I have tried several well-known 3D CAD/CAM software solutions. I’m a
student in a European jewelry design school and my last assignment
was to research new technologies in the jewelry design market
Here is my viewpoint of the solutions I tested:
Matrix: Main advantages: friendly interface, surface modeler,
works with NURBS and in full 3D, different weight and calculation
"builders", rendering mode and animated rendering mode with flamingo
(non-integrated as it is a Rhino plug-in). Both rapid prototyping
and CNC machines can be used. Unfortunately, matrix is the most
expensive jewelry software (around $7000) and keeps no track of
construction steps! and believe me it is a very useful function when
you have to change the sizing of a model or other details. I’m sure
you see what I mean!
Jewel Cad. advantages: Affordable. Limits of the software: old
solution with non-modern icons and interface. No development, no
support. limited renderings.
Rhino. Cheap for the simple version and costs around $1200 for
Rhino+Flamingo (rendering software). main advantages: powerful. You
can create and edit objects as well as surface and solids; numerous
input and output file formats. Disadvantages: difficult interface;
general software meaning that without the plug-in, it remains quite
weak for 3D jewelry design. Does not have specific jewelry-oriented
Jewel Smith: Easier to learn than Rhino. Interesting for bas
relief jewels such as medals or earrings. Attractive and pleasant
interface. But jewel smith is like a “toy”, by which I mean it is
limited; more oriented towards CNC machines. No solid modeling.
All the aforementioned solutions are well-known. Of those, Matrix
was my favorite, but my company and I gave it up for 3Design jewel.
This new software is more jewelry-oriented than the others. It
allows freestyle manual design. I like its modern interface and
technology, its assembly construction possibilities, its useful
wizards. In addition, it is parametric! it is just simple and
pleasant to use. For my personal use, I have been renting the light
version for the last couple of months for $120/month. I got a free
7-day evaluation copy on www.3designexpress.com
I have now a new topic to work on (very important for my
degree!):“the service bureau”. Can anybody here tell me about his or
her experience in details (costs, deadlines, etc…). Is it better
to send a design file to a service bureau or to buy a machine to
manufacture directly your design?
Thanks for your help