Jewellery Focus Article – Casting: Are Manufacturers Matching the Retailers into the Future?

9 December, 2019

As I go through my backlog of good articles about jewellery CAD, I found this unlikely candidate for my sharing here.

Every so often, it is good to hear the counterpoint opinion on jewellery CAD, especially from those who have the expertise to know what they’re talking about. Here is a critical opinion of CAD training from Mike Hurst of Jewellery Casting Scotland.

My opinions on the article after the break:


Jewellery Focus Article – Casting: Are Manufacturers Matching the Retailers into the Future?

In all honesty, I can sympathise with Mike Hurst’s opinions on the quality of training too many budding CAD designers receive. The problem when CAD software vendors train users in the software they sell is that their training becomes a sales pitch as much as a practical guide. It is in their interests to show the best and latest features, not necessarily what the users need to know to be able to make the kinds of jewellery they want to make.

Similarly, higher education and independent short courses both have their issues as well. Too many higher education training providers have their hands tied by the curriculum and time restrictions, forcing them to only deliver what there is the time and resources to deliver. And in both higher education and short courses, there is a temptation to teach students lists of tools or recipes for making a specific thing, with little grounding in what needs to be done to a model in order to make that model work as a casting.

I’ve heard similar complaints from other casters before, and even had arguments with them in panel discussions (Hean Studio, I’m looking at you and Apple). In both cases, I’ve simply taken their criticisms, and made adjustments to my own training courses, both privately at any location where I write courses and deliver training.

Because of their concerns, I consider teaching jewellery tolerances a crucial part of CAD training. I also consider manufacturing experience at the jeweller’s bench and with casting to be an essential part of learning to use 3D CAD to make models suitable for production. After all, I used to work in casting myself, and it’s the least I can do for the long-suffering professional jewellery casting companies.


Jack Meyer

Bespoke jewellery designer, and specialist in jewellery CAD/CAM and emergent technologies that affect jewellery.

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