Saturday, July 4, 2015

Making Titanium Ear Studs.


Recently I received an order for a pair of four claw ear studs made out of titanium.

I often get requests via the internet to make custom orders in titanium.

This ties in nicely with free a tutorial I wrote a couple of months back.

There are also more free and to buy tutorials here.

This is one where I make 3 mm collets but of course this can be scaled up to what ever collet is needed.


I cut a piece off an off cut I had.

I didn’t have any round stock left,so I just knuckled down and made some.


Put it in my lathe and turn it down.


I turn it to the outer diameter and then I drill a 4 mm hole to the correct depth.

The depth would vary from stone type and size.

A 6.5 mm diamonds has an overall depth of about 4 mm.

So I make this one about 4.5 mm.

This sounds like a close tolerance but actually the stone will be set with the crown standing proud of the claw ends and so the working depth of the stone runs more like 3 mm.

Also the 4 mm drill is pointed so the cullet has extra space.



These collets are for  6.7 mm stones ( about 1 ct. in diamond size) so once I reach the outer diameter I cut an about 17º angle inwards.

17º in the standard angle for most collets.



Then I drill the inside more with a 5 mm drill.

Not all the way.

This is just to remove excess material for the cone burr.



I ground the tip off a cone burr and then use it to ream the inside of the collet to 17º.


Then I cut the cone with a 3/0 blade to act as a guide for the barrel frazer.


I first start with a 1 mm barrel frazer and work myself up to a 3 mm one.

I go down to about 1 mm above the inside bottom of the collet.



I leave the shaft thick and then finish the collet of using an oval needle file and thin sanding mandrels.

I also shape various rubber wheels to finish off the curves.


Then I put it back in the lathe and make the pin thinner.

I use a fine barrette needle file while the lathe is spinning and very carefully ease the pin down to 0.9 mm.

A very patient and soft touch is needed.


Until we arrive at the finished but unpolished collet.


Now for the butterflies.

I roll out some titanium strip to about .0.3 mm and mark out and drill two holes.

Then I mark out two circles and two parallel lines and pierce it out using a 6/0 saw blade.

I remove the saw marks true it up and sand and polish everything now.



Then I bend the arms in.


When the arm is bent, it forms a natural concave profile which helps in guiding the pin through.


Titanium is tricky to polish.

It works much like platinum, in that you can’t easily polish scratches out.

It has to be finished off to a high degree before polishing takes place.

luxor polish

I stole this picture off my tool tips page

I use this polish brand for everything.

I have thrown all my other polishes in a box and I don’t use them anymore.



From the original block to finished, ready for setting.

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