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Materials for ring[s]

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Materials for ring[s]

Unread postAuthor: inonickname » Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:04 am

I'm in the process of designing, making, and finishing a ring for my girlfriends birthday. I have a few months so it wont be a rushed process.

I was thinking along the lines of something like:

A highly polished sterling silver band, perhaps engraved then the engravings embossed with gold leaf and polished.

Damascus steel, polished

Mokume gane, polished

Or a combination of the above.

It depends on the style of ring and materials if I will cut it from a solid block or from a brazed strip or cast. I'm not planning on setting a stone into it unless something comes up. I have the tools and facilities to do any casting, turning, polishing, engraving etc.

Any suggestions on styles/techniques/materials and availability (eg. where would I buy a small block of plain sterling silver), or anything else?

Thanks guys
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Unread postAuthor: qwerty » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:18 am

Why not speak to a jewellers, i'm not sure if they turn their own rings but if they did i'm sure you could get some tips from them and maybe some materials.
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Unread postAuthor: Insomniac » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:40 am

I did Art Metal for a couple of years at school, so I know a couple of the basics... Look up jewellery supplies in the phonebook or online and you should be able to find a source of small amounts of various metals. You're going to need a ring mandrel and a nylon or leather mallet at a bare minimum. Oxy/propane torches or similar are also extremely useful.

Also, I suggest you buy a fair bit of cheaper material to practice on. Try nickel silver (It's also called German silver). It's a bit different to work with than real silver (which I've never actually used), but it allows you to practice the technique cheaply. Plus the end work usually looks pretty nice anyway... Here's a very simple design I made for school... (probably would have been the third or fourth ring I'd made).

Image

If nothing else, practice making loads of simple band rings just so you get a feel for how the size of a ring changes as you work it... Unless you're very skilled or the ring is of a simple design, resizing it will usually leave it looking a bit worse than it would have beforehand.
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Unread postAuthor: inonickname » Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:28 am

Thanks for that.

I'll probably turn a simple tapered ring mandrel from hard steel and one like this to use with my lathe.

I have some experience with rings made from strips- albeit brass. I'm not happy with the seam. Even though I'm experienced with metal working, you simply cant get a seamless braze with solder that isn't identical to the parent material.

I have a propane torch, a small forge, access to an oxy-acetylene rig, a lathe, tools to lap/buff on the lathe, turning/grinding/sanding tools, carving and engraving tools, cleaning and etching chemicals and so on. I'm willing to spend on any tooling I need.

I'm fairly handy with casting so I should get a hang of the expansion/shrinking quickly enough.

Thanks for the suggestion with the nickel silver. I'll probably go for lost wax casting, so I'll get my hands on some blue wax too.

Thanks for the input.

By the way, any ideas on a multi step cast? Make the main body of the ring, then turn any grooves/markings, then rub wax into them, and then cast a different (but compatible) metal into the smaller waxed details? Perhaps engrave deeply under the details to give some security to the additional metal. I'm also open to the idea of a wooden band (or similar) inset into the ring.
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Unread postAuthor: Heimo » Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:56 am

inonickname wrote:By the way, any ideas on a multi step cast? Make the main body of the ring, then turn any grooves/markings, then rub wax into them, and then cast a different (but compatible) metal into the smaller waxed details? Perhaps engrave deeply under the details to give some security to the additional metal. I'm also open to the idea of a wooden band (or similar) inset into the ring.


having some experience in metal casting, I can tell you that what you are describing will be very hard or rather close to impossible to achieve..

I do however have a different idea how you can achieve the desired effect with ease. Once you engraved the ring or machined groves into it, you can then fill the engravings or groves again through brazing or soldering, and then when done you remove the excess braze or solder through machining, sanding or filing... however you wish. This will leave only the engravings filled with the filler material of your choice. I imagine quite interesting effects cam be achieved...
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Unread postAuthor: inonickname » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:49 am

Heimo wrote:
inonickname wrote:By the way, any ideas on a multi step cast? Make the main body of the ring, then turn any grooves/markings, then rub wax into them, and then cast a different (but compatible) metal into the smaller waxed details? Perhaps engrave deeply under the details to give some security to the additional metal. I'm also open to the idea of a wooden band (or similar) inset into the ring.


having some experience in metal casting, I can tell you that what you are describing will be very hard or rather close to impossible to achieve..

I do however have a different idea how you can achieve the desired effect with ease. Once you engraved the ring or machined groves into it, you can then fill the engravings or groves again through brazing or soldering, and then when done you remove the excess braze or solder through machining, sanding or filing... however you wish. This will leave only the engravings filled with the filler material of your choice. I imagine quite interesting effects cam be achieved...


Having some experience with casting, I can agree... It would have problems, such as the metal cooling too quickly then contracting as it cools, probably coming off and leaving gaps. But brazing onto a hot ring is a much better idea, then take off the excess and polish on the lathe. Great idea. Plus, much more intricate and smaller designs could be made.
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Unread postAuthor: ilovefire » Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:57 am

i have done that before but the first metal you use has to have a higher melting point than the second i first used chromium cobalt and the second i think was brass or whatever dollar coins are made of, just as long as you have something for the next metal to grip on to then it should work fine and cast extra so there isn't any bubbles or none casted groves, good luck
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why make it if it dosent shoot?
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Unread postAuthor: Fnord » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:17 pm

Neoprene or high temp red silicone.
Wait... oh.

If you want some cheap silver to practice on, check out your local goodwill before you buy any online. Sometimes people donate stuff not realising what it is. I found a bowl made of some type of silver alloy, and though it wasn't marked, it was soft enough to lead me to believe it was probably a 95/5 Ag/Cu alloy.

20 oz for $3.50... can't beat that.

I was going to try something from bronze once, but gave up when I kept getting bubbles in the mold somehow. I think the wax I used was soaking in and not evaporating during the baking phase.
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Last edited by Fnord on Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postAuthor: Heimo » Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:55 pm

Fnord wrote:
I was going to try something from bronze once, but gave up when I kept getting bubbles in the mold somehow. I think the wax I used was soaking in and not evaporating during the baking phase.


your problem was probably caused by incorrect burn-out... either not long enough or not hot enough...

725°C is the recommended burn-out temperature for plaster based investments and depending upon the mold size burn-out could easily take 24 hours or more...
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:44 pm

a ring for my girlfriends birthday


Why not take a simple rubber band and wrap it tightly around your scrotum? Ultimately it will affect your life in the same way :)

Cynicism aside, the way I went about it was leave the jewellery to the jewellers and fabricated the container. Adds a personal touch while avoiding accusations of cheapness.
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Unread postAuthor: Technician1002 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:52 pm

This 3 part video shows how to weld a chainsaw blade into a forged knife. The 3rd part of the video shows the final result and it is an impressive work of art.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjDfKNn-PzE[/youtube]
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