CAD/CAM - 3Design vs ArtCam JewelSmith

Dear CAD/CAM users,

Can any of you CAD/CAM experts help me? I have been reading many
good posts on Orchid regarding CAD/CAM software and now I need your
more detailed suggestions. I presently I am looking at two CAD/CAM
software companies, who I believe offer excellent systems to the
jewellery industry.

I have been impressed with ArtCam JewelSmith from Delcam. They are
obviously a big company located in the UK and well situated
throughout the world. I believe they exist in about 100 different
countries and are well situated in the engineering CAD/CAM
environment. They first started to address the jewellery market with
ArtCam in 1994 with windows 3.1 (version 1). At this time I think it
was a rather basic 2D software program. They continued to upgrade
the program and in 1997 they added ArtCam Pro (version 3). Then in
2003 they added the Jewellery Edition (version 6), real-time
rendering, new modelling tools etc. From what many of you have said,
this program has a good short learning curve and can produce good
work from a 2D sketch very quickly.

Rather recently I have come across the 3Design software by a French
company, Vision Numeric. I’ve only heard it mentioned a few times on
Orchid, so haven’t done my home work as well as with Delcam. I
believe 3Design was first established in 1988, and unlike Delcam
focused on the graphic arts and industrial engraving plus molds and
tools industry from the begining. I know that the 3Design software
is Java based, which means it can run on Mac, IBM, Linux etc. I am
not aware of the precise upgrade path 3Design has followed but know
that they have focused on the Jewellery industry as well.

My question is simple. I am not a computer geek, I am a practical
person that knows each of the above companies can give me a
convincing sales pitch. They seem both to be serious contenders for
the CAD/CAM jewellery market. Can any of you out there who are using
these programs give me any “hands on” references of your experience
in using either of these two CAD/CAM software packages? I am well
aware, the investment is not only in the original cost of the
software, but even more so in the hours that one will take either
learning the software. I’m looking for a program with a short
learning curve.

Can any of you more knowledgeable people comment on the software
platform of each product. Is one a two dimensional system tweaked
into a half hearted 3 dimensional system while the other a full 3
dimensional CAD/CAM package?

I’m still learning and would like to hear from some of you who are
professionally and practically experienced users.

Thanks to you, and thanks for Orchid,


   Not to be rude but I received an unsolicited email last week
asking a similar question (she said she found my email from a post
I made to the Orchid list). The sender requested I try 3Design, and
reply back to on her how easy it was to use because she wanted to
try software that had a fast learning curve. 

I also received a similar e-mail last week to which I responded in
some detail. I try to help out when fellow metalsmiths need
feedback, but if this is some clever “marketing” ploy to lead me to
their site, well, that is an abuse of my good nature and I have to
say even if I was interested in CAD this would be a stand-alone
reason for me NOT to use this particular product.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry

I had a similar experience: unsolicted, etc. I responded courteously
but asked a few questions. Didn’t get a response.

I occasionally get a request for my show schedule from some unknown
person. Again I ask a few questions: usually no response. Not to be
paranoid but one should be cautious. After all this is a public forum
to which everyone has access and there is good reason to be

If the person requesting info a few questions shouldn’t put them

Kevin Kelly


Thank you for your comments Taylor. I can understand your
suspicions. Just to put the record straight and keep this thread
live and running, I would like to be very clear, I am not connected
in any way with Delcam or 3Design. I have simply watched the CAD/CAM
market for the last three years and have narrowed my choice down to
these two companies. I now have the budget and would like some
practical advice before making final purchase.

I would like to know the pro’s and con’s of each program? I’m sure
there must be many. I would like to hear what you CAD/CAM users
have to say, as my experience is only theoretical, based on a few
demos & the good postings I have read on Orchid.

I’d love to hear from more of you.



While I’m not an expert on either JewelCAM or 3Design, they aren’t
the only specialized versions of more generic programs offered to the
jewelry industry. A couple more you could look at are JewelCAD from
Caligari (makers of TurboCAD) and Matrix (from GemVision) which is
based on Rhino. My feeling about them in general is that while they
make it easier to do common tasks, like building a prong setting, or
constructing a generic ring, I worry that this inhibits creativity in
favor of a systematized approach. I’ve talked with people who loved
these programs, and felt they were worth every penny and hour spent,
but also with some who thought that, perhaps with a little more time,
they could do everything needful in the base program, and didn’t
really need the jewelry-specific version.

Another system you really owe it to yourself to check out is the
Omni/Concept product from Sensable Technologies Inc. This is
something I’ve been working with lately, and it’s given a big boost
to my productivity. While it’s not specifically tailored to jewelry
design, it works beautifully for this as well as for other modeling
tasks. This hardware-software system allows one to actually “touch”
3d virtual models, by moving an articulated stylus - when you bring
the point of your tool to the model surface, the action stiffens up;
so the effect is like running a pencil over the surface of a real
object. When you press the button, you feel yourself digging into the
piece, or pulling the surface out towards you. Being able to contact
the part in this way doesn’t sound so important, but in practice, it
makes a huge difference in ones ability to make subtle changes.
Since ones movements in 3d-space are directly related to the form,
it’s much like using a real tool on an actual part. Also, since it is
so much like real sculpting, mastering it is much simpler than with
most CAD programs. There aren’t very many commands to learn, and the
tools it has are quite intuitive. You can find out more about this
system at or on my site, but unlike a software-only
solution, you won’t really understand its advantages until you
physically try it for yourself.

Andrew Werby


I’ve replied in a little more detail to the email you sent me.

Though I thought I should post about an interesting PDF I found on
the Gemvision site regarding questions to ask/consider when
purchasing CAD software.

The link:

There is also a PDF at the bottom of the page called: “CADCAM
Purchasing Considerations.pdf” Pretty helpful, and if anyone from
3Design are on this list they should take a look at how to influence
a buyer, by arming them with quality :wink:

Taylor in Toronto

       Not to be rude but I received an unsolicited email last
week asking a similar question (she said she found my email from a
post I made to the Orchid list). 

I got one also. Two, actually. One at this email address, and
another to a Yahoo! address involving another discussion group.
Somebody at 3Design is typing a lot of email addresses.

James in SoFl

I've talked with people who loved these programs, and felt they
were worth every penny and hour spent, but also with some who
thought that, perhaps with a little more time, they could do
everything needful in the base program, and didn't really need the
jewelry-specific version. 

Andrew, I used to be one of those folks, Until Matrix version 4
the new interactive tools are very much like using traditional tools
in the way you can change parameters, you move a slider and settings
change size, kinda like using a file on wax or metal. I know this is
a stretch but using the tools you will understand what I mean.

The nice thing about Matrix is everything in Rhinoceros is there and
it can be used to whatever extent you are willing to push, but for
certain time consuming and tedious tasks the Matrix tools are great.
I think they lead to more creativity because of how easy it is to
change things in both gross and fine details.

James McMurray

Dear Myron,

I agree with Scott that ArtCam has a better product over Vision
Numeric, The reason ArtCam is better is because there are many
more things you can do with it then what I previously had been able
to do with the Vision Numeric product. We have found their product to
be extremely well suited to people who use engraving as a primary
focus of their business, as in corporate gifts and awards, logos,

You should contact both companies and request literature
on the products and then you can begin to compare and see the
differences, and determine which product might suit your work best,
French, English or American, whoever they might be. Feel free to
contact me offline with more questions. Sara

Sara D. Grinnell
Studio C Designs
Minneapolis, MN USA

Hi Myron,

I use “JEWEL CAD” from 1996, I learn this soft. by my self and i have
no problem. Fast learning curve (2-3 month max.) Visit my web site
and reed about "JEWEL CAD"at: I didn’t
have any experience in computer and CAD/CAM system that time and I
have bad English.

No matter what software you use, matter what you can create with this

Sorry, my English still not good enough

(Doctor Jewel Cad)


I think it should be noted that France produces some of the very
best product in CAD/CAM.

  1. Dessault provides Solidworks and Catia. Catia is the premier
    solution used by many of the major airframe manufacturers such as
    Dessault, Boeing etc. Solidworks, well most already know about that.

  2. Seskoi provides WorkNC. A powerhouse in the mold business, and is
    the main competitor for Delcams PowerMill.

  3. Missler provides Top Solid, Top CAM and several other specialized
    solutions. A true Hybrid Modeler. More expensive though.

  4. Datakit, although not a CAD/CAM provider, but it is one of the
    very best companies that provides data translators for the CAD
    environment. One of the best interfaces for CAD/CAM products.

  5. Lectra is another CAD/CAM provider that has operations in 100
    countries world wide. Specialized industry and not for Jewellery, but
    is a major force in its business environment for what it was designed
    to do.

  6. IsiCAD. Since its publication in Open Source Open CASCADE
    Technology (the geometric modeling kernel available from Open CASCADE
    SA) has been recognized for its ample and powerful capabilities. Its
    surface and solid modeling algorithms (fillets and chamfers, pipes
    and offsetting, Boolean operations), data exchange (with neutral
    formats - including IGES and STEP, as well as proprietary - such as
    ACIS or Parasolid), shape healing (correction of corrupted models,
    including surface reconstruction), visualization (including
    transparency and texture mapping) have been used in numerous
    applications all over the world. Delivered with Application
    Framework, Test Harness, a wide range of examples and documentation,
    Open CASCADE Technology represents a complete development platform
    for 3D modeling and visualization applications.Inspired by the
    success of its flag-ship platform, the company, in cooperation with 9
    partners and supported by the French government, deploys a new Open
    Source platform - Salome. Initially designed as a CAD-to-CAE
    middleware it integrates different modules applied in numerical
    simulation - from initial CAD modeling to FE (finite-element)
    post-processing and parallel computation. The second project -
    SALOME 2 - now involves over 20 partners including leading industrial
    companies such as Renault (automotive), Bureau Veritas
    (shipbuilding), EADS (airspace) and others.

  7. Vision Numeric. 3Design as we know, is part of Vision Numerics
    line of products and is a huge success in both Asia and in Europe.
    Given time, it will make its mark in the US.

The Type3 line of products have sold in excess of 25,000 seats
Worldwide and it is very much a proven solution. I am not aware of
any other Company in this class/group/category of product (3D
Engraving/Jewellery/Sign) that has that many seats in place.

Best Regards.
Neil George

Hi Myron, and all,

I’m Emily from 3DESIGN/vision numeric. I lately noticed this thread
on Orchid and I was very disappointed not to have intervened before.
Concerning your search, let me express my viewpoint.
3DESIGN is a very good and modern program. I don’t want to argue
against other software because that’s not in the interest of mine to
do so. I’m convinced there is a solution adapted to each type of
jeweler, one must suit your jewelry needs. It depends on what you
want to do with it. The link Taylor sent was quite interesting and I
agree with most of the points quoted in the article (a complete
software package must be user-friendly, robust with specific jewelry
tools. Last but not least, make sure to have a good support).

To be honest (and because I’m curious), I’m also working on other
programs, it is quite interesting to identify where 3DESIGN is good
and where we have to immediately do more development. I suggest
people who are new in CAD/CAM to test some of them to make its own

Myron, I invit you to test our 3D jewelry program: 3DESIGN and would
be pleased to personally provide you with the support during the
trial. 2 solutions can be tested: and the lite version.

Right now, you can contact me for more at
@Emilie_Bonneton. In add, our 3DESIGN team will be delighted
to welcome you at the MJSA show in NY.

Please, tell me more about your jewelry’s needs.

My best wishes
Emily Bonneton
3DESIGN Express, a Type3/Vision numeric solution

PS: to those who claimed that the others programs were better, I
don’t remember having ever seen you testing 3DESIGN, did you?
Anyway, I invite all of you to test our last version: version 4,
which will be released in the coming days.


I gave Lee Einer a call to see what exactly was going here, and he
graciously e-mailed me what he had received.

  Email quote removed. Reason - confirmed spam

Having read this several times, I personally did not see a spam
scenario what so ever, in my opinion it seems like a genuine plea for
help. Just to be sure, I have inquires in with both France and Italy
offices to clarify that she is not part of the 3Design Express
solution. My understanding from directives that we have received, is
that all resellers worldwide are to sell 3Design Jewel which is the
full version, and that 3Design Express sales are handled solely by
corporate and directly out of France, and handled by Emilie Bonneton.

Emilie has posted here and in a professional manner in my opinion,
and in addition her E-mail address states that she is indeed from
Type3. I have to agree that un-solicited e-mail regarding products
are a pain, and I am one of the first to get out of joint when CAD
companies send me stuff that I did not request. Unfortunately, there
is little we can do regarding unethical ways individuals push their
product especially in an uncontrolled environment such as the net.

The reason I got involved with Vision Numeric and not solely based
on how I feel about a great line of products, but more importantly in
how they conduct themselves in the business world. That was more
important to me than all the tea in China. Another reason was the
fact that the Type3 suite of solutions is modular. This in my opinion
is very important, in that you can start with a basic package and
keep adding as much power as you need as time goes by. In addition,
it really impressed me in that when you upgraded your solution to the
next level, you are not being penalized for not buying everything you
need upfront. You merely pay the difference between lets say a basic
solution and the full version. I have customers who started with Type
Edit which is the CAD portion and did all their drawings. Then they
purchased Type Art to move into the 3D environment. Same with
machining. Many started out with a 2.5D machining solution before
upgrading to full 3D machining. It is a very professional Company,
and in my experience they do things the right way.

Regarding the comment which you made :- if anyone from 3Design are
on this list they should take a look at how to influence a buyer, by
arming them with quality :wink:

I firmly believe the program will speak for itself, and requires no
defense, influential literature, or ammunition from me. Have you
tried it?..:slight_smile:

Best Regards.
Neil George


        I agree with Scott that ArtCam has a better product over
Vision Numeric, The reason ArtCam is better is because there are
many more things you can do with it then what I previously had
been able to do with the Vision Numeric product. 

Interesting statement. Would you care to share the differences in
your experience. I for one would be very interested in knowing what
ArtCam can do that Vision Numerics line of product cannot do.
Interestingly enough though, some of the new CAD functions in
ArtCam have been in Vision Numerics line of products for years.

              We have found their product to be extremely well
suited to people who use engraving as a primary focus of their
business, as in corporate gifts and awards, logos, etc. 

This is indeed a portion of the solution, however , all in all, it
is a very small percentage of the overall solution.


Which of Vision Numerics product where you using?.

Best Regards.
Neil George

Emily and All,

I am sorry if I did not clarify my opinion well enough about any
tool or product on the market, in this discussion CAD software.

I never intended to express that Vision Numeric has an inferior
product in any way, what I was trying to say was it did not offer as
much in the design realm when I was looking at software, but - I do
admit this was some time ago and that is where I am at fault. I
apologize, and I am going to test the product you represent and I am
happy to answer questions in regard to is functionality and

As far as I am aware, 3Design is a relatively new software, correct?
When I first met with Vision Numeric reps in Basel, 3Design was not
available and customer service and technical support was barely
available for the product at that time. I am happy to know times
change and even in the world of software as tools for jewelers,
companies are realizing technical support is as important if not
more so than the product itself and is a huge selling point to any
product. Where would I be as a jeweler if I couldn’t service the
diamond rings I design and create for my customers?

Thank you Emily for giving all of us the opportunity to test this
product and as far as CAD goes, for anyone reading this thread, one
needs to find the best tool for the job and with a zillion variables
in all of our work, that could be any half dozen of software
packages. Good luck.

I use Solidworks and I love it. I have used many other CAD programs
as well, but we all go back to our best pliers and we all have
favorite tools - it’s not a bad thing and it doesn’t discredit other
tools. Sorry if I upset anyone with my comparisons.

Studio C Designs
Minneapolis, MN USA

Now this is what seems to me pure advertizing with no contribution
to the general thrust of what Orchid is about. This should be at
the least off line.
Or should be paid advertizing.
And this is the company (person) that sent out annoying personal
emails under the pretext that it was an individual asking for help.


Kevin Kelly

Thanks for your email Neil; I appreciate the situation you are in…

However, I only made comment about receiving an unsolicited email
about said software, a scenario which a number of other Orchid
listers wrote in to express similar experiences.

And a short blurb on a good Q/A PDF for someone to ask a CAD/CAM rep
when investing in such a product, something I do not see on
3design’s site - making it a valid comment.

I wish you luck with your business and expanding your user base, I
sadly will not be one of those customers.

Best of luck;
Taylor in Toronto

Dear Kevin and all CAD/CAM users,

I am sorry if I have caused a bit of an uproar! Please be assured
that I am not associated with either company, and this is not a
advertising campaign. This post started out by myself asking a
simple question about the difference between 3Design and ArtCam, two
CAD/CAM programs that I have (watched on Orchid and at the Trade
Shows) shortlisted for purchase within the next two months. This
is also a first posting for me, so I have much to learn, BUT I am
very encouraged by the responses that have come from other Orchid
people, thank you everyone, your help is appreciated. Thanks to
those who suggested that I widen my scope of choices to other
software companies.

The one thing I appreciate about Orchid is the diversity of people
one meets, and the practical and professional advice one can get,
both online and offline. I for one am interested in carrying on
this discussion, but only in a practical and professional manner. I
am presently in the process of taking the time to digest all the
responses and discussion. It truly is stimulating, and I am holding
back from simply responding to every posting every day without
giving it some serious thought.

For those who want to continue this discussion, it would be helpful
if I could ask you to please state the software version you are
using and the practical advantages that you find in 3Design or
ArtCam JewelSmith. Let’s find out from each other the advantages or
disadvantages of the programs, knowing that one program will
probably do one thing better then the other, and vice versa.

My application will not be engraving or stamping, it will be purely
3D modelling. If you would like to see the jewellery we make please
go to the following website .

Any further serious comments or suggestions would be appreciated.
And, if need be, I am perfectly happy to carry on a conversation
offline. Thank you again everyone, and for the idea of Orchid, it
is a great community… we all are different, and
that is what makes life sooooo … exciting!

Myron - What a wonderful World!


    Now this is what seems to me pure advertizing with no
contribution to the general thrust of what Orchid is about. 

In my opinion, the discussion conforms to the thrust of Orchid in
providing and hopefully a healthy debate on emerging
technologies. Granted CAD/CAM is not everyone’s cup of tea, but there
are individuals that wish to read such threads, at least when they
are productive.

      This should be at  the least off line. Or should be paid

I agree, if it was put forth as a marketing plan to advertise
3Design. However, I don’t see where this thread was instigated by any
party associated with 3Design, it was infact started by an Orchid
member looking for Myron called me from Thailand and we
had a productive discussion about emerging technologies in general,
and about milling machines etc. If he will give me permission, I
will post a private e-mail he sent me which will show he is genuine
in his quest for answers. We spent an hour on the phone, and I am
sure his phone bill will reflect that.

It then progressed into individuals who had a concern about spam,
which I might add, you where one that voiced a concern. For the
record, I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments, and I hate spam
as much as you do.

        And this is the company (person) that sent out annoying
personal emails under the pretext that it was an individual asking
for help. Troubling! 

A very elaborate scheme in my opinion, and for what?. Why on earth
would Vison Numeric go to the trouble of e-mailing a ton of
individual e-mails when one to Orchid will do the trick?. It is not
a logical thought in my opinion.

Emily has posted an invitation on Orchid for all to try the
solution. As a matter of fact, it’s the second time the invitation
has been extended, and the 1st time, was during her quest to place
educational seats. Having already set up somewhat of a rapore or lets
say presence on Orchid, why on earth would she even have to resort
to use spam?.

Best Regards.
Neil George

Thanks for the reply Taylor,

I was staying clear of this thread, until I saw the complaints and
that’s when I jumped in. I replied to you and the group, to show that
at least someone was trying to resolve where the e-mail came from. I
didn’t reply to Lee, because I called him on the phone about the
situation, and I am sure Lee can attest to the fact that I called him
out of concern.

Additionally, the reselling of software is a hobby for me, and
passing on whatever skill set I have for others to learn. I do not
earn a living from selling software, in fact the time I spend on my
hobby, costs me more in time and money than I could make by just
keeping what I know to myself. You have no idea how many calls I take
here from members on a weekly basis, to help them with solutions to
their problems, and these are not even customers of mine or use any
of the software that I use. They call for help on machining
strategies and where to get tools from and what drill to use with
what tap etc. Additionally they want to know how to even start on
the project, it is mind boggling the questions I get asked, and I do
it because I enjoy it and nothing else. Maybe I shouldn’t be so
forthcoming and willing to help, but I find it very hard to say no,
and maybe I should.

Best Regards.
Neil George