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Decline of wax casting


#1

Greetings Kevin:

I’m very interested in your views on CAD/CAM replacing wax carving.
Just what does CAD/CAM do? Can you carve a raccoon charm or a
portrait with CAD/CAM?

The patterns that I saw with CAD/CAM seemed like Arabesques,
abstractions, or mechanical looking patterns. These looked very
precise, but gave a mechanical feel.

Sally Parker


#2
Can you carve a raccoon charm or a portrait with CAD/CAM? 

Actually, you can–there are lots of talented people doing it. I
subscribe to a few forums where others have posted beautiful
portraits created from photos, as well as 3 dimensional objects
ranging from animals to body parts. :slight_smile:


#3

You’re thinking of that direct to metal stuff it sounds like. That
is probably long way off from being truly viable and even then it’s
going to probably take awhile to become affordable.

The CAD/CAM systems used by jewelers makes waxes, not metal
components. And that’s still most effective to make a master model
and then make a wax as normal unless the piece isn’t suitable for
molding, in which case you’d have to have the wax machined every time
you made it.

I’m not sure what kind of stuff you’ve seen, but with the right
program/s and skill, you can make anything you could in a CAD program
that you could by hand carving. Take a look at a program called
ZBrush, it’s a sculpting program that can be used for making jewelry
(though I’d recommend using it in conjunction with another program.
It’s easier to do stone placement and make settings and all of that
in a proper jewelry oriented CAD program if you’re going to do stones
or want specific things to be specific sizes.) Someone had put up a
link in a previous discussion about ZBrush, and unfortunately I
haven’t found that page again. But here’s a ring someone made using
ZBrush that’s covered in tentacles and teeth and other organic
shapes. Not sure if the dragon ring further down the page is a
physical piece or not, but the first thing on there is.

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


#4

I am not Kevin…

I do use cad/cam and the look depends on the cad software used and
your determination. Most models I make from scratch with rhino and
some t-splines. Organic shapes cause me to lose some sleep.
Mechanical looking stuff is fall over dead easy, your portrait is not
really a problem, the coon would be a challenge :slight_smile: I find that
expensive jewellery specific programs tend to produce rather boring
results. Generally I can spot them from across the room (with feeble
eyesight) but have no hands on experience with them. No desire and no
money for such products

Cad/cam is nice and precise, sometimes even a good starting point
for hand carving. I use the best tool at hand or maybe several. I
really don’t care how I do a job, just what it looks like when
finished.

jeffD


#5

Decline of wax casting?I make my living by carving master wax models
that CADCAM cannot accomplish. Will it decline? Nope, hand carved is
a form if high art. No machine can replace the human touch and feel.
Sometimes it’s not 100% perfect geometry when hand carved but dozens
of my customers prefer it over CADCAM machined pieces. Lettering and
numbers should be done by CAD though, it’s meant for those types of
models.

Margie Mersky
http://www.mmwaxmodels.com


#6
Cad/cam is nice and precise, sometimes even a good starting point
for hand carving. I use the best tool at hand or maybe several. 

And round and round it goes - I’m with Jeff… "I can make anything"
cannever be literally true, but in a practical way I CAN make about
anything.

I have a job to set this morning that’s a shared-prong wedding ring
made to match the engagement. 2 point diamonds… I sent it to a
CAD guy who specializes in shared prong (FYI - Diamond Design
Company 760 Market St. SF). He gave me a perfect ring wax for $70.
Absolutely, precisely done. Sure, I could do it but why?

Successful business people aren’t - can’t be - idealists. I’m too
old to start learning it in any real way, though I’ve played with
many of the programs over the years. I also don’t like it much - I
don’t enjoy it. But you bet I use it when it’s the right tool. It’s
not really about artistic integrity, it’s about cash, in the end.

There was that video about Van Cleef painstakingly crafting an
invisibly set brooch a while back. Just fascinating but understand
that in the next room are their computers, too. And Cartier and
Graff and Tiffany… Tiffany’s sells a million platinum wedding
bands a year and no, they don’t have little elves pounding them
out…


#7
... Cad/cam is nice and precise, sometimes even a good starting
point for hand carving. I use the best tool at hand or maybe
several. I really don't care how I do a job, just what it looks
like when finished. 

That’s a great point, Jeff–I often use CAD to draw my designs which
I then print out and use to hand carve.


#8

I have to say that my wax casting has increase almost as fast as the
price of metals. I haven’t sold a pre-made ring, in when I can’t
remember when. Sorry Stuller, but it seems my customers still want
new rings and things. And they have old gold to use for new bling. I
used to cast a few times a year, now I cast every few weeks. More for
labor, less for metals. Works for me. Janine in Redding California,
where spring is becoming summer all too soon.


#9

At the 2010 AGTA GemFair in Tucson - Lee Krombholz did one of the
MJSA: At The Bench Live demos based on an article from the MJSA
Journal that compared the exact same setting for a Fancy Cut Gem. On
the first day he presented the one he carved by hand and on the
second day he presented the CAD/CAM version of the same piece…you
can see photos of each in the blog post below.

http://tucsongemshow.ganoksin.com/blogs/?s=setting+fancy+cut+gems

He told me that when he showed these off to customers, he was was
surprised to get an almost 50 - 50 split as to which they liked
better.

Robyn Hawk
@aflyonthewall
http://dailyjewel.ganoksin.com/blogs/