Aug 3, 2011

Delcam's ArtCAM Pro aids move from traditional to digital engraving

With Delcam’s ArtCAM Pro, Howard Bros Engraving has taken the traditional engraver’s art and transferred it into the digital age to create highly-detailed work. Based in the heart of Birmingham’s jewellery quarter, Howard Bros creates an array of items for its customers, from jewellery, minting dies, and electrodes for spark erosion, to foil and embossing dies. To see how, go to www.delcam.tv/howardbros.

Howard Bros has worked with Delcam from the earliest days of ArtCAM. "We have always had a good relationship with Delcam and have been involved with the beta testing of the software,” said CADCAM Manager, Dillon Evitts, who spent six years training as a jewellery designer and learning hand engraving before joining the company.

"ArtCAM is fantastic for building very complex models as they can be made up from a number of layers,” he commented. "We can then just add and remove sections. If the customer doesn’t like what he sees, aspects can be taken from one layer and incorporated into another to produce exactly the job that is required.”

Howard Bros initially supplied customers in and around Birmingham but, over time and with the investment in CNC machines and ArtCAM, its work can now be found as far away as South Asia. One such example is a recently-commissioned project for the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Howard Bros was asked to create nine sets of honorary breast stars and sash badges including one by order of the King of Bhutan, which is the highest honour that can be granted to individuals in the country. The company was given one month to create all of the solid-silver, 24-carat gold-plated pieces.

Working from pdfs of Corel Draw artwork, Mr. Evitts imported the work into the ArtCAM software and set about creating the three-dimensional artwork. "It doesn’t take me very long to model the pieces in ArtCAM because I am so familiar with it,” he claimed. "Some of these pieces only took me a couple of hours to model. ArtCAM can mirror vector artwork that I create, saving me enormous amounts of modelling time. I also like how you can limit sculpting to where a specific colour appears. What takes the time is machining. The Gyalpo medal, for example, took 48 hours of solid machining because of the level of accuracy that was required.”

"ArtCAM has really got everything that you need for a project of this complexity, especially the latest version,” he added. "ArtCAM is used on 100% of the work that comes in. We’ve got 10 CNC machining centres that run 24 hours a day, 7days a week and they are all programmed with ArtCAM.”