Every year I see new products that utilize technology in the jewelry industry. This year I would like to recognize a product that has made a significant contribution in the CAD/CAM niche.
ProtoWizard is a specialty product designed for jewelers with CAD software who want to mill their own designs in wax or metal. The software/hardware system was introduced in 2005 and is packaged with the Roland JWX10 mill being sold in the North American jewelry market. According to the inventor, the software program also works with many other CNC mills suitable for the jewelry and they will add compatibility for other brands as needed.
Most of the jewelers who are already involved with CNC milling know about this program and whether they are using it or not, would agree that it is a valuable tool. ProtoWizard uses a simple 8-9 step procedure that take you through the process with jewelry specific terms and graphics even the beginner can understand.
The user interface below illustrates how the object will be oriented and supported while the other steps take you through the selection of tools types, resolution and other operations.
ProtoWizard utilizes holding fixtures designed for jewelry which provides sufficient flexibility for the wide variety of complex jewelry geometries
Very little technical support is needed and can be supplied by ProtoWizard directly or one of many re-sellers. There is also an excellent Forum available for the community of users to communicate about how to best use the system.
In a relatively short period of time and at a very reasonable price, ProtoWizard has helped hundreds of jewelers to understand the milling process by removing the intimidation often found in traditional software. By keeping the program open and available to many tool brands, they have also enabled the sales of a variety of CNC machines. There many other good options out there for CNC mills and some are certainly more comprehensive than ProtoWizard but, for the novice getting started who wants to learn on his own, this program is the A3DM Best Choice of 2007