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Cad cam or traditional model?


#1

I’m thinking of having someone else do my prototypes for me in the
future. My skill level is beginner and my design sense is advanced.
My question is what is cad cam capable of producing? Where does one
look to find someone who does this? And comparing a traditional hand
wrought prototype model and a cad cam model, which is better and why?
What is the typical cost of having someone else do your modeling?
Thanks, Augest Derenthal Cry Baby Designs


#2
    I'm thinking of having someone else do my prototypes for me in
the future.  My skill level is beginner and my design sense is
advanced. My question is what is cad cam capable of producing?
Thanks, Augest Derenthal Cry Baby Designs 

Hello Augest; The choice of CAD/CAM or hand wrought, in my opinion,
will be based on the design. Some designs requiring concise
measurements and dimensions, crisp fine detail, etc., are better done
with CAD, if the price isn’t out of line with what you can afford.
Our CAD specialists here on Orchid can perhaps provide figures here.
Although the modeling capabilities of CAD are extensive, they can go
no further than what can be accomplished with the modeling program.
You’d have to be familiar with these programs to understand their
limitations. The more organic or complex the design, the more it
will cost because of the time spent at the computer creating the
form. Some things can be scanned, which can shorten time in
designing in the modeling program. The detail that can be executed
with these methods is astonishing. However, there area a lot of
advantages in having a model prototype made by a skilled artisan with
traditional methods. CAD is hardly practical for forms that are the
result of direct manipulation of metal, such as forging, and it would
take an extraordinary technician to duplicate the spontaneity and
character that you find in products developed with skills aquired by
years of experience with metal. And whereas everything done in CAD
is either cast or, in rare cases, milled directly in metal, the
craftsman can use casting, forging, construction, or combinations of
any and more of these techniques. Much of what I’ve seen done in CAD
has the flavor of automotive design, and some of the technical
ignorance I’ve come across is mind boggling (for instance, hinges
under stones that, when articulated, push the stones out of the
bezels). An associates degree in CAD is hardly a substitute for a
Fine Arts Degree in metalsmithing and a few decades at the bench
making actual jewelry, in my opinion. But the general quality of
design in CAD is improving. I am quite familiar with CAD, but I’m
no expert and I don’t currently use it. But I can give you prices on
what I do. I have carved waxes for as little as $30 and rarely
charge over $200. Most run $50-$75. I cast them for $30 per flask,
additional articles in the same flask for $12 each. I finish the
article for $15-30 average, make molds for $30-45 each, depending on
choice of mold material. I don’t charge for consultation as to the
feasibility of a design either. I have no interest in attempting a
prototype that would be better executed with CAD/CAM, so if
you send me an idea, I’ll give you my opinion.


#3
 I'm thinking of having someone else do my prototypes for me in
the future.  My skill level is beginner and my design sense is
advanced. 

What sort of look does your advanced design sense favor? Is it
something you’ll be able to adequately convey to another person? One
of the nice things about designing on a computer is the fluidity of
the model while it’s in progress. If you don’t know exactly what
you’re looking for, but figure you’ll know it when you see it, then
you might be better off doing the designing yourself, tweaking the
model until it’s right. If you do this to a person who is trying to
carve waxes to your specifications, it might drive your carver
nuts…

   My question is what is cad cam capable of producing? 

CAD, generically considered, is not really limited by anything
particular in what it can produce. Your imagination, skills, and
aesthetic sense are the main boundaries. Of course different
specific programs are strong in different areas; the one you choose
may determine how things come out, to a certain degree. CAM (which
generally means subtractive carving using a rotary spindle on a
computer-controlled tool) on the other hand, has some definite
limitations, mostly related to the ability of the tool to reach the
surfaces of the part, the necessity of holding onto the part while
cutting, and the ability of a round tool to produce sharp interior
corners. However, additive Rapid Prototyping machines won’t suffer
from these limitations, since they don’t use a cutting tool.

Where does one look to find someone who does this? 

This might be a good place.

And comparing a traditional hand wrought prototype model and a cad
cam model, which is better and why? 

[I don’t think something is necessarily better by being “hand-wrought” (let’s not get back into that debate, though). I do feel that some designs are easier to do by hand, and others are best done (or only possible) using computer-aided techniques. Whichever method best realizes the intent of the designer is best in my book.]

What is the typical cost of having someone else do your modeling?

That depends on the complexity of the design, how exacting you are
about its perfection, and who you use…

Andrew Werby
www.computersculpture.com


#4

Check out http://home.earthlink.net/~jdinola he is my son and
does cad cam for the jewerly industry and other industries. He will
also be teaching a class at the New Approach School in Virgina next
year and has developed an add-on for Rhino for jewelers. It’s worth
wil checking out his site or giving him a call 215-493-1300.


#5

I don’t think that any one technique can be termed better. Cad cam
is just another tool, and any tool can be misused or misapplied. Very
fine structured detail, repetition, mirror or radial symmetry,
accuracy, and scale-ability are a few strengths of cad cam. Whether
applicable depends upon the specific job in question. Does the design
warrant at least a few hours to get to a workable wax, one which
still needs hand skills to turn into a finished piece. Or would
another method be faster and truer to the metal. Another
consideration is experience, both with the modeling software and the
cam hardware. Fluency with 3D modelers takes practice, mills have
limitations which also require practice to develop work arounds.

But when appropriate it is a very powerful tool. I’ve used it to
make pieces which otherwise wouldn’t have happened due to excessive
hand fabrication time. Or re carving a complex wax for rather minor
improvements which would not have justified a manual re carve . Also
useful is the ease and accuracy of communication with clients while
developing final design details.

I do use more traditional techniques when they are best, or hand
make a piece incorporating just one cad cam part. I would be happy to
offer suggestions and modeling/prototyping services (using whatever
techniques seem best) on any specific designs.

Jeff Demand
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modeling & Goldsmithing
http://www.aztec-net.com/~jdemand