Design with graphics tablets

I am in the process of free-hand designing jewelry pieces on my PC
that will eventually be processed by CAD applications. I have
researched graphics tablets (a.k.a. digitizer pads, graphics
tablets) but it appears that the more I gather about
them… the more confused I get.

Is there someone out there that can recommend a good input device
make and/or model??

Resolution/ quality is important.

Price is a factor… I was hoping to keep the price below $200.00.
However, I am shying away from the cheaper models as I don’t want to
sacrifice quality for my tight wallet.

Any help would greatly be appreciated.

Beadazzled Quality Jewelry and Beads

I use a Wacom Intuos 4"x5" with a laptop and Photoshop to design
jewelry. I had a larger Wacom, but found the pad and its drawing
surface too large to be comfortable, and when I got my new laptop
with its USB connection I was just as happy the old one wouldn’t work
with it. The pad cost me under $100 US, and I am very happy with it.
It also comes with a cordless mouse which I never use. In this case
bigger is not better, at least for me.

Janet Kofoed
Newly redesigned web site!

Hi Diana, I use an Intous 2 (by Waacom) 6 x 8" graphics tablet and I
love it. They ar e supposedly the best on the market- with 3
programmable buttons on the pen, programmable buttons on the tablets
(I donB9t remember how many- I’m in VA teaching and my pad and pen
are in Maine) and great pressure sensitivity. They make a smaller one
that may be in your price range. These are compatible with most major
software, like Photoshop. One of the things I like to do is take a
rough drawing, put it under the plastic sheet on the tablet and trace
it. This is what most professional graphic artists use. I found the
larger one to be awkward (and well out of my price range). The only
bad thing is- I have a tendency to loose pens- I wish this had a
beepe r so I could track it down when I misplace it. HTH. Kate Wolf,
Portland, Maine- offering quality workshops by the bay.

Hi I use a Wacom Graphire 2 which works fine and is in your price
range. (And mine came packaged with Corel Painter Classic which is a
nice little drawing/painting program)

But two things - first of all you need a computer and graphics
program up to it and, most importantly - just how do you expect to
convert freefrom designs into something a CAD package can use? If
somebody else has to re-jig your designs into a 3-D package it could
be v. labor intensive and thus expensive. Why not take the plunge and
start designing in Rhino or something (see previous posts on CAD
stuff)? And, generally speaking, a graphics tablet is little use with
a CAD program.

Anyhow good luck.
Jack Ogden

Hi Diana, I sometimes start with a pencil and a sketchbook to develop
a design. If you’re comfortable drawing by hand, you can scan a
pencil drawing and import the image into some CAD programs to use as
a basic template to make the CAD drawing, or give the sketch to the
CAD person to work with as a visual outline.

I’ve talked to some people who love using a graphics tablet. It’s
only a personal preference, but I prefer to draw with a mouse. When I
started working with graphics programs, I bought a WACOM tablet only
because I thought I would need one. I don’t ever use it. I don’t even
use a graphics program anymore. For me, once I have the design in my
mind, it’s easier to draw it right in Rhino. However, I recently
found out that the scuplting tool in ArtCAM is pressure sensitive, so
I’ll probably give the WACOM another try.

From the term freehand designing, I’m assuming that exact
dimensioning is not being addressed at this stage of the design
process? From what I understand about most CAD programs, a 2D drawing
is usually just used as a starting point to begin working in 3D.
Before you invest in a graphics tablet, you might ask the people you
are working with how useful a freehand design created on a graphics
tablet will be to their particular application. You may not even need
a tablet right now… You can save up for a CAD program instead! :wink:

Jesse Kaufman
CAD-CAM Technology
Handcrafted Originality

Hello , We do a lot of 2d and 3d designing in our store [ gemvision
DG4 and Matrix ] and the constant use of a mouse is a pain in the
wrist . I also , from years of use , find it easier to sketch with
a pencil than a mouse . We are currently using a WACOM tablet, a
"graphite " model and it cost us $100.00 and I’m very happy to have
it , for our purposes it works every bit as well as the optical
mouse did .

Mark Clodius
Clodius&Co. Jewelers