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Matrix Vs. 3Design


Has anyone done a recent technical (both software wise and technical
in the sense of jewelry) comparison between the two software
packages (Matrix-rhino based software and 3Design jewel). If there
are Matrix users out there I would love to compare notes as I am a
3Design user.



Contact MJSA 800-444-MJSA, Ray Babikian trains folks on the Matrix 3D
and gave a great demo at the Tuscon Gem show. He also has Flamingo
and Rhino with his Matrix and really knows his stuff.

Mary Frances


I read with interest your email about 3Design and Matrix, I have
already downloaded a trial version of 3Design. Initially I was not
able to start the program. I contacted the help desk who told me
need a network card to make it work. I am using a stand alone
computer. What do I need a network card for? Obviously I won’t be
using 3Design. I would appreciate knowing where I could get a trial
version Matrix 3D




If I understand it correctly your computer use your Internet
connection to contact 3Design every time you start your demo - thus
your need for a network card, and Internet access.



Hello Richard,

Matrix engine is Rhino, its what makes it work although it has
additional bells and whistles made specifically for the jeweler. IF
you want to really learn CAD try Rhino and you can get a free trial
version of it. The New Approach School in Virginia Beach has CAD

Good luck

Best regards,


Hi Michaela,

I use broadband for internet access, so why should need a network
card. If I just used dialup, I would use a modem, so I still don’t
see the need for a network card.


I would appreciate knowing where I could get a trial version
Matrix 3D 

We recently, at work, got a Revo Mill, which ships complete with
computers, Rhino, Matrix 3d (a rhino add on), and the rest of the
toys for a turnkey system. Thing is, using this toy is the job of my
boss (who of course is the one who bought it), and our wax carver, a
gal who’s delighted to now be learning this neat tool which
presumably will either never get another wax model crooked, or which
will at least give her a good excuse to point to (boss machined it
wrong or computer mucked up. not her, of course… :slight_smile: ) But in any
case, here this thing hums away in the back, and I’m in the front
workshop doing traditional platinum and gold smithing the old way,
and feeling a bit envious. So I wondered out loud whether there was a
trial version of Matrix I could get to load up at home, so I could
learn this too. The regular version won’t run without the hardware
dongle, and isn’t anywhere close to my budget anyway. Even with our
new machine being fully supported by the manufacturer, and having a
decent excuse to ask for a trial version just for employee training
on a different computer so as not to tie up the one running the mill
system, so far as I know, the answer is no, not available. :frowning:



Hi Peter

I have the Matrix system with the Revo 540 mill, and ran into the
same predicament. I wanted both my boys to learn the system but
needed to have the unit producing all the time. The only way to have
both of them working on the software at the same time, on different
computers, was to purchase a second code key. You can load the
software onto as many computers as you wish, you just need the keys
to operate them…the down side…the keys are about $1800 USD

Dave Mereski



I have been a Matrix user from the very start, actually prior to its
first version release along with a few others that pop in and out of
Orchid from time to time.

Matrix is built on top Rhino software by McNeel and Associates.

If you go to you can find a link to download a timed
trial version that will get you started. Learning to model in 3d is
time consuming and requires concentration and being open minded to
adapt to the world of 3d on a computer-

Matrix is a great tool to have and to use. Matrix enables users to
save time and trying to have to figure out how to create certain
steps in 3d.

If you want to render what you create in Rhino, in near photo
realistic quality as opposed to shaded views, you will need to have
Flamingo software as well.

Also as a registered user of Matrix call Gem Vision and they can
steer you towards their private forum where you can get help and info
from all the greats that are using Matrix.

Good luck and have fun-
Arthur Gordon

I use broadband for internet access, so why should need a network
card. If I just used dialup, I would use a modem, so I still don't
see the need for a network card. 

A network card has a MAC address. It is unique. My guess is that
they use the net card MAC address for copy protection even on the
demo. I have seen this scheme on a number of high end CAD/CAM

1530 W Tufts Ave Unit B
Englewood CO 80110



I am Kamal, VP of Vision numeric USA Inc, developer of the 3Design
software. To run your 3Design trial version, you do not necessarely
need a network card, but you need to be connected to internet to be
able to launch the software. Once the software is running on your
computer, you are free to disconnect your internet if you want to.
If you are turning off your software, you will need to connect to
internet again to launch the software.

The 3Design commercial license is protected by a security hardware
(dongle), which we do not supply with the trial version that you
downloaded. Instead, the software is protected by our server, which
will grant you access to use 3Design. So you only need to be
connected when you want to start 3Design.

I see that you are located in the UK, so you might be interested to
know that we have an office in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.
I was myself running this office (in Coventry) for the last 5 years.
Should you require further help, please feel free to contact
Birmingham direct.

Looking forward to hearing more from you,

Very Kind Regards.
Kamal Bounouara


I found myself in a very similar situation, Peter. My employer and
one of the other jewelers tool a training class in matrix. I
downloaded the free demo of Rhino and began to fool around with it.
Before I knew it, I was doing drawings in 3D and they didn’t have the
time to mess around with it. Since I showed a really strong aptitude
for it, I have since taken the basic matrix course and am now the
only guy in our shop that is actually producing models and making
pieces using the software. Where there is a will, there is a way!!!



I know that a lot of people love the power that Matrix has instantly
given them, but the program that is doing the work is Rhino. Matrix
is just a plug-in. I have been told that it resides on a 1.44M disk.
Imagine spending a few thousand dollars for a program that fits on a
floppy… Someone correct me if that is wrong. The training manuals
for Rhino are a free download and there is a mountain of help. In my
SQHO, learning Rhino will give you more control over your product in
the long run.

Bruce D. Holmgrain
JA Certified Master Benchjeweler



I don’t know either. This was no issue when I ran the demo. I use
Macintosh professionally and network has always “been in the box” so
every time there’s card-talk I just jump ahead. Is it you "should"
have a network card or have your experienced a “lack of”? As you’re
connected via broadband you’re in fact a node of an universal



The free download of Rhino only allows a certain amount of saves. The
advantage to Matrix, if you are in the business to make money, is
speed…once you have begun to climb out of the bottom of the
learning curve. Just like a laser investment, the fact that you can
now produce a jewelry object that was previously not possible due to
your limitations, the cost of the software and the hardware keys to
get a few people using the program could possibly be offset in a
short time. And the idea of having a virtual inventory that can be
adapted to a particular clients needs seems to me to be quite
valuable. We have done about $50K worth of custom work since October
05(How’s that for learn while you earn?). All this coupled with the
fact that I am suffering more and more with arthritis in my fingers
makes me grateful that this opportunity has come along for me!



You were wrongly informed.

If you had ever learned to use Matrix you would agree that the
statement “Rhino will give you more control in the long run” is
absurd. Matrix is maximized for jewelry design, Rhino is not. A good,
well-trained user in Rhino can make a size 9 man’s signet ring,
let’s say six-sided top, stretched along the finger a little and a
domed, tapered shank in 15 -20 minutes… I change to a different
size or shape or taper, or whatever will require that you begin anew
in Rhino, too. In Matrix, a new user can make the same ring in less
than one minute…and modifications in a few seconds. So…in the
time a skilled Rhino user can make one ring, a matrix user can make
a dozen or more…easily.

Many folks have “graduated” from Rhino to matrix. This does not make
Rhino a poor program…it is excellent. But if time is worth money,
Matrix earns its keep quickly.

ArtCam like wise can accomplish things in a very speedy fashion and
is priced similarly to Matrix. It has features that are lacking in
Matrix, and vice versa. Like choosing any tool, a potential user
should get a full demonstration from a knowledgeable person and
choose the tool based on their in-house needs and future plans.

If these programs did not offer financial advantages to their users,
well, they wouldn’t get purchased.

Yes, Matrix is a plug-in for Rhino. So what?

It runs on Rhino code and yet the programmers at Gemvision have
written many, many sub-routines that put some speed in the process,
and many routines that Rhino cannot do and never will be able to do.

I have no financial or other connection to any of the manufacturers
involved here, but as a beta tester for early Rhino, a beta tester
for Matrix, and a 2 year stint as Sales manager for Gemvision (I no
longer have any connection), I know a little bit about how they work
and what they can do. I’m sorry if I bristle a little when someone
with no experience in something voices false It’s not
fair to those who are looking for new tools and not fair to the



Mr. Holmgrain:

Matrix is just a plug-in. I have been told that it resides on a
1.44M disk. Imagine spending a few thousand dollars for a program
that fits on a floppy.... Someone correct me if that is wrong. 

OK you asked for correction, so here it is.

First the program resides on a CD. This CD installs the program
which consists of the following files:

Config - 5.18 MB
Environment Maps - 1.21 MB
Styles - 2.35MB
Matrix.exe - 16.4MB
Demos - 75.0MB
Library - 74.3MB
Plugins - 936KB
Render Backgrounds - 3.93MB
Docs - 119.0MB
Materials - 79.2MB
Profiles - 12.7MB
Temp - 97.1KB

Unless I am mistaken this equals slightly over 391 MB of program
which would require 272 floppys (1.44MB) to hold all of this
I THINK that is a lot more than the one disk you
mentioned in your post. The fact that you identified Matrix as a Plug
In is factual… And Gold is just an “element”.

I very happily gave Gemvision slightly over 6K for it. I also gave
them $1300 for each update. And I am a person who does not part with
any of my cold hard cash without demanding a LOT of value for my
money. Additionally, I will fight to be one of the first in line to
give them even more money when they bring out any new updates. Trust
me…it was one of the best investments and business/career decisions
that I have ever made. It has made me quite a bit of money and
provided me with a lot of work that I would have never gotten without
the ability that the program gave me. To say that it gives the Rhino
user “power”, as another person posted here, is an understatement.
There is nothing on the market that does ALL of the things that it
does. Tech-Gems (also a “Plug-in”) will give you many of the same
functions that Matrix will, but there is a VAST difference. I have a
copy of Tech-Gems so I think I am qualified to comment on that
comparison too.

Another misconception posted here (not by you) is that there is a
Matrix Demo disk. There is no such disk. The only way to get a Matrix
demo is at a show, by a salesperson, who will come to visit you, or
via an internet connection with Gemvision via “go to my PC” (or some
similar program)…or from a satisfied user who will probablly be
willing to spend an entire day with you demonstrating it if he/she
feels that you really are interested in the program. Matrix users are
a very friendly group and just love to get together and play. I spent
some time this morning helping a competitor with a ring that was
giving him some problems.

Hopefully, this will provide you with the “Correct” that
you requested. If you have any further questions I would be happy to
answer them, if some of the other users on here don’t do it first.



Hello Kamal,

thank you for the about 3Design. I have just ordered a
new PC, but not with a network card. Perhaps you would be kind
enough to take me step by step through getting 3Design to run without
a network card. I have broadband which makes connecting to the
internet easy.

I have been in contact with your office in Birmingham. I told them
that I do not have a network card. I am afraid that was the end of
the discussion as far as they were concerned.

Best wishes
Richard Whitehouse


Effectively 3Design is using the network card as a dongle. There must
be a lot of stand alone computers which won’t be able to run 3Design




If you have broadband you have a network card in your computer.

James McMurray