Computer Graphics World

September/October 2014

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s e p t e m b e r . o c t o b e r 2 0 1 4 c g w 3 5 C A D / C A M them today can be rather dull compared to the days before CAD/CAM infiltrated this mar- ket. The reason, he says, is due to the fact that unscrupulous manufactures are able to use the technology to make a quick buck by designing and manu- facturing jewelry that is "pure crap" in terms of quality, since less metal is being used (yet the savings are not being passed on to customers). As with any technology, there is that double-edge sword: While it can be used to enhance the process and make it better, there are those who find a way to cheat the system – in this case, cheating the amount of metal used in the jewelry. "You have a devise now where you can design a piece that is one-thousandth of a mil- limeter thinner. Before you know it, you are holding a piece of jewelry that may look like some- thing you had five years ago, but structurally it is nowhere near the quality or strength," says Cuellar. "Two percent of what you see today is actually of good quality compared to what was created when master jew- elers treated their work as art." However, Cuellar notes that CAD/CAM can be used to make a product even better. While there is always room in com- puters for human error (the old principle of "garbage in, garbage out"), it is far easier for a com- puter to replicate an item with minute, exact measurements than it is for even the best master jeweler and his fallible human eyes. "Using CAD/CAM gives me the ability to deliver an incredibly precise piece of jewelry to the customer that is exactly what they are paying for," he says. Cuellar believes the next step for this technology will be the transition to metal 3D printing, eliminating the wax molds and casting process altogether. "The ability to pour in a near-perfect vacuum for our purposes so we can create a non-porous piece of jewelry will be like finding the Holy Grail for the industry," he says. The buy-in for this new machine is substantial (first reports put the machines at $250,000), though Cuellar says the machine will pay for itself in other cost savings. Aer all, many contend that jewelry is a wise investment. ¢ Douglas King is a freelance writer and producer based in Dallas. He has worked in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years, including time spent as a creative director for a game developer, product development manager, and writer/director for film and television. USING CAD/CAM TO CREATE JEWELRY IS MORE EFFICIENT, LEAVING MORE TIME FOR THE CREATIVE DESIGN WORK.

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