Over the past 60 years, internationally recognised and well reputed engravers, Howard Bros Engraving Ltd have taken the old engravers art and transferred this into the digital age to create their highly detailed work.
Based in the heart of Birmingham's jewellery quarter, Howard Bros create an array of items for their customers from Harris brush ferrules, jewellery, minting dies, spark erosional electrodes to foil and embossing dies.
CADCAM Manager, Dillon Evitts, comments, "I spent six years training as a jewellery designer and learning hand engraving which gave me the tools I need now with the digital age. I later got the opportunity to work for John Howard, doing what we do now which is CADCAM CNC."
Howard Bros began working with Delcam from the inception of its CADCAM engraving software, ArtCAM. "We have always had a good relationship with Delcam and have been involved with the Beta testing of the software as well as some of the things that we do being developed into the package", says Dillon.
ArtCAM is fantastic for building very complex models as they can be built up with a number of layers. We can then just add and remove sections. If the customer doesn't like what they see, aspects can be taken from one layer and incorporated into another to produce the job that is required."
Howard Bros initially worked with customers in and around Birmingham but over time with the investment in CNC machines and the ArtCAM programme, their work can now be found as far as South Asia.
One such example is the recently commissioned work for the Kingdom of Bhutan, known by the Bhutanese as Druk Yul, which means 'Land of the Dragon'.
Howard Bros were asked to create 9 sets of honorary breast stars and sash badges including one by order of Druk Gyalpo (the King of Bhutan or the Dragon King) which is the highest honour that can be granted to individuals. These badges are only given to those who have devoted a lifetime of service to the King, his country and its people, the Drukpa. Other badges included the highest military medal of honour, the Druk Yugyel (Victory of the Thunder Dragon) and the Druk Wangyel (Great Victory of the Thunder Dragon).
Howard Bros were given one month to create all of the solid silver, 24 carat gold plated pieces. Working from PDFs of Corel Draw artwork, Dillon imported the work into the ArtCAM software and set about creating the three dimensional artwork.
Dillon comments, "It doesn't take me very long to model the pieces in ArtCAM because I am so familiar with it. Some of these pieces only took me a couple of hours to model. ArtCAM can mirror vector artwork that I create saving me enormous 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 we require."
Working at a maximum resolution of four thousand by four thousand pixels, Dillon built up each of his designs using ArtCAM's patent pending layering system. This enabled him to create the separate dies for each piece, with some badges requiring up to 4 separate dies.
ArtCAM has really got everything that you need. ArtCAM is used on 100% of the work that comes in. We've got 10 CNC machining centres that run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and they all run ArtCAM."
For more information on Howard Bros Engraving Ltd please visit their website - www.howardbros.co.uk