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Making a Custom Jewelry Holder Utilizing Old Couch Springs

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Picture of Making a Custom Jewelry Holder Utilizing Old Couch Springs
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So the other day my mom gave me a handful of old couch springs and
said, "if you haven't already got ideas for my birthday could you
make me a jewelry holder using these springs?" Being the maker and
artist that I am, I said, "of course!"
This year she turns 50 =O So I decided I would go all out and make
something really nice. As you may know if you've seen my other
Instructables, I am a DC at TechShop San Jose and have access to
a waterjet cutting machine. (This thing totally kicks some serious
@$$ when it comes to making) As my first personal project on the
machine, I definitely had a lot of fun and envision many future
projects on the waterjet.
So to start, the things I used include:

the waterjet!
Adobe Illustrator / VCarve Pro / FlowPath
sheet steel
plate glass mirror
old couch springs =)
Hammer / Vice
MIG welder
Dremel / metal file / emery cloth
SandBlaster
TSP
Powder Coating system
Devcon 2-ton epoxy / clamps
 
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Step 1: Design

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My mom likes wine, so naturally any wine themed design is bound
to be a winner. I grabbed a few images off of the web and copied
them into Illustrator to use as reference. With a little tracing
and artistic positioning I came up with a simple silhouette design
that I would use as the shape of the mirror.
To clean up my vectors I brought my design into VCarve Pro. I also
used some of VCarve's Vector creation tools to expand on the mirror
design and make the design for the metal backdrop. By using the
offset path and weld/subtract vectors I made some interesting
negative space.
Got my two design files ready (one for glass, one for metal)
next step is create the path files and cut the material.

Step 2: FlowPath and FlowCut

Once in FlowPath, I import my two .dxf files. For the glass piece,
it is a very simple design without any inside cuts, so I simply
used the AutoPath tool (which did a fine job of creating the path).
As for the metal piece, I took the manual approach to handle all
the inside details and get the path ordered the way I wanted.
After the path files were made... you know what time it is.
Waterjet time!
put the material on the bed, load the files, and fire up the
big bad waterjet. I had cut many metal pieces before for work
related jobs, and I must say it is extremely satisfying to see
your original designs being cut out of say... glass mirror =)

Step 3: Bend the Mounting Tabs

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Before I go to weld the springs to the steel I decided I wanted to
bend the tabs I cut for mounting the Jewelry holder to the wall.
This was kinda tricky, but with some creative thinking I figured
out how to make it happen. To do the first bend I simple clamped the
steel to the table with the tabs hanging slightly off the edge.
I then hammered them down to an appropriate angle. For the second
bend I found a piece of scrap wood and cut it to the exact height
of the first bend, clamped it in position butted up against the steel,
and hammered the tabs down parallel to the front part of the steel
back drop.

Step 4: Welding time!

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Now that I got my two main features cut out of glass and steel, it
is time to add on the old couch springs. For this I used the MIG
welder. The nice thing about the MIG is that I can hold the springs
with one hand while I weld them to the steel backing with the other
hand. I arranged the springs around the outside border, welded them
on, and now it's clean up time.

Step 5: Metal Clean Up

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In this step I used a combination of the Dremel tool, some metal
files, and emery cloth. For the larger boogers left behind by the
MIG I used the Dremel with a grinding wheel to grind the flush.
For the smaller little tabs left by the waterjet I used the metal
files. And lastly I used the emery cloth to remove any remaining
burs left on the steel. Next, is the powder coating step.

Step 6: Prep & Powder

After I got my steel nice and bur/booger free it is time to sand
blast in preparation for powder coating. Despite having cleaned up
some of the larger more physically unattractive features of the
welds and waterjet edges, there is still a lot of rust and oil that
needs to be removed.  After a little time spent in the sandblaster
I got the piece down to the bare metal. I used a little TSP after
blasting to remove any residual oils. Once the steel was absolutely
clean, I hung it up in the powder booth, applied the powder, and
set it in the oven to cure. 10 minutes later, voila!

Step 7: Epoxy-2-Finish

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Now for the last step. The metal is all finished, cut, welded,
cleaned, and powder coated. The glass is cut into a nice
silhouette of a wine bottle, glasses, and grapes. Now to join
the two together. Using the Devcon 2-ton epoxy, I squeeze out
an equal amount from the tubes and mix thoroughly, and apply an
even coat of epoxy on as much of the steel that is in contact
with the glass. I then used a couple of clamps (with some sort
of soft material on the mirror side, to protect the glass) with
light even pressure to ensure a good bond.

Old Couch spring, waterjet cut steel and mirror Jewelry Holder Complete!
Happy 50th Birthday Mom!!!
TSSJ-ryan (author) 3 years ago
muchas gracias!