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[Issue #12]

                H i g h l i g h t s

Jewelry Manufacturing Methods and Techniques

        January 19 , 1998 Issue #12

Highlights Editor:
~ Dr. E Aspler <@Service> newsgroup modarator:
~ Peter Rowe PWRowe@ix.netcom.comFrom: Peter Rowe

Attached are a number of recent messages sent to the usenet
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Peter Rowe


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“14k bezel hard to set”
" “Michael Jenkins”

“Computers as tools for designing jewelry”
" (Byzantia)
" (Douglas)
" Abrasha
" Michael Weller
" Esther Heller

“Help with Wax Injection Problem”
" Ralph Gibson
" (PBrown5843)

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Orchid Highlights Digest

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14k bezel hard to set
To: “Michael Jenkins”

   I bought dead soft bezel and after soldering together a
pin; I found to my horror that it was very diificult to push the
bezel wire  around the stones. Then I heated the piece again and
let it air cool. The bezel was still very hard to push. I
managed to set the stones with a ball peen hammer . There has to
be an easier way to manipulate this  stuff. I am used to working
with sterling; is this why  I find 14k so hard??? Or, is there a
technique, trick, ....that I really need to know about?

Hi Denise, 14k is alot harder to work than silver. If you are
setting a fairly fragile stone in a solid bezel first cut the
inside with a round ball burr. This will define the way the metal
will bend as well as lessening the metal that needs to be bent,
making it a bit easier. If you have a hammer handpiece you can
use that to bend the bezel. I prefer using a bezel roller to
start the process. You can make one or simply buy one for about $3
at a jewelry supply. After rolling the bezel down as much as I
can I finish the job with a hammer handpiece. If you don’t have
one you can take an old burr grind an end flat then make it
rectangular. Polish it to get rid of any sharp edges. Use a
regular hammer and hit the new tool gently moving it around the
bezel. this will bring the bezel in contact with the stone so be

The reason I like the bezel roller (or pusher) is that it doesnt
harden the metal as you move it the way hammering does.

If you are doing a ring put it in a wooden ring clamp and then
hold it in a vice while hammering.

Hope I was of help Lee

Computers as tools for designing jewelry
From: (Byzantia)

I use photoshop with a drawing tablet. I still do rough
sketches on paper (or napkins or envelopes), but where I need to
pin down a good idea, I go to the computer. With rulers set up
you can do quite an accurate rendering. And, like Abrasha, I find
the big plus is being able to pop out a billion variations of an
interesting design in short order. Then when I’m sitting at the
bench I’m less likely to say to myself, “well, maybe this would
look better over here”. Saves me tons of "pushing bits around"
time (all the variations you come up with that way you’re inclined
to forget in five minutes - why bother).

Also, since I have a production line, the page I start with in
photoshop has all the rocks on one layer. It’s like my little box
of stones. And many of the metal elements I use are on another
layer. Like a parts box.


From: (Douglas)

I have used CANVAS. It is little different then CLARIUS CAD, or
VELUM that replaced it. CORAL DRAW is in the same ball park. I’m
sure there are more.

If you can find it, GENERIC CAD is one of the earier vector
graphic cad programs to learn.

I myself use AutoCAD; but not for jewelry design. If you learn to
use its solids modeling features you can render photo realistic
prints, from any view point. You can even calculate the weight of
the piece.

Abrasha’s observations are correct as to changes; very easy.


From: Abrasha

The 2D drawing and painting program I use, is Canvas 3.52 by
Deneba ( Deneba no longer supports this
program, since they upgraded it with Canvas 5. I have Canvas 5
also, but I do not use it at all, since in my opinion it is a
lousy upgrade. I will not get into why. It might be very useful
if you did not previously own version 3.52 I do not know what it
costs right now, check their Web site for SRP.

It took me well over 100 hours to become a mediocre user and
over the years I have gotten good at using it. I know I have
logged many hundreds of hours in using the program.

What I did not mention before, is that I also use this program to
generate “blue prints”, complete with dimensioning lines and
arrows including machining tolerances, which I then send to a
number of machinists that I work with.

The 3D modeling/rendering/animation program I use is trueSpace 3.1
by Caligari ( I do not know what it
costs right now, check their Web site for SRP.

So far I have put in about 250 to 350 hours and I am inching up to
becoming a novice user (mediocre actually). I know that I will
have to put in thousands of more hours over the coming years to
become proficient in using this program to it’s fullest.

Next week I am starting an 18 week course in 3D Design that is
offered at a local community college, and lucky for me, they use
trueSpace 3.1 as the software of choice to teach the course.


From: Michael Weller

Rio Grande has a new item in its tools catalogue…It is CAD/CAM
that attaches to the computer Great idea but no price listed and
you know what that means!! Abrasha, please some info—what
program are you using? Cost? How long did it take you to be
functional with it? mike

From: Esther Heller

   I haven't gotten as far as a 3-d program.  Those of you who
use them make it sound a little hairy.
   So?  Are you sufficiently into the technology that you're
really just doing it for fun, or is the result useful enough to
you that you think it's worth the learning curve?

I am an amateur who lurks, but being in the process of learning
Cad for my “real” job, I have some opinions.

Cad is the equivalent in drafting/drawing to word processing
instead of typing. It can take a while to learn but once you do
changes are much quicker because you can copy something and then
alter it.

If you go from sketches on an envelope to playing with metal for a
one-off unique piece, as long as your customer can understand your
sketch or the customer appears after the piece is made, don’t
waste your time with CAD.

If, however, you make series of pieces that are supposed to be
essentially identical, or very similar except for finish, metal,
stone, presence or absence of extra decoration, etc., it would be
a very good investment to take the time to learn a Cad program.
You can make the basic design, and then make variations.

If you are approaching manufacturing as opposed to bench status,
don’t look for a jewelry specific program, get a general
industrial program. If I didn’t know anything else about what is
available I would call all the local small machine shops and
industrial prototypers I could find, and ask then what files they
can deal with. 2-3 programs shoul pop to the top of the list. In
this area the standard thing taught in junior colleges and
advertised when people are looking for drafters is Autocad and it
runs on a PC and has been around for a while.

Some useful things you may not realise about industrial programs
are that they can be used to make CNC controls for machining, to
control the process of cutting a mold (how do you make multiple
waxes?), and to do something called stereolith, which takes the
file and runs a special machine that creates a plastic sample part
with the same shape and size as one that will ultimately be
injection molded plastic or machined metal. Companies that make
"things" as opposed to software or services use this to make
models that can be assembled before the tooling for the real parts
(usually very expensive with long lead time so you had better be
sure there will be no changes) is made. If you are making series
you might be surprised what you could do in collaboration with a
prototyping shop.

If you want to try out Cad without an impossible unpredictable
investment, look for a beginning class in the local community
college (usually a department with a name like enginering
technology). You don’t even have to buy the program. If you can
take an evening class you are more likely to have adult fellow
students who want to learn, which mearns the teacher has more time
to talk about offbeat applications like designing jewelry, and
many of the fellow students can tell you why some things are
inportant and who the local shops that do interesting things are.

I have attempted to hack my address, please see below. – Esther
Heller eoh at kodak dot com

Help with Wax Injection Problem
From: Ralph Gibson

Hello all,

I need some advice on how to cure a problem I am experiencing with
my injected wax models. I am ending up with what appears to be an
"Orange Peel" effect on my models which I suspect is due to
excessive talc as a release agent. However if I use no talc the
models tend to have a wavy look to the wax which is probably due
to the wax dragging against the rubber. I have tried using a
silicon mold release spray instead of the talc but have not been
able to generate models without the wavy effect. My set up is as

  1. Using a low temp injection wax (155 degrees F) 2. Using low
    pressure to fill the mold (all detail is filled with very little
    wax fanning out into the vents which leads me to believe that the
    injection pressure is correct). 3. Using an RTV silicon mold
    rubber 4. I dust the mold with the powdered talc (dusting into the
    vents) and then blow out as much as I can. After this I usually
    make two to three models before dusting again. The first model
    usually has a lot of the orange peel effect. The next model has
    less, and a third usually starts to drag in the mold.

I would appreciate it greatly if someone could give me some
ideas to try out to eliminate this problem. The orange peel is
somewhat difficult to remove from the wax and very difficult to
remove from the finished castings.

Thanks in advance,

From: (PBrown5843)

You have too much talc in the mold cavity. Remedy: Dust the mold
heavilly with the talc. Then tap out as much of the talc as
possible. Then blowout the rest preferably with an air gun, bump
up your injection pressure maybe to 12-15 psi, (I can only guess
because I don’t know what kind of piece you are trying to make).
If this fails let me know. I have been in the investment casting
business for 31 years. I’m sure I can solve this problem for you.

End of Highlights Digest

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