5 Cast Elements – Ring Series

Part of the course brief was to cast 5 of the same element and make some jewellery with them. This could be 5 in 1 making a bracelet or pendant, or could be a few different individual pieces. I decided to create a series of 5 rings using my cast faceted element. Below are some sketches of the ideas I had.


I designed the faceted pod in CAD and then 3D printed this at home, working out the exact size I was after. Although the CAD program tells you what size the piece is as you’re deigning it, I seem to work way better with the program if I can have the physical copy instead of trying to gauge it with a ruler in my hand and visualising the size. At the time I was experimenting with this, the college 3D printer was broken and I’d already 3D printed a couple of designs from the college printer which I didn’t like. However, using my printer doesn’t give a great finish. It’s perfect for what I need it to do but a lot of clean up is needed before or after if using the piece for casting.

I super glued a brass rod to the plastic piece to create the wax injection chamber then proceeded to make a rubber mould so that I’d be able to cast multiples (as I need 5 identical pieces). I then wax injected the mould which turned out great and sprued up my tree and had it cast.

 

 

The castings were in pretty bad shape, purely because of the 3D printed texture on them. However, using a vice and large file, I pinned the facets into the vice one at a time and filed the surfaces flat which made the pieces look miles better. I then began making my series of rings.

I originally wanted to set some flush settings into a couple of the rings with black and yellow 2mm and 2.5mm C.Z’s, however, I’d only done 5 of these previously and didn’t feel confident doing this without a backup ring in place. Also with time running out, I decided to leave this idea for now but may revisit it later down the line. My other thoughts were to oxidise areas and keum boo others. I’m not a fan of keum boo though so felt this was taking me down a style that didn’t fit my own. My final idea was to set pops of resin to the rings but I didn’t want to rush this with the exhibition approaching and decided for the sake of time and wanting the rings displayed at the exhibition, I’d give them a polish and leave them clean and simple. I’m happy with the results, I think the rings are a lovely design but would like to add a pop of colour later on.

I also granulated some silver then filed these to have a faceted appearance. I soldered these to a couple of the ring shanks. The ring shanks and stems were all given a hammered texture finish also using a ball pein hammer. Below is a little video of 4 of the completed rings in action.

Stevie.

 

 

Brooch Project – Final Piece

For the final brooch choice I picked the score & fold with geometric shape. This piece is in-keeping with the work I’ve done over the year and hopefully will appeal to those looking to be more bold with their brooch/pin.

I used piercing, scoring & folding, oxidising, resin and reticulation techniques for this piece. (Below are the samples).

final 13

  • I used the disc cutter to create the base of the brooch. I used 0.7mm sterling silver sheet. I cut away a geometric shape to add detail to the back and also to allow the wearer to look through all the layers. I also pierced out from 0.7mm silver sheet a square pattern I’d created which includes a geometric shape. I used the score and fold method to bend these squares into the desired, box-like shape and soldered it to the circular base. I oxidised the inside of the square forms and then added to the geometric shape a layer of resin which I gave a yellow pigment to.
  • The Top piece was also cut from the disc cutter but a slightly larger circle was used. I cut a disc from copper sheet and then pierced a geometric shape out of the copper disc which I then added small chips of sterling silver to and melted and reticulated the silver onto the surface. I then added solder to the other side and melted that over the copper to cover it. I didn’t use silver ships as I wasn’t wanting the same ‘reticulated’ effect. I then domed the piece. What I love about reticulating silver onto copper is that it works differently to reticulating straight onto silver. I also love the rose hue it creates.
  • Our lecturer had already made the brooch frame which he then made a rubber mould of and cast multiple times so that everyone in class could make an interchangeable brooch. All I had to do to this was give it a little clean up and add some tube so that a steel pin could be inserted. I also oxidised the inside of the frame and the front rim and left the rest with a satin, silver finish.

 

This project is about getting men into jewellery. The brooches will be on display at the college exhibition on June 13th and then at the Elements exhibition later in the year. They will be available to buy will all proceeds going to charity for testicular cancer. As part of the exhibition we were asked to get men to model the brooches so I had my oldest brother and my 8 year old nephew model the brooch.

Stevie.

Brooch Project – Part 3

I’ve been playing around with samples. Below are some of the techniques I’ve been using. The main brooch frame is sterling silver which I have partly oxidised. I have created a domed top using copper which I have pierced out a geometric shape from. I reticulated pieces of silver on top of the copper and then domed it. I’ve used this top to place over the final samples.

Enamel

Here, I have created enamelled panels which can be swapped out for different colours or patterns.

 

Score and Fold, Reticulation & Textures

Here, I have used the disc cutter to create the base circle. I used a ball pein hammer to create the texture before cutting out the circle (so not to distort the circular shape) then domed it to fit the brooch frame. I then cut out a square pattern from copper. I placed pieces of silver on top and melted them creating this reticulated effect. I then scored and folded them in different directions and soldered to the copper dome.

 

Stone Setting

Below I have set an unusually shaped, synthetic stone. I cut out the base circle using the disc cutter and copper, I then flooded some silver solder on top to give me an idea of how it all would look together in silver, although, I was also contemplating oxidising the base black. I cut some 3mm copper wire and sawed it into 3 equal lengths. I soldered these to the base disc assessing the distance between the 3 pillars by eye and using the stone to gauge how close they should be to hold the stone in place. This was surprisingly pretty easy. I used a triangle needle file to saw into the wires (all at an equal height), just enough to pop the stone into place. Using my flat nose pliers, I pulled back one of the prongs slightly to insert the stone into the grooves and then moved the prong back into place. The stone is nice and secure.

final 10

Score & Fold, Oxidising and Resin

I again, used the disc cutter to create the base of the brooch. I cut away a geometric shape to add detail to the back and also to allow the wearer to look through all the layers. I then pierced out a square pattern I’d created with a geometric shape attached. I used the score and fold method to bend these squares into the desired shape and soldered it to the circular base. I oxidised the inside of the square forms and then added a layer of resin which I gave a yellow pigment to onto the geometric shape.

 

Blog on final piece to follow.

Stevie

Flush Settings

Below is a video and images of a ring I made to practice flush settings with.

Part of the mandatory course work is to do 5 flush settings. I managed to put my 5 attempts into one band. We were given some thick, silver wire to practice with which is what I have used above. I bought some hand stamps a while back and decided to have a little fun and decorate the band with a star embellishment and then set the stones in-between them.

I have used 3 black, 2mm C.Z’s and 2 yellow, 2.5mm C.Z’s for this band.

 

  • I stamped the stars into the metal then created the ring shank.
  • For the 2mm stones, I first drilled through the band with a 1mm drill bit. I found I was having trouble taking the 2mm burr far enough through the metal which ended up being because I needed to go through the band with a slightly larger drill after the first.
  • So I then used a 1.5mm drill bit through the 1mm hole previously drilled and then the 2mm burr had no problems cutting through the metal. (I also applied some oil before burring into the metal).
  • I burred into the band slowly, stopping often to check if the stones girdle (table) was flush/in line with the metal (almost disappearing into the metal). I don’t want the stone sitting above the metal as it cannot be set and if it’s too low it won’t work properly either.
  • Once I’d burred to the correct depth, I placed the stone in the space and gently using my burnishing tool, pushed round the stone. This should press the metal over the stone to secure it in place.flush2

I used the same method with the 2.5mm stones. However, for the drill bit, I used a 2mm drill and then a 2.5mm burr. My lecturer also showed me how to create a ledge to have the stone ‘pop’ into it using a heart burr but I was not brave enough to attempt it. I may give it a go next time though!

Below is the burnishing tool I made to help set the stones using an old drill bit and handle.


RECAP ON HOW TO FLUSH SET STONES

~ 2mm Stone (C.Z)
~ 1mm Drill bit
~ 1.5mm Drill bit
~ 2mm Burr

~ 2.5mm Stone (C.Z)
~ 1.5mm Drill bit
~ 2mm Drill bit
~ 3mm Burr

~ Place stone into the snug fitting which should be sitting with the girdle (table) of the stone almost disappearing under the metal.
~ Use burnishing tool to push the metal round the stone to secure it in place.
~ A Vernier Gauge can also be used to measure the stones and drill bits before use as on occasion, sizes can vary slightly from what they are supposed to be which can affect this setting method.

Stevie

Brooch Project – Part 2

I’ve had a few ideas for the brooch project and some of those ideas are pulling me away from my normal materials which I like. As part of the assessment I need 4 Manufacturing Technique samples so I’ve been considering a handful:

  • Reticulation
  • Keum Boo
  • Enamel
  • Stone Setting
  • Adding Cast Elements
  • Patinas – with platinol, liver of sulfur and ammonia
  • Roll Printing
  • Concrete

Although I’ve done a few samples with brightly coloured enamels, this brooch is particularly aimed at men so I feel using neutral tones and earthy materials would be the best way to entice a man to wear it. Below are a few ideas I had at a random moment when I had no sketchbook!

sketch1

~ The first sketch I was thinking about doming copper. I also wanted to add chips of silver to reticulate on top, leaving an interesting texture on top. I am considering oxidising over the reticualtion using platinol and brushing it all little so that the colour has a worn grey effect. I also wanted to add a strip of keum boo down one side to add a touch of colour and class.

~ The second sketch was a quick and random idea. Pierce out the shapes, dome it and enamel it. Nothing exciting and not something I really like, it was just a quick fire idea.

sketch2

~ Above, I was looking at 2 pieces as one. The top layer would have a geometric shape cut out, it would all be reticulated silver for a nice texture and I would also dome it. The second part would be a flat disc that is secured underneath by the top piece. It would be enamelled dark or oxidised grey. I would create a geometric ‘cup’ that would be filled with a pigmented resin, perhaps a yellow to compliment the grey? Also, I feel yellow is not too bold a colour for a man to try out! I was also considering adding some goldleaf flakes. If that were the case however, yellow would not be the main colour in the cup.

sketch3

~One flat layer. Oxidised disc with a worn grey effect. Solder on a geometric ‘cup’ and fill with cement, securing a tube setting with a stone in place as the cement is drying. The dark, oxidised base, with a pale grey cement and just a little sparkle from a stone I think would look great.

 

Samples to follow soon!

Stevie

Brooch Project – Part 1

I am making a brooch (for MEN!) as part of the Manufacturing Techniques brief. I need to experiment with at least 4 different techniques and the final piece should include 2.

My lecturer made a brooch frame and then had is cast multiple times and handed these out to everyone in class with the aim of this Man Brooch project frame to have interchangeable inserts. I absolutely love this idea and have seen jewellers’ do this with their own jewellery in many different ways in the past and it is something I’d love to try myself at some point with my own, personal line of work. So this is a great way to get some practise in. Thankfully the cast frame has been made to fit a circular disc which can be cut from the disc cutter in class, making the ‘interchangeable‘ part much easier.

Below are a few experiments and samples of ideas. I’m still however, working on the ‘manly’ part, although I love the idea of men stepping outside their comfort zone and wearing something outside of the ‘stereotypical norm’.

Reticulation
Here I have used the disc cutter to cut out some copper. I placed small chips of scrap silver over the copper and began heating until the silver pieces melted and ran and bubbled over the copper surface, creating a lovely texture. This looks slightly rose gold in colour with the copper shining through the silver. I then domed this slightly to fit neatly into the brooch frame.
I would like to try and place a strip on Keum Boo down the piece, however I am unsure whether the keum boo will adhere to the surface securely with the undertone being copper? I feel it is unfinished though, so if keum boo will not work I’d possibly add a stone using a tube setting, or perhaps a cast element? Currently, the piece reminds me of the moon, unexpected but very happy with it.

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Cast Elements
I used the disc cuter to cut a copper circle and then again to cut out a smaller circle, slightly off centre. I used the same ‘reticulation’ technique and domed the circle again to fit snugly into the frame. I looked at inserting cast elements that fit nicely inside the domed piece. Here I looked at setting a stone into the centre of the cast element and then popping this reticulated, domed piece on top, ‘framing’ the cast element. (Excuse the blue-tac stain, was still experimenting with placements).

8


Enamel
Using the reticulated and cut out frame, I looked into adding a pop of colour. What better way to do this than with enamel (haha – Not!) I managed to get lucky with the enamel this time after a few attempts on scrap copper. I used a Mustard Yellow, Blue, Mint Green and then mixed two different shades of purple to create a deep Plum colour. The mint green peeled at one side and turned black but I like this effect even though I cannot explain how it happened. These enamelled discs were cut using the slightly smaller circle on the disc cutter with the larger, domed disc holding them nicely in place.

Score & Fold
Using the previously made samples above as a base, I designed and cut out from copper square forms. As it’s just a sample, I reticulated some silver over the surface of the square form to give the illusion of silver. I then used the score and fold method to angle them in different ways. I have been testing out the placement of this form over the domed circle and adding coloured discs underneath.

 

These are just a few samples and ideas and looking at other techniques to sample, such as Keum boo, Patinas and adding texture using hammers and the rolling mill.

Stevie.

 

 

Creating Rubber Moulds

Last year I created some 3D models using Rhino. These were then 3D printed in wax and then cast in silver. After getting them back this year I used them to create some rubber moulds in order to produce multiples of the same piece. The rubber mould, if made correctly, will produce wax replicas of the original metal master. When the rubber mould has been created successfully, I can use the wax injector to fill the rubber cavity with molten wax. After a few minutes the wax will solidify inside taking the shape of the original piece, that is, if enough wax was injected, to gauge the pressure right it can take a few goes. When the wax replica comes out correctly I can then sprue it up and cast multiples in one go.

  • The first step is to solder a brass sprue to an area on your cast piece, preferably a flat area so no detail of the original is obscured or damaged. If the piece is made of plastic or other material then it can be super-glued to the brass sprue (although, sometimes can drift from the piece). Add a brass ‘cone’ to the end of the sprue creating a channel for the wax to flow through later.

12

  • The college supplies two different sizes of moulding plates. The smaller one can hold up to 6 layers of rubber, whereas the larger one can hold 8 layers for thicker pieces.
  • I used the metal plate to trace on top of the rubber sheet enabling me to cut out 6 of the correct sized pieces of rubber. I would snip the corners off the rubber to create a snug fit into the rounded plate mould.

4

  • I’d peel off the protective film off the rubber and place it face up in the plate, I’d then repeat this with the second layer. With the third layer, I’d cut out a small triangle-like shape to fit round the metal cone. I’d also cut out areas of this layer to fit around the object or cut pieces out of some rubber to fill any open areas in a design. As the rubber needs to melt and form into the shape of the piece inside, all gaps need to be filled as much as possible. Again, I’d place this layer peeled side up.
  • The fourth layer would be placed peeled side down, with another triangle shape cut out to fit round the cone. The final two layers will also be placed face down.
  • The rubber and mould is then covered by some metal sheet and placed into the heat press and closed tight. For the 6 layer mould I leave it in the press for approx. 50 minutes with the temperature at 275 Degrees Celcius. With the 8 layer mould I would leave it in the press for approx. 1 hour.
  • After 50 minutes, using large tongs, carry the mould over to the sink and rinse under cold water until cool to touch.
  • Remove the metal plates and pop the rubber moulds out of the frame and secure in a vice.
  • Using a sharp scalpel, start slicing through the rubber from each side of the brass cone, keeping the cut down the centre until you get to the piece inside, taking care as the piece could still be hot inside the mould.
  • Continue slicing down the sides of the piece until you can free the object. Then continue slicing through where the object had been, not completely cutting the rubber mould in two.
  • Once the pieces from inside have been removed, create some slices through the rubber, creating vents for air to escape. It should look something like this:

1

  • Test out the mould using the wax injector. After a few minutes check the piece inside has worked. This can take a few attempts purely from trying to gauge how much wax to be injecting.
  • If you find lack of detail in the piece or bubbles it could need more vents sliced through the rubber before attempting again.

lava

Stevie

Sense of Place – Sketchbook Development

I’m really liking the direction I’m taking with the sketchbook, although still LOADS of ideas I’m trying to get down on paper! Here’s a few shots of sketchbook development. I’ve been doing a little 3D printing relating to my sketchbook work. Seeing the pieces come to life really helps with seeing the potential outcome and what does and doesn’t work. Still lots of work to do! I’m currently looking at potential earring or pendant frames as well as some 3D faceted shapes. Excited to keep pushing these ideas further to see what I come up with. I’ve been using CAD software Rhino to create these pieces, I then saved them as STL files and connected the PC to my 3D printer. (The 3D printer isn’t anything crazy, can’t afford that! However, it does what I need it to; gauge the size of a piece and see what does and doesn’t work and what I can change). The print isn’t clean like with a wax filament (the printer uses PLA), however, with some of the designs, I am able to emery and file them down to a smooth surface. I will attempt to create some rubber moulds and test if this works and the small pieces I can attempt to cast, so long as the pieces can be cleaned up enough. If I find a design I am particularly happy with but doesn’t clean up well enough for either process then I can send the file to shape ways to print.

 

I’ve made some mock up frames by hand. First I used 2mm round copper wire, I put this through the draw plate to make the wire square (I love this machine!). I then used a ruler to mark where I wanted to score the meal to create the desired shape. I used a triangular needle file to manoeuvre the metal into shape and soldered into place. I made a few random designs to test out the process.

screen-shot-2017-01-22-at-18-18-50

I then went on to test this design with silver square wire, gave the frame a satin finish using the frosting wheel, then continued to fill them with resin which I mixed with a grey pigment. I really liked the larger frame design and was curious to see how this would look as a piece of jewellery and if it would sit well e.t.c. Safe to say I am really happy with the silver sample, the way the earrings sit is how I’d hoped. Need a clean up though and would take more care in making the frame and adding the resin. This was all done by hand and quite tricky getting the pair to exactly match (as I didn’t measure properly with the ruler), so again, would spend more time and care on this process. This is a very early design so looking to progress further but a lovely pair to keep for myself!

screen-shot-2017-01-22-at-18-22-52

Some sketchbook development work below to show my process and how I’ve gotten to this stage.

Taking inspirational images and tracing shapes from them. Giving them more angles and then manipulating them by layering or cutting in half to generate potential pieces of jewellery. So far I’ve just touched on a few pendant and earring designs, but still a lot more to try out along with potential rings/brooches.

Stevie

3D Printing

I recently won some funding through a competition that was set up by Bridge 2 Business and funded by the John Mather’s Trust. I’ve been working with Bridge 2 Business since I began my Jewellery course at City of Glasgow college when I found them at the Freshers’ Fair (good thing I went!). With some of the funding I planned to purchase a 3D printer and after doing a lot of research, emailing people and companies, I finally decided to make the purchase. I found the ‘Dremel 3D Idea Builder 3D20’ on cooksongold. I set up the printer, which was fairly quick and easy. I then gave it a test run. The video below is of a pre-setting of a large dice within the printer. This took 20 minutes to print which is good for the size I think. The bottom and top of the dice didn’t print properly due to the printing platform being slightly too high, however, after a little adjusting the printer prints fine now.

 

After then registering my printer to the website and downloading the software I was able to link up my own STL files from working in Rhino to see the quality of small scale, detailed as well as simple designs.

After some testing I found my small and detailed pieces didn’t come out that great, but this also allowed me to see just how big/small my pieces were going to be, which is what I seem to really need the help with! The printer worked great on some frames I’ve been working on and again, allows me to see the size of everything. I can now edit the designs in Rhino, save them as an STL file and send them over to the printer.

I’ll be printing many more concepts out in order to finalise designs; sizes, shape etc. This machine, despite the finish of smaller pieces not always being fantastic, can really help me get my bearings which is exactly what I wanted it for. I will save money in the long-term as now when I send a file off to shapeways I know exactly what I’m getting back. Exciting times ahead!

Stevie

 

 

 

 

Making Tools

We will soon begin flush stone settings at college and in order to do them we need certain stone setting tools, such as a burnisher. This is what I’ve made below.

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I was given a wooden handle and an old drill bit and I simply had to put the two together. I secured the wooden handle in a vice which already had a small hole in it. I placed the broken drill bit faced down into the handle and used a mallet to hammer it into place.

I had to give the end of the burnisher a slight point, so I used the grinder and rotated the end against the grinder creating the point. I haven’t made it too pointy but can tweak it if need be when it comes to flush setting. I then gave the tip a polish to remove any tarnish.

Stevie