For anyone interested in CAD/CAM and Rapid Prototyping there are some
basic questions to be aware of before you purchase anything. Some of
What do you want to accomplish?(Define your expectations, make a
list so you have it clear for yourself. It will help you keep focus
on what you want and not what anyone tries to sell you).
What products meet your specific needs now? How long before it
needs to be replaced or updated?Will this carry a cost?
What is the learning curve? (how long it takes to master the
programs or equipment)
What kind of reliability I am being offered?(Will it work or will
you need specialist on site to fix the problems?)
What kind of support I am being offered?(Will there be there
available to help me through my problems?)
What is the TCO? (Total cost of ownership)
As far as programs go: Rhino is not a CAD/CAM program, it can output
.stl and .iges but be awaRe: Each product on the market has it’s own
interpretation of .iges file format. In other words if the receiving
mechine or software do not have the same settings or language happy
hunting for the problem there are at least 17 variables which
controll the settings in Rhino.
GemVision, I am amazed some of you have not heard from them. The
company has been in business for at least 10 years and JCK has been
writing about their revolutionary products since at least 1995. They
have are the developers of the best imaging system for the jewelry
industry - The ImageDome. However at this time they have neither a
CAD nor a CAD/CAM program. They offer however a unique program, a
custome communication enhancer, - basically a picture or imaging
program, you use a built in database (which can be costumized). Any
piece of inventory in a store can be added to the database by means
if digital picture. The beauty of the program is that once you have
the picture on screen you can add or take away stones, change the
color of gold to rose, green, white, 18kt, or even platinum. If you
have a digital picture of a logo you can transform it into a 3d
looking logo for presentations.
The program can add backgrouds, shadows and anything you need for
that matter. As I said it is not a CAD/CAM program so you need a
goldsmith to mae the piece, but the program will give you the
"building guides" to do so in the correct size and profile.
JewelCAD, it is to date the only CAD/CAM program designed for the
jewelty industry. It contains databases of parts, rings and stones.
All of which can be edited and custumized to meed the independent
needs of the designer. Unlike Rhino, which charges every time the
program is updated, there is no charge for updates and they are in
version 4.12 (last time I updated).
This program will output directly to one of the best machines in the
market for Rapid-Prototyping of Jewelry. There are centers all over
the world that operate this machines. If you want to buy the machine
the price tag is from USD 69 to 76,000.- depending on the model.
However if you do not have an engineer nearby or the possibility to
hire a full-time operator, I would not reccomend you to buy the
machine, just e-mail the file to a center of your choice, and a
couple of days later you are ready to cast.
The company I work seves the technology needs of the
Scandinavian Goldsmithing community. We own and operate Rhino(mainly
for animation), Digital Goldsmith and JewelCAD. We have also courses
for all of the programs and (with the exeption of Rhino) these are
offered at no additional cost. We offer also a variety of support
agreements to fit both the needs and the budgets of our customers.
Besides these programs there are other CAD, and CAD/CAM programs
available: SolidEdge, True Space, FormZ, AutoCad, IronCad, TurboCad,
SolidWorks, Pro-E, Art CAM, 3D studio MAX, Maya and Type3
Most of these were design for the needs of either the engineer or the
animation indutries. Even Rhino which was designed for the animation
industry has a command reference of over 700 pages!
As far as me : I am an Information Technology Economist, but I am
also educated in Copenhagen as a goldmith and I have several
certificates and diplomas from GIA, among them, the Graduate Jeweler.
Anyone interested in free advice and iformation, feel free to contact
tel. +47 22 33 38 30
fax. +47 22 41 54 42