Introduction: Solitaire Hex Bolt
I've always thought the best part of making something is the moment it arrives in the hands of the person it was meant for. With so many "ugly duckling" materials wanting to become something, there are plenty of opportunities to bring about those smiles. That’s what this pendant is. An "ugly duckling" in a tuxedo =).
I made this using a hex bolt, wire, sheet metal, and a cubic zirconium stone. Everything came from the hardware store with the exception of the stone. I got that from Target.
It’s a Christmas gift for my wife. Hope she likes it.
Step 1: Turn a Hex Bolt
Using a lathe, cut the sides off a hex bolt. Refine the shape with a hobby file. Next drill a hole in the head of the bolt as close to the size of the stone your setting. Once that’s done flip the bolt around and cut the threads clean off.
If necessary use a hobby file to expand the hole until the stone fits in.
Step 2: Make the Setting
Use a doming punch to strike the hole in the pendant. Start with a larger punch and work your way smaller. This will form a very small ridge around the hole of the pendant which is what will keep the stone in place.
Place the stone in the hole. Wrap a piece of wire around a round rod and form a coil. Cut one of the rings out of the coil and file the edges flat. Close the ring and set it behind the stone as a detention.
Apply light pressure to the ring while you solder it in place. Make sure you wear eye protection.
Step 3: Make the Bail
Cut a strip from a piece of sheet metal. The metal I’m using is 22 gage. Bend it over a rod to form the loop and then use snips to cut it to length.
Shape the bail with rotary tools. I’m using a diamond cutting wheel. Make sure to use a half round file to shape the bail where it will join the pendant.
Step 4: Solder
Set up the bail and pendant to your desired positions. I had to raise the bail a little so it would contact the pendant where I wanted it to. I did this by placing a paper clip under it. But first I oxidized the paper clip wire so the solder would not adhere to it. The razor blade helped position things a bit too.
Step 5: Polish
Use progressively finer sand paper to clean up the pendant. I used 400 grit followed by 1000 and then 2000.
Finally I polished the pendant with polishing compound on a polishing wheel.
Thanks for reading.