Saturday, February 26, 2011

Making an Anti-Clastic Titanium Ring with Fused Gold sides.



Up to pre-settingRaw-PlateI start by cutting a piece of titanium off a thick slab that I bought from an industrial machining place.

I went there once and there was this guy that sold me the most amazing off cuts for a very good price. It was something that I have worked with for the last few years.Drilling

Then I drill it with an 18mm drill, which gives me a hole about size ‘Q’ .


Like this.


Then I trim it with the hacksaw. All round, because this is going to be a round ring. A whole lot of filing and grinding then takes place to get it into the rough shape. This is real sweat work, but I don’t have access to titanium tubing so as they say in Afrikaans, “ ‘n boer maak a plan” ( a farmer makes a plan )

Once it is roughly shaped all round I put it into my lathe.


But first I made a tool to hold the ring in the lathe. I don’t have an expanding collet, but if I get into making more, I will certainly make one.

The left side picture shows the holder without the ring blank and the right side shows the tool with the ring blank on and partially trimmed.


Here the titanium is being turned to the correct width and thickness. I use a live center  on the left of the picture to hold the tool true.Groove-Turned

Here I have turned the center depression. I turned the basic shape with a half round cutting bit and then used a rat tail file to smooth it out while the piece is spinning in the lathe.

Next I will turn the lips on either side to fit the gold and trim the blank so both sides are equal.


Like this. This is still rough. I put it back in the lathe and finished the lips smooth and to the polish stage.


I rolled out a plate of 18ct gold and then I pierced out the centers so that the titanium ring fitted. I could have made a strip and fitted it but I wanted to avoid any soldering, what with the fusing still to come.Unfused-Bands

The oversize rough bands after piercing and filing out.


These are the side bands fused on the top only. They were removed and then fused. These are fitted for the picture.


Then I make little white gold balls and fuse them onto the yellow gold. Later on I fuse them some more. This is a process whereby the  yellow gold is heated up to just before melting. The white gold has a higher melting point so it sort of sinks into the yellow gold. Got to be very careful, otherwise the whole thing collapses and its ruined. Then you start again.


The two side bands are polished on the top. Then I need to file them down to their final shape and rivet them onto the titanium band.


So I use my engraving ball to clamp the ring, but of course a vice would be just as good. ( it’s just that it has wood inserts and I was lazy to put masking tape on my vice.) I epoxy the two outer bands onto the center band with 5 minute Devcon, but any quick epoxy will work.


After the epoxy had set, I filed the inside of the titanium band into a ‘comfort fit’ . This follows the anti-clastic shape of the outer surface. Bit difficult to photograph, but trust me, I did.


Then I filed the gold bands down to their final size and drilled the (.7mm) rivet holes. The epoxy made certain that the bands stayed in place so that when the bands are removed, ( with a gentle flame) all the drilled holes align up precisely. It’s got to be done this way, otherwise the holes don’t line up and unseemly language is heard in the workshop.Pre-Rivetted

Then I blue the titanium with a bushy flame and make some balled up .7mm wire. The little balls fit into a 1.5mm indentation that I have burred into the titanium on the inside of the ring.

Once every thing is in place I take the right size ball punch and smack it into the center of the ring. This forces the balled wire into the 1.5mm depressions, seating them tightly.


Then the ball punch and the ring is put into a vice quite tightly.This holds the compressed rivets firmly in place.Showing-Rivets-1

The wire is cut semi flush and hammered down, then filed flush, finished off and polished. Note the other side has not been done yet. The paper prevents any marring of the opposite surface, going on the old goldsmith saying that if you don’t want a mark on your work, don’t put it there in the first place.

The the inside compressed gold balls are filed down and the entire inside is sanded with 220 , 600, 2500 grit, and  Dialux green polish with a semi hard felt buff in the hanging motor.

Polishing titanium is a lot like platinum. There is no way one can polish out a rough surface. It has to be totally smoothed out before polishing takes placePre-Setting

I have pre- drilled the holes for diamond and that is as far as I want to take this ring. Reason is that I don’t know whether I want to set diamonds or emeralds or diamonds and emerald in the bands.I like the green and titanium blue. Maybe I set none and let the customer choose.

Now this is a ring that has one major drawback, namely that it cannot be sized up. Sizing down is not difficult, because all I make is a liner of gold of the appropriate thickness, fit it into the center and flare the liner out with a ball punch.

If the ring needs to be larger, I make another one.

And if you got to make another  bigger one, it means you pre sold it, so that’s not to bad……….you still got your original sample.

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