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CAD vs Hand wrought

Is that happening now? (meaning is hand crafting being replaced by
machines) 

Its been happening since about 1820. When did the Arts and Crafts
Movement backlash start? Maybe 1880s. In reality handmade techniques
have been making a strong comeback for the past 60 years. In the
1960s and 70s there was not only a movement that idealized
"handmade" but also emphasized the creative individual to the point
that division of labor and any group of more than two or three
craftsmen working together were discredited as being “a factory”. Now
some very advanced technology is available to individuals. Empowering
individuals with meaningful work and creative expression was the
goal of the Arts and Crafts movement idealists. The new technology is
not just available to the big, well capitalized factory. Even the one
man shop can afford CAD and then job out the milling. So why not? Are
we in this to do the best work we can or should be be limited to a
hundred year old ideology that never anticipated the wonders we can
now enjoy.

Stephen Walker

Hi Richard,
You Said…

I am quite sure that if I were to learn to produce jewelry by CAD
CAM, I would not be as happy with what I produced as I am by the
means I have used for 40 years. My gift would not be expressed, it
would just be a menial task. 

So, Just DON’T DO IT! It really is that simple. We ALL have
techniques that we prefer and others that we don’t like or use. Just
don’t do it… If that’s your feeling, you have a perfect right to
avoid the technology and do things as you obviously have for
years… and power to ya! For many,CAD /CAM opens doors that
otherwise would remain closed. For me, all those 30 + years ago, it
was like when I started bench work… I loved it but it limited me
in some ways…so, I learned and began to cast. That opened new
techniques, new doors, and in my case profits. For me, CAD /CAM did
the same all over again. It allows me to do the work I enjoy, more
of it, and a better job in some areas than can generally be done by
hand. In most cases, hand work will suffice and produce a perfectly
acceptable end product. Especially if the correct hands are doing
the work. But, there is that time we want.3 mm tall fonts as close
together as possible in the background of a ring… and I see (as
bad as it hurts my pride) that the machine does a much better…and
MUCH MUCH faster job than I can.

There will ALWAYS be a need and a desire for a piece of jewelry that
is hand made…ALWAYS!

Like I said… JUST MAKE BEAUTIFUL THINGS… YOUR WAY! That’s
all that matters to most of us.

Good Luck. Dan
DEARMOND TOOL
http://www.dearmondtool.com

Empowering individuals with meaningful work and creative
expression was the goal of the Arts and Crafts movement idealists.
The new technology is not just available to the big, well
capitalized factory. Even the one man shop can afford CAD and then
job out the milling. So why not? Are we in this to do the best work
we can or should be be limited to a hundred year old ideology that
never anticipated the wonders we can now enjoy. 

The subject of CAD vs hand wrought has been argued on this forum,
and others for a while. On the surface of it, why would anybody
object to using new powerful technology? After all, that is how
progress takes place. New technology gets adapted, and it empowers to
do better work and creates need for even better technology. And round
and round it goes.

That been the case, why CAD is looked at askance in some circles? We
can glimpse the possible reason by examining what have happened in
sister industry Fine Watchmaking. When quartz movement was
introduced, almost all famous firms were facing bankruptcies.
Adoption of CAD saved them. They use CAD not to compete with cheap
quartz movements, but to produce mechanical movements so marvelously
complex and refined that market for fine mechanical watches is
growing everyday, with average price in 6 digits per unit.

In goldsmithing however, things are different. CAD is used not to
improve the quality of jewellery, but to reduce the cost of labour
with quality be damned. CAD can be used for creating jewellery, not
possible ( given reasonable time constrains ) with traditional
methods; jewellery which would mesmerize; jewellery which make people
wonder about how it was done. But instead CAD is used to produce
chunky and unappealing creations, which could hardly be called
jewellery at all.

So the problem is not with CAD per say, but with how it’s been used.
May be the discussion should be hand wrought + CAD. Let’s use example
from fine watchmaking and use CAD to push the envelope of technical
sophistication. I am sure nobody would object to that. However, that
implies knowing what the technical envelope is, and that requires
knowledge of traditional techniques. And now we have come complete
circle…

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com

I brought this topic up about a decade ago on orchid, I screamed and
cried that cad cam will destroy all the hand skills. I used to make a
living as a wax carver, now I dont. When those machines came out I
thought they would never catch on. I was a moron, technology always
wins out. This happened decades earlier in the machine tool industry,
now you would be hard pressed to find a person who still runs manual
machines to make a living, let alone one who knows how to use a
manual machine. I have seen the quality of jewelry go far beyond what
was achievable by hand. Now people with only a good idea but no
skills can become jewelers. The one drawback to the cad cam is that
the cost of labor has collapsed. Everyone has a machine or has access
to one. This is great for customers and for jewelery as a whole but
bad for artists. I think that these machines will free artists from
having to spend all their time achieving machine like quality. Hand
made has a different look it is imperfect in a good way, I can see
all the traces of the humane being behind the work. I love hand made
things they are special and should have their place above machine
made things. Machine made is for the masses only a special few will
ever own hand made items. How many of you wear hand made shoes or
clothes or have a hand made car? How many of you have furniture in
your homes made by a master craftsman, I bet most is machine made.
The cost of handmade items should be far greater than the cost of
machine made items. The labor of a person is far more valuable than
the labor of a machine. Hand made items should be treasured and
protected machine made items can be made with the push of a button.
When the maker of handmade items dies that skill dies with them, the
only hope is that they were generous enough with their time to teach
others the trade.

In goldsmithing however, things are different. CAD is used not to
improve the quality of jewellery, but to reduce the cost of labour
with quality be damned. CAD can be used for creating jewellery,
not possible ( given reasonable time constrains ) with traditional
methods; jewellery which would mesmerize; jewellery which make
people wonder about how it was done. But instead CAD is used to
produce chunky and unappealing creations, which could hardly be
called jewellery at all.

Quality be damned? Produce Chunky and unappealing creations? Yes
Leonid, we all have made chunky and unappealing jewelry in our
lifetimes…one time or another. I bet there are a few in your
closet. Depends on the eye of the beholder anyway…

I have made jewelry for over 35 years and there are a few jewelers
on here that can flat make anything with their skills…and make it as
perfect to the eye as you would dare to think in any medium. There
are bad CAD artists as well as bad bench artisans…ouch I would hate
to call some artisans. I have seen the trash that some put out off of
their benches in the finished box in the safe to the truly gifted who
put out “perfection”. I have seen truly artist perfect models in cad
as well as trash that modelers don’t know what they are doing. I
suspect then Tiffany’s and most manufacturers in the world should
just fold up their cad operations and design their models the old
fashion way to create those beautiful pieces. …yes Tiffany’s please
just fold it up and call it useless…

So the problem is not with CAD per say, but with how it's been
used. May be the discussion should be hand wrought + CAD. Let's use
example from fine watchmaking and use CAD to push the envelope of
technical sophistication. I am sure nobody would object to that.
However, that implies knowing what the technical envelope is, and
that requires knowledge of traditional techniques. And now we have
come complete circle... 

I kinda of hate to hear that, I use CAD exclusively to design my
jewelry, But I hand make all of my pieces. I need to do this because
CAD allows me to know how thin/small I can make a ring, and push the
boundaries, For instance:

This ring is one of the smallest tension rings available anywhere,
it’s barely 2mm thick, and around 1.5mm wide, a feat I can ONLY do
with advanced CAD software.

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7z6v

after i design the ring in CAD, I use software to deform the ring
and analysis if it will be strong enough (I think of myself as an
engineer/machinist, not a jeweler)

After the design is done it’s all handmade, and work hardened, which
can only be done by hand, even if I had CNC equipment, I would have
to do this step by hand.

The result is a ring that weighs in at around 3 grams, smaller than
your average wedding ring, but takes about 300 pounds of pressure to
deform.

This means I’m using CAD, and hand manufacturing to produce a
superior product to any other product on the market. I use CAD as an
extension of my mind, and it allows me to use my talents to create.

You throw in an exception at the end, using watch makers, but
frankly the ugliest jewelry I have EVER seen has been handmade crap,
cad can be used to make pieces every bit as beautiful as handmade, it
just what the artist is most comfortable, and their talent level.

Simple as that…
Chris

There are bad CAD artists as well as bad bench artisans...ouch I
would hate to call some artisans. 

“CAD artists” ! Two words delineating two worlds of view, with
sharpness of a surgical scalpel. Creation of jewellery is process
which usually managed by a team composed of several participants.
When such team is made of CAD artist, jewellery artist, setting
artist, polishing artist, and etc., the results are quite ugly. When
instead of artists, team is made of simply craftsmen, the results
are usually good. The problem with modern jewellery is that we have
too many artists, and not enough craftsmen.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com

"CAD artists" ! Two words delineating two worlds of view, with
sharpness of a surgical scalpel. Creation of jewellery is process
which usually managed by a team composed of several participants.
When such team is made of CAD artist, jewellery artist, setting
artist, polishing artist, and etc., the results are quite ugly.
When instead of artists, team is made of simply craftsmen, the
results are usually good. The problem with modern jewellery is that
we have too many artists, and not enough craftsmen. 

They are also called digital designers, and the good ones get
waaaaaaaaay more money than us, without ever having to realise their
work in the physical world. It’s too general a statement to say the
results are ugly, because some are quite beautiful.

I would argue that jewellers are a hybrid between artists and
craftsmen.

Although your last statement is a correct commentary for society in
general (not just the Jewellery industry), there aren’t enough
craftsmen, and retirees in Australia are being pulled back into the
workforce, because the skills aren’t there.

Regards Charles A.

"CAD artists" ! Two words delineating two worlds of view, with
sharpness of a surgical scalpel. Creation of jewellery is process
which usually managed by a team composed of several participants.
When such team is made of CAD artist, jewellery artist, setting
artist, polishing artist, and etc., the results are quite ugly. 

Maybe your team has the wrong guy in the wrong job. What I want to
do is purchase a desk-top 3D scanner/carving machine this summer.
Then I want to be taught by the supplier to handle its OS and
applications SW. But I am no artist. I want to use Sto:lo wood
carvings at first (then maybe clay), scan them and replicate them in
stone. The stone pieces will be on a par with the artistry of the
original artists won’t they?

Hi guys,

Two things:

(A) From Peter the Canadian: (I think he’s Canadian. Not Peter Rowe,
anyway.)

Maybe your team has the wrong guy in the wrong job. What I want to
do is purchase a desk-top 3D scanner/carving machine this summer.
Then I want to be taught by the supplier to handle its OS and
applications SW. But I am no artist. I want to use Sto:lo wood
carvings at first (then maybe clay), scan them and replicate them
in stone. The stone pieces will be on a par with the artistry of
the original artists won't they?20 

Sure, in the same way that a xerox of a Monet is on par with the
real one5. Or, to be charitable, in the same way that a good litho
poster of the Mona Lisa gives you the same experience as looking at
the real thing.

This sounds weird, coming from me, but my point about CAD/CAM has
never been its ability to be a 3D Xerox machine. It isn’t, exactly.
CAD/CAM is its own tool, and should be used in ways appropriate to
the nature of that system. (Whatever combo of input/design/output
equipment you come up with.)

(B) My real reason for writing:

Remember earlier in the thread the bit about “let’s see CAD/CAM
duplicate Mokume?”…

Well, what to my wandering eyes should appear, but the latest issue
of Modern Machine Shop. It’s one of those trade rags that seems to
appear anywhere that 3 phase power is used regularly. I ended up
leafing through it while I was waiting for the mill to finish her
yoga. They had a really interesting article about a company in
Columbus, OH, (My hometown, weirdly enough) that’s working on a
system of both additive and subtractive machining. Big huge machine,
about the size of a Winnebago, that has a CNC mill inside it, but
also has an ultrasonic welding system onboard. The machine can take
raw feedstock in the form of metal ribbons, and then weld them up in
layers to build a form, while also milling the form as it goes.

The article is here:

The interesting thing is that one of the photos with the article is
a classic billet of flat sheet mokume, done out of layers of copper
and aluminum. They haven’t figured out that’s what they’ve got yet,
because that’s really not where their heads are, but they talk about
the system’s ability to weld all sorts of dissimilar metals (such as
titanium & copper) together to create solids with mixed mechanical
or thermal properties.

Wouldn’t take much to tweak that to make mokume of even weirder
materials than anything Ferguson ever dreamed up.

Regards,
Brian

 Wouldn't take much to tweak that to make mokume of even weirder
 materials than anything Ferguson ever dreamed up.

You should talk to them, maybe they’d be up for some experimentation?

Watched the video, mokume gane means wood grain. That was laminated
metal, no pattern related to what I would consider mokume.

The reason I said let’s see CAD CAM duplicate mokume is that someone
said that CAD CAM could produce any design, and I was, well, just
trying to point out that CAD CAM does have limitations.

I realized that this discussion has been between me, a small
independent retail store owner, a teacher of CAD CAM, and someone who
uses the process to produce a line that is basically a two
dimensional line of Celtic designs, something CAD CAM is perfect
for.

I have outsourced designs to a trade shop when CAD CAM was the
solution. It is the answer for some situations, just like laser
welding is. But I make my living from the skills I have developed,
carving wax and casting or fabrication.

Examples of my work can be seen on my Facebook page, under photos,
Wall photos section.

Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.

The reason I said let's see CAD CAM duplicate mokume is that
someone said that CAD CAM could produce any design, and I was,
well, just trying to point out that CAD CAM does have limitations. 

Hmmmm… metal sintering? And I agree there are limits to any
technology CIA

CAD/CAM is its own tool, and should be used in ways appropriate to
the nature of that system. (Whatever combo of input/design/output
equipment you come up with.) 

I say, WELL PUT Brian! I would add as well that as you learn the CAD
/CAM system and machining techniques to go with it that, the nature
of that system quickly becomes more evident as when to sit at the
bench and when to sit at the computer screen. It is no different
than at the bench choosing the proper graver for the task at hand.

Dan.
http://www.dearmondtool.com

I don’t know, but it may be possible to accomplish Mokume using
powder metalurgy. I know of patterned steel made using that
technology. What’s more, there is yet another new technology that
uses something similar to powder metalurgy that can fuse a form,
similar to casting, but at much lower temperatures, from a special
type of alloy, directly into a re-useable mold. So, I don’t think it
is out of the question that we may see something like Mokume, but I
doubt that will happen, as there are many things made using old
technology that won’t necessarily come to the attention of these
types of manufacturers.

David L. Huffman

Hi Richard,

Watched the video, mokume gane means wood grain. That was
laminated metal, no pattern related to what I would consider
mokume. 

They weren’t trying to make mokume. Never said they were. My point
was simply that they’d gotten the hard part done without even
meaning to.

Have you ever seen a raw, unpatterned mokume billet? It’s just
laminated metal until you pattern it. Looks much like that
copper/aluminum billet in the picture.

Having gotten the bonding done in materials specifically chosen to
be hard to bond, getting it to make a pattern would be child’s play.
(Ridiculously expensive child’s play, but feasible.)

The reason I said let's see CAD CAM duplicate mokume is that
someone said that CAD CAM could produce any design, and I was,
well, just trying to point out that CAD CAM does have limitations. 

No kidding. Never said it didn’t. It has loads of limitations, but
they frequently aren’t where people think they are.

The point I was making when I said (originally) that CAD could
reproduce any design is that a decent CAD package can reproduce
any design.in a digital format, in the computer’s memory. Getting it
out into the real world requires a CAM system, and those have
boatloads of limitations.

(CAD and CAM are not synonymous. The capabilities of the CAD package
may be distinctly different than the capabilities of the CAM
package, or the output system. Each machine has different kinds of
forms and objects that it handles best. Just because you can draw
the thing on the computer doesn’t mean that you can just hit 'print’
and get a good copy in your hand.)

Also, there are questions of time and efficiency. Dan (or someone)
mentioned tweaking the ‘inhuman’ perfection of CAD system symmetry to
simulate the imprecisions left by hand work. Yes, pure CAD generated
forms tend to be inhumanly precise, which can be a give-away, for
those who care. On the other hand, it is possible to go in and
’de-tune’ the forms to simulate hand work. Equally, you can use very
hi-res laser scanners to exactly import the dimensions of a physical
piece, wobblies and all. How much time ($$$) you spend making the CAD
model look ‘hand made’ is up to you, but the serious systems will
model whatever form you want, down to whatever level of accuracy you
desire. I normally model parts to 5 places. (0.00001") The machines I
use won’t hold that, but it’s better to have the data than not.
Weirdly enough, ‘fudging’ edges and symmetry to make it imperfect is
a lot harder and more time-consuming than creating perfect Platonic
forms. Which is why it usually goes by the boards. The customer
expects perfection, why spend more money not giving it to them?

I realized that this discussion has been between me, a small
independent retail store owner, a teacher of CAD CAM, and someone
who uses the process to produce a line that is basically a two
dimensional line of Celtic designs, something CAD CAM is perfect
for. 

I’m not sure exactly who you’re talking about here, the punctuation
puzzles me.

That said, I expect the “2D Celtic” would be some of my old stuff.
Hate to say this, but those were the bottom end of my commercial
line, 20 years ago. I leave the pictures up because periodically,
people give me money for them, without me having to put any effort
into marketing. Equally, there’s no real CAD/CAM in them:
photo-etched masters, hand engraved to clean them up, molded, cast,
findings soldered on, then mass finished. Entirely traditional
jewelry store kind of work.

There’s very little CAD/CAM work anywhere on the portfolio page you
had to be looking at to find those. Plenty of hollowware, raising
and forged reactives, even a bit of mokume, but very little CAD.

Examples of my work can be seen on my Facebook page, under photos,
Wall photos section. 

The real CAD/CAM work I do is probably on your bench. Have a Knew
Concepts saw? Then you have a piece of my CAD/CAM work already.

I do all the CNC programming and part development for all the KC
lines, as well as the Eid-Longhi Anticlastic stakes that I produce
under my own banner. (Eisenring Entp.) (As well as most of the actual
machining.) I decided to keep using this account (Alberic) when I’m
being me, personally, as I’d been on Orchid for years prior to
teaming up with Lee. I use a different account ‘brian at knewconcepts
dot com’ when I’m talking officially, for Knew Concepts. Thus the
occasional confusion, but it seemed the best way to keep my various
hats on straight. I try not to talk about Knew Concepts when it’s not
clear who I am, but this seemed to be a good point to clear any
confusion.

Regards,
Brian Meek
(of the many hats.)

Can we agree that some like CAD and some like hand carved and put
this LOOOOOONG arguement to bed??

Thanks! Steve Arista Designs