CAD (computer aided design) drawing and drafting systems are widely used in general industry for designing models for mass production. Their advantage lies in the speed of organization of very accurate components or elements and then their rapid translation into working ‘blueprint’ diagrams for the workshop. As well one only has to do the work once for a repetitive component and so there is an increase in efficiency as previously prepared standardized parts of a design may be re-used
For certain kinds of very exact translation of design into three dimensions an investment in a CAD/CAM system for 3-D prototyping may make sense. Large manufacturers in the jewelry industry have used CAD and in some cases CAD/CAM (Computer aided design and manufacturing) for some time. Computers are starting to be used in similar ways in the jewelry industry in smaller scale establishments and we will see this more and more
The stereo lithography approach and other similar non-machining methods will become more accessible as time passes. An individual educated in CAD use for designing and rendering would be equipped for the advent of remote CAM centers to design for themselves or industry and to use their rendering skills in a variety of ways. They would also be able to access both machining and stereo lithography services. At a certain point they will be able to work for findings and wax companies designing models for publishing on disc or even publishing and selling their own designs to jewelry shops as independents. Therefore it is more logical for the widest future options to educate in terms of CAD systems in combination with a good general jewelry skills and design issues education
What will be coming is a day when on most jewelry store desks there sits a computer, screen and 3-D prototyping machine. The store owner slips a CD into the computer and shows the customer various rendered models of rings or jewelry. The stone’s colors, shapes and sizes can easily by altered from the keyboard. Heads can be exchanged with a quick mouse click on a menu of photographic choices from the suppliers line. Various models can also be quickly chosen from images on a menu. The jewelry piece can be rotated and looked at from any view on screen. A color printout of the rendered jewelry piece can be handed to the customer.
‘Virtual reality’ glasses and a control glove would allow the customer to ‘pick up’ the jewelry, ‘hold’ it in their hands while looking at it and turning it around, see a close up view and so on. If the store has not yet bought the code for that particular model or combination a quick call is made to the issuing company’s phone number or internet web site address, the model number typed in and an access code given. The jeweler then types that in and the 3-D prototyping system quickly turns out a finished wax model ready for burnout in the customer’s size. And that even before they come out with machines that turn out the finished gold jewelry ready for setting.