Sunday, September 14, 2014

Transferring an Image to Metal.



This image sort of had all the elements of what I was wanting.

OK, the tail is to short, the head to big and the body to slim, but that is easily correctable.


The first thing I do is  to desaturate the image in photo shop.



Now I take some tracing paper and trace the image out and fiddle with all the aspects that I don’t like to fix them.

This is part of an enameled humming bird that will be used for the pendant in Nest.


A while ago I bought a cheepo laser printer from one of the local chain stores here.

It cost EU50 and it came with a toner cartridge which will last me for a long time.

You got to watch out for these cheepo printers --- they hit you on the cartridges afterwards, e.g. printer fifty bucks, cartridge five million bucks.

Anyway, once I finished my tracing paper design I scan it to turn it into a jpg file which I put back into photo shop.



I make a bunch the right size and also make mirror images.

Just because.

Then I print them.



Then I rolled out some 18 kt gold, but of course this can be silver or any other metal.

I sand it down with 22o grit sand paper.

This is to give the surface some tooth.


Then I put the piece of paper over where I want the design and I wet a piece of cloth with lacquer thinners.

Not to much, not to little.

Then I press the wet cloth on the paper and it becomes kind of transparent.

If you move it the transfer is ruined.


Bingo, the thinners dissolves the toner and transfers it to the metal.

The transferred toner does not come off if you rub on it.

It also does not lift off when you pierce the metal.

You can only the paper once.

The main advantage to me is that I often have to pierce very thin sections and with out fail the paper I printed it on would lift off or cause fuzzy fluff thingi’s and then you can’t see where you sawing exactly.

Problem solved, once and for all.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Servicing a T-30 Hand piece



This is a standard hand piece that comes in a variety of flavors and manufacturers.

It  is a very good hand piece and but it’s kind of difficult to take apart at first.

The biggest problem it that the jaw collet starts to wear a bit and this causes the burr that is being held to slip.

This is easily adjustable—sort of.


Inside the collet is  a grub screw that accepts a 1.5mm Allen key, also known as a hex key.

This is problematic, because sometimes the grub screw had gunge in it and the hex key won’t go in easily.

Or, the older models have a screw driver slit.

One has to determine which is which first.

At first, I really battled to loosen the collet so in desperation I took most of the hand piece apart ( described below), and dumped the entire thing into my ultrasonic cleaner inside a zip lock bag  filled with turpentine.

That cleaned everything nicely.

The ball burr at the back is inserted to lock the drive shaft.

So, then with the drive shaft locked and the quick release lever open as shown, the 1.5mm cap screw is loosened and turned about 2 turns out.

The actual collet should then be able to be screwed further into the drive shaft.

The quick release handle is released and the 1,5mm grub screw is tightened and the actual collet it is effectively now deeper in the drive shaft ‘cone’ and then should hold the burr tightly again.

This seldom happens though.

What normally happens is the entire collet turns out.


This picture shows the locking grub screw turned out of the collet.


And this picture shows the collet as it normally comes out of the piece.

So: If one now turns the grub screw deeper, it will allow the drive shaft to also screw deeper until it meets the grub screw and locks the collet into position.

This effectively shortens the collet and allows the collet to be pulled in further, thus making the collet tighter.

It is quite possible to screw the grub screw to far in and the it will not accept the burr because the collet is now too small.

Then it has to be screwed a bit back until a happy medium is found.

It’s a bit fiddly sometimes.


To further disassemble if one has to replace the bearings.

No 1: The top cover and oil felt are removed.

No 2:  The lever is removed by unscrewing the holding screw.

No 3 : The opening cam is unscrewed using a 8mm spanner.

(When the piece is reassembled, the two body casings have to be slightly unscrewed until the cam slit is in the middle of the cam hole, as is shown. Once the cam is screwed in, the two body casings are properly tightened.)


This allows the top casing to be unscrewed, which has the front bearing press fitted in it.

Should it need replacing, it is simply tapped out with an appropriately sized brass or wood dowel.


Like this.


The rear bearing is removed by first removing the cable interface.


Once the cable interface is removed, the drive interface can be unscrewed.


Like this.


The rear bearing popped out.

I buy all my bearings from SMB bearings.

They have a great ‘can do’ attitude.


Friction bearing closed.


I have never found the need to have to replace this bearing.

Mostly it is the front bearing that dies first, but if I replace the front on I also replace the rear one at the same time.


Friction bearing opened up


Just for interest.

There is no need to disassemble the drive shaft.

I only did so to see how the whole thing is put together.


These are the somewhat inadequate instruction in the box.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Fish Pond Pendant.


There is an artist, Gary Drostle from England, who made an amazing mosaic depicting a  fish pond with fish swimming in it.

Check out the original here.

Since I have been teaching myself vitreous enamel painting, a design like this lends itself well to the medium.

As with any project of this nature, it always balloons into something bigger, more complicated and much more tricky to complete.

I never learn—there is ALWAYS project creep.


Anyway, the first thing I did was to make some tools to make the silver base and enamel ‘canvas’, as it were.


I first made them out of copper, but that was not good enough, so I switched over to silver.

Of course, gold would have been the best, but as my specialty is making things that never sell, it would have tied up too much cash.

So silver it was.


I decided to make the surround , which in real life would have been tile work, out of copper and silver.

I like the contrast.

I make that by soldering strips together and then piercing strips off and soldering those together.

Then I make three concentric rings that ‘step down’ to the ‘water’.

The fish, which were the first of several models , are made out of 18 carat gold.

In this picture, I have just drawn the blue with pencil crayons to get the idea where I want to go to.


This is how the strips start out.


Piercing out the fish.

I have finally discovered the definitive manner of transferring an image from paper to metal, which will be the subject of a future post.


The various components, most of which were rejected and remade several times.


The back of the pendant.

I only stamped on it, because I might engrave the back later if I am overcome by a fit of lethargy.


About at this time, I decided that I would ‘float’ the fish on some 1.5mm glass and make a central feature like a real ornamental pond has.


Unrelated to this project, but coming in very handy, was a experimental gem-set that I had made and facetted  previously.

I faceted a Brazilian amethyst and then I drilled a hole into it and set an emerald into it and then I did the same with the emerald and set a 1mm diamond into it.


Makes a nice center piece for my pond.


Here are all the various components.

If one counts all the bricks up, then there are 124 individual pieces.


Here is one of several backgrounds that I tried.

I engraved the pattern and then enameled each individual square separately.

Even though I rejected this background as being too busy, I will definitely investigate this technique for further jewellery projects.

One thing I learnt here is that if one enamels little squares like this, counter enamel is not necessary.

The piece stays flat after it is fired.


Here is another background that was rejected.

This one was engraved, then the engraved lines were filed and fired with black enamel and then covered with clear enamel for a second firing.

I really like the red colour the copper goes to after firing.


Some of the rejected backgrounds and casings.

An exercise in tenacity, trust me on this one.


The finished pendant, 41 mm in diameter.


The most difficult for me was getting the fish shadows right.

I learnt a lot doing the enameling on this piece.

And again, I must thank Gary Drostle for his brilliant original design.

He does inspiring work indeed.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

For the love of the EU Brussels cockroaches



We had our first power failure in three years the other day.

This contrasts strongly to the 165 documented power failures we had in St. Maarten during the course of one year.

So just in case another disaster like this struck my workshop and kept me out of the work that I don’t have, I made an emergency plan.



The potato battery.

In keeping with Brussels directive that all new vacuum cleaners above 1600 watts are now banned from all EU countries, I too have gone green with my emergency power supply.

We all have to do our bit and save energy and I, as a good EU citizen, will also do my part.


And just to keep things in balance, I invented the self raising table.

This table is unique in it’s design by using only GRAVITY to work.

And gravity, as we all know, is free and green.

This is a vast improvement to the standard table which uses the quaint and now obsolete four leg system.

It is important to be green these day and in keeping with our new  Brussels ruled society, I urge all the readers to start using solar power cells.


If everybody started using solar power, they would drain the sun of heat and we would solve global warming in one fell swoop.

So do your bit and help Brussels at the same time.

It’s the right thing to do.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Seagull Pendant.

Titanium Seagull Enamel Pendant

I finished this painted enamel pendant the other day.

I like the porthole look.

I hot forged the titanium into a circle and the filed the hell out of it.


Seagull Ocean Spray

Here is a closer view.

Eventually I tilted the rocks upward. I thought it gave more a feeling of speed.


I pierced the seagull out and soldered a locating pin to it.


Then I drilled a hole in the pendant with a diamond drill.


A little while ago Vasillie and his partner walked into our shop.

He was asking if I had any setting work for him.

We got talking and it turns out he is a Russian master setter and when he showed me samples of his work I was blown out the water.

So then when he saw my gem cutting machines we made an agreement.

He will teach me advanced setting and I will in turn teach him gem cutting.


Being a setter already, he has the ‘touch’ in his hands, so he picks up the techniques without destroying the stone very quickly.


With his partner Olga.

He was trained using traditional setting techniques and then he had to relearn  to  change over to microscopes and the graver max power machine.

So once and for all he was able to set up my equipment properly.

I was taught the basics of setting by Shane, my journeyman, and everything after that I self taught.

So it’s very cool to be taught by a dinkum honest to goodness pro setter.

I have learn’t a LOT of finer techniques so far.


We even went for a tjop and dop in the park one afternoon.

You got to figure:

Between the four of us we speak six languages and we had trouble communicating, with German being our base language.

You can never speak enough languages.



A couple of Sundays ago Anne and I went for a 60 kilo cycle to a swamp area around Dusseldorf.

I was a rare beautiful day, no wind and mild temperatures.


We got all our ducks in a row, too.


The Germans were out in force playing  P├ętanque, which is like grown up marbles with steel goons.

They take this shit seriously here and an entire weekend is wasted dedicated to it several times a year.

What really freaks me out is that youngsters play it as well.