Step 2: Wax pattern
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:
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.