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Stereolithography and computer-aided jewelry


This is to summarize what I’ve learned so far from the subject
of cad/cam and stereo lithography.

I’m a designer and a manufacturer, and I believe in evolution.
15-20 years ago, making jewelry from carving wax was a new think
we had to learn how to do it. Now it’s the digital age, I believe
that wether we like it or not, or wether we feel up to it or not,
it will be the way of doing jewelry in the future.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, this technology has 2 parts: the
Cad/cam software & the stereo lithographic machine (or
whatever you call this equipment that produces the hard copy of
your design)

The software part: I’ve tested the demo version of jewelcad that
was sent to me, and have only read the users guide of Rhino3d.
Having worked for a long time on Corel Draw and Autocad, I feel
more comfortable using a more complex software like rhino3d than
Jewelcad. Complex, yes, but more flexible with its ability to
deal with curves and its powerful import/export and
plug-ins options.

Jewelcad is made for the designers who have a little or no
experience in other cad/cam software. It’s simplified to the
maximum so as not to alienates the beginners still does the job
perfectly and has an excellent rendering.

As for the prices on those softwares, there is a huge difference
that will lead my buying decision toward the more complex but
more powerful Rhino3d.

The equipment part: That’s where I have no experience at all,
bur I’m eager to have a maximum of precise and detailed infos. I
usually have a policy: “let me see it, let me touch it, let
me use it before i can decide which one to buy or use”. As a
manufacturer, I need a hard copy of my design to have precision,
smooth surface & lower cost than any alternative method of

I have read on Sander’s web site the following data: Surface
finish:32-63 micro-inches (RMS). I’m no scientist and for me to
understand this, I need comparison.

As for the costs, I will surely not be able to purchase the
machine, but I might ask for anyone supplying the service of
stereo lithography to make hard copies of my design. Who does
supply this kind of service? The bottom line, I need to try and
experience those machines before committing. Now, are there other
methods or equipments than Sander’s Prototype, that could give me
a hard copy of my design acceptable enough to be used in the
manufacturing process. And at what cost?

Always needing other’s help, always here to help other. Thanks.


Tokyo University just published a report on accuracy. They
evaluated 16 RP machines from 12 manufacturers. The MM-II from
Sanders not only produced the most accurate parts but with the
best surface finish. It’s true that all of these machines can
produce jewelry, but at what price? Our closest competitor to
this evaluation was the SLA 5000. It was 3 times worse, it did
build it faster but don’t you think that something at
$500,000.00 should?

The best thing to do is contact all the manufacturers and ask
them if they can do jewelry? I believe you’ll get the same
answer from all of them, contact Sanders!

Jewelcad is an excellent package to learn CAD from. You don’t
have to know anything about trimming surfaces, etc. Just be
creative and design something.

Like Dominic stated, there are 100’s of CAD packages, pick
something that makes sense. For your The Sanders
machine that Dominic used is for sale for $25,000.00, they are
getting the latest, the MM-II.

It was once calculated that if you do 8 - 10 new designs per
month, the MM-II easily justifies itself. The companies in Hong
Kong produce 125 - 150 new designs on the MM-II per month.

If you have an opportunity, come to the MJSA show from March
28th - 30th. We’ll be demonstrating both SDRC and Jewelcad
along with the MM-II.