CAD/CAM - Waxes

I just recently started reading these CAD/CAM postings, and I
don’t know much about the process, so pardon my ignorance.

I am wondering if CAD/CAM could provide a solution to a project
I have in mind. I don’t want to buy a whole system, I am more
interested in hiring the services of someone who already has the

What I want is not a metal model, but waxes that are very
precise (perfect angles, filagree type stuff). I am on a MAC and
use Adobe Illustrator, photoshop, etc. Could I buy the design
program, run it on my MAC, learn to create my designs, send it to
one of you CAD/CAM people out there, and then get the wax back?
If so, what would this cost per wax? For comparative purposes,
what would be the charge for a metal model using the same
process? Also, I wonder what the cost of the program is and how
this compares to paying someone to do the design part as well.
Thanks in advance,

Sarah Graham Metalsmithing

Sarah, In answer to your question, the answer would be yes with
one draw back, 9 out of ten of the programs run on win 98 or NT.
However there is one program called Form-Z that will run on the
mac and allow you the power of drawing on your computer and
sending it out to us for the machining. Best Regards Neil George

Aloha Sarah, Neil is only somewhat mistaken. If you send an .AI
file (save it as an Adobe Illustrator 4) it could be milled in
with ArtCAM. You would have to tell what you wanted each part or
vector to do by color ( is domed to 1.25 mm, blue is flat
at 1.0, etc.). A full color rendering could be produced before
machining for approval. I have been away doing training and
installations for a while and plan to add to this discussion. I
will send you a file of a beginning ArtCAM exercise, you be the
judge. The original came from CorelDRAW 8.

Best Regards,
Christian Grunewald
Precision Modelmaking

Chris, What I offer is a realistic view of how an individual can
accomplish their task cost effectively by drawing it themselves,
and my response was to this part of the question, which would
indicate that the answer was correct.

    Could I buy the design program, run it on my MAC, learn to
create my designs, send it to one of you CAD/CAM people out
there, and then get the wax back? 

Sarah wants to create a 3D model. Every craft person has a
concern on price and I assume that Sarah wants to design herself
the 3D model on the computer and have a bureau machine it out
as an efficient way to produce. If she sends you a file, I would
like to see how much you would charge her to convert and machine
using ArtCam. You are promoting Art Cam (which really is NOT a
parasolid modelling program) and trying to sell a particular
software as the whole answer, to 3D modelling which it is not.
Sarah, by all means follow what Chris has to say, all I can say
is do your homework.

Best Regards.
Neil George

Neil, I have ARTCam, JewelCAD,SDRC Masterseries and SDRC Artisan
I have a Sanders Modelmaker II and A CNC machine I would be more
than willing to give anyone a quote for machine build time or CAD
time or both.

John Mastoloni

Aloha Neil, Yes I am promoting ArtCAM (as well as ArtSTL,
ArtSurface, and other addons), Rhino3D, JewelCAD and MasterCAM
(Which has a solid modeler in the system, it also can import STL
and IGES surfaces (to name a few) and create a usable toolpaths
and g-code to machine it).As well as mills,larger CNC routers
(up to 30 feet), 3D scanners, plunge EDMs, and stereolithography
equipment, to name just a few. Just as you are selling
Solidworks (and addons), Sanders machines, and milling machines
of unspecified distinction (as well as you modelmaking
services). Sarah doesn’t have to buy or even work in a surface
modeler, solid modeler, parametric modeler or anything similar.
What she has now (Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw) would suffice
or even drawn on paper (if it is dimensioned, has multiple views
and there is good communications). Machining does not require
Solid Works or any such program to design the part. If a person
had the time and the capital to learn a modeling program or a
CAD/CAM program, that is fine. What I am saying is WHY? Unless
of course the person was willing to pay the $795 to $4000 for a
desigb package (some are much higher), apply themselves to the
study and sometimes severe learning curve that can be attributed
to the software itself (especially engineering based packages).
A person that was really not trying to sell anything, would
address this that way. FormZ is $2300 and is not the only thing
available for the Mac platform, there is also QuickSURF. This
whole CAD/CAM thread is loaded with mishalf truths
and unanswered questions. As a matter of fact, It bothers me
that this this technology is being touted (on your website) as
NO EXPERIENCE NESSESARY and with 5 days of training you will
become a CERTIFIED MASTER MODELMAKER. As a matter of fact, I
take umbrage. If anyone believes that, they are in for a reality

My models start about around the same as yours. Except a mill is
faster and more versatile. Works out to $60 per hour (which is
the same as a machine shop).Most pieces are $250 to $350 (though
I have done things in the thousands for just a model). Over
twelve years ago when I started in CAD/CAM, CAM meant and still
does, Computer Assisted Machining. Recently the term
manufacturing was implemented due to rapid changes in
manufacturing technologies (read, manufacture by machine).
Though both are correct terms.CAD/ CAM and modelers are apples
and oranges though the technologies are linked (but so is
animation). I am not implying one software is the answer (you
only sell one line, hmmmm). I am not even saying this technology
is the answer to all. If called for, some times its faster to
fabricate the part by hand. Some times its faster to mill an
electrode and make a coining die or progressive die in steel
with a plunge EDM (you can’t do that with a wire EDM). It’s just
a tool. All I can say is do your homework and never assume,

Best Regards,

Christian Grunewald
Precision Modelmaking

Christian, Thank you for your honesty and for your help.You are a
light in the chaos of this technology.You cleared up many
questions I had a while back with your kind response to my
e-mail.By the way Iam working with Corel draw 7 now.I think the
majority of jewelers ( and I donut pretend to speak for them)
would benefit from using software such as Corel or Adobe to
design with initially and then have someone who has the skills
create those designs with the technology you speak of.I have
seen some of the engineering software at my brotherinlaws machine
shop and I believe from what I have seen you are correct it does
have a steep learning curve.Most of us who make jewelry for a
living are hard pressed to find the time to learn a new trade and
thats what it seems you have to do to operate one of these
machines succesfully.One thing I have seen in the software
industry is what they sell you on the box is never as easy as it
looks when you go to operate it in real life.Every software
company I have seen touts the ease of operation line.There is
only one reason they do that because they are trying to convince
people their product is easy to use.If in fact their product were
easy to use you would not have to convince people they would
know.If they said this product is confusing as hell and will
cause brain damage to the computer naive(especially Jewelers)WHO
is going to buy it?But I digress.Thanks again for the truth.
J. Morley

J Morley,et All:

If you E-mail me your Corel Draw file, I can send it to another
CAD system and CNC the piece for you that way you can ease your
way into the 3D world. Is there anyone out there in the NY, CT
area willing to train someone for a day on Corel Draw 8 this is
an individual that is already CAD proficient looking to expand
his abilities.

J Mastoloni


Here’s a question for you. I recently purchased an Apple
Powermac G-3 350 blue/white computer. I know most of you
computer-types(said with a smile)like PC’s but is there a
practical way to harness this beast to a CAD/CAM machine?
Personally, I prefer the old fashioned method of wax modeling but
i’m trying to expand my range of thought on the subject. Any
advice from you and/or anyone else out there would be most appreciated.