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The Museum of London, in partnership with the Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre (JIIC) at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, is using Delcam’s ArtCAM artistic CADCAM software to investigate the Cheapside Hoard of Elizabethan and Jacobean jewellery to discover more about the methods that could have been used to create the pieces.  

Dr Ann-Marie Carey, a research fellow at JIIC, worked with Hazel Forsyth, senior curator of the medieval and post-medieval collections at the Museum of London, and Keith Adcock, a senior CADCAM technologist at JIIC on the project.

Because some of the collection had suffered significant deterioration over the years, before the team could determine how some of the pieces were created it needed to visualise how they would have looked by either partially or completely recreating them. To do this, the team utilised a range of techniques, including using photographs to help recreate objects in CAD, laser scanning the pieces or a combination of both.

One of the Cheapside Hoard pieces to suffer considerable corrosion was a gild brass verge watch signed by G Ferlite. This item could not be laser scanned easily as laser scanners do not work well with shiny objects. The scan results needed CAD interpretation and enhancement and so the team turned to Delcam and its ArtCAM software. The watch face was recreated with ArtCAM Jewelsmith.

Watch-face application

  • Adcock imported a photograph of the watch face and used ArtCAM’s relief-from-image tool to create a model surface; this removed the need to trace around every part of the imported image to create the vector artwork.
  • The effects of the corrosion on some areas — such as the day dial on the right-hand side of the watch face — meant that some of the automatically generated reliefs needed to be modified. Adcock used ArtCAM’s advanced vector drawing tools to trace quickly around the parts he wanted to edit. These areas were remodelled in ArtCAM and combined with the reliefs generated from the scan data
  • Smoothing tools were then used to soften the surface finish before the complete model was rendered in ArtCAM to show the piece as it would have looked prior to receiving its enamel finish
  • The next step was to create a physical model of the piece with 3D printing. Support structures were added to the ArtCAM model and the complete design supplied to the printer.
  • Adcock said: ‘ArtCAM is absolutely fabulous for interpreting photographs and creating textures.’

Delcam supplies software and services that help manufacturing companies to maximise their profitability by increasing productivity, improving quality and reducing lead times. The company is the world's largest specialist supplier of computer-aided machining software, with its PowerMILL, FeatureCAM, Partmaker and ArtCAM programs making up the most comprehensive range of CAM systems from any developer.

This broad selection allows Delcam to offer a CAM system capable of machining virtually any product, in any material on any type of equipment. Delcam also develops product design, tooling design and quality control programs. The unique Tribrid Modelling approach to design incorporates solid modelling, surface modelling and triangle modelling in a single program, enabling complete design and reverse engineering projects to be undertaken without transferring data between software.

Delcam's Powerinspect offers fast, reliable comparison of parts, prototypes and tooling against CAD data on all types of inspection equipment and even on machine tools. This versatility has made it the world's leading hardware-independent inspection software. Related programs are available for checking machine tool set-up and part location. Delcam software is used in over 80 countries worldwide by around 40,000 organisations, from large multi-nationals to small sub-contractors, in industries including aerospace, automotive, dental, engineering, footwear, medical and toolmaking.

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