Yikes! Spring 2012 already!

So I haven’t posted here in a really long time. For that I apologize but I have been so busy with the Computer Aided Design (CAD) of jewelry that another several hours of writing for my blog was looking daunting. The CAD thing is really taken off. I am getting referrals and I have been working with a couple of local jewelers producing unusual “one off” designs. During last August, I visited Moline, Illinois (you know, the home of that Green farm tractor company) for further training on the Matrix software. At the same time I also learned how to use the REVO wax milling machine. I am now the proud owner of a REVO 3D wax milling machine which is prominently displayed in the showroom area of my shop. I am the only upstate NY jeweler (outside of NYC) with this capability.

This 250lb machine with its attached dedicated computer looks a little like high tech medical gear. After I have designed something in the Matrix Jewelry CAD program, I put it on a thumb drive and transfer it to the mill computer. I next put a block of wax in a holder that is able to rotate continuously along an axis, and move forward and back, left and right. I put horizontal and vertical drill bits into the “head”, check the lubricating fluid, “and away we go!” Milling time can be several minutes or multiple hours, but the end result is a beautifully carved wax model ready to be cast. The real beauty of CAD design is everything is perfectly straight, evenly spaced, stones fitting exactly, no waste and no time spent searching and fitting parts.

A few weeks ago I returned to Gem Vision in Moline Illinois, to take more training in an upgrade to the Matrix program from v6.3 to v7. The major change is something called T-Splines. T-Splines is like modeling in liquid (on the computer). You can grab a point and pull or twist to yield a very “organic” result. There were several other changes in Version 7 with surface textures and rendering. One thing that makes working with CAD design easy for the customer is when I have finished a design, I can render it to look like a photograph of the finished item. Imagine seeing a pendent of your design in a photo before it is produced, in white gold, set with diamonds and rubies, with shadows, looking 3D placed against a background of polished cherry burl wood. Oh, don’t like it in white gold, here it is in yellow gold (or even copper, lead and plastic) set with black diamonds and opals. Maybe it will look better against a background of grass. Changes are pretty instant. I can even put your ring design on the finger of a hand so you can visualize how it will look on your own paw!

So today I have posted several of my recent designs in the portfolio section. It was a difficult decision to decide which of the many designs I would like to show on my website. I hope that you like what you see. I tell my customers the coolest thing about a CAD ring is that they will be the only one on Earth with their particular design!

Here are a couple of my current projects just the way they look in Matrix:

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