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Articles from CAD / CAM EQUIPMENT (103 Articles), CAD / CAM SERVICES (65 Articles)

Interview with Lenrose's David Gabriel


Strengths and unique selling points?
Flexibility, time saving and the ability to show the client what to expect are the biggest strengths. A jeweller has only two hands so if we can increase the number of jobs he can deliver by eliminating hours of hand making and wasted material, we can dramatically reduce the cost.

What is the typical turn around time for creations?
This depends on the size and complexity of the design. On average we try to submit images within 3-4 working days and then work with the client through any changes that might be needed. Since the whole process is in-house, there is no wasted time waiting for CAD or casts to arrive from overseas or external contractors. It’s becoming more common for clients to do their own CAD drawings, in which case the printing and casting can be achieved in as little as 24 hours.

What can affect this timing?
In general, a lack of information from the client is the biggest delaying factor. Once images are created to suit the specifications supplied, it is not uncommon for the client to “tweak” the design which requires additional CAD work. Once the design is approved, printing and casting are usually complete within 48 hours.

What formats does your software accept?
All the commonly used formats that standard CAD programs accept universally (for example, but not limited to STL, SLC, 3DM, JCD, VTF, OBJ).

What assistance is there for designers?
All our designers are jewellers and are situated in-house at Lenrose. If a client is unsure of the CAD process, we will guide through and help them take their idea from concept to reality. Whatever their level of CAD experience, we are equipped to help. Once a job is initiated, if there are any design issues, we will engage the client and work out a way to best resolve the issue. The key to successful CAD design is communication, and if these channels remain open and effective, designs are successful.

Will you accept and work with client supplied resin/wax models?
Yes. There are, however, many different materials that are being used today, and not all of them can be cast successfully. There is a huge push toward ensuring that all resin type materials are castable, and as time goes on this will happen. 3D printing is still an emerging technology and the pace of development and change is astonishing.

With the advent of new printers can you work with a client to establish the correct casting procedures for their particular model?
Absolutely. At the moment, by far the most universally used and accepted method for 3D printing jewellery models is wax printing. Resin printing is also effective, but still limited by the unpredictable casting result. The latest emerging technology is printing straight to metal.

Although it is still very expensive and not quite at the surface quality required for jewellery, the results are very promising and it seems that ultimately we will be able to print designs in metal that are simply impossible to cast. It promises to be a very exciting future as there are quite literally no items that cannot be made using this method.

Is the client’s model secure, or can it be resold to, or be reused by, other clients?
We pride ourselves on our integrity and our customers are secure in the knowledge their design remains exclusively their property forever. We save all CAD files securely and are happy to provide them to the client at any time at no cost. Lenrose has always operated on this principle.

Do you have a return policy for porous or incomplete products?
Lenrose is the only casting company with a three-pillar promise of quality, service and competitive pricing. Every job, large or small, is of critical importance to us and if it is not 100 per cent correct, we fix it, no questions asked. By having the entire process in-house, there are no finger pointing games. The onus is ours to ensure customer satisfaction.

Do you have print-only services so clients can cast themselves?
We are happy to provide the complete CAD package, or for the customers to use any part of the CAD process they choose. Naturally, we prefer to cast our printed waxes, being a specialist casting company, but if a client wants a wax only, we are happy to provide it to them.

We also do a lot of casting from customers’ files or waxes that have been printed elsewhere. As the resin printers become more affordable, we find that there are more clients that have their own resin printers.

Do you offer in-house completion of a product so that non-bench jeweller CAD designers can expect a finished product?
Although we are a specialist casting company, we have jewellers on staff and can offer a full finish service.

How has CAD/CAM changed the jewellery industry?
More jewellers are realising that CAD is the future and they are becoming involved themselves in CAD design. This is a long and slow uphill battle and will take time for them to become proficient, but it is very positive.

CAD offers a level of flexibility to manufacturing like never before. This translates into a more complete and satisfying customer experience, all the while offering time and material cost savings. Manufacturing individual pieces and master models has never been easier or cheaper.

How is CAD/CAM likely to further evolve?
CAD software will evolve by providing ever more flexibilty in the design process. Libraries of stock components will increase and clients will be able to log in and customise their own designs.

As for CAM, the actual machining of the pieces, this is probably where the greatest and most exciting changes are coming. No longer are we looking for better speed and surface finish, which were always the two main goals for wax print machine suppliers, but a whole new technology has emerged where we can design and print pieces that were previously impossible to manufacture using conventional printing and casting methods. This is printing directly to metal.

In the future, we will be able to print, for example, a hollow platinum wedding band with a honeycomb-like inside support structure. The resulting metal print will be as strong as a solid ring but about ½ the weight (maybe even less), with a surface finish that promises to be comparable to cast pieces. The complexities in design that can be achieved using this technology are astounding.

The challenges for this metal printing at the moment are price and surface finish related. Currently the machines and metal powders required to run them are extremely expensive, and the surface finish is not quite at the level required by jewellers.
But, within a short time, these issues will be resolved, and we believe eventually these machines will be as common as wax printers are today.

The future is certainly exciting for 3D printing.

Strengths and unique selling points?

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