Longtime Jeweler & Designer

Hi all! I have been a jeweler and designer for 27 years, I\’ve been a CAD designer for 15 years and spent many years at the workbench as well. I recently setup a casting facility and I\’m pretty close to getting the process licked. Most of what I am interested in learning right now is centered around casting. I also own a very successful diamond bridal jewelry store and have also owned an accomplished online diamond business too. The areas of expertise that I can offer help on are marketing, CAD design, web design, 3D-Printing, and the diamond business. Best wishes to all and God bless!


Hi I have always wanted to learn CAD, can you give me some advice on how to go about doing it affordably. Is there something online? On a small budget but I’m eager to learn this.

Affordably is not usually used in the same sentence as CAD software.

There are cheap CAD software, Freecad is actually free.

But as in every other aspect in life or else, time are not free. At least not for everybody.
There are a vast amounts of tutorials for Freecad, or any other cad for that matter.
I have tried most of them, but ends up with the same, not because it’s best cheapest or what not.
Because that is the one I learned from scratch.

Its not best in any way, maybe, but I know how to do things.

Regards Per-Ove

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Hi thanks for the question. So affordable isn’t a prerequisite with CAD, software that is designed specifically for jewelry making is very expensive. I use Matrix and I have spent over $20,000 through the years in licenses and upgrades. There are packages that are cheaper, but the expensive ones have macros and builders specific to the industry that make tasks easier. Learning CAD design is a very difficult thing to grasp…it’s another skill set that isn’t necessarily easy to grasp simply because someone is a jeweler. I would say, if you are really good at software and graphic design…you might be good at CAD. However, it helps to be mechanically inclined as well. There is a huge learning curve and if you consider this, draftsman and product designers go to college for 2-4 years to learn how to design in 3D. You’ll understand that it takes a lot of patience and dedication. I spent $7000 on training and went to 2 different 1 weeks programs for training. These are not easy to find anymore, the software I use has an online training academy for $700 per year. Basically, a bunch of videos to watch. You should definitely consider what the payoff is or what you want it to be. There are custom houses that will provide CAD drawings and files of any design for like $50 and then print it for another $50. If you’re doing only a few models per month it’s hardly worth your time. It’s faster and cheaper to just outsource to someone else. For me it works, I sell a lot of custom engagement rings and wedding rings. So I can justify the amount of time it takes because it is for big ticket items. But if you’re selling items for under $1000, definitely not worth the time. I also, manufacture my own bridal line, so this is another way I monetize the cost software and continual training. Understand this, you can find inexpensive versions of 3D CAD, but since there isn’t a company behind the software making money….there won’t be anyone on staff to provide training. So I know I risk sounding like I am building a case against it, but I’ve given up a lot of my time through the years at the computer. There are times I wonder if I should have spent that time marketing or promoting. However, there is a great source of pride I take from my work when I know that I’ve designed and crafted a custom item from beginning to end for a happy customer. Not sure if I helped or not.


down load the trial version of Rhino @ https://www.rhino3d.com/
its free for 90 days. then re-up on a different email.

they offer a lot of learning videos.

youl can also buy the book "rhino 6.0 for jewelry’ by dana buscaglia for a reasonable price.


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Thank you so much for your detailed experience & explanation, I really appreciate it your honesty. I feel this might be to much for me. Can you give the name of the supply houses?

Thank you

Thank you for this information

Call Nuri at Nurco castings, his phone number is 212-354-1316. They can create renderings for you, complete the CAD file, print it, and cast it for you. All of this can be done with basic sketches that you can email to him. Turnaround time is super fast for all of the above. The prices that he would charge for all are very affordable. So can I ask you how many models per month you would design? Or how you plan on using it? To build inventory? Or to customer orders? These are important questions to have answers to.

Well said Andrew. Sounds like we are both in vary similar paths. I am still using M9 but started with M7 and learning Zbrush now. It really helps to be a bench jeweler to make CAD/CAM work. Like you after many years of learning and continuing to learn, I take much pride in the jewelry I can produce.


Thank you so much sorry it took so long to reply as I’m away from home.