In your note Re: cnc you stated:
First off, I think you guys selling this technology greatly
oversimplify the learning curve. Even the "experts" I talk to
finally admit that it took 6 months before they felt really
Hmmmmm, how long did it take you to learn your primary craft
(goldsmithing) to the point that you felt really proficient?
I have been using ArtCam Pro for the past 6 months, and still
talk to technical support. True, it actually doesn't take long
to produce something, but I didn't buy my system to do basics
all the time.
Remember your very first good ring? I’m sure all of your
customers didn’t just want a flat silver band with a bezel set
I guess the point that I’m trying to make is this: CAD drivers
are craftsmen/artists. The skills required to create objects in
virtual space are very different than the skills of a bench
jeweler. Two totally different vocabularies, no, two different
languages, if you will. At this point, most virtual jewelry is
being created by metalsmiths who want to venture into designing
for the future.
The problem as I see it is this: Unless you are “designing” with
a program that is basicly a collection of pre-defined forms (a
clip art library) of someone else’s designs, you are eventually
going to come to a crossroad where a decision will have to be
made. Are you a metalsmith/designer or a CAD/designer.
The new Jewelcad program (although I haven’t yet rec’d my demo
copy) seems to fit into the clip art catagory. This allows
jewelers working in a traditional ( 47th. St. NYC) mode to throw
out design possibilities for their clients in much the same
manner as the “kitchen designers” at Home Depot. It should be
simple enough that the learning curve won’t be that taxing, and
you can apply many of your already learned 'puter skills to the
task. All you need to go with it is the Sanders system for
making the waxes, and a good caster. (Bear in mind that this is
all hearsay on my part, based on reviews from people who have
actually seen Jewelcad at work)
For the more dedicated and serious CAD designers there are
programs like the afore mentioned ArtCam Pro, Rhino, AutoCAD and
others (more often a combination of several are required to
accomplish what you really want). These programs are extremely
sophisticated (not to mention often expensive ie. AutoCAD =
$4,000 plus or minus.) and not to be taken lightly as something
to learn over your vacation or at a week long seminar as just
another jewelry skill.
Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM),
Rapid Prototyping (RP) etc. are dependant on crafts people who
have spent years of concentrated study perfecting their skills to
the point where their designing is fluid and they can focus on
the art of design rather than the craft of technique.
I’m finding that if you love bench work and designing for
metals, and are drawn to CAD you’ll eventually have to make a
"Sophies Choice". If you wish to master one, which do you love
more, they both require great dedication, skill and commitment,
and like cherished spouses, grow chilly when ignored.
I also feel that if you want to begin discussing jewelry
related CAD issues, perhaps we would be better served if a new
group were started rather than try to do both in this forum.
Brook Hollow Studio
(where the real world, the virtual world & the fantasy world trip over each
other on a daily basis)