Using CAD

Using CAD

Written by Jenna Lawson on 8 August 2013

CAD is a computer aided design program which is used to draw designs which are drawn into 3D objects being able to be cast into metal. 

CAD was originally used to design aerospace in the 60’s, they were finding hand and machined tools weren’t accurate enough, the Car industry began to use this new way of working. Gradually more areas of product design have worked with CAD along with the jewellery industry too.

The precision of CAD can allow the maker to create delicate details and replications to designs which if made by hand would mean huge wastage of metal or increased time for the goldsmith to make. Here in the studio we use CAD in a very different way to most jewellers, we use it as an additional tool so very often making elements of designs on CAD with our goldsmiths working with the cast piece and handmaking the additional elements to the design.

Designer Working On CAD Engagement Ring

We also work in a very different way to other jewellers as each of our rings are unique we don’t cast numbers of each CAD design so each CAD drawing is made for each customer just like our goldsmiths hand making here in the studio. We do find organic and twisting designs always look best when they are handmade here in our studio as the goldsmith can bend the metal with his hands keeping the design organic and natural.

The CAD drawing is created here in our studio using the various tools on the computer program, Once the CAD drawing has been made we always talk the drawing through with one of our goldsmiths to ensure that the drawing will hold the stones securely and the details of the design is made on CAD just as we would hand make a ring here in our studio. For instance a lot of cast jewellery may be hollow or be made a little thinner than usual whereas we ensure the pieces are made solid just like we do here in the studio.

Once the CAD drawing has been made and checked we then send the file across to our casting company who will then use a rapid prototyping machine which brings the CAD model into a physical reality. A rapid prototyping machine is a complex machine which creates layers of resin to create a 3D object of the CAD file. This resin is then used to create a mould, the molten metal is then poured into the mould.

The metal object is in a rough form so comes back to our goldsmiths here in the studio who then work with the metal finishing the piece of jewellery into a beautiful enagagement ring.