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CAD, how would I get started?


#1

I cannot really imagine designing jewelry (myself) from scratch, on
a computer-- where’s the fun in that?

What I can imagine actually wanting to do with CAD is something like
carving a model much larger, to get details in, then scan it, clean
it up, shrink it and get it cast. or make one earring and scan it to
make one exactly mirror-image of the other.

These seem like things that should be relatively easy, right now.
Are they?

I do the 2-D equivalent with drawings that I etch, with my computer
and Photoshop. Given that I anodize titanium, you might think I’d do
the same for my imagery, but that’s all done freehand.

Anyway, if what I described is trivial for CAD, how would I get
started?

Noel


#2

I had once thought of developing a design pipeline much as you have
described of sculpting in clay, scanning, cleanup, scaling, and
prototyping. I had already started using Rhino3d for the prototyping
part, but wanted a way to do design in a more organic and sculptural
way than engineering software offered.

As I started to research scanning systems and the software and
processes necessary to alter and repair the scans I soon realized
that this would be an expensive and difficult way of developing
jewelry models. What I have opted for is to learn Zbrush by
Pixologic. Cheaper than a scanner, compatible with Rhino3d, and it is
like sculpting virtual clay. I don’t have to worry about fixing scans
and stitching things up, etc. Plus I have the power of a computer to
aid in the sculpting process.

Basically, I felt that the effort to scan something and fix
everything to get it ready for prototyping would be just as technical
and difficult as if I were to just learn to sculpt it on a computer
in the first place. I imagine that you could use a scanning service
to do the scans and cleanup for you. You would then need to use a CAD
program to scale, mirror or whatever you needed to do to prepare for
sending it out for prototyping. Perhaps it can all be outsourced.

So yes, you can develop a design process as you describe, but you
will still need to learn more about pixels, quads and whatnot than
you may want to know.

Ken Gastineau
Gastineau Studio
Berea, Kentucky


#3
I cannot really imagine designing jewelry (myself) from scratch,
on a computer-- where's the fun in that? 

I’ve played with some cad software and it’s pretty cool, IMO. But
then I’m a computer geek and a jeweler. It’s far too expensive for my
purposes, but if I had a few thousand gathering dust I’d definitely
buy this one: http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/h9

Paf Dvorak


#4

Hi Noel,

What you are wanting to do, is relatively easy to do, and relatively
cheap.

The NextEngine is a very handy tool, and I’ve got this on my wish
list (I have access to some Anglo-Saxon artifacts that want to be
commercially exploited ;-))

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7zva

The software that I’d recommend would be Rhino, with the addition of
Rhino Gold. It’s entry level, it does the job and everyone seems to
have it, so the tutorials and support level is there.

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7zvb
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7zvc

The above is all you would need to accomplish you task, in that you
can outsource the machining/printing of your waxes to a third party.

Of course you would still need to practice, to streamline your
workflow, and to get good. :wink:

Regards Charles A.


#5
As I started to research scanning systems and the software and
processes necessary to alter and repair the scans I soon realized
that this would be an expensive and difficult way of developing
jewelry models. 

I think that the way a lot of people make the business decision
about the cost of buying, say Matrix and the Revo mill or a small RP,
is this. If you are sending out CAD work, it’s costing you something
like $200 to have a piece modeled. Maybe you average four jobs a
month and so that brings you to about $800 p/mo. If you buy the
Matrix software and the Revo mill, it will cost you something like
30K. If you would finance that or lease it to own it over 5 years,
your monthly payments would be about $650. If you decided the
software was something that you were willing to put the time in to
learn how to use, you could say that it makes financial sense to take
the plunge.

I’m not discrediting your decision to go with Zbrush at all Ken,
it’s awesome. There is no right or wrong answer here. But I would
like to point out to others on the forum that Matrix has jewelry
specific tools that make it relatively easy to build basic to
mid-level jewelry models. That said, any route you take to produce
your work, whether by hand or using technology, is an worthwhile and
educational journey in my mind.

Mark


#6

Hi Noel,

I wonder if anybody actually creatively ‘designs’ via a CAD program.
Some people will start playing around with a feature or function,
such as ‘Polar Array’ and see where it leads. I’m not sure where
that fits in the creative process. Call it the Infinite Monkey School
of Design, fun but somewhat haphazard and unfocused. For myself, I
design something first as completely as possible and then convert it
into a 3D model. If you like to design with a pencil in your hand
(as I do) you could utilize a tablet device (mine is the Wacom
Bamboo). This gives you a digital rendering you would import into
your CAD program as a 2D point of departure. Then finish the concept
in 3D. Or you can scan something and import. And of course You don’t
have to import anything at all to start, your sketch can be in your
head or on paper next to your computer.

Rhino 4.0 (@ Novedge, $US 779) is the best value available I have
found in a full-featured CAD program. It is not jewelry specific.
Rhino 5.0 is now available for a few dollars more. For $US 1495 you
can get RhinoGold + Rhino v. (TDM Solutions); this is then jewelry
specific, it’s what I use and can recommend. Other programs such as
3Design, Matrix, ArtCam, etc. are excellent in their own right but
will require a much larger investment. A. Much. Larger. Investment.


#7
What you are wanting to do, is relatively easy to do, and
relatively cheap. 

Looks good but at that price I’ll stick to my pencil and paper


#8
What you are wanting to do, is relatively easy to do, and
relatively cheap. Looks good but at that price I'll stick to my
pencil and paper 

Like I said it was relatively cheap :wink:

You can pay more of course.

You have to look at it as a business investment, and compare the
price of the jewellers equipment you no longer need if you go fully
CAD. If you do that the cost is very reasonable.

Set up CAD, vs setting up a traditional jewellers bench. Then if you
want to expand, how much does it cost for another nine
benches/workstations? CAD is far cheaper to setup and maintain.

That’s how businesses see it, just in dollars.

For myself, I like both methods, I was fortunate enough to have an
IT, and a manual skills background so I can appreciate both.

Regards Charles A.


#9
I have access to some Anglo-Saxon artifacts that want to
becommercially exploited". 

Charles, please tell us more! Reproduction ancient jewelry/artifacts
is something I find fascinating. Linda in central FL


#10

Hello Pat,

For sure 3Design is the best jewelry design program. If you are
really interested there are ways to do it.

You can buy just the design license for about $2500 vs full license
for $6700 and also lease possibility for about $100/ month. The
difference is that with the design license you can’t export an STL
file yourself you have to haveit done by the service bureau you may
be using. Here at JSI in Austin Tx. We teach 3Design beginning and
advanced levels which includes the program for six months with each
training, total of one year student version 3Design.

Any way just want to let you know just in case you didn’t have this

Vasken