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Fastest learning curve CAD


I’ve been told that Firestorm CAD is much, much easier to learn than
Matrix. Also, that Firestorm is better than Matrix for working with
customers while designing what they want.

Also that Countersketch Studio is good and very fast to learn but it
seems limited by the designs that are already built in–that’s just
my understanding; maybe it’s not true.

My interest is CAD without the CAM. I just want to be able to design
in 3D while the customer and I are sitting in front of the screen and
then print out a realistic image to work from at the bench.

(I’ve seen that there are strong feelings on this forum regarding
CAD CAM vs goldsmithing and I’d rather not get into that debate.

John well welcome into the debate. The key interest in any cad
program is to learn it well. like master it and stay with it.
Switching to others will make it a higher learning curve.


I have not played with Firestorm, but from what I understand it
makes it easy to modify existing geometry. The people using Firestorm
on all seem to create in something like Rhino and
then send it to Firestorm for editing.

If your end goal is to carve a wax, then I would suggest staying
away from CAD altogether. The expense of the software and computers,
the time you will invest in learning, are only worth it if you can
CAM your finished model. Plus it takes about the same amount of time
to CAD a model as it does to carve. The benefits of CAD are to show a
customer a render for approval, make changes, duplicate something you
made years ago but didn’t make a mold of, recover from a bad casting,

I would suggest this:

I draw with a customer and then take my sketches to the computer to
do them in CAD.

CounterSketch is different than the other CAD programs. It’s made
for working in front of a customer and is based off of altering
template files.

Pick a template, key in dimensions, select number and type of
stones, and Stuller does the actual CAD/CAM/CAST work for you.
However, it’s expensive and if there isn’t an option in the template
file, you can’t do it.

If you truly do want to go the CAD route, the vast majority of
jewelry is designed in Rhino. Matrix, RhinoGold, RhinoRing, etc. are
all automation plugins for Rhino that makes it do things you could do
yourself. Whatever you do, don’t buy a plugin until you see how you
like Rhino. If you can’t swim in Rhino you will drown in Matrix. And
then you are stuck with a very expensive piece of software no one
will buy from you.

I have a bunch of links I can share for learning Rhino.


interesting thing about computer programs, the biggest and best e. g.
Photoshop are not always the most practical for the real world.

Talking to a professional sign writer he said he and his mates use
Corel Draw.

Guess that’s why most of us use Word or Pages instead of Quark.
Don’t need all the bells and whistles.

I wish I had the time and money to CAD, showing the customer a
rendering and printing it out with prices would be great. I could
keep within my skill set and know I could make it.

Don’t need the CAM, but would love to have it.

I would really like to see the balance sheets between CAD/CAM and
hand made.

What is the profit margin between a hand made JAR or Boucheron piece
and a CAD Tiffany piece.

I was taught that if only making one, make it by hand don’t bother
with casting it.

Xtines Jewels

Thanks for the book link Eric, I had not seen that one! It has
already been ordered! I have always done colored pencil sketches, to
scale, for customers. I usually give them 4 options. I prefer that
to CAD renderings. I think it shows the hand of the artist more,
plus the renderings, although beautiful are not quite realistic and
look like computer generated photos to me. I think that the finished
piece (no matter who finishes it) very seldom looks identical to the
CAD rendering, which can create unnecessary confusion in the
customers mind when the two don’t match identically. I find the hand
drawn sketch is better for me. Plus it’s easier, to generate a
rendering you have to build the model, to show 4 renderings you have
to build 4 differnet models. So hand sketching can be a bit less
time consuming as well.

That said, I’m a regular user of CAD and think it’s a great option.
It’s just another method. I will fabricate or carve and cast, CAD
and cast, etc, whatever gives the customer what they want.


interesting thing about computer programs, the biggest and best e.
g. Photoshop are not always the most practical for the real world.
Talking to a professional sign writer he said he and his mates use
Corel Draw.

Hi Richard!

Photoshop is a photo editing program.

CorelDraw is an industry-standard graphics program (comparable to
Adobe Illustrator).

Sign writers need a graphics program, not a photo editing

Janet in Jerusalem

Hi Janet et al

Once that was true but now it is a digital imaging product. It is
not just for photos.

Xtines Jewels