An artistic piece of jewelry can never be possible without proper customization and creative modifications done to an intricate design. But this is easier said than done. For years (read it as ‘for hundreds of years’) jewelers have been putting in lots of effort and time to create those magnificent rings, pendants, and earrings that people love to flaunt. This was because they used old-world-techniques that needed lots of time and efforts even then designs were most improbable until they were actually created.
However, the scenario has dramatically changed ever since Computer Aided Design or CAD and Computer Aided Manufacturing or CAM has come into being. These sophisticated methods have introduced a whole new world of newer, better, and more innovative possibilities. What the industry now has is the designs that go beyond imagination maintaining highest quality standards. This is why it is now highly recommended to learn the latest CAD techniques and give still newer dimensions to artistry.
How jewelry is made? What is the difference between manual and CAM approach?
Before taking a look at the benefits of this new age jewelry customization technique, it is a must to understand the very process of custom designing. If you’re new to the field and have no idea how it is done, you need to learn this simple little fact at first, before you even decide to learn the skill or take a plunge into the creative industry. Most of the times, jewelry is created through a process called ‘lost wax casting’. In this method, a skillful designer will hand carve a jewelry prototype from a mold of wax with the help of scalpels and knives. The wax prototype we are talking about is generally known as ‘model’ and is first placed in a flask. On to it, plaster known as ‘investment’ in the industry jargon, is poured from above to cover the entire model. Once, this step is done, one has to wait for the investment to harden up creating an impression of the model on the inside part of the flask which is an exact replica of the model. Now the wax model is burned which leaves a cavity inside the flask that is then used for jewelry designing.
With the help of vacuum or centrifugal casting method molten metal is added into the flask. After the cooling and hardening of the metal, the investment is broken and you are left with the jewelry casting in its un-finished form which is then filed, polished and made ready for assembly. From gemstone inclusions to welding of some other precious metal parts into the casting are done to bring the piece to finality.
If custom designing is done manually through the process of hand carving, one has to do it with lots of effort and patience right onto the wax prototype. This is the oldest known method but the only trouble with it is that it cannot maintain that level of precision that computer-aided method offers. It is an obvious that one cannot create exact same pattern the second time. There will always be a little change howsoever slight it may be; it will be there. On the other hand, the computerized method will be far more efficient and along with precision, it offers far more design possibilities. The quality is of course well maintained and the end product looks far more sophisticated with lesser chance of breakage or gem loss and other problems that hand carving often comes across.
What is CAD? Why you need to invest in learning it?
Now, when you’re aware of the difference between manually done and mechanized method of jewelry creation and customization and the benefits of computerized manufacturing, it is time to understand what is CAD and why it is the need of the time. CAD or Computer Aided Design is a most modern and most ground-breaking modeling process that involves advanced software throughout the creative process as the co-ordinates are plotted for mechanical drawings using the software. Once the drawings are ready, they are then exported to different types of prototyping machines known as CNC mills or growing machines in the industry jargon. The main job of CNC mills is to cut out the material from the wax block in order to make the jewelry model. For this, the machines layer up the materials from one side to the other quite in the same way as a printer works in creating models. The best part of it is the precision. The models created through this process show amazing precision that no human can even imagine leave aside showing while hand carving a jewelry model. Furthermore, design possibilities cross all bounds as 3D-CAD software lets the designer create the parts and elements of the design that cannot be created in any way through other methods or with outmoded tools.
3D-CAD jewelry designing is also great because it offers a computer rendering of the jewelry piece before it is actually created or finally completed. This is really beneficial in case one desires changes or alterations. While the old methods would only offer counter sketches that doesn’t provide you with the final picture but only the concept and imagination of the designer which is almost always subject to change on the final creation. This new age method gives you a chance of viewing a photo-realistic image of a jewel piece which is far more satisfactory than the crude counter sketches. This is not only beneficial for the jeweler but also for the buyer. While one gets a proper target to work upon, other gets to know what has to be expected and the expectation won’t get any uncharted alterations!