Frequently Asked Questions 11 – What are Parametric Solid Modelling and Direct Modelling, and How Do They Apply to Jewellery CAD?

Parametric CAD Modelling Animation

A sample of the parametric CAD modelling process as a quick animation (complete with history tree on the right).

(This article is one of my series of Frequently Asked Questions posts. See the rest of the FAQ pages.)

After a discussion with a colleague a few months ago, I went searching around the Internet to find a good definition of parametric history as it applies to product design CAD and jewellery CAD in particular. Unfortunately, after days of searching it appeared no one on the internet has ever bothered to explain this parametric modelling technology in layman’s terms, much less in terms relevant to a jewellery CAD designer. All my searching turned up was either very generic descriptions of parametric or direct modelling, highly technical articles from industrial engineering blogs, or salesmen selling their software without ever getting specific on technical details.

Indeed, during my research of for this article, it seems as if the most technical aspects of parametric and direct CAD modelling have been intentionally simplified to make the user interfaces more friendly for product designers. However, that did not change the fact nobody I had found had ever tried to explain what it is in a clear way before.

In an effort to solve this problem once and for all, I’ll now demystify what parametric solid modelling and its newer cousin direct modelling really are, and how they work with jewellery CAD.


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Frequently Asked Questions Part 4 – When 2 CAD Programs Are Better Than 1 – Jewellery CAD Software Combinations

cog ring courtesy

Finding CAD tool combinations which mesh together (literally). Image courtesy

(Updated 12 Aug 2015)

(This continues my series of Frequently Asked Questions. See the rest of the FAQ pages.)

Today I’d like to take a moment to talk about the commonly practised but controversial subject of combining software packages together.

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Frequently Asked Questions Part 1 – Comparisons Of Jewellery CAD Software on the Market (Updated)

Comparison of CAD and Design Software Used for Jewellery, sample image from 3D CAD

Information and Jewellery CAD comparisons last updated and verified June 2017

(This marks the first of a series of Frequently Asked Questions posts. See the rest of the FAQ pages.)

Over the years, the students in my jewellery CAD courses as well as my private clients have asked me a lot of questions about CAD as it relates to jewellery manufacturing. Many of these questions were often the same. As I thought it better to tailor my answer to each student’s needs, I resisted writing a single standard answer for quite a long time. Then it occurred to me that I could probably answer at least some of the questions all at once, and just fill in the gaps if people wanted to know more.

This is how my series of Frequently Asked Questions began.

On this and subsequent articles in my FAQ series, I will break down the most commonly asked questions from my own particular fields of expertise. If anyone has any more specific questions or is not clear about something mentioned here, just leave a comment below and I’ll add an answer to the entry.

For part 1, we’ll start off with the most common question of them all: “Which jewellery CAD software should I learn?”

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Finger Painting Jewellery (or How to Design a Jewellery CAD Model on a Touch Screen)

While in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across this.

In case you’re wondering, the above software is Firestorm CAD, a new piece of jewellery design software based upon Spaceclaim‘s CAD architecture. Note that Firestorm was designed to work with a mouse and keyboard interface, so this multitouch interface could theoretically be used on any CAD software, with some adjustments.

My thoughts on the above after the break.

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