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Cad/Cam & Gem Vision

Reference Arthur Gordon & Lara. CAD/CAM and Rapid Prototype

Being a major gadget freak and having most every toy known in the

jewelry business, I have to question the great search for the computer
replacement of the bench jeweler. I am a very heavy Gem Vision user,
and use the end product to custom manufacturer pieces every week. If
the jeweler does not have the capability to take a picture to a wax or
metal model, what good is the CAD/CAM investment of $50,000 plus going
to do for the jeweler? The learning curve of using AutoCad or any
other computer based 3-dimensional program is beyond the grasp of most
jewelers. Developing the skills of using the computer does not replace
the skill of a master jeweler. The question a store owner has to ask:
Am I better off in sending the money to hire a computer
programmer/operator to operate computer equipment costing over $50,000
or should I hire a master jeweler who has the skill to make the model?

My answer: Hire the best jeweler available and pay a livable salary

with benefits. I have a new store of 6 months and have three of the
best jewelers. We cast platinum and produce top quality jewelry and
repairs. CAD/CAM is still years away from being a realitiy for the
jewelry industry. Take the money and invest it into people that can do
the work.

Dan Dement Stone Oak Jewelers

Dear Dan and fellow orchidians with the same thoughts:

We work in an industry which is literally thousans of years old.
Arthur’s point, mine and the point being made by fellow orchidians who
are experience in CAD/CAM by no means undermind the work done at the

You must however look around your workshop and the bencehes your
jewelers use, because everything in there is the result of
technological and industrial development. You cast in platinum, a
metal nonexistant in a pure status in nature. It is a highly
technological refining process that delivers this metal to you.

CAD/CAM and RP, is technology, just as gold and platinum are metals.
It takes skill to form a piece of jewelry as it takes skill to draft
it in a CAD/CAM program. Because you are solving production line
problems in a screen, you have tothing more than this is pretty or
this is what I want. A good CAD/CAM operator will be thinking about a
casting and perform FEM and or Flow analysis for the piece. He or she
must also have knowledge of mold making (deciding wether the item will
be reproduce by rubber or silicone molds plastic injection molds,
stampling, milling, RP, or maybe a combination how many times will the
item be faithfully reproduced and of course which is the cost
effective way of doing so. A good designer will also take under
consideration the availability of a qualified work force as well as
the finishing processes, which will be done manually and which by mass
production. Where there are stones in a design care will be taken to
ensure the right metal stress and or tension perhaps the design calls
for metal elasticity as well as some predicting on and
wearability…It all depends on the design and the designer.

I live in Norway, and as part of Scandinavia our country’s are
identified by good design and technological innovation. The
socioeconomical and political realities of countries with a high
standard of living such as the US and Norway dictate to certain level
the what will be porduced and how production take place. We have in
Norway the highest per capita use of computers in the world, however
the training of goldsmithsin the sacandinavian countries do not
include CAD/CAM. It is pure metal and hans-on. with that knowledge
many of our users design their pieces so that they can be mass
produced but all details and elements which add to the quality,
including the finish, is hand made. The price of a mass produced item
in Norway is higher than one produced in Asia. But the Design and
quality of our pieces convert them into investments, whether is a USD
100 or USD 100,000.

Aloha Dan, I feel you are wrong. Yes, I am a classically trained
modelmaker of 29 years (at the bench), 15 years of CAD/CAM experience
(I learned in school with DOS,Trig tables and a scientific
calculator). Though now I sell CAD/CAM technology full time, it does
not take away from my time at the bench (I didn’t forget how to do it
by hand). I really have to concur with John Mastoloni on this one.
Let me quote from a paper written by Hiroko Sato-Pijanowski,
Professor of Art and Nicole DesChamps, Assistant Professor of Art,
from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design (maybe this
will give you a clue, of the direction of the technology and world
economy). This is a paper Issued in 1999, using CAD/CAM, CNC, 3D
Scanning and Rapid Prototyping Technologies. This was a part of the
text that related to Reverse Engineering, but I think makes my point.

Quote, "… To Test the benefits of the Renishaw Cyclone scanning
system, a cherry blossom that had been created over the course of 200
hours using the traditional metalsmithing techniques of high-relief
repousee and chasing was sent out for scanning. Several different
scales of the model were ordered (the machine can enlarge, reduce or
mirror the original). Each of the wax copies came out perfectly
detailed, and each was produced in about 7 hours (3.5 hours to scan,
3 hours to carve and .5 hours to carve the back). Because the cherry
blossom was to be cast in three colors (platinum, yellow gold and
green gold), the data file was divided into component parts to
produce perfectly matching separate pieces for casting. In addition,
the cost of materials dictated as thin a reproduction as possible,
and the Renishaw Cyclone and CNC machine a thickness of .8 mm in wax
for the first time when producing the piece.

The Renishaw Cyclone scanned the original and produced a model from
it in 7 hours, and with 4-5 hours of casting, polishing and assembly,
it too approximately 11-12 hours to reproduce an object that
originally took 200 hours to create using traditional methods. …"

Personally, I think the piece would have taken even less time, if
designed directly in CAD and not scanned, but I think you get the
idea. This fun for me, but then again fun for me is to go through JQ
or JCK and look at companies ads and send them samples of their own
pieces (or style). I went up to one company at a show and he said how
long to produce this particular piece (he held in his hand), I told
him I could reproduce his whole line in 30 days. Instead of being
impressed, he was scared and insulted, at first. By the way, he now
knows what I meant, he bought a system. A good tool, is a good tool.
That is all it is, a tool.

Best Regards, Christian Grunewald Precision Modelmaking Technologies
Hawaii (808) 622-9005 (808) 224-1115 Mobile/Cellular

Dan, Hate to say this but you really are contradicting yourself. The
fact that you are creating a visual representation of pieces for your
customers by utilizing GemVision, qualifies the fact that you have in
fact yourself entered the technological revolution. The fact of the
matter is, that if Gem Vision could at this point output a file to a
CAM or Rapid Prototyping environment then for sure you would be
whistling a different tune to the one you posted in reply to Art and
Laura. I can guarantee the fact that when GemVision comes out with
their 3D machining application, guess what, you will be a contender to
purchase that solution, and you will love it and rave about CAD/CAM.

Conclusion is that yes, jewelry is still a hands on business but the
CAD/CAM environment is just another very effective tool. If you feel
so strongly that these applications are not justified, then get rid of
GemVision and hire a real artist to do your design work and work with
customers. Naaah didn’t think so.

Agreed there is a learning curve to CAD/CAM, and designers who really
are not jewelers most of the time, will sometimes design pieces that
just will not work. However you send a digital file to a rapid
prototyping service bureau like myself or John Mastelonni at MM2 and
now you have individuals who know what the hell they are doing and can
implement changes to make the item a reality. Remember what you draw
is what you get. You can give the same design to 10 different jewelers
and end up with 10 different fabrication approaches and possibly
subtle differences in each piece. Personally I prefer to have full
control of what I make.

The truth of the matter why many individuals are biased or are
knocking the new revolution of machining product is due to the all
mighty dollar and nothing else. Those who can afford or maybe more
so, have the heart to go out on a limb and take the challenge do so
and succeed, and those who do nothing but complain and bitch about
this, that and the other will not. If you can output a file, then you
can get a part.

You mentioned whether to hire a CAD/CAM operator to run $50,000
equipment or a Master jeweler who can make the piece. My reply to that
is you are looking short term and at the initial expense to enter the
technology as a negative factor. The reality is that yes the first
year cost of equipment and an individual to run it would be higher
than just pulling in a jeweler who can make the piece, however if that
individual utilizing CAD/CAM is creating 300% more throughput by
utilizing technology, then what did you save with the
jeweler…Nothing. I would seriously recommend that one person on
staff becomes CAD literate, because the amount of work that he will
generate for you will still require the other two jewelers to keep up
with finishing and assembling the machined blanks etc etc.

The fact is, you can enter with software only for a few hundred
dollars to high end packages in their thousands and just sit and draw
all day. Let the Rapid Prototyping Service Bureaus carry the equipment
expense and you pay by the piece. This can get anyone started very
inexpensively. The day will come when you will be sending checks to
your Bureau for a couple of thousand dollars monthly because of the
shear volume you are outputting. So guess what, that is the exact time
to say hey, why pay this guy this money when I can lease my own damn

As a classically trained bench jeweler of 28 years, (16 years in
Europe, 12 in the USA) I know both sides of the fence and my choice
was to move with technology. Do my customers care how I made the
piece, hell no as long as it represents a fine well made piece of
jewelry. We produce approx. 30-40 models weekly, 15-20 from our own
model output for customers and the rest from other individuals who
utilize CAD only in their business, therefore do the math and see how
much output you are currently getting from 3 individuals doing it by
hand. All I can say is, Can you afford not to get involved. If the CAD
model was only 60% of the finished model, and the rest was hand
fabrication, you would come out way ahead than doing the whole thing
by hand. It is only another tool to enhance productivity such as
casting, the Foredom and polishing machines etc etc etc.

Best Regards. Neil George 954-572-5829

As far as I know none of the jewelry CAD/CAM software is for the Mac
platform. I think this is a grave oversight on the part of the
manufacturers, since many artists and designers are Mac based.

Janet Kofoed


You cast in platinum, a metal nonexistant in a pure status in
nature. It is a highly technological refining process that delivers
this metal to you. 


Sorry Lara, but platinum nuggets are available from nature. Russia
(Ural Mountains and Middle Siberia) are the major sources, but Alaska,
Canada, South Africa, Columbia, Peru and New Zealand are other
sources. The nuggets are refined and then alloyed with other metals
to produce “jewelry” metals as is gold and silver.


Bibliogrphy: Minerals of the World, Walter Schumann

Dan, if you have any doubt about RP technology for the jewelry
industry, visit our web site: Every jewelry images in
this site were done using: JewelCAD

To learn more about the quality this technology offers. You may
receive our products.

Best regards,

Ballerini - Tahiti -