Computer Aided Design / Manufacture
CAD is the acronym for Computer Aided Design. Seldom used is CADD which is Computer Aided Design and Drafting. I often (and probably incorrectly) also tend to use the phrase Computer Assisted Design. No one has shot me yet…
50 some years ago when I was studying engineering, it was called “Drafting” and drawings were created using pencil and sheets of paper. Also, T-squares, triangles, large drawing boards and tables. It was very hardware intensive. I had all the tools.
Then I discovered computers.
Electronic CAD was originally a two dimensional drawing system. Then it became a three dimensional drawing system. Paper was replaced by video monitors. Output is sent electronically to printer machines.
But CAD is not just a drawing system. Because it is computerized, all types of data management and control has been integrated into CAD making it a powerful fully integrated design system.
My point here is not to describe all features of today’s CAD.
Everything I make at KautzCraft is now drawn using Three Dimensional (3D) CAD. Zero need for 2D CAD as the 3D version can output 2D drawings when required.
KautzCraft utilizes many different CAD “packages” made by different manufacturers. All create three dimensional output for a process called Computer Assisted Manufacturing (CAM)
Siemens says: “Computer aided manufacturing (CAM) commonly refers to the use of numerical control (NC) computer software applications to create detailed instructions (G-code) that drive computer numerical control (CNC) machine tools for manufacturing parts."
That’s what I do here at KautzCraft.
I have several CNC controlled 3 and 4 axis milling machines for jewelry wax carving and metal machining. I have a CNC overhead 3 axis router for wood carving. I have four CNC controlled FDM 3D printers. And one resin DLP 3D printer.
All those machines require CAD and CAM through many different computer systems to manufacture most if not all the products produced here at KautzCraft.
There are a few items I make totally by hand, and all CAD/CAM products must be assembled and finished with hand labor.
KautzCraft wouldn’t exist without the heavy dependence on todays’ computers and the various types software that is operating on them.
In my opinion, CAD/CAM is the way the creative world works today. It helps me make high quality, finely detailed products I could never produce by primitive manual methods.
I have a progressive disability (PN) that now limits many of my physical abilities. That’s not an excuse. I designed my computer automation to extend my skills past my limitations. It’s been my plan to take every advantage of creative computer automation tools. The plan is working just fine.
KautzCraft is a small hobby type business, making creative, professional quality products for the people who love what I create. Exactly how those products are made is not an important point in my marketing effort. I use the best tools and methods I have available. It’s the quality of the results where I judge my work.
I like to think, so do my customers.
Resolution - New Year 2019
Year of the pig
Hard for me to believe, another year has ticked off the calendar and it is 2019AD. I am making silver jewelry, but not at the rate I previously did. Mostly because I have been experimenting with 3D printing to make the casting master models.
I have the printing working very well after much experimentation. I have a repeatable printing process on which I can now depend. The problem was finding the correct resin material used for printing the model that would burn out of the investment without damaging the mold. That too has been resolved.
I can now produce 3D print models I can cast without issues.
I have not abandoned wax for model making. The fine detail achievable in carving wax with CNC micro machining cannot be equaled with 3D printing. Printing does produce models that cannot be machined in 3 or 4 axis CNC machining. The two methods compliment each other.
Both processes required the model to be designed in 3D CAD drawing software. I have three options in my studio for the CAD drawings.
It’s looking good that 2019 will be a great year for new designs in my silver work. I have design and production tools on which I can rely. It’s just up to me to be creative! That’s my New Year's Resolution…
I am constantly refining my process of using three-dimensional printing to create jewelry objects. The road is difficult as I explained in a previous post. I only offer high quality silver work and the three-dimensional printing has not come up to my standards in its ability to withstand the casting process. The dimensional printed silver castings come through the investment process looking terrible.
It is a process all big silver (and gold) cast jewelry makers are using, so it is a viable process with the right technique and investment in equipment. One jeweler in Bellingham, Washington, Jim Binnion (https://mokume-gane.com/about/jim-binnion/) Has a solution using vacuum curing of the resin master.
Jim and I have a very similar background (Navy duty, electronics) and even look the similar in appearance. But Jim is a true professional and teacher of the art and far advance from anything I will ever produce in jewelry. Follow the link (above) and look at the man and his mokume-gane work. I don’t place myself in the same league (or price range) as Jim, but it is clear to me we have the same inquisitive mind about the “why” of the things we do and make.
Jim and I have only briefly communicated. We don’t know each other beyond that. I think he deserves a mention here in KautzCraft Studio.
I am adapting his resin cure process and will be (hopefully) displaying my improved three-dimensional printing results here in KautzCraft Studio. There are Companion Links posted in the left column that will lead to my workshop activities – Dimensional Print and Dimensional Art, Studios.
KautzCraft is now involved in some very nice woodworking projects. My vision of my work is not limited by defined material restraints. I enjoy working with a great variety of base materials. Currently I am working on some carved wood boxes or chests. Chest is a fancy name for a box with a lid. Ha!
Jewelry and silverwork is still one of my hot areas of interest. That will continue for a long time.
However, I can do some very nice woodworking when I put my mind and skills to work. It’s another craft to which many people dedicate their lives. I was fortunate to have had a grandfather that fits that description. I know that he is the reason for my interest and skills.
Woodworking is different than basic construction carpentry. I can do either. I love the skills in construction carpentry as much as fine woodworking. One builds the space where the other one is kept. Occasionally they get joined together in the same project. It’s called finish carpentry. That’s another art form that’s all about the presentation.
I suppose I could have gone in that direction as a career, but I was born a boomer at the end of the industrial era. Shop work was a requirement when I was in junior high school, but was thrown out of the high schools when I arrived and moved into their own isolated cast system of separate facilities. All I can say is, “What were they thinking?” Like it or not, trades were soon called the “dummy schools” and the kids that chose or were directed there by so called “Career Councilors” were shunned by their academia peers. It was and still is a cultural disaster. It has taken 50 years to put pride back into making things.
I pursued the “Scientific” curriculum as I found it the most interesting, but I also really wanted to be making tangible things in a work shop.
Educators of the time must have thought it would be in the best interest of both worlds, but in my opinion it was a horrible separation of manual skills and academia. I can’t change the errors made in the past, but I can enjoy working in my own industrial workshop/art studio with the mindset of an scientific techno nerd. Ha!
Back On Track
Education systems eventually realized the error as they discovered Science and Technology advancement wasn’t a purely academic exercise. Some ONE has to make or create the hardware and systems that stem from the ideas and theories of science. In fact, STEM and STEAM are new acronyms for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. STEAM ads Art and Design to the list.
Today, working with your hands and your mind is the most well rounded career path and “making” is the new catch word to spur innovation and a prosperous future for our next generation.