O,K, How much money do you want to spend??? What you are asking for is very intense work, as Vinito mentioned, casting would be much easier and faster.
I have made jewelry via machining, you start with a couple of bucks worth of metal, not including the gold and invest 4 hours to 2 days in making it into what you want.
Carving metals like steel is difficult and I haven't been able to do it, so I file what I can't machine. Gold and silver easy to carve, just keep your tools sharp. Doing inlay is more than hammer the materials together, you need to solder them together.
Try palladium, it's about half the price of gold, it is machinable and does carve well for a hard metal. Plus you can solder and fuse other metals to it with ease.
I use very fine sand paper, like 1500 grit for the finishing work, then it I want a satin finish, I bead or grit blast the ring. One occasion, I put the ring in my Dillon Tumbler, with walnut shells, and let it run all night. I used no polish or rouge.
I have turned a couple of rings out of stainless. I turned them out of solid stock, so it didnt need a holding fixture.I made a couple of rather small boring tools that helped me get the right inside shape. I fabricated a couple of silver rings for my daughters that were very small. it turned out that my idea for size was distorted. they were more like pinky ring for a very petite preschooler. I latter thought of a sneeky way of sizing rings for kids. have them stick thier fingers in clay or a playdough lump and make a mold, measure carefully and or make a plaster finger casting. I will see if I can locate one of those stainless rings if you want a pic.
calling on jewellers/artsy types
this is a continuation, of sorts, on the jewelery thread.. my apologies if it should've been posted there.. but my questions are more specific.
i've gone and got it into my skull to make a ring. a *NICE* one. i've seen too many movies where the old japanese master disappears for a year to make the ultimate samurai sword.
conditions: i'll be using a lathe, mill, and a hand file. no etching, no engraving, no enameling. this is a machinists BBS afterall.
idea so far is to make a base, drill small holes around the ring, and hammer in some gold. turn it and buff it.
will the 'pressed in' gold hold up to turning? should i press it after?
i'd like to make diagonal slots.. but am unsure how i would hold the gold in place.
(see ring dimensions, below)
base metal? i'm thinking Stainless.. because my options are limited. anyone have any precious metal they'd like to trade? i've been reading about platinum and i hear its difficult to work with (gummy?). anywhere i can scavange precious metal? titanium piston cranks?
i use the word 'precious' loosely. 'exotic' might be better.
i imagine i'll need to make a mandrel to hold the ring in the lathe. but if i contour the outside, how can i hold it securely to work the inside? (for buffing, for example)
any good homebrew method to satin finish a stainless ring? i have a wirebrush, but that doesnt seem very romantic.
since my 'design' isnt very intricate, i'd like to add some different textures.. bands maybe, of satin and high polish.
this will be a small ring. really small. (small fingers) maybe 1/8" wide x 1/2" OD. its for a special young lady.
any tips will be well received, except the 'go buy one'
If you are stuck on the idea of machining a ring, that might work but you're basically talking about carving & sculpture. It's pretty tricky, so be prepared to design it to be "simple and elegant". It's kind of tough to make jewelry until you've had some practice. If you have the time, get some brass and practice a bit.
I would recommend looking into casting. It's a fun hobby and you can develop your skills quicker and come up with more intricate and really cool stuff. Precious metals are just too expensive to lose into the chip tray. Casting creates very little waste. The wax is tons easier to manipulate into a design and the equipment is relatively small so much less expensive. Plus you can probably find someone with the equipment to cast it for you and save the expense unless you really take to it. All you need to experiment is some casting wax - cheap. Make your design and take it in to be cast from whatever (meltable) material you want. You would just need to finish and buff the casting. It would still be much cheaper than buying one and it would have your personal touch.
There are usually several good books on casting jewelry at any library.
[This message has been edited by vinito (edited 10-03-2004).]
Don’t let anyone worry you too much Tony, you’ll do just fine.
I probably wouldn’t insert the gold until the ring was pretty much done except for the polishing. I think stainless is a good choice to start with.
“i imagine i'll need to make a mandrel to hold the ring in the lathe. but if i contour the outside, how can i hold it securely to work the inside? (for buffing, for example)”
Rough out the OD, bore and finish the inside, then hold the ring in an expanding mandrel to finish the outside. Make a trial ring out of aluminum so you can fine tune your technique and fixturing.
“any good homebrew method to satin finish a stainless ring? i have a wirebrush, but that doesnt seem very romantic.”
Blasting with glass beads produces a nice finish. A wire brush might not seem romantic, but if it produces a pleasing appearance to you, so what. No one will care how it got to looking like you wanted, just that they like it.
“since my 'design' isn’t very intricate, I’d like to add some different textures.. bands maybe, of satin and high polish.”
Fine, simple is more pleasing to some of us. You can put a high polish on the ring, then use contact paper strips to tape off the parts you want to stay polished, bead blast (or chemical etch?) the rest.
here is a link to a stainless ring that I turned and then formed. http://tsukamakishi.com/stainlessring.html
holysmokes, thanks all. and here i thought my post got deleted.. i can now tell my therapist all is good again.
to anyone that mentioned: would love to see pictures of homemade 'machinists' rings.
sam- beautiful work. how'd you get those colors? (are they reflections?)
a kind soul offered to send me some Ti cut-offs. figure i'll make my life as hard as possible, and start with that.
new problem: i can get some gold wire.. and i'd like to use it to make a band or two on the surface of the ring. the wire is a little over 1mm round.
i can groove the ring surface with my lathe, but how do i keep the wire in there? i figure pounding with a hammer will form the gold easily, and lay it in the groove.. but will it stay?
undercutting the sides of the grooves ('dovetail') would do it.. but how to undercut a 1mm wide groove??
if i could shape an HSS bit that small, it'd probably be worth more than the ring
HSS hold up to cutting Titatinum?
so many questions...
To inlay gold as firearms engravers do in steel, small areas (such as a wire band) are done by first cutting the groove, and then undercutting the sides of the groove so it's kind of like a dovetail with the edges raised up a little like a burr. The undercut doesn't have to be all that far. The gold wire is then placed in the groove and hammered to deform it into the undercuts which are also tapped down to clamp the gold. If you machine it afterward, you may risk removing the metal that is holding the gold in place.