CAD stands for Computer-Aided Design. Many experts believe it is the technology that will be the primary process of jewelry design and manufacturing in the near future. As technology progressed, it became possible to create three-dimensional “models” of virtually any design within the computer environment.
For the bench jeweler, CAD modeling onscreen has much in common with lost wax casting and shares similar benefits as well. Once the virtual model is finished to the technician’s desire, the CAD file may be sent to a CAM machine or 3D printer for producing a model.
There are many advantages of CAD and 3D printing over traditional manufacturing methods. CAD files can also be copied, changed, and saved as often as the designer chooses. A model can be designed and saved, then redesigned to allow for a limitless set of variations on the original design.
In addition to its’ manufacturing advantages, CAD software works in tandem with high-tech rendering software to make spectacular realistic images of jewelry models before the actual piece is made.
The 3D printing is the process of building a three-dimensional object from a CAD file or 3D model. The three-dimensional object is usually created by successively adding material layer by layer until the object is completed. This is why it is also called additive manufacturing.
3D printing will produce a real, solid piece of jewelry with a smooth surface. The object can also be finished manually with post-processing depending on your desires.