Was: Reducing costs by using PMC
From your latest post I infer that the problems you’re having with
traditional wax or metal work are more a question of logistics than
cost. Aside from not having the funds at the moment to equip a shop
(we’ll put aside how much can be done with the simplest of hand
tools) you are too far from a caster to comfortably drop off your
pieces. I assume that you do not want to trust your waxes to the USPS
or to FedEx. Also you are restricted in the amount of space you have
to set up shop; perhaps you have not even room for a dedicated
workspace but all spaces must to double duty. Add to that the
beginnings of arthritis and you have someone with more than just a
financial difficulty. I’d like to suggest an entirely different tack:
Now before you say, "I can’t afford those expensive CAD programs,"
let me lay out my rationale.
I see you call your company “Compugraph Designs.” This suggests that
you have a certain facility with computers. If you are used to
working with vector programs, like Illustrator or Inkscape, then many
of the tools one uses in 3D programs will be familiar to you. Just as
vector files are primarily made of geometric figures and bezier
curves, 3D files are built using geometric solids and bezier splines.
Of course, as in all high-end programs there is a fairly steep
learning curve, but much of one’s experience with 2D graphics can be
As to the cost of the program. There’s no need to invest in the
expensive, commercial 3D modelling programs specifically designed
for jewelry. Those are most useful for designers who produce
commercial, stone-set pieces using calibrated stones and intended to
be produced in multiples. The pieces I see on your FB page are not of
that type, but rather are more free-form or sculptural. For this
style of piece there’s no advantage to the commercial jewelry
modellers. I suggest downloading and playing around with blender.
Blender is a highly capable 3d modeling and animation program, which
can be used to produce everything from simple 3D renderings to full
animated movies, and everything in between. There are many tutorials
freely available online on how to use blender and on how to prepare
blender files for 3D printing.
Once you have your object modelled in 3D you can email or upload the
file to a casting house which will print the model and cast an
original. Then it’s just a question of what sort of finish you desire
for the piece. Emery, tripoli and rouge on hand buffs may well be all
that you need.
The only drawback is the computer hardware needed to run blender at
a reasonable clip. Like all 3D programs, blender requires a
reasonable peppy processor and a goodly amount of RAM. Since you
won’t be producing movies, hard drive space is not a significant
consideration. This is not to say that the program will not run on
slower smaller machines, just that it will be more responsive on a
I suggest heading over to the blander website and looking through
their online galleries and tutorials to see if this might be a way
for you to go forward with your designs.