Instructables

How to make a Green Lantern ring- including a glowing version!

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Here's how to make your own resin cast Green Lantern ring.This a complete overhaul of my original instructable on how to make a Green Lantern ring, which previously only showed how a cast sterling silver ring is created. Since many people don't have access to silver casting equipment I decided to show how to cast a ring in resin and also how to make a translucent resin version that glows. I'm still showing how a silver ring is made for those that are interested in the process and have access to the necessary equipment.

Please note that I do NOT sell these (for multiple reasons-see the comments below.) All requests to make rings will go unanswered so please don't ask! You can get nice Green Lantern rings from my friend Batjeepster here- http://www.facebook.com/batjeepster.rings

Now go make your ring and repeat after me:

"In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight! Let those who worship evil's might, beware my power.. Green Lantern's light!"
 
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Step 1: Materials

Depending on which version of the ring you want to make the materials vary greatly-

All rings will require a wax pattern so for that you will need:
Jeweler's modeling wax (both ring carving shape and round sprue wax) - available from jeweler's supply stores or http://www.ottofrei.com
Dremel tool or flex shaft tool
Files/carving tools
Fine sandpaper/steel wool

For the resin ring:
X-Acto knife or scalpel with curved blade
Silicone RTV molding compound
Urethane casting resin- I use Alumilite casting resins and RTV silicone but Smooth-On is also a good company
http://www.alumilite.com
http://www.smooth-on.com

For the glowing ring:
Clear casting resin- I've used both epoxy resin and polyester resin made by Cast'n Craft- it's sold at craft stores like Michael's and Hobby Lobby
Silicone RTV molding compound
Transparent green dye- Cast'n Craft produces this for its clear resins
3v watch battery- I used a CR1025 lithium cell
Green LED- I used a 5000mcd super bright 3mm LED (part #NTE30031)
Clear 5 minute epoxy

For the cast silver ring:
Centrifugal caster
Burn out furnace
Steel flask
Vacuum table
Ceramic casting investment
Polishing motor/buffs

These are just the basics- I'll get more into materials in greater detail in the individual sections.

A note about safety- Many of these procedures require the use of proper safety equipment as well as adequate ventilation. Please follow the manufacturer's recommendations reagrding safety and health warnings on all resins, paints and casting supplies.

Step 2: Wax pattern

WaxTools.jpg
RingWax1.jpg
RingWax2.jpg
To make a ring, first you need to carve a wax pattern. I use a green jeweler's wax to make my patterns.

The wax is carved using a dremel type tool to first rough out the shape and then this is refined using scraping/carving tools and small files. For scraping and smoothing small flat areas (such as the top of the ring) an old small screwdriver works really well. Wax carving is something that requires a fair bit of patience- remember that the better your wax model is the better your finished casting will be.

Here are the basic steps on how to carve a Hal Jordan wax ring (this is the easiest wax of the three to carve.)

1) To carve the wax ring first slice off a section of ring wax that is slightly wider than what the finished ring will be

2) Now open up the hole in the wax until it approximates your finger size- it's better to have it too tight than too loose at this point as you can always remove a little material later on. Then use a Sharpie pen or scribe to draw the profile of the ring on the wax and cut that out of the wax.

3) Now rotate the wax so you're looking at the end of the ring. Now draw the shape of the ring on the wax and remove the excess material. At this point you're only trying to establish the general shape of the ring and thickness of the ring shank.

4) Now switch to the top of the ring. Draw the circular shape on the top of the ring and remove the extra material. Now is when you have to start blending all the contours of the ring using a scraping tool- just work at it slowly until you get the final shape you want.

5) Now cut the symbol into the top of the ring using a Dremel tool and then refine it using a small flat scraping tool.

Once you're happy with the look of the ring you can smooth the finish with some fine sandpaper and steel wool. Wax carving is something that is hard to learn- there have been whole books written about it. You just have to jump in and start carving and go from there.

If you're going to make a glowing ring you have to remember to make the ring tall enough to house the LED and watch battery- this will more than likely require you to carve the wax from a larger block of solid wax (unless you have really small hands.) I've listed a supplier and part numbers for both types of wax below.

The insignia area of the ring should be somewhere around 10mm to 12mm tall, depending on the exact battery and LED you are using and how deep your pattern is cut into the top of the ring. If you need it to be lower you can carefully sand down the top of the LED to reduce the height but unless you find an extremely low profile LED and battery I think it'll be very difficult to get the total height down under 7.5mm to 8mm at the very lowest.

The best way to figure it out is bend the leads on your LED and then hold your battery underneath it. Measure the height of the LED and battery together and then add a little extra for the engraved pattern on the top of the ring. This is of course assuming you're making a Hal Jordan or Kyle Rayner style ring- the Alan Scott ring as I made it would have to be slightly different as I didn't make the band thick enough or wide enough to hold the 3v battery.

I ended up making three wax patterns for the Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner and Alan Scott rings.

Here's a detailed list of tools/materials:

From- http://www.ottofrei.com

Ferris green ring wax (T200 flat side with hole) part# 121.369
Block of green wax for carving light up ring (this is needed due to the added height for the LED and battery)- part# 121.0706
Saw frame- part# 149.740
Wax sprue wire (6ga.)- part# 121.560
Large carving burr- part# 120.205
Wax file- part# 131.384
Wax saw blades- part# 149.300D
Wax carvers- these are a better combination (one flat and one detail carver) than the blue handled carvers I show in the photos and they're half the cost- part# 121.851 & 121.852

Not all of the tools are absolutely necessary- you can substitute a couple of small flat bladed screwdriver for the wax carvers and you can use regular Dremel burrs for carving as well. Wax files are nice to work with but wood files and coarse metal files will also work.

Otto Frei is a great company to deal with and you don't have to be a professional jeweler to buy from them. I've been dealing with them for nine years and the service is always first rate.

Step 3: Molding

To make an RTV mold of your wax model (my wax model shown here is yellow because it's a duplicate wax I made using a wax injection process) for resin casting you have to add some sprues. There is a vent sprue that attaches to the bottom of the ring and a fill sprue that attaches to the top of the ring. This is what is known as an underpoured mold. The reason for doing it this way is to allow any trapped air to escape from the mold when pouring resin.

There are many different ways in which the sprue can be attached. It's often a trade off between what will make the finished casting easier to clean and what will make the mold easier to cut. There is also the issue of which method uses the largest mold as RTV silicone isn't cheap. In the photo below I've shown varius methods of attaching the sprues. To attach the sprue simply heat the end of it and press it onto the wax model.

#1 shows a variation of the way my Hal Jordan ring wax is sprued. It will make the mold much easier to cut open but will require a little bit more clean up work to the finished casting.

#2 shows the sprue going directly to the top of the same ring wax. The mold will be very easy to cut open but the finished casting will require a bit of cutting/shaping to the pattern in the top of the finished cast ring. The mold will be slightly larger and will therefore require more silicone.

#3 and #4 show the Kyle Rayner and Alan Scott rings. These ring waxes should be sprued in this method to because the finished casting would otherwise be very difficult to clean up and/or the quality of the finished casting will suffer due to bad fill.

The important thing to remember is that the fill sprue must be attached to whatever will be the lowest point of the wax model in order to help remove air from the mold during casting.

Once the wax model is sprued I make a mold frame for it by bending some thin aluminum into a squared off "U" shape. Then I superglue the wax model to the bottom of the "U"- this prevents the wax model from the likelyhood of it falling over in the mold during the process of pouring the RTV silicone.

Next I cover the sides of the "U" with some aluminum sheet and wrap a couple of rubberbands around the mold frame. At this point it's important to make sure that the sides of the mold frame are completely sealed- if they aren't use a glue gun to seal any gaps.

This is only one way of making a mold frame/box. You can also use plastic sheet or foam core board or even Legos to make a box for your wax model to sit in. All that matters is that it is taller than the wax model and that it is sealed so the silicone doesn't seep out during molding.

Now I mix the silicone. This is usually where things will go wrong for first timers- you need to mix the RTV exactly according to the manufacturer's instructions and make sure that the rubber and catalyst are thoroughly stirred. I've always used Alumilite HS II RTV silicone to mold wax models and it's worked very well for me- it's very flexible, holds up really well and doesn't require the use of a vacuum chamber. Unless you have access to a vacuum chamber make sure you use a silicone that doesn't require you to vacuum it during the molding process.- otherwise you'll have a thousand tiny air bubbles in your mold.

After mixing the silicone, pour it into the mold by holding it so that a thin strip of silicone can pour down into the mold- this wil help to reduce air bubbles in your mold. I always pour slowly into one corner of the mold and then keep slowly pouring until the entire wax model is covered. After pouring let the mold sit for 24 hours (or as long as the brand of silicone that you are using says to wait) before cutting open the mold.

More info about RTV silicone/where to buy it:

I've used Alumilite products for a long time and have always been very happy with the results. You can buy it directly online from them at- http://www.alumilite.com

For RTV silicone the best choices are the Dow Corning HSII and HSIII. The main difference is the HSIII is a little more flexible, which works well for detailed molds with severe undercuts. The HSII is a little more durable/tear resistant and that's what I used. The 1lb. kit is enough to make three ring molds, unless you have bannana hands, in which case it's good for two molds.

Step 4: Cutting open the mold

Now remove the mold from the mold frame/box.

To cut the mold open I use a scalpel with a #12 curved blade (there is an X Acto blade that is similar.)
The curved blade makes cutting the mold open easier because you want to make small up and down curves as you cut. These cuts will help the mold halves lock together after the wax model has been removed.

Begin by cutting a shallow line across the bottom of the mold and then cut a shallow line down each side of the mold, stopping before you get to the end. Now slowly cut the mold open by cutting from the inside center of the mold and working your way outward towards the side of the mold. Remember to cut with a slight up and down motion, like you're trying to cut tiny hills and valleys in the mold. Use your fingers to pry apart the mold as you cut.

Keep cutting until you get to the top of the ring. You don't want to cut the mold entirely in half- by leaving it together it will help realign the mold for casting.

If you sprued your wax model the same way I did mine you'll also find that you will have to cut slots as you go so that the ring shank will be able to be released from the mold. The mold rubber is plenty flexible and the ring will pull right out. Spruing the wax so the ring faces sideways will make cutting the mold open much easier.

Step 5: Resin casting

Now the fun part- casting!

First lightly dust the inside of the mold with baby powder (talcum powder) and blow off any excess. This will reduce surface tension in the mold and you'll get a cleaner casting. No mold release is required with silicone molds.

Now put some flat sheets on the sides of the mold and put a rubber band around the mold to help hold the mold halves together. It doesn't have to be super tight- you don't want to deform the mold.

Next mix your resin according to the manufacturer's instructions. I use Alumilite regular urethane casting resin. This stuff sets up fast- you have a pouring time of about 90 seconds and after 5 minutes it's completely cured.

Pour the resin slowly into the larger hole- the resin will flow down into the bottom of the mold and then rise up from the bottom, forcing air out of the mold through the vent hole. As you pour give the mold a couple of firm taps down on a table to help release any trapped air. The resin will soon begin to cure and after a few minutes you can remove your ring from the mold. Wait until the resin is fully cured before cutting the sprues off so you don't deform the ring. After the sprues are cut off you can lightly sand the resin casting and paint the ring. Make sure to check that the ring fits first! If it's a bit too tight you can ream out the inside of the ring with a Dremel tool.

Painting is covered later but it is also possible to mix opaque green dye in with the resin during casting to eliminate the need for painting, which makes for a less pretty but far more durable finish.

After casting my resin ring I decided to cast a transparent ring using a clear casting resin with some transparent green dye mixed in. The casting procedure is exactly the same but the clear resin I used takes 24 hours to cure. I've used both clear polyester casting resin as well as two part epoxy casting resin and both have worked well. Clear urethane resin is also available but it can be more difficult to work with as some types of clear urethane require a special type of silicone be used for the mold and/or vacuuming the resin to reduce air bubbles.

All resins are slightly different so make sure to follow the manufacturer's directions reagarding the brand of resin you use. The ring I made used less than 1/4 ounce of resin in each casting so you can make a lot of rings from a small supply of resin.

More info about resins/where to buy it:

For opaque resin castings I use the Alumilite Regular urethane casting resin- it makes great castings that are really durable. The 28oz. kit will make more rings than you can shake a stick at. Alumilite also makes a green dye in one ounce bottles so you can color your resin and avoid the hassle of painting.

For clear casting resin there are three options; epoxy resin, polyester resin and urethane resin.
A company called Cast'n Craft makes both epoxy resin and polyester resin in small kits as well as transparent green dye. Cast'n Craft is sold at places like Michael's and Hobby Lobby. Epoxy resin is a little trickier to mix than polyester resin but it doesn't smell as bad- it does take a lot longer to cure than polyester resin. Alumilite makes a clear urethane resin but they recommend vacuuming to reduce bubbles during casting- urethane resin would ultimately produce the best quality casting but I have yet to try it without vacuuming so I can't really recommend at this time unless you have access to a vacuum chamber.

Step 6: Light it up!

Now that I had a translucent green ring I decided to embed a bright green LED in it. This is done by first hollowing out a section on the underside of the ring. Then cut one of the LED wires short and bend the other LED wire to fit the 3v watch battery (watch the polarity!)

Now make sure that the LED and battery can fit into the underside of the ring with the LED lighting up. You want the watch battery to essentially press fit into place in the underside of the ring. After testing the fit, remove the watch battery and glue the LED into place with some clear epoxy. Make sure the leads for the watch battery are exposed. After the epoxy dries just insert the watch battery into place and you now have a glowing ring! The battery is easily removed with a small flat bladed screwdriver to preserve battery life when the ring isn't being worn.

Step 7: Casting the silver ring

So what do you do if you want something more durable than a resin ring? Cast it in silver!

It's pretty uncommon for people to have this type of specialized casting equipment so I'm keeping this part pretty short- it's really just here to give people some idea of the processes involved. My recommendation is to carve your wax model and take it to a local jeweler or trade school and see if they will cast it for you.

To cast the ring in sterling silver first the wax model of the ring is attached to a sprue base. Unlike resin casting there is only one sprue attached to the bottom of the ring. This then has a steel flask placed around it.

Next a ceramic casting investment is mixed, vacuumed and poured into the flask and then the flask is again placed in a vacuum chamber to remove any air bubbles.

After an hour, the rubber base is removed and the steel flask is placed into a burnout furnace overnight. The wax will melt out of the ceramic, leaving a cavity for the molten metal to flow into.

The next morning the flask is pulled from the oven and is placed into a centrifugal caster. The proper amount of silver is placed into the crucible in the caster and is heated with a torch until molten.

The caster is then spun and the centrifugal force throws the metal into the ceramic mold. The steel flask is then removed from the caster and is set aside to cool.

After a couple of minutes the flask is placed in a large bucket of water and the ceramic dissolves, leaving a cast silver ring.

The rough casting then has the casting sprue cut off and is cleaned up using a Dremel/flexshaft tool and sandpaper.

Step 8: Polishing and painting

Now the ring is polished. First I go over the entire ring using a polishing buff with tripoli compound. This is then followed by another buff using a green rouge compound. The important thing when polishing is to remember not to stay in any one area for too long- always keep the ring moving.

If you want a polished finish that's all you need to do.

To paint the ring you have to get rid of the high polish finish- paint won't stick to it! It's important to still polish the ring first to get a nice smooth finish.

First rub the entire ring with a coarse Scotchbrite pad. Now spray the ring with a primer and follow this with a silver base coat. After the silver base coat has dried spray the ring with several coats of translucent green. Then give the ring a final clear coat to protect it.

All the paints I used were made by House of Kolor. The particular colors are:
FBC-02 Orion Silver fine metallic base
K0902 Organic Green Kandy

The paint is available in small quantities here:
http://www.blackgoldweb.com/HouseOfKolorAerosolCanPaint.html

It's important to stay with only one type of paint as certain types of paint can melt previous layers.

That's it! There are advantages and disadvantages to each method of ring construction- just choose the right one for you and go for it.

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abishnoi1 month ago

Well, my drawing sucks and anyone I know will outright cast me in an asylum if i told them what I want! The basic idea is to make a frame that would look like the green lantern ring and hide the silver at the same time. For lighting effect i could use tiny LEDs and batteries. This is what I thought initially but could progress the idea further. Meanwhile I'll see what i can do about anything visual.

abishnoi2 months ago

hi Honus! Is there any way i could make a ring around this ring, like a frame instead? Also can I put tiny leds in the grooves below the ring?

20140821_102035.jpg20140821_102006.jpg
Honus (author)  abishnoi2 months ago
Do you have a sketch or something that sows exactly what you want to do?
Gantman4eva4 months ago
The fill/vent sprue, are they sold with the sprue sticks or did you make them yourself
Nevermind figured it, thanks though. On another note, if the whole thing is wax couldnt you heat the unit, let it drain and then cut it? Is this particular silicone " heat resistant"?
Honus (author)  Gantman4eva4 months ago

Most RTV silicone compounds are somewhat heat resistant, depending on their composition. This particular compound is limited to 395 degrees Fahrenheit so I wouldn't recommend trying to cast metal directly in the mold. Most waxes that are used for pattern making don't melt until around 250 degrees and then you would need to make sure that all of the wax melted out of the mold without leaving any residue. Since you have to cut the silicone mold open to remove a finished cast anyway there isn't really any reason to melt the wax out of the mold.

markjel7 months ago

you should start mass produce it because it looks very unique.

Have you ever thought about using an induction coil inside the ring, coupled with a transmitter hidden inside a power lantern? Would make the ring glow when held near the lantern. I think that would be pretty awesome. Similar to something like this http://www.kokes.net/projectlonghaul/projectlonghaul.htm

I think I'm going to have to give it a shot at some point, because how awesome would that be?
Honus (author)  HardcorePooka1 year ago
I have seen that project before- it's very cool. One thing I thought about was making a ring with a RFID tag in it so when you held it up to the lantern the lantern would turn on.
Metal powder makes the resin look like metal and dye can color the resin.
If I use both together will I end up with a resin that looks like colored metal?
Honus (author)  Jack_Hammer1 year ago
I don't know as I've never tried that. I have seen the powder and the results are pretty nice so maybe it will work. Give it a try!
You should put it on amazon.It would make a great Survival light.
melcrowne5 years ago
I wanted to mold a clear epoxy sheet to put in front of my kiddos television in the playroom. The tv is 55" x 62" and I have build a wooden casing for the tops and sides. I just want a clear plastic type material in front so they do not damage the tv. I looked into plexi and such but was not impressed. Would this be an option? If so would I build a mold out of wood?
This comes a little late to be of help to you, but anyone interested in attempting to make a plastic sheet or pane should find the the instructions and photos for making a pane of "Break Away" glass (like the props used in movies) of interest. Go to this page and scroll down to the "Step By Step Video Sequences" and look for "Making a Breakaway Glass Pane"  As a sheet of acrylic is used for the bottom of the form (to ensure a clear surface), you'd likely be better off just using the acrylic. :) The "break away" property comes from the special casting resin sold by Smooth-On.
I think you would have problems getting both sides of home cast resin perfectly flat.
You would probably be better buying a sheet of cast acrylic cut to the size you require. This should be a bit bigger than the screen to allow for fixings.

There are many places where you can buy cast acrylic
I have bought materials from http://www.westwardplastics.co.uk/index.php and found them to be reasonable, I was in Bristol and collected in person to avoid delivery charges and they let me take some useful sized bits of plastic from their scrap bin.
Honus (author)  yellowcatt3 years ago
The other problem with trying to cast something that large is air bubbles in the casting. You would need to cast the entire thing in a vacuum chamber and it would never be as clear as Acrylic sheet.
craig32 years ago
Hi there, I was wondering if you think it would be easier to buy a wax ring tube already with the inner diameter of your finger to wear, rather than having to buy and grind out the inside to get it a good fit?
Honus (author)  craig32 years ago
I'm not aware of any company that sells ring wax tubes in specific finger sizes. Removing wax from the inside of the wax tube is no big deal- it carves really easy.
craig3 Honus2 years ago
aagh I see, think you for the tip then. I've never done wax carving before so I was just wondering, thank you again. :) You've made me want to carve my own red lantern ring
Honus (author)  craig32 years ago
Cool- I haven't seen a red lantern ring yet. Be sure to post pics when you're done! If you need help or have any other questions just let me know.
Gnechanic3 years ago
Do you know any work around or substitue for having to buy/use the wax sprues. I don't think my michaels store will carry them and that's where I'm going for my supplies. couldn't you just use some left over modling wax to make some up or use some plastic tubing (thinking of my spare air tubes for my fishtank). What I know about silicone is that it's nonstick, it shouldn't stick to the plastic during curing and the model being molded doesn't have to be completely wax, right -other materials can be used: metal, plastic, etc.? thanks. first timer molder-caster.
Honus (author)  Gnechanic3 years ago
You can use whatever you want to shape the ring model and sprues- you could even use modeling clay.
merice1 Honus3 years ago
hey honus i just follow you said and i modify my green lantern ring and it came out awesome dood im gonna post this in this website check it out
Honus (author)  merice13 years ago
Cool- I keep an eye out for it! I'm working on modding the new movie rings right now. :)
Gnechanic Honus3 years ago
thanks, nice to know modeling clay wil work; I get them free at the school sometimes :D compliments on your craftsmanship! Those wax rings look so smooth!
mcaliber.503 years ago
instead of carving a ring by hand, or sculpting it out of wax, you could take a ring with the basic shape you want, and put it in ballistic gel, remove it, and fill the cavity with wax.
ItssRubiie6 years ago
Where can i find a LED light for this?
You can get 10 green LED flashlight keychains that include batteries and free shipping to anywhere at DealExtreme for under $5. They wouldn't fit as they are but the parts might if you carefully extracted them.
radio shack , its where i got mine when i made a iron man arc reactor
Try Radio Shack they have all kinds of them
Honus (author)  ItssRubiie6 years ago
I bought mine from a local electronics supply but you could try online suppliers like Digikey.
Thannkk Youuu!
TheAlmost3 years ago
and how durable is the glowing one also?
Honus (author)  TheAlmost3 years ago
While the resin is somewhat resilient it's definitely not an everyday ring.
TheAlmost3 years ago
How does the glowing ring look with the light off?
Honus (author)  TheAlmost3 years ago
It just looks like a plain translucent green,
Drewbaccaa3 years ago
I have a gas forge that gets to 2500f how hot do you need this to be for silver.... I also have a kiln... which would be better?
Honus (author)  Drewbaccaa3 years ago
That's easily hot enough- the trick is that the burnout oven has a ramp up cycle so it goes from 300 degrees and holds it and then up to 600 and holds it and then goes up to 1300 for burnout and then goes back down to around 900-1000 degrees for casting. All of this happens over several hours- I usually set up the oven so it turns on around midnight and then I'm ready to cast in the morning. Melting of the Sterling Silver is actually done using a gas torch- I've never cast Silver using any other method. Sterling Silver flows around 1650 F depending on the exact alloy.
I plan on making one of your resin rings, and i was curious as to how durable they are. Once it's made how durable are they?
Honus (author)  BrianBattier3 years ago
They're pretty durable- it can be worn every day but it obviously won't hold up as well as a metal ring. If you were to step on it you would probably damage it.
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