Picture of Check Ball Earrings
The other day I was waiting on my wife and daughter while they were trying on clothes at Kohls. I decided to look at the jewelry for some ideas. This design was among the earrings however, they were made from gold wire and oyster pearls.

Gold and pearls? Don’t have em’. Paper clips and a busted automatic transmission? That I have. These check balls were inside the transmission.

There are plenty more parts left. I think I’ll make a desk lamp with the gears.

Step 1: Shape the paper clip

Extend a paper clip leaving the outside smaller bend intact.

Use cone nose pliers to roll a loop at the bend. Make sure when you wrap the loop you use the longer of the two free ends.

That way after the loop is complete the free ends will be the same length.

Bend the free ends towards the center so that it opens the loop as shown in the picture. Next bend the loops back, working the loop apart.

Adjust the loop as necessary so they are parallel to each other. 
daveand54 years ago
many long laughs,
I can just see the $1400.00 lamp on my $25 early salvation army end table
thats what it cost for my last tranny repair, so i figure the lamp made of the offending tranny guts would be worth that at least!
Mrballeng (author)  daveand54 years ago
The lamps are coming along. I'll take $1399.99 =).
Those are beautiful! Love it.
agate1234 years ago
You sir, deserve the highest of fives.
rawkergirl4 years ago
Wow, those are beautiful! Unfortunately I don't have a busted automatic transmission lying around (actually, maybe that is fortunate), but I imagine other materials could be used instead.
Mrballeng (author)  rawkergirl4 years ago
You could use anything round: beads, marbles, or even sling shot ammo. Thanks for the comment.
Although I've never made jewelry, I have used "ball bearings" for many different projects.

Another good source of free ball bearings is failed trailer bearings which come with many in one "race."  When I have to replace the bearing set in a trailer for myself, or a friend or neighbor, I save the old ball bearings for later use.

I've also used these ball bearings as check valves in homemade liquid pumps.  If you don't have access to friends or neighbors as a source for ball bearings, try checking with your local trailer repair shop, OR a boat dealer or repair shop.  If they don't have an old bearing set laying around, ask them to hold the next set replaced and leave your name and phone number so they can let you know to go pick it up.
Wow ! a simple idea that turned into an elegant work of art !
askjerry4 years ago
Nice design, and very professional photography too.

I'll have to see what little spheres I can find and do something similar. I can build stuff... it's just sometimes I need inspiration and this is certainly great for that!
jwzumwalt4 years ago
I could see this idea adapted for beautiful marbles too.
=////=======> Wye' You SNEAK..cOOl..YUP.!
rbormann4 years ago
Veeeery creative! Congrats!
D00M994 years ago
I really wouldn't call that reverse engineering, it's more of repurposing. It's not like he's now building transmissions.
Well, by reverse engineering I mean that he saw the earring design at Kohl's an reverse engineered it. Right?
I would say you are correct.
old_code4 years ago
Those photos are among the best that I've seen on this site. Esp. maintaining the focus on the close ups.

Comments are correct; those look great enough (and what a conversation piece!) to sell.
hammer98764 years ago
Jewelry for the ladies to wear to the car clubs. Thanks!
haakon.k4 years ago
Beautifully photographed (and executed).
ball bearings from the valve body" when i worked in a tranny shop in the late 70's we gave all the valve bodies to one of the guys that was blind, and he rebuilt the valve bodies, i just had to do a visual for cracks that he couldnt feel. i think it was the only place in the auto transmission that had ball bearings. Exceppt maybe the torque converter,since they all went to one guy to work on and i didn't see much of what was inside them
Mrballeng (author)  escapefromyonkers4 years ago
I'll snap a picture of the stuff that came out of the valve body. I found a bunch of springs, valve pieces, and ruber check balls. Thanks for the comment.

Any idea on how to open up a torque converter?
A grinder with abrasive blade was how our instructors opened them when I attended Lincoln Tech back in the day.
The grinder works really well. You could try a sawzall too, but that might take you a little longer. Just be careful with the overrunning clutch inside the torque converter. Once you pop that spring out you'll never be able to get all the sprags back in line easily.
scoochmaroo4 years ago
Seriously, when are you opening up shop? I've got a list of items to buy from you now. . .
Mrballeng (author)  scoochmaroo4 years ago
Your the best. I'll get on it.
Absolutely... this is just amazing! I am absolutely wanting my husband to see all these and make them for me! Can you imagine how cool it is to be his wife, and get all these pretties?!

You're freaking awesome, Mrballeng!
ironsmiter4 years ago
Instructables cat sez "I can haz Gear?"

+5 for cool factor.
+Several million for finding a way to get out of the dog house, for having torn apart a transmission, within sight of the wife.

I guess the garage floor was less of an issue for you, than the kitchen table was for me :-)
Mrballeng (author)  ironsmiter4 years ago
The kids also had a good time using th air tools. Adult supervision of course.

You took apart a transmission in your house?!?! The dirty transmission fluid stunk up the garage. I couldn't imagine a kitchen.
splazem4 years ago
These are beautiful in their simplicity
wow, sleek
Wow ! Who would have thought a tranny would be worn as a earring. Good build and keep it up!
Dr. Pepper4 years ago
I've taken apart lots of transmissions and the rear axles of cars. There is so much cool stuff inside of them.