Computer Graphics World

September/October 2014

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34 cgw s e p t e m b e r . o c t o b e r 2 0 1 4 e've all heard that di- amonds are a girl's best friend, but who is the best friend of the artist and crasman who design and cast the jewelry that bedazzles a woman's eye? In this digital age, that honor would have to go to CAD/CAM programs such as 3Design and Gemvision, which offer tools for master jewelers to create some of the finest, precious wearable works of art. At Diamond Cutters Interna- tional, a Houston-based jewelry designer and retailer, owner Fred Cuellar (also known as "The Diamond Guy") and his team of master jewelers use Type3's 3Design and Matrix's Gem- vision together. This is because the designers found that each program provides fine tools and features that complemented each other, such as 3Design V8's dynamic measurement tool in the solid module that provides precise measurements for point to point, point to curve, or point to surface, or any combination, as well as offer a host of pave methodologies. "We use both programs be- cause we did not want to make any compromises," notes Cuellar. All the work begins in 3Design and is finished with Gemvision. "3Design gives us a working skeleton. It allows us to add the detailed features. It is functional but not sexy," says Cuellar. "We go to Gemvision to make it sexy and to check our work. We use one program to check the other one and to ensure that we can make in the real world what we had made in the digital world." He offers this analogy: "Gem- vision says I am a doctor. 3De- sign says I am heart surgeon." Cuellar realized he first needed to switch to a CAD/ CAM solution for this delicate business when his company won the commission to design and produce the 1997 championship rings for the Denver Broncos. Because each ring had to have an individual player's name on it, if the company had tried to produce the casting by hand, it would have been prohibitively time-consuming and, thus, ex- pensive. Instead, by using CAD/ CAM, Cuellar was able to design one master ring and then each player's name separately, which were all later precisely positioned in the CAD program. "As this technology became available, it became obvious to me it was the new toy we had to buy," says Cuellar. In Cuellar's opinion, the only choice for the CAM equipment was the Solidscape high-preci- sion 3D printer. The greatest benefit of adding CAD/CAM to Cuellar's business is the ability to be able to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "We draw during the day, and while we sleep, the machines make the wax. From an efficiency standpoint, it is fantastic, and productivity could not be higher. The time we would have spent carving the wax, we now spend drawing. So, it increases productivity but not necessarily labor." B E D A Z Z L E M E If there is a downside to using CAD/CAM in his business, Cuellar says it is the steep learning curve. He notes that just because someone knows the soware does not mean the person can design jewelry. A person must be a master jewel- er first and then be taught how to use the tools. "Most people quit before mastering it. It is so difficult, it is like P90X [the extreme home fitness regime] on steroids." Alas, Cuellar notes that while the digital tools for making jewelry certainly make the tasks easier and faster, much of the jewelry being designed with DAZZLING DESIGNS W "AS THIS TECHNOLOGY BECAME AVAILABLE, IT BECAME OBVIOUS TO ME IT WAS THE NEW TOY WE HAD TO BUY." CREATING A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND USING DIGITAL TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES BY DOUGLAS KING

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