging that contains the thermoplastic material, instructions for use, and the order form.

2. The kit of claim 1, further comprising a return envelope.

3. The kit of claim 3, wherein the return envelope is a postage paid return envelope.

4. The kit of claim 1, further comprising a bag, the bag is configured to contain the thermoplastic material during transit.

5. The kit of claim 1, wherein the impression is a fingerprint of a person.

6. The kit of claim 1, wherein the thermoplastic material comprises polycaprolactone.

7. The kit of claim 1, wherein the thermoplastic material is non-toxic and biodegradable.

8. The kit of claim 1, wherein the thermoplastic material is configured to be softened at about 60° C.

9. A method for obtaining an order for an ornamental article with an impression made thereon comprising: a) sending a kit to a customer, the kit comprising a thermoplastic material, the thermoplastic material is configured to be softened so that an impression can be made thereon and is configured to be hardened after the impression is made to set the impression, the thermoplastic is configured for a molding process for producing the ornamental article with the impression made thereon; instructions for use, the instructions for use having information on how to soften and harden the thermoplastic material to respectively make the impression and set the impression; an order form, the order form is configured for completion with information on the ornamental article; and a packaging that contains the thermoplastic material, instructions for use, and the order form; and b) receiving the thermoplastic material after an impression has been made and set on the thermoplastic material.

10. The method of claim 9, further comprising receiving a request from the customer prior to sending the kit.

11. The method of claim 9, further comprising cataloguing the thermoplastic material on which the impression has been made and set.

12. A method for manufacturing an ornamental article with an impression made thereon comprising: a) sending a kit to a customer, the kit comprising a thermoplastic material, the thermoplastic material is configured to be softened so that an impression can be made thereon and is configured to be hardened after the impression is made to set the impression; instructions for use, the instructions for use having information on how to soften and harden the thermoplastic material to respectively make the impression and set the impression; an order form, the order form is configured for completion with information on the ornamental article; and a packaging that contains the thermoplastic material, instructions for use, and the order form; b) receiving the thermoplastic material after an impression has been made and set on the thermoplastic material; c) forming a mold from the thermoplastic material on which the impression has been made and set; d) forming a wax model with the mold; e) weighing the wax model to determine an amount of casting material; f) creating an investment mold using the wax model and burning out the wax of the wax model; g) casting an ornamental article with the impression in the investment mold by using the determined amount of casting material; and h) polishing, if needed, the cast ornamental article with the impression.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein the kit further comprises a return envelope.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the return envelope is a postage paid return envelope.

15. The method of claim 12, wherein the kit further comprises a bag, the bag is configured to contain the thermoplastic material during transit.

16. The method of claim 12, wherein the impression is a fingerprint of a person.

17. The method of claim 12, wherein the thermoplastic material comprises polycaprolactone.

18. The method of claim 12, wherein the thermoplastic material is non-toxic and biodegradable, and is configured to be softened at about 60° C.

19. The method of claim 12, further comprising cataloguing the thermoplastic material on which the impression has been made and set.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/053,206, filed on May 14, 2008, having the title “Personalized Ornamental Articles” and which is herewith incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIELD

This document relates generally to ornamental articles and a method for making the same and particularly, but not by way of limitation, to a method for making jewelry with an impression taken from a person's fingerprint using a heat sensitive polymer to form the mold.

BACKGROUND

Personalized ornamental articles are sometimes designed, customized, and manufactured, for instance, by jewelers for certain individual customers. Such ornamental articles have been known to be made from reproductions of the contours of the human body, such as a fingerprint or a footprint, to provide a unique and identifiable representation of that person and to produce a pleasing and attractive article of ornamentation or personal adornment, such as for a family keepsake.

In the example of a person's finger or footprint(s), in order to obtain an accurate three-dimensional replication of the finger or footprint, one must first obtain the print. Current methods for obtaining a fingerprint have included a jeweler sending a kit to a customer for producing the fingerprint, where the customer creates the fingerprint and sends it back to jeweler. Such kits typically include a wax material, oftentimes beeswax, for the customer to produce the fingerprint. The customer is to press his/her finger or have another person such as a family member or friend press his/her finger on the beeswax and then send the beeswax with the print on it back to the jeweler's studio for manufacturing of the particular ornamental item. However, the wax material used in such kits is problematic since the material does not allow a print to set. The nature of such wax materials is that they are soft and easily malleable making them suitable for creating a print, but not suitable for setting the print after it is made. This problem of setting the print is critical, since the wax material (with the print(s) on it) is sent back to the jeweler and the print(s) may become compromised, distorted, ruined, or otherwise altered between the time the print is made until it finally reaches the jeweler, such as in transit. Such a result is detrimental since the print is no longer accurate and cannot be used. For these and other reasons, there is a need for obtaining an accurate and lasting print, for example, a fingerprint or footprint, which can be subsequently transported to a studio for manufacturing and creating the cast replication.

SUMMARY

A method for making personalized ornamental articles includes obtaining a print of a portion of a human body, e.g., a fingerprint or a footprint, by imprinting or impressing the portion of the human body onto a thermoplastic medium. The thermoplastic medium is a material that can be easily softened for use to create the impression and can be suitably hardened so that it is highly durable and resistant to damage. By using the thermoplastic medium, an impression for example of a fingerprint can be maintained without alteration or damage, especially between the time the impression is made and the time it reaches the jeweler, such as during shipping back to the jeweler. The thermoplastic material also is stable for long term storage, cataloguing, and reuse of the print.

In one embodiment, a method for making a fingerprint ornamental article includes sending a kit including a thermoplastic medium to a customer, so that the customer or another person such as a family member and/or friend can imprint at least one fingerprint. The jeweler receives the thermoplastic material having the fingerprint from the customer so that it can be used to make the fingerprint ornamental article. In using the thermoplastic material having the fingerprint, a two-part silicone rubber mold frame containing the thermoplastic medium is set up and a silicone rubber is poured into the mold frame. The silicone rubber is cured in the mold frame and forms a silicone rubber mold. The thermoplastic medium is then removed from the silicone rubber mold, which creates a first cavity in the silicone rubber mold where the thermoplastic medium once was. A molten wax is then injected into the first cavity and hardened to form a wax model. The wax model is then removed from the silicone rubber mold and weighed to determine the weight of a material that is used for making a final piece of the fingerprint ornamental article. The wax model is then sprued and placed in a flask. An investment is poured into the flask and cured in the flask. The flask including the investment and the wax model is then placed in a burnout oven such that the wax is burned out and an investment mold is formed having a second cavity where the wax model once was. A casting material is cast into the second cavity of the investment mold and cooled. The cast material is then removed from the investment mold and polished to obtain the fingerprint ornamental article.

In one embodiment, a method for obtaining a print mark of a portion of a human body includes sending a kit to a customer. The kit includes a thermoplastic medium and instructions for use (IFU) to guide the customer or another user to impress a print mark of the customer or a print mark of another person such as a family member or friend onto the thermoplastic medium. The thermoplastic medium is received by the jeweler at the studio, including the print mark imprinted in the thermoplastic medium.

In one embodiment, a kit for imprinting a print mark of a portion of a human body is sent to a customer for imprinting the print mark. The kit includes a thermoplastic medium and instructions for use (IFU) to guide a user of the kit to imprint the print mark onto the thermoplastic medium.

The thermoplastic material is exceptionally durable and resistant to cracking, spalling, and deforming under mechanical impact. As a result, the customer can imprint a print of a portion of his/her body at home and ship the print to the studio for manufacturing and creating the final piece of the personalized ornamental article without damaging the print. The thermoplastic material yields a consistently obtainable and readable fingerprint without distortion. The thermoplastic material has excellent thermodynamic properties in that it is able to be heated with a relatively low melting or softening point of around 60° C. and is able to harden and set under cold tap water or after a certain length of time at room temperature. This makes the material user friendly for imprinting the print(s) and allows the customer to easily set the print before sending the material (with the print(s)) back to the vendor. Moreover, the thermoplastic material is stable and is resistant to deterioration over long periods of time which allows for storage and re-referencing the print for future reproduction. The thermoplastic material is also moldable, for example, moldable in a silicone mold. The thermoplastic material is user-friendly further in that it is non-toxic and biodegradable and is non-conductive, which is desirable for customer safety purposes.

As one example, the thermoplastic material is polycaprolactone (PCL).

This Summary is an overview of some of the teachings of the present application and not intended to be an exclusive or exhaustive description of the present subject matter. Further details about the present subject matter are found in the detailed description and appended claims. Other aspects of the invention with be apparent to persons skilled in the art upon reading and understanding the following detailed description and viewing the drawings that form a part thereof, each of which are not to be taken in a limiting sense. The scope of the present invention is defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings, which are not necessarily drawn to scale, illustrate generally, by way of example, but not by way of limitation, various embodiments discussed in the present document.

FIG. 1 is a flow chart illustrating an embodiment of a method for making a personalized ornamental article.

FIG. 2 is a schematic illustration of one embodiment of a kit that is sent to a customer for imprinting a fingerprint.

FIG. 3 shows one embodiment of an actual kit including a thermoplastic medium in a poly bag, instructions for user (IFU), an order form and an envelope partially in a pocket of a folder.

FIG. 4 shows the thermoplastic medium labeled on the reverse side with the customer's name and a date of significance.

FIG. 5 shows the thermoplastic medium assembled with a finding of silver loop.

FIG. 6 shows a sprued thermoplastic medium.

FIG. 7A shows a thermoplastic medium in a two-part silicone rubber mold frame with the sprued thermoplastic medium inside and before the mold material is poured.

FIG. 7B shows the silicon rubber mold after the mold material is poured with the sprued thermoplastic medium inside the mold material.

FIG. 7C shows the cured mold material.

FIG. 8 shows the silicone rubber mold being cut open and the thermoplastic medium being removed from the mold.

FIG. 9 shows a first cavity in the silicone rubber mold being injected with wax to form a wax model.

FIG. 10 shows the silicone rubber mold with the wax model taken out.

FIG. 11 shows an assembled casting tree on a sprue base.

FIG. 12 shows the sprue base, the casting tree and a flask.

FIG. 13 shows a casting flask that is assembled with the sprue base and casting tree inside.

FIG. 14 shows multiple casting flasks being ready for pouring investment.

FIG. 15 shows the multiple casting flasks with the investment is poured into each of the flasks.

FIG. 16 shows a burnout oven for burning out the wax and forming an investment mold including a second cavity therein.

FIG. 17 shows one embodiment of a final product of a fingerprint pendant.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following detailed description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof, and in which is shown by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. These embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, and it is to be understood that the embodiments may be combined, or that other embodiments may be utilized and that structural and procedure changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. The flowing detailed description provides examples, and the scope of the present invention is defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.

It should be noted that references to “an,” “one,” or “various” embodiments in this disclosure are not necessarily to the same embodiment, and such references contemplate more than one embodiment.

This document discusses, among other things, a method for making personalized ornamental articles. Generally, the disclosure herein includes sending a thermoplastic medium to a customer so that a person can imprint a print mark of a portion of his/her body onto the thermoplastic medium.

The term “finding,” as used in this document, includes a functional element that is attached to the main body of a jewelry item for manufacturing or repair.

The term “investment,” as used in this document, includes a powder that when mixed with water is able to harden creating a mold that can be used in the lost wax process.

FIG. 1 is a flow chart illustrating an embodiment of a method for making a personalized ornamental article and is referred to throughout the descriptions of the manufacturing process and the other Figures. FIGS. 3-16 show steps of one embodiment of a manufacturing method that can be implemented as the method of FIG. 1. Generally, the disclosure herein describes obtaining a print mark of a portion of a human body by using a thermoplastic medium, and manufacturing the personalized ornamental article based on the print mark.

A request from a customer for making a personalized ornamental article is received by a studio at 100 in FIG. 1. The studio is a working place of a professional who is skilled in the art of manufacturing and creating ornamental articles, such as a jeweler. A kit including a thermoplastic medium for imprinting a print mark of a portion of a human body is sent out to the customer by the studio at 110 in FIG. 1. The kit includes a packaging, a bag containing the thermoplastic medium and instructions for use (IFU) setting forth a method for imprinting the print mark in the thermoplastic medium. In one embodiment, the print mark of the portion of the human body is a fingerprint. In an alternative embodiment, the print mark is a footprint. It will be appreciated that the bag containing the thermoplastic medium can be made of any materials other than polyethylene as long as it protects the thermoplastic medium during shipping.

The thermoplastic medium can be made of any thermoplastic material that is highly durable and resistant to cracking, spalling, and deforming under mechanical impact, especially during shipping. The thermoplastic material yields consistently obtainable and readable print mark without distortion. In addition, the thermoplastic material is stable and resistant to deterioration over long period of time, which allows for storage and re-referencing the print mark for future production. In addition, the thermoplastic material is moldable. The thermoplastic material has excellent thermodynamic properties in that it is able to be heated with a relatively low melting or softening point of around 60° C. and is able to harden and set under cold tap water or after a certain length of time at room temperature. The thermoplastic material is softenable and hardenable at reasonable heating and cooling temperatures such that the person can imprint his/her print mark onto the thermoplastic medium and set the print mark in the person's own home and then ship the thermoplastic medium with the print mark to a studio, so that the print mark does not become altered or compromised.

FIG. 2 is a schematic illustration of one embodiment of a kit 210 that is sent to a customer for imprinting a print mark, for example a fingerprint. The kit 210 includes a packaging 222, in which a bag 212 containing a thermoplastic medium 214 for impressing a print mark, instructions for use (IFU) 216 setting forth a method for imprinting a print mark onto the thermoplastic medium 214, an order form 218 for the customer to fill in personal information and any request, and at least one envelope 220 for the thermoplastic medium 214 and order form 218 to be returned to the studio. Preferably, the at least one return envelope 220 is a postage paid envelope including the return address for the customer to conveniently and quickly send the print mark back to the studio. For purposes of illustration, one thermoplastic medium is shown. It will be appreciated that multiple thermoplastic mediums may be included in the kit, for example if more than one print mark is desired for manufacturing an ornamental article. Also the size and shape of the thermoplastic medium is not meant to be limiting and is suitable to a customer's needs for any person's print that may be desired.

In one embodiment, the thermoplastic material is polycaprolactone (PCL). Some suitable thermoplastic materials are produced by Utile Plast available from B.P Enterprises of Langley, British Columbia, some of which have been known to be a PCL material. Another example of PCL has been produced by ShapeLock. It will be appreciated that the thermoplastic medium is not limited to PCL, and that other thermoplastic materials also may be employed, including but not limited to thermosetting resins, polymers, and any other materials that enjoy similar characteristics for the thermoplastic material described herein.

FIG. 3 shows one embodiment of an actual kit 10 including a thermoplastic medium 14 in a poly bag 12, instructions for use 16 and an order form 18, and a return envelope 20. These materials can be contained in a packaging structure 22, such as in a folder with a pocket structure. The thermoplastic medium 14 is the white and round shaped object in the poly bag. As shown in the embodiment of FIG. 3, the instructions for use 16 and the order form 18 can be included on the same article, such as a folded sheet or card. As above, the order form 18 is for the customer to fill in personal information (e.g. name, address, method of payment and payment information) and any request(s). The order form 18 can also include choices for the final product. Such choices for the final product can include but are not limited to: the type of product, such as a pendant or charm/bracelet; the type of metal, such as a certain carat of gold or sterling silver; the sizing of the product such as the chain for the pendant or charmed bracelet; an option for diamond bail, and/or an option for engraving.

Turning back to FIG. 2, after the customer receives the kit 210, he/she or another person such as a family member or friend can imprint a print mark of a portion of his/her body in the thermoplastic medium 214 (at 120 in FIG. 1) and then send the thermoplastic medium 214 including the print mark back to the studio (at 125 of FIG. 1). It will be appreciated that a person can imprint their print mark onto the thermoplastic medium 214 multiple times until a satisfactory print mark is obtained, because the thermoplastic medium is reusable.

In operation, for example, a person using the kit 210 in his/her home or otherwise away from the studio, can heat the thermoplastic medium 214, such as by placing the thermoplastic medium 214 in a glass of hot water that has been microwaved or otherwise heated to a boil or close to a boil. In some cases, depending on what type of thermoplastic medium is used, the thermoplastic material 214 can become relatively clear upon heating and change from its original opaque look before it has been heated. If the thermoplastic medium 214 is not such that it turns clear, then waiting for the thermoplastic medium 214 to soften may take about thirty seconds or about a minute, or until the thermoplastic medium 214 has softened. Once the thermoplastic medium 214 has softened, it can be removed from the water. Once the thermoplastic medium 214 is cool to the touch (which occurs within seconds of removing it from the water), the thermoplastic medium 214 may be generally rolled into a ball and placed on a flat, hard surface. A user can then press the thermoplastic medium 214 using his/her own body, such as a finger, toe, hand, foot, etc. to make the print mark desired. If necessary, these steps can be repeated until a desired print mark has been formed. Once a desired print mark is formed, the user allows the thermoplastic medium 214 (with the print mark) to cool so that the print sets. The thermoplastic medium 214 may be cooled, for example, by placing it under cool water, such as cold tap water, or placing it in a home refrigerator, or allowing it to sit for a suitable duration of time and cool at room temperature. In cases, where the thermoplastic medium 214 turns clear upon heating, the material will turn back to its opaque look after being cooled. If the print mark is not sufficient at this time, the heating, imprinting, cooling steps can be repeated until the print mark is acceptable. Once the print mark is acceptable, the customer and/or user of the kit may write a desired engraving on the opposite side of the thermoplastic medium 214 that does not have the print, on the order form, or separate paper and return the order form and thermoplastic medium 214 (with set print mark) back to the studio. In many embodiments, the shape and thickness of the print mark formed (i.e. resulting thermoplastic medium with print mark) will be the shape and thickness of the finally casted print mark as its own finished product or a part of another finished product.

As described above, the thermoplastic material can be softened and hardened (heated and cooled) repeatedly by a user and still produce an accurate print without distortion (at 120 in FIG. 1). Once an acceptable print mark has been formed, then the print mark imprinted and set on the thermoplastic medium can be sent back to the studio (at 125 in FIG. 1). After it is received in the studio, the print mark on the thermoplastic medium 214 can be labeled with information of the person the printmark belongs to, for example a customer's name and a date of significance, such as but not limited to when the print mark is made such as a birthdate or any date of significance, or any information helpful for recording and cataloguing purposes. FIG. 4 shows an actual thermoplastic medium 14 labeled on the reverse side the customer's name and a date of significance (e.g. birthdate). The thermoplastic material is paintable, it readily accepts acrylics, dyes, and pigment. This makes the process simpler because it is easy to write the customer's information on a surface of a thermoplastic medium, which helps the studio to log and organize a customer's print mark(s) more effectively and efficiently.

In another embodiment, any of the kits described may include a generally flat, planar piece of material as the flat, hard surface. The generally flat, planar piece of material has a structure with a thickness and may slightly larger than the thermoplastic material so that a user of the thermoplastic material can place the thermoplastic material on the generally flat, planar piece of material to make a print mark. By placing the thermoplastic material on the generally flat, planar piece of material when impressing a print mark on the thermoplastic material, one side of the thermoplastic material will have the print mark, while the other side of the thermoplastic material remains substantially flat. The generally flat, planar piece of material can allow for easier manufacturing and engraving (on the flat side) of a finally casted material and allow for easier writing on the thermoplastic material for cataloguing. Thus, such a flat, planar result is sometimes desirable over an imprinted thermoplastic material with an irregular surface or a finally casted material based on an imprinted thermoplastic material with an irregular surface. By providing a separate generally flat, planar piece of material with the kit and suitable instructions for using, a user of the kit will likely not form an irregular surface opposite the print mark, such as by holding the thermoplastic material in the palm of his/her hand when making the print mark, or by pressing the thermoplastic material against another finger that is not meant to be the print mark or impression (i.e. between fingers). It will be appreciated that an instruction for pressing the print mark on one side of the thermoplastic material while the other side of the thermoplastic material is on a flat surface at the user's home (i.e. table, board, etc) also may be sufficient. In such a case, a separate generally flat, planar piece of material is not needed. For added caution, however, the separate generally flat, planar piece of material may sometimes be desired so as to ensure that an irregular surface opposite the print is not formed.

Once the printmark is received by the studio (at 125 in FIG. 1), the thermoplastic medium can undergo known manufacturing processes, for example, in the art of making jewelry.

With further reference to such known manufacturing processes, a finding is attached to the thermoplastic medium 214. The term “finding,” as used in this document, includes a functional element that is attached to the main body of a jewelry item for manufacturing or repair. The finding that is attached to the thermoplastic medium 214 is used to create a cavity discussed for a hanging mechanism to form integrally with the final piece of the ornamental article. Generally, findings are well known and their operation is well understood, for example in the art of making jewelry. The finding can be attached to the thermoplastic material by an adhesive since the thermoplastic material accepts adhesives. In one embodiment, the finding is in a shape of a small loop and thereby creates a cavity in a shape of a loop such that, in the final piece of the personalized ornamental article, a small loop is integral with the ornamental article. FIG. 5 shows a thermoplastic medium 14 (with print mark 14a thereon) assembled with a finding of silver loop 24. It will be appreciated that the finding can be made of a variety of materials, for example, other metals, plastics or waxes, as long as they can be put in a mold and create a cavity.

At least one sprue is attached to the thermoplastic medium to provide paths for the molten casting material to flow and for air to escape. Spruing, for example, can be carefully planned with certain sizes and locations of sprues to help achieve an accurate turn out of the final piece of the personalized ornamental article. The use and operation of sprues is well known and understood, for example in the art of making jewelry. FIG. 6 shows a sprued thermoplastic medium, which illustrates a thermoplastic medium 14 having a sprue 26 attached thereto.

A mold frame is set up with the thermoplastic medium being placed therein at 130 in FIG. 1. The mold is made of any material so long as the fine details of the print mark are preserved. A silicon rubber mold may be employed since the thermoplastic material is moldable. In one embodiment, a two-part silicone rubber mold frame is used for making the silicone mold. The rubber is poured into the mold frame and then allowed to cure inside the mold. The use and operation of molds, including silicon molds, is well known and understood, for example in the art of making jewelry. FIG. 7A shows a thermoplastic medium 14 inside a two-part silicone rubber mold frame 28. FIGS. 7A-C shows the silicon rubber mold when the mold material is unpoured 30, poured 32, and cured 34.

The mold is then cut open so that the thermoplastic medium having the print mark on its surface creates a first cavity where the thermoplastic medium once was, which provides a negative space in a shape of the thermoplastic medium. FIG. 8 shows the silicone rubber mold 38 being cut open and the thermoplastic medium 14 being removed from the mold. The two halves of the two-part silicone rubber mold can be put back together accurately.

A wax molding process, which is known, can be used to create a wax model for use in the casting process. Molten wax is injected into the first cavity in the silicon rubber mold and swishes around until the mold is sufficiently filled at 140 in FIG. 1. After the wax is hardened, the wax is removed from the silicone rubber mold and a wax model is formed. FIG. 9 shows a first cavity in the silicone rubber mold 38 being injected with wax 40. FIG. 10 shows the silicone rubber mold and the injected wax 40 that has been taken out to form a wax model. It will be appreciated that the silicon molding process has been known as a desirable technique for producing wax models of various materials (including beeswax) so that the mold formed may be used to produce multiple wax models off of one imprinted material.

A ‘lost wax’ casting process is then used to cast the final piece of the personalized ornamental article at 150 in FIG. 1. It will be appreciated that the lost wax casting process is well known in the jewelry manufacturing industry and is not further described. Specifically, the wax model is first sprued and weighed. The weight of the wax is used for determining how much material for the final piece of the ornamental article is needed for the casting.

The sprued wax model is attached to a sprue base, and then put into a flask together. In some embodiments, a plurality of wax models can be attached to the sprue base for casting multiple ornamental articles at one time. The base having multiple wax models attached thereon is called a casting tree, which are known for example in the art of making jewelry. FIG. 11 shows an assembled casting tree 42 having six wax models 46 on a sprue base 44. FIG. 12 shows a casting tree 42 including the multiple wax models 46 and sprue base 44 and a flask 48. FIG. 13 shows a casting flask 50 that is assembled, which includes a flask 48 and a casting tree 42 therein.

In one embodiment, a plurality of flasks are prepared and ready for an investment to be poured into. The term “investment,” as used in this document, includes a powder that when mixed with water is able to harden creating a mold that can be, and is often used in the lost wax process. FIG. 14 shows multiple flasks 50 ready for investment to be poured into the flasks.

A reasonable amount of investment is mixed, degassed and then poured into a flask and cured. FIG. 15 shows multiple flasks 52 including the investment poured therein.

The flask is then separated from the sprue base, and then, with the investment and wax model inside the flask, is placed into a burnout oven to burn the wax out. The heat of the burnout over hardens the investment into a shell, while the wax is melting and running out. FIG. 16 shows a burnout oven 54 for burning out the wax and forming an investment mold including a second cavity therein.

A casting material for making the final piece of the ornamental article is then prepared and weighed. The casting material can be anything that the customer chooses for the casting, such as but not limited to, any karat or color gold, fine silver, sterling silver, copper, brass, bronze, pewter, base metal, white metal, pot metal, platinum or palladium, etc. The casting material may be performed any one of centrifugal, vacuum, and induction casting into the mold. It will be appreciated that centrifugal, vacuum, and induction casting are well known in the jewelry manufacturing industry as various techniques for carrying out the lost wax casting process and are not further described. The casting material and the investment mold are then allowed to cool down.

The casting material is taken out from the investment mold and the casting signs and the stubs of spruing are then removed. After the rough surface of the cast product is filed and polished, the final piece of the personalized ornamental article is obtained at 160 in FIG. 1.

It will be appreciated that the ornamental article can be assembled to not only a piece of jewelry, but also a gift item. Examples of jewelry, and specifically fine and costume jewelry, that the personalized ornamental article can be assembled to include, rings, pendants, bracelets, earrings, cuff links, etc. Examples of gift items include paper weights, key chains, money clips, picture frame adornments, baby book adornments, baby flatware, comfort stones, memorials pocket coins, wallet reminders, holiday ornaments, etc. Once the ornamental article is assembled, it can be shipped to the customer. FIG. 17 shows a final product of a fingerprint pendant 60 (with casted printmark 60a).

It is to be understood that the above detailed description is intended to be illustrative, and not restrictive. Other embodiments, including any process of using a thermoplastic medium for imprinting a print and in turn making a personalized ornamental article, will be apparent to those of skill in the art upon reading and understanding the above description. The scope of the invention should, therefore, be determined with reference to the appended claims, along with the full scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled.