"I learned about Rapid Prototyping and about how large manufacturers were using CAD/CAM to produce perfect master models. I researched all the CAD products at the time and chose form•Z due to several recommendations from those in the rapid prototyping field as to its intuitive modeling, relative ease of learning, and relative low cost."
Here's how it works when making a ring: Pollack starts by creating the "finger hole cutting tool," which is just an extruded circle of the proper diameter for the finger size. He then places solid models of gemstones which he has created over the years, scaled to the sizes being used. Then he creates the ring itself usually by extruding the profile from which he subtracts the finger hole cutting tool. The process is a union of craft and the understanding of technology.
"The shank thickness, prong diameter and length, stone placement and angles, etc. are all built into the model based on my knowledge as a goldsmith, but the numeric entry allowed by form•Z makes these inputs accurate to the specific stones being used."
Once the model is finished, Pollack saves the file in .stl format for output to Rapid Prototyping equipment. The machines print hot wax in 2D with the third dimension added by the table dropping down and printing the next layer on top of the last until the whole 3D model is built.
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