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CAD/CAM and Rapid Prototyping

For anyone interested in CAD/CAM and Rapid Prototyping there are some
basic questions to be aware of before you purchase anything. Some of
them aRe:

  1. 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).

  2. What products meet your specific needs now? How long before it
    needs to be replaced or updated?Will this carry a cost?

  3. What is the learning curve? (how long it takes to master the
    programs or equipment)

  4. What kind of reliability I am being offered?(Will it work or will
    you need specialist on site to fix the problems?)

  5. What kind of support I am being offered?(Will there be there
    available to help me through my problems?)

  6. 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

Dear Lara.ped-

FYI- Gem Vision is in developmental stage of producing a 3d milling
system for jewelers due out soon. As a GV system owner and past
President of the Gem Vision users club, I can tell you that they are
committed to success. They take the best of what is available on the
market, obtain licenses to tweak bits, parts, and pieces of different
programs and add their own macro coding to it along with injecting
some of their own developed software tools and the end result is a
very user friendly program.

The problem now as I see it for 3d programs is that there is
insufficient “jewelry based” training. Most of the software companies
are doing 3 day to 2 week courses, however that is simply not enough
time for someone to learn 3d unless they already have some type of
graphics background prior. There are a lot of people spending a lot of
money for training and software that are expecting miracles to happen.

Arthur Gordon, President

Arthur Gordon’s Fine Jewelry 7101 N. May Ave. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
73116 405-840-5855

I have to second Kim’s remarks and say there are many applications
available, all are valid, all have their pros and cons. Everyone is
rushing to establish themselves as the premier something or another in
this budding technology’s use in the jewelry industry. Don’t be easily
romanced. Research for yourselves. Download the free trial of Rhino at Find out if other software makers do the same. First
and foremost, don’t forget this is a tool like any other that has a
valuable place at the bench, but may or may not be right for you. Pam

M2 Systems
14 Finance Dr. Danbury Ct. 06810
p.203-791-9968 f.203-778-1006

I entirely agree that it’s important to have your expectations and
objectives under control before getting into CAD. If you go in
expecting to fool around and see what the system can do, there may or
may not be interesting results, but for sure you’ll spend a lot of
time fooling around.

Learning curves for most people on most applications are steep. I’m
told that JewelCAD is the easiest to start making jewelry with, but
also the most limiting. There’s a great library of stock parts, and
as long as you work within that it’s very fast, but if you want to
design completely new things from scratch, that’s not so quick.

I use Rhinoceros exclusively myself (I run a prototyping service
bureau) and the above is pure gossip: I’ve never tried JewelCAD
myself other than to run the demo for about twenty minutes.

I wouldn’t be too quick to say that Rhino isn’t suitable for CAD/CAM.
I get along pretty well using it to generate STL files for my own
work, and a lot of my clients use it too, on both the creative and
the industrial sides.

Also, you might want to keep an eye on GemVision’s site in the next
few months.

-Sheba Bathsheba Grossman
(831) 429-8224 Digital sculpture Creative prototyping

Dear Arthur:

Not only do I know that, I have seen some of software at work. I am
convinced this will be a breakthrough when it hits the market, but as
all in the market it will be a question of pricing. I have had the
privilege to meet Jeff, and he is indeed a genious, not only because
of the way he thinks (thechnological innovation), but more importantly
because of the way he is able to communicate his thoughts to others.

And allow me to correct you, the system is a 3D CAD/CAM, this means
not only milling but possibilities for rapid prototypynig. In all
honesty I would not be surprised if in the future Jeff developed the
standard for Rapid Prototypyng as he has done for imaging.

We are Scandinavian Distributors to Gem Vision, so we are well aware
of their products. As far as training, our company more than
understand the training needs of our customers. The training for the
program is included in the price. Thet means that when they pay for
the software they do not pay anything else for the four days training,
in addition they are offrred one month of support free of charge.

I believe you might have misunderstood my message, but I clearly
state that the customers expectations must be defined by the customers
and met by the developer.

It is my job to find technology solutions that are
developed for the goldsmithing field, and further develop training
programs where these are not available. In addition, as part of the
sales force I travel continuously and I am in contact wih customers as
well as developers. Our company will never had become the exclusive
Scandinavian distributor for GemVision if I was not convinced of the
quality of their products and the integrity of the company.

I have stated the facts : at this point Gem vision do not have a 3D
CAD/CAM product on the market. and of what is available on the market
right now JewelCAD is the only CAD/CAm program developed for

As all of you that have written to me off the list know. I have
encourage you to find out exactly what is what you get when you pay
for the software as far as training ans support.

Lara Pedersen,
Product Manager,
Lara Birkelund AS
Kirkegaten 5,
0153, Oslo - Norway

Dear News Group,

I’ve been using CAD for over 15 years. I have been making jewelry for
over 3 years using only CAD. The simple fact is sooner or later,
everyone will be using CAD to design and manufacture jewelry. The
question is when. I am not trying to scare you people, but look at the
graphic arts fields. There is not a graphic artist out there today
that does not use the computer in their work. These are still the same
artists, and their product is still art. To date, we service a range of
jewelers, from the small designer to a multimillion dollar
manufacturer all using Rhino in house to do their design work. Many of
these people started by downloading the software and learning on their
own. Arthur Gordon’s posting that

“Most of the software companies are doing 3 day to 2 week courses,
however that is simply not enough time for someone to learn 3d unless
they already have some type of graphics background prior. There are a
lot of people spending a lot of money for training and software that
are expecting miracles to happen.”

Arthur, how can you say this if you yourself have never learned a 3D
CAD system. I don’t want to point fingers. All I am saying is that the
time to learn is now. Why would you deny yourself such a valuable
tool that could help expand your artistic ability and your business?
Like any skill, it takes time to master the skills of CAD, but if you
ask any CAD user if he/she would feel that their CAD skills are a
waste, I believe that all would say definitely NOT. Simply, some
things can be made better and faster by using CAD, why would you want
to waste your precious time, when there is a better way? My company is
a rhino reseller and certified training facility, we have 2 rapid
prototype machines and a CNC machine. My staff and I have extensive
experience on about 5 different CAD systems to date, each having it’s
strengths and weaknesses. What we have found is that people have been
able to produce excellent parts using Rhino and other CAD systems. I
am not saying that Rhino is the end-all, but it is a very strong
package at a low price. The reason why we back rhino is the cost and
quick learning curve. I am willing to put my money where my mouth is.
If anyone on the list wants to buy Rhino for the list price of $799,
I will offer one day of training for free at my facility in
Connecticut. About 1 1/2 hours from the city. If you feel that you
can not use Rhino in your business, just drive back home and your $799
will be returned to you. How much more risk free do you want? I
realize that there some that will never embrace CAD, but those of you
just a little curious, please feel free to call me or email me off the phone # is 203-791-9968. My email address is

Thank you for your time and consideration.

John Mastoloni M2 Systems 14 Finance Dr. Danbury Ct. 06810
p.203-791-9968 f.203-778-1006

I’d really love to use CAD as a design tool - but I’m unwilling to
pay the vast prices being asked.

I understand that the software people need to recoup the investment
made in the package but there a thousands of us out here who would
like to work in this way but for whom the prices (from $900 up to
$3000) are prohibitive. Reducing the prices to around $200 would
probably mean that we’d all buy in.

Does anyone have any info on CAD packages that are economical?

Tony Konrath Gold and Stone

Orchidians: I have read a good amount of this string and I am simply
amaized at the comments. One does not need to invest the price of a
BMW to use this equipment successfully. Also, one does not need every
latest piece of software that a company developes to have a good
operation. I still use a DOS word processing program and am very
happy with it. I do not feel cheated that I do not have the very
latest word processing program. It is adequate for my needs. When I
become a major author, my needs might change and I may want the latest
program. Similarly, I have used off the shelf software to design
flat pieces. (e.g. earings, pins and coins) I save hundreds of hours
in making small changes in a designs that I want to make because I am
a loft faster in working on the computer than I am doing the work by
hand. Autocad can be learned by jewelers and is very useful. They are
teaching the program in my daughter’s high school. It is also taught
in a number of vocational schools and collages. At many schools,
there are night classes available in Autocad. There are millions of
people being trained in Autocad and they are using it in many
different fields. Most people are not going to pick up the manual in
Autocad and learn the program. That does not mean it can’t be
mastered and there are dozens of uses for the program in jewelry
beyound pure design and not every output needs to be made to a rapid
processor or a CNC machine. There are other programs that are out on
the market that go beyound the basics in design and rendering. Some
programs are better at certain tasks than others. Often there is a
trade off between ease of learning and power. I think that our
profession would be much better served by a frank discussions of each
programs strength and weaknesses. There is no more of a correct
program for the jewelry industry than there is one correct manner to
set stones. What I may need and want in my shop will not be the same
as someone who does something totally different from me. There are a
lot of combinations between high tech and basic jewelry making that
need to be explored and there is no one solution that is right for
everbody. For those who preach this subject with religious zeal your
doing everybody a diservice. For one, you are showing your lack of
knowledge and for others you are giving misI am not
stating that everbody has acted maliciously, but the misis