Today you’ll learn how to create your own one of a kind engagement ring. This same process can be used for any jewelry including wedding bands.
I recently got engaged and had to go through the ups and downs of trying to purchase an engagement ring. For those that haven’t had go through this process, it can be very frustrating and expensive. In fact it took me about a year of shopping around before I gathered the knowledge ill be presenting in this “Instructable”. And it’s as simple as this, designing your own ring is not only unique, creative, romantically personalized, and fun, but it’s also allot less expensive. So much so, that I saved about $3,450 dollars in the setting alone and paid about 1/3rd the overall retail price for the ring set.... got your attention now :)
So lets get started….
Step 1: Design Your Ring
Browse around online and figure out what you like, and or what you think your significant other would like. You can find different rings and combined them together using programs like photo shop or design your ring from scratch. Basically what you’re looking for is to have a solid front facing image of your ring. You could even draw it on a napkin if you want.
Note: You will want to take note of how the stones are sitting and secured in the ring. For example: if it has prongs or not. You’ll also need to know roughly the size of the center stone you’re planning on getting, i.e. don’t fall in love with a design that has a 5 karat stone if your planning on a 1 karat.
Break down of cost
THE SETTING: In store sellers and designers have a huge mark up on their settings and most of that cost contributes to the designer’s name, when in actually it should only be reflecting the cost of materials. Which is exactly what you get, designing it yourself
Retails at $4300 plus tax.
My Designed ring
Out the door about$700
-90%- cost of material
(reference image above, please note: this is not including the center stone)
THE DIAMOND “where your money should go”
From my experience, a Vintage diamond was the way to go. You get an amazingly priced, uniquely hand cut stone (maybe 40% cheaper than with a newly cut, store bought stone).
No matter which route you choose, do your research, the more places you go, the more you know, the more educated a decision you’ll make.
Step 2: Model Your Ring
All right you have a design and diamond in mind, its time to model your ring. I used Maya, a 3d animation/modeling software…other programs, Free learning editions, and tutorials can be found online.
I’m going to give a quick over view of my process, however if you’ve never modeling in a 3d program before, I would suggest looking up tutorials online for “basic modeling”, in the program of your choice.
1) Check your unit size in your program and confirm its set to “millimeters”.
2) Load your ring picture into the program.
3) Next is to determine the diameter of the ring size. Using online conversion tables (reference picture above), you’ll find the ring size conversion to the inner diameter in millimeters. You’ll then create a 3d cylinder in the modeling program to that dimension. Effectively creating a model of the fingers and its diameter to build around.
4) You’ll then scale the image to fit around the size of the cylinder. This way everything you model, matching to the image, is relevant to the actual unit size in the program. (reference pictures above)
5) Next you’ll model your ring. Depending on how complex your design and your skill set in the program, that will determine how long this process will take but it could be as simple as 20 mins for something like a “solitaire” ring.
6) Finally, export out your model as a .STL, and its ready to print. (reference pictures above)
Step 3: 3D Print Your Ring
The next step will be to 3d print your model. I highly suggest a site call 3dhubs.com, which is very user-friendly site that connects you to 3dprinting professionals around the world. Basically load your model, choose a material, and find a printer. The coolest thing about this is you’ll be able to print your 3d model in “Castable Risen”, meaning the 3d print can be used (like a wax mold) to make the final cast of your ring. It can also support almost any level of detail and quality. This is a very affordable process so if you want to rework your design once you have it in hand, this is a safe time to do so with minimal cost.
The supports around the ring are there to allow the metal to reach every crevasse when casting, as well as support the ring during the 3d printing process… You, or your 3d hub specialist can add these at any point before the print, very simple geometry, with a very thin contact point. Leave them on for the caster. The caster can also add this after the fact as well.
Step 4: Cast Your Ring
Once you have the final 3d printed ring, the next step is to take it to a caster, where your risen ring will be use to make a mold. The risen cast will then be melted away to leave a cavity impression of your ring. You’ll choose a metal, realistically paying current market value for the metal of your choice, and a slight labor fee ($15 per gram is what I paid for labor, very reasonable). The caster will fill the cavity, and polish/finish the metal, leaving you with a precious metal cast of your ring.
Step 5: Take It to a JEWELER Cause You're Done
Finally, after casting the ring, purchasing the center stone, and any melee stones (the small stones on the ring), you’ll take it all to a jeweler to put it together.And there you have it, a one of a kind, heart felt, hand crafted story to start the rest of your life, with that special someone, off right..... or just an awesome way to make your own jewelry.
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