GemCad Installation Notes for New Users
by Bob Keller
The GemCad DOS software (GemCad, GemRay, GemFrame and GemFlick) is an aging suite of gemstone design tools which were written in C and developed by Robert Strickland for the DOS environment. Now available to the faceting community at large as freeware, the GemCad DOS applications can be run on modern personal computers under most Windows systems as a DOS Window aka a 'DOS Box'.
GemCad has become the hands down, defacto standard in gemstone design tools and .gem format design files can be readily exchanged among GemCad users. To help provide some perspective on how much things have changed since GemCad was developed back in the early 1990's, here is an excerpt from the GemCad Users Manual describing hardware and software requirements:
GemCad runs on an IBM PC™ or compatible with at least 512KB of memory and VGA, EGA, Hercules™ or CGA graphics adapter card. (The CGA resolution of 640X200 is a bit sparse, but is sufficient for many designs.) An 80x87 numeric co-processor is strongly recommended but not required. A hard disk is also strongly recommended. GemCad supports a Microsoft Mouse or compatible. The driver supplied with your mouse (such as MOUSE.COM) must be loaded before running GemCad. This is most commonly done in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file, but may be done anytime at the DOS prompt. GemCad will not work with a MOUSE.SYS device driver such as is loaded in the CONFIG.SYS file.
The GemCad DOS suite (GemCad, GemRay, GemFrame and GemFlick) of software was originally distributed on floppy disk and is also available online as a downloadable Zip compressed archive, gemcad.zip. This compressed archive requires the user to have proprietary Zip decompression software to install it. WinZip is a popular Windows Zip compression application which is available online as a freeware evaluation version.
An alternate Windows installer for the GemCad DOS suite has been provided on this CD. gemcad_setup.exe installs the same file set as gemcad.zip, but it does not require the user to have Zip decompression software resident on their systems. This alternate GemCad installer also automatically adds shortcuts to the GemCad suite programs to the Windows Start/Programs Menu and should help facilitate GemCad installation for novice users.
Whether you unZip or use the Windows setup installer, several reference files of note are installed on your drive along with the GemCad executables. Menus.txt and Quickref.txt are handy command summaries that you'll probably want to print out and keep around as quick reference pages. Readme.txt is a doc file introducing GemCad, providing license and copyright information, detailed DOS environment installation instructions, and version/bug fix details.
Robert Strickland has more recently developed a GemCad Printer Utility for Windows, which can be used independently of the GemCad DOS Suite of design tools to view and print out GemCad design files (.gem format files). The installer the GemCad Printer Utility for Windows is gp094.exe. Once installed, you can configure Windows to use this utility as the default viewer and executable for .gem extension files via the Windows Start/Settings/Folder Options/File Types menu.
You can pick GemCad design files off this CD to store on your hard drive one or several at a time by right clicking on them with your mouse and using regular Windows/Explorer copy and paste techniques to transfer them. However, if you would like to transfer all of the GemCad design files on this CD to your hard drive or other media, you can run the Windows installer gems_setup.exe to accomplish that with dispatch.
The dead tree format docs formerly provided to registered users of the GemCad software have been replaced with online documentation in HTML format at Robert Strickland's GemCad web site. Robert's GemCad docs are reproduced on this CD in their entirety and include the GemCad Reference Manual, the GemRay Reference Manual and the GemCad Print Utility for Windows Reference Manual.
If you are stumped with a GemCad related question, you are welcome and will likely to find an answer regarding it from the many GemCad using members of the AFMS Faceters List.