As Steve Adler rightly points out, production printing of jewelry
designs is where the future is headed. The technology is constantly
advancing and as patents on certain processes expire, costs will
come down. In several years, perhaps even less, it won’t be uncommon
for custom design shops to have simple-to-use, 3D desktop printers.
Although the resolution is too grainy for jewelry, there’s a printer
going for $5K that is slated to go down in price to $1K in 5 yrs.
It’s only a matter of time before we see affordable quality 3D
By now, I’m used to gross misconceptions being promulgated about
CAD/CAM, usually by those who’s opinions are matched by their
admitted lack of personal experience with the technology.
Those of us who do have some experience, don’t all believe that CAD
is “the answer” to every design question or that it can’t be combined
with traditional methods to create something that is greater than the
sum of it’s parts. If anything, I’ve gained a greater respect and
appreciation for handmade jewelry, having worked with both methods.
The design options on the Pokono site (which was mentioned as the
basis of this discussion) are limited to flat cookie cutter shapes,
laser-cut and assembled. However, in the hands of the right artist,
this general method; combined with forging, welding and applying
patinas, is ANYTHING but limiting!
Case in point: Heath Satow, a frequent contributor to the Rhino
Newsgroup. http://www.publicsculpture.com/portfolio01.html Although
he’s not a jeweler, I’ve learned a great deal about Rhino from
It’s been said many times, but CAD is just a tool, albeit; a
powerful tool that must be explored and mastered to produce anything
of beauty and worth. And, it’s easy to say that a lot of CAD jewelry
is predictably commercial looking and uninspiring, but the method is
truly only limited by one’s experience and imagination.
Every once in a while I stumble upon a new technique that just blows
me away, even though I’m using much of the same software I’ve used
for years… It’s not hard to imagine that the next “wave” in CAD
jewelry creation will feature very organic textures and treatments
that completely break free from what has been heretofore commonly
typified by the technology.
JDK Jewelry Design