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Before Diving into CAD/CAM


#1

Would some of you in Orchidland answer a few questions about
CAD/CAM? To give you a bit of history, I went to college for
mechanical drafting about 17 or 18 years ago and CAD was just coming
on the scene. I excelled in computer aided design, but unfortunately,
the market for draftsmen went south. I left drafting and have not
looked back until now. I just started receiving Bench Magazine and
the articles on CAD/CAM have really sparked my interest. My intended
direction at this stage is to possibly purchase a CAD/CAM with
software + CNC machine, and hire myself out to Orchidites and local
Jewelers with designs in wax and/or cast pieces. Any info, thoughts,
advice, would be helpful.

Questions:

  1. How much does a does a CAD/CAM and CNC machine cost?

  2. What software is best? How much does it cost? (I am currently
    reading old threads on this subject as well)

  3. How long does it take to become proficient with the software and
    machine?

  4. Was it worth the expense to you to purchase a like set-up? And
    the time spent learning it?

  5. Is buying used an option?

  6. What is the going rate for work done for a wax? A casting(s)?

  7. Is there enough work available for this service?

On or off the list is great

Thank you all in advance,
Tom


#2

Tom

I have about 5 years experience with CAD/CAM. I have tried and own
copies of numerous cad programs and toolpath generating software.

  1. As I have said here numerous times. The absolute easiest and
    cheapest way into cad is Rhino/Techgems combo. This will let you
    know quickly and without a lot of expense if you can hack it with
    cad. The combo is VERY powerful and can help you make money right
    away. If you go the Matrix route you will need Rhino anyway.

  2. In my opinion, hands down, Matrix is the absolute best, for too
    many reasons to list. The primary reason is that it is JEWELRY
    SPECIFIC. That means that the people who designed the interface and
    functions were not thinking about making shoes, airplanes, boats, or
    whatever, but designed the interface for people who make jewelry. I
    also have Artcam, Cimigraphi, Jewelcad, Alibre, and others. I use
    Matrix all the time. The other thing is the availibity of assistance,
    help, lessons and a place to ask questions. Again Matrix is the way
    to go.

  3. Entirely up to you. Some catch onto CAD really quick, some have
    more problems. You already have some experience so it should not
    come that hard to you. CAM, is another story. You have to master
    machining. If you have someone to teach you or expose you to it the
    learning curve is much shorter. If you have to teach yourself it can
    take you a while to MASTER it. You can cut simple parts in a day.
    Four sided milling of delicate heads and other items or 2 sided flat
    milling and then a rotary pass or two takes a little while longer to
    learn. The basic secret is to learn how to keep your mill square and
    in proper alignment. If everything is square and you know how to use
    the machine software and can return your mill consistantly to a
    precice position, the rest falls in place rather quickly.

  4. Not only worth it, but profitable too. The time it took me to
    earn back my initial investment was quite short and reasonable.

  5. I am not related to Woody Allen…but in my family its also a sin
    to buy retail. There are many used mills for sale out there and I
    believe someone here bought a version 4 copy of Matrix from this list
    just this week. (good thing about Matrix is they can transfer the
    license to you without a fee and you can purchase further upgrades)

  6. Difficult to answer as some of that depends on geography and a
    lot on skill level. If you live deep in the woods in Vermont and the
    nearest town is 30 miles away, population 325, or near Hill Street
    in LA, Calif., Finding work to do in circumstances like that will be
    a little difficult. I have about 10 accounts that I regularlly do CAD
    work for locally, and I do have some competition in my area. How
    much work and how much you can charge is also dependent upon your
    skill level.

  7. There is work available but how much is available depends on you,
    your skill level, and availibility of accounts in your area. I can
    tell you that you can do much better locally with getting work as you
    must go to these people and discuss it with them. They have a
    concept in mind and know what they want the finished piece to look
    like but you literally have to drag the out of them
    about how thick the shank needs to be, the exact size of the stones,
    the height of the piece from the finger rail…etc. It’s difficult
    to find jobs where all this is given to you at the start
    of the job. Its much easier doing this where you can go in and sit
    down with the store owner and draw out the design ask questions and
    make notes. I just stole a job from Balfour and another class ring
    company to make an award ring for a local high school soccer
    championship team. Each will be personalized with position, number
    and name. I submitted a design that will enable it to be done with
    applied panels to keep the costs to a minimum. The team wanted their
    own design…not the ones the other companies submitted. I can give
    them more options. It’s nice to sneak into the big guys domain every
    once in a while and snatch a few crumbs.

David


#3
How much does a does a CAD/CAM and CNC machine cost? 

There’s a big range of programs and machines out there; prices vary
a lot. At the bottom end, you can download programs for free, or use
inexpensive shareware, and still come up with impressive results.
It’s possible, if you’re clever, to take apart old printers you’ve
scrounged, throw in a Dremel tool, and cobble together a CNC machine
capable of cutting wax, without having spent more than a hundred
dollars or so. At the high end, you can buy programs like ArtCAM
Jewelsmith or Matrix costing thousands of dollars, and use them with
a Revo or MiniTech machine costing tens of thousands. And there are
many alternatives in between.

What software is best? How much does it cost? (I am currently
reading old threads on this subject as well) 

That’s a matter of taste, and depends on what you want to do. I like
the Claytools software/hardware system from Sensable Technologies; it
has force-feedback, and is the closest computers have got to working
on real material with a tool. There’s a version that accompanies
Rhino, a versatile 3d CAD modeling program, and there’s not much the
combination can’t do. Some people want a jewelry-specific program
that expedites the creation of standard jewelry parts like ring
shanks and Tiffany heads; these programs are available too; prices
vary, but they are usually more expensive than general-purpose
programs.

How long does it take to become proficient with the software and
machine? 

That really depends on which software you get, and what machine.
Some is simpler than others, and some will probably suit the way your
mind works better than others. I’d say to try various different
alternatives, and see what “clicks”.

Was it worth the expense to you to purchase a like set-up? And the
time spent learning it? 

Yes. It made things possible that I couldn’t have done any other
way, and took my work to a new level.

Is buying used an option? 

It’s possible, but I’m not sure you’d save much, or be better off.
Technological things like this are valuable because of what they
promise to do for you, not for their intrinsic worth. If you don’t
get a warranty and technical support, then there’s a big piece
missing from the value equation. If something is working well for
someone, they tend to hang onto it; the things people sell off are
the ones that don’t work out.

What is the going rate for work done for a wax? A casting(s)? 

That’s all over the map. There are a lot of variables to consider;
how complex is the job, how machinable it is (some designs are better
suited to additive Rapid Prototyping) and what the local competition
is charging.

Is there enough work available for this service? 

It’s difficult to say. In the USA, it seems that jewelry
manufacturing has largely moved offshore, and the companies that
remain are quite cost-conscious. On the other hand, they see the need
to differentiate themselves from the low-priced competition, and
their primary means of doing that are by coming up with new designs,
and by taking advantage of whatever technical advantages remain.
Certainly there are some who have made large investments in this
technology and have seen them pay off royally, but there’s no
guarantee you’ll find a big market for your services. Any small
business is difficult to establish, and more fail than succeed. But
at the least, by getting up to speed with this technology, you’ll
have made yourself much more employable in the jewelry field, as more
jewelry companies realize that this is something that can boost their
productivity and profits.

Andrew Werby
www.computersculpture.com


#4

All Cad Cam packages are not created equal. Each package has its own
rewords and drawbacks. The package I like best is the one sold by
Stuller. It can do anything you want and more. The software package
includes Mastercam. Mastercam is taught in over 4000 schools across
the US. So it is possible you are already familiar with it. The
package also includes Mastercam Art whitch is a new product and is
very useful in making jewelry of all sorts. The mill that is
included in the package has a 11 inch by 7 inch by 5 inch working
area and is fully inclosed, see www.create-a-ring.net for details.
The package also includes a new software called 3design that is
designed for the jeweler. This package is sold only through Stuller
(1800-877-7777) ask for the tool guy.


#5

There is only one true way to go. You need to learn to work with a
cad program such as rhino (which I use), and become proficient. These
programs that let you make heads and shanks are to basic. If you
e-mail me I will send you some rendered pictures of models I’ve made
for customers. The only machine out there that can produce models
consistantly, and of very fine detail isthe Roland JWX-10(hands
down). If you don’t believe me, go to the N.Y. show this month and
look up the Roland machine with the Protowizard fixtures( because it
won’t make models like I’m telling you without it). Check with a
gentleman by the name of Don Wiseman of Protowizard, and he will set
you straight on this combination. TRUST ME!!!


#6

Craig,

I don’t know how long you have been involved in CAD or CAM, but,
please…it sounds like you are happy with your Rowland, but to
say it is the only mill capable of making precise models is simply
wrong, and seeing statements like this on here is very misleading
for those who are seeking unbiased

The Rowland is a great machine.

But there are quite a few machines capable of equaling and
surpassing its output in the desktop mill class. The ArtCam folks
make very capable machines that easily outstrip the capabilities of
the Rowland and so does Gemvision with their Revo machine. Both
those companies make incredible CAD software that interfaces
transparently with their machines, and both of those softwares have
all the capabilities of Rhino and MUCH more, including making
beautifully complex models in a small fraction of the time that
Rhino requires.

And, yes, I have hands on experience with all of them. We all favor
the software we own and the machinery we own, but in the real world,
while the Rowland is a fine machine, it is not quite in the class of
the others mentioned, although more than suitable for most work.

The proper way to approach CAD or CAM is to define the work you need
to accomplish, THEN seek out the appropriate tool, not vice versa.
There is no BEST, just more or less suitable for the task at hand.

Wayne Emery


#7

Craig,

The only machine out there that can produce models
consistantly, and of very fine detail isthe Roland JWX-10(hands
down). 

This is a blatent falsehood, “hands down”. What reserch have you
done tosupport this statement? What proof do you have to back this
statement up? I would be really interested in these facts. I know
people who CONSISTANTLY produce very finely detailed models using a
Sherline or a Maxnc. I guess the 4 sided pieces that I have produced
on my Modelmaster CNC 1000, with sides 1 and 3 having different z
height settings don’t count do they? I just did a championship ring
that the top piece looked like it was die struck, immediately
followed up by an award ring that had lettering, a logo and 2 rows
of diamonds as well as a pave top, with.60mm beads. And if you give
me a Sherline (which I learned on ) I guarantee that I can
consistantly cut the same part over and over again with the same
result.

As to the Roland. I am very familiar with the machine, Don Weisman
and Protowizard. Ask Don who it was who convinced him to make the
little attatchment that screws directly into the Sherline rotary
axis and then holds his fixtures. (I was a beta tester of his
software.) He thought there would be too much runout on the piece…I
didn’t, and I own one of the first ones he produced. The new rotary
fixtures have 4 flat sides on them mine only has one…cause it was a
prototype. The roland machine is a very fast machine and very
accurate. The tool sensing z height fixture is wonderful. However it
is basically an inkjet printer on steroids. Not that that is a bad
thing, it sure does work, but the basic technology thatruns roland
machines is a guide wire and the same technology that positions the
inkjet printer. Ask Don if you don’t believe me.

It is NOT the machine that produces the model. The machine just CUTS
the model. Basically the machine does what YOU tell it to, nothing
more, nothing less. If YOU are defecient skill wise in machining
abilities your parts will reflect it. If you have good skills your
parts reflect that too. What you do in the toolpathing software makes
all the difference in the world. Specific ways that toolpaths are
generated and the order in which you cut the wax can make all of the
difference in the world, and a failure or success of a part. The
knowlege of how to set a part up and cutit, and the machining ability
that enables you to correctly position your machine to cut that
toolpath makes ALL the difference in the world. This knowledge
enables those who posess it the ability to take ANY machine on the
market and consistantly produce excellent parts on that machine.

Don’s fixtures are wonderful and I highly recommend them ( I own some
of them). He has a few strategys for setting up the toolpaths that
are excellent and very inovative. I especially like the partial top
down rotary pass on the flip fixture. The new insert that he has to
accept the 7/8 inch solid tube to mill heads with is a really big
help as it keeps the piece centered in both the top down and rotary
passes. Mike at Modelmaster also has some really nice fixtures that
allow you do the same thing, Mikes fixtures can be used on any
machine that has a Sherline Rotary axis, and Gemvision has some
really really cool fixtures too. They have one fixture that holds 6
waxes and the toolpathing software to allow you to cut all 6. But, if
you don’t have the skills to correctly set these fixtures up and the
ability to generate good toolpathing, all these fancy fixtures are
basically worthless to you. Additionally, if you know what you are
doing, you can usually use these fixtures on ANY machine to get
excellent results. Some fixtures do require the correct software to
set them upto make them perform as they are supposed to, and
somethimes that softwa re is specific to only that machine (like
Gemvision’s Revo). With most of these fixtures you can usually
generate toolpaths with other software and yield great parts from
them.

A 6 degree .004 helix cutter yields the same results no matter what
machine it is running on. NO machine can make this cutter (or any
other cutter) do anything other than it was made to do. The toolpath
that you generate and how you set up your machine is where the
"rubber meets the road". Sometimes you need to run multiple
toolpaths with different tools on the same piece to achieve the
desired results. Some people think all you need is one toolpath, and
never heard of “roughing” or any other strategy other than what
someone else showed them when they got their mill.

From what I read, I believe that you saw a demo of the machine and
wereimpressed with the Roland machine, Don Weisman, ProtoWizard and
the fixtures that he sells. It is a good machine and a good
combination at a very reasonable price. HOWEVER, trust me, it is
definately NOT “the only machine out there that can produce models
consistantly, and of very fine detail.”

David


#8

If I dove into CAD CAM, then I would likely start with a nose bleed
from hitting the bottom of the pool.

I have been reading these posts with great interest, because I have
been asked to select a small CNC mill for light production work,
mostly drilling with some accuracy and possibly some channel cutting.

Even after some study, I still find it overwhelming. You got CAD,
CAM, g-code, Geckos, DIYers who can start from just about anywhere on
a CNC conversion project, and 3D software that render amazingly
complex objects.

How do you know if a CNC package is complete? Someone who makes a
motor doesn’t make a motor driver. Someone who makes a motor driver,
doesn’t necessarily make a power supply. Someone who can put it all
together might leave it open for software selection. I can understand
machine tool specifications, but I find the listings for complete CNC
packages unclear. They aren’t pictured complete, and the list of
items doesn’t appear complete either.

Also, can the software or hardware keep you from wrecking your
machine?

On a side note, I feel fortunate to have received some training of
basic machine shop principles from a master machinist. I don’t
believe this is something CAD will teach me. Just today I had a pipe
in the lathe that I was going to turn down just a little. Before I
started, he described how it could come loose from the live center
and give me a few good beatings before breaking out of the jaw. He
then gave me the "length should be no longer than three diameters"
rule. Yes, I removed the pipe and changed my plan!

Jeff Simkins
Cincinnati, OH


#9
If I dove into CAD CAM, then I would likely start with a nose
bleed from hitting the bottom of the pool. 

I have been reading these posts with great interest, because I
have been asked to select a small CNC mill for light production
work, mostly drilling with some accuracy and possibly some channel
cutting.

My guess for this type of limited work a milling machine with an
indexing head might be the way to start. A manual mill might be just
fine, or the Sherline CNC mill might work. You are going to spend
countless hours learning whatever program runs the mill, and
generates the G-code. For simple things like cutting channels, there
are many options- All-set makes a milling attachment that is easy to
set up and could be much more cost effective than CNC for simple
jobs.

There is a Swiss made indexer for drilling holes evenly spaced
around a ring, I use mine a number of times a year for gypsy set
bands. Fabricating the band and drilling the holes probably takes me
less than an hour- and I don’t have to wait for a caster to cast it.
For channels, I would possibly fabricate the ring, possibly mill it,
use ArtCAM and CNC, or hand carve a wax, depending upon the design.

Rick Hamilton


#10
The only machine out there that can produce models consistantly,
and of very fine detail isthe Roland JWX-10(hands down). If you
don't believe me, go to the N.Y. show this month and look up the
Roland.. 

here I’ve been making nice models with my ModelMaster mill for over
5 years. I wish someone would have told me a belt driven machine was
better than mine years ago. :wink:


#11

I agree with this one post - buying a full-fledged CNC machining
center is a mature industry. Retro-fit and DIY is not. I have weighed
the same options - buy complete or retrofit or half/half. The people
who sell the stuff are tinkerers, and are catering to tinkerers. For
example, one company sells stepper controller cards, but then you
need to supply a power supply and a box. OK, What power supply? They
don’t even sell them to match. You can buy all of the parts for DIY
for $500, but then a package that is truly complete, that represents
the same items, will be $3,500. It is mystifiying, for sure. I can
say one thing for sure, though, from my own research. Retrofitting any
mill to become a solid, reliable CNC machine is compicated and labor
intensive. Better to buy complete, I think. Myself, I lean more
towards rapid prototyping anyway…


#12

Zach,

here I've been making nice models with my ModelMaster mill for
over 5 years. I wish someone would have told me a belt driven
machine was better than mine years ago. ;) 

As it happens, some of the best and most accurate machines are in
many cases belt driven. A classic example is a toolmakers finishing
lathe.

Best Regards
Neil George
954-572-5829


#13

I’ve been working with the JWX-10 for around 8 mo. and I’m not one
of those kool-aid drinkers. Rhino, Protowizard, and Jwx-10 are all
you need to produce a model as good as anything out there at a much
lower price tag. So why waste money on those $25,000 systems.


#14

David,

Basically the machine does what YOU tell it to, nothing more,
nothing less. 

Not strictly true. It all depends on the controller. Many
controllers add powerful resources that will optimize the way the
machine tool handles the data. Therefore, what you program, may not
in actuality be the exact lines of code that the machine translates
into motion. Controllers with a High Speed Milling Package, use
sophisticated algorithms coupled with the ability of the controller
to read around 80 blocks of in the look ahead, will at
any given opportunity, optimize the toolpath strategy persay. This
can and will reduce cycle times significantly with a much improved
surface finish.

So nothing more, nothing less may very well apply to desk top
machining, but it does not apply to all machine tools.

It would be fair to David, to at least mention, that the part would
still reflect what was programmed as a finished piece, but a machine
coupled with the right controller can do more than what was
initially programmed, and that’s the point I am making

Best Regards.
Neil George
954-572-5829


#15

The Modelmaster mill originally had a spindle driven by a Foredom
motor via belt. My guess is the accuracy and trueness of the spindle
is the heart of the issue here.

Creative people get by with whatever tools they need to express
themselves. Sumner Silverman is a friend and neighbor of mine, I defy
you to reproduce his orchids with a 4 axis CAD system. He carries his
entire tool collection around in a little leather pouch.

Rick Hamilton


#16

Hi Tom,

CAD/CAM is more and more important/popular for the jewelry industry,
just as the computer/Internet has already changed our lift style. But
it’s not that easy to setup your own CAD/CAM system and start making
profit. First, you need to invest a lot of money. Second, it takes
quite a bit of time to manage your system and make models quickly and
nicely. Third, you may need to have many CAD designers to help you. I
know a company has 30 designers just to feed one EnvisionTec RP
machine.

There are many jewelry design software in the market. The price is
about several thousand dollars. It’s hard to say which software is
the best. My personal opinion is that Matrix is more popular in North
America. It’s basically Rhino plus a plug-in for jewelry design. This
plug-in is developed by Gemvision, an American company. Similarly,
JewelCAD is more popular in Asia, because it’s developed by a Hong
Kong company. You can download free trial version JeweCAD, 3Design or
JewelSpace from their websites. For Matrix, you need to contact them
for an online tutorial. My company web site www.raisingintl.com has
the links to these companies.

To transform the CAD design to wax model, you need either milling
machine or rapid prototype machine. There are many posts these days
for milling machines. RP machines are more expensive (100K, or even
more). You can also find the links in my website.

Whether or not diving into CAD/CAM, depends on the quantity and
price of the orders you can get. Doing a market research in your area
would be my suggestion for now. I don’t know what you have done so
far. If you just start doing model-maker business, you may pass the
orders to model-maker company in the beginning. After you have enough
orders, you may want to have your own system to make more profit. Our
company has many professional CAD designers. If you have difficulty
for the CAD design, we can certainly help you out. We will send you
the.stl or.slc files, so you can run your machine to make models
without the headache of CAD design.

Good luck for your business and welcome to contact me for further

Vicky
Vicky@raisingintl.com
www.raisingintl.com


#17
The Modelmaster mill originally had a spindle driven by a Foredom
motor via belt. 

I wasn’t talking abou the belt that turns the spindle. My
understanding is the JWX uses belts to move teh x and y axis. I
can’t see how that can be as accurate. However if that is not the
case, then someone please tell me and I’llgladly stand corrected.


#18

Rick,

My guess is the accuracy and trueness of the spindle is the heart
of the issue here.

Whilst this is important, and a good starting point, other factors
come into play that can diminish the effectiveness of even the best
spindle cartridges.

Many factors can induce problems when a high surface finish is
required, such as resonance and vibration problems. In gear driven
heads, this is known as a Gear Mesh Frequency. What this means, is
that, any machine that contains gears can have a potential problem
due to vibration frequency. Through the meshing of gears, the
idiosyncrasies that occur between one tooth and the next, translates
the transmission of power via frequency onto the surface. This is
calculated by the frequency being equal to the rotational frequency
of the gear, multiplied by the number of teeth. This why it was
determined very early on, at least on lathes, to separate the motor
from the head and connect using V-belts to at least limit the
vibration to as minimum a frequency as possible.

A similar situation is used in milling machines, where the gearbox
and motor is separated from the head or spindle and driven by a drive
belt. Looks very much like a timing belt. Same philosophy applies to
the Roland machine.

Side note*…Given that high RPM’s allow one to now feed faster,
you can only feed as fast as the machine will allow. Therefore the
machine needs to first handle the feed rates, and whatever feed rate
the machine can handle, should determine what RPM spindle is
required. Therefore a high speed spindle in some cases may be
redundant, due to the fact that the machine cannot perform or achieve
the feed rate to the level that a high speed spindle could allow it
to do if capable.

Vector Drives are another way to go.

Taking a different tangent on this one. When I took delivery of my
first Sanders Rapid Prototyping Machine back in 1995, I was very much
surprised that movement in X and Y was done by utilizing timing
belts. Needless to say, I did some research on the advantages and
disadvantages of utilizing belt drives in machine tools. One of the
main advantages at least in this application, was the higher
velocities achieved using belt drives versus ball screws at the time.
The second was, that due to the lack of radial axial loads, and the
fact that it was for positioning purposes only, it actually made more
sense to go that route. Through the utilization of positional
encoders, the Sanders did a pretty good job of staying within
tolerance.

Creative people get by with whatever tools they need to express
themselves. Sumner Silverman is a friend and neighbor of mine, I
defy you to reproduce his orchids with a 4 axis CAD system. He
carries his entire tool collection around in a little leather
pouch. 

How about 5 axis? :slight_smile:

By the way, nice to see you posting again Rick.

Best Regards.
Neil George
954-572-5829


#19

George

Flashcut, in many cases, is the default software that runs most
Modelmaster machines, Sherlines, and the Revos. It is, as I said,
the default standard for most small table top milling machines.
Another common package is Mach 3. The manufacturers of each of these
machines has most likely done some customizing of the chip that runs
their machine and program Just for the hell of it I opened up my
cutter compensation screen and will post the contents heRe:

Lookahead Buffer Size: 9999 moves
Join Tolerance: .0200mm
Preserve continiuity of Closed shapes
Eliminate Moves that Cause Gouges

I would say that the other machines using Flashcut would also have
similar settings. So this would put all of these small mills using
this software into basically the same class and ability as to produce
similar work output using the same cutter. If there is a difference
it really should be minimal. The cutter can not produce a better
quality than it is actually capable of. It is true that a crappy
controller or a crappy software could make a difference…but most
likely you are going to have to look really really close to find it.
The output I got on my Sherline and the output I get from my
Modelmaster are very very similar. They both were Flashcut based
chips, the Sherline was the Lightning chip, and my modelmaster is a
Platinum chip. The ouput is still basically the same. I am talking
wax milling here and not other larger machines. On these I bet you
could see and find a difference, especially with larger tools and
different stepover rates. But in wax machining and the machines we
usually use, I really don’t think you will be able to see a
difference in the physical output on the wax itself. Machining
time…It could make a difference.

David


#20

Neil,

Creative people get by with whatever tools they need to express
themselves. Sumner Silverman is a friend and neighbor of mine, I
defy you to reproduce his orchids with a 4 axis CAD system. He
carries his entire tool collection around in a little leather
pouch.
How about 5 axis? :-) 

Maybe if you have an intelligent tool changer… Sumner’s orchid
carving work is quite detailed, and, I would guess, hard to machine.
Not likely even in 5 axis. The undercuts, reverse curves, thin areas
and textures are quite a challenge- as are Daniel’s (Race Car)
ability to cast and finish them. I would love to be able to model them
in ArtCAM but I really don’t think the tools are quite there. Sumner
spends weeks carving one wax, and the time and effort shows. RP will
get there, but it won’t spoil the pleasure of carving or constructing
by hand really fine pieces of jewelry. Some people will probably
derive the same pleasure from modeling them with software- we all love
a good challenge.

Rick Hamilton