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Stainless Teardrop

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I’ve been wanting to make a teardrop pendant out of stainless steel. The problem is it’s difficult, if not impossible, to solder stainless steel with the method I typically use. Instead of drilling a hole, I included the jump ring into the tear drop. It was a fun project. The only difficulty was shaping the metal to look like a believable droplet.
 
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Step 1: Basic shape

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I chucked a ¼” rod of stainless steel into my mini lathe and spun it at 1100 RPMs. I machined in the basic shape freehand. The only thing you have to watch out for is putting too much pressure on the bulb of the drop. With enough stress you’ll snap it off before you’re ready.

Step 2: Refining the shape

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I used a half round file to refine the shape and to clean up any tooling marks. I then used 320 grit sand paper to clean up the lines left by the file. Separating it from the rod is simply a matter of snipping it off.

Step 3: Forge the jump ring

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Here’s another part you want to be careful with. I used a propane torch to heat up the jump ring end. Once it was red hot I hammered it flat. Make sure the blows are square with the pendant. Otherwise you might snap it off unintentionally.

Step 4: Drilling it out

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I used a center punch to help set the first of 3 drill bits. If I were to use just one bit, instead of moving up in increments, the bit might catch and spin the entire pendant. This could accidentally snap the jump ring off. That would be bad.

Step 5: Shape and polish

Using diamond burs, I shaped the jump ring to be nice and round. Once I had the shape I wanted, I polished it on a buffing wheel to shine it up.

Thanks for reading.
jslarve9 months ago
That's pretty nifty. Would you mind telling the specs/model of that lathe? I've looked at a few, but don't know what I'm looking at. :-)
Mrballeng (author)  jslarve9 months ago
jslarve Mrballeng3 months ago
Thanks. Sorry this is late. I didn't know there's a way to see my replies. :)
reosed9 months ago
Has someone who has followed your instructables before, you deserve more tools! When I followed your granite pendant instructable, I found that the "anvil" portion of my vise was very rough and made my polishing job much harder. Great job on this. I might have to see if I can get it done with a drill press and a file! I voted for you.
Mrballeng (author)  reosed9 months ago
Thanks! Don't forget to post photos.
And again: it's amazing
rocketperson9 months ago
@ Mrballeng's reply: Another thing to take into consideration is that the beauty of handmade items is that they will always have a unique quality, just like a signature! That looks so cool that I would try it if I had the tools. I am also impressed with how you took less than a pennies worth of material and made it priceless!
HollyMann9 months ago
Looks beautiful!
Mrballeng (author)  HollyMann9 months ago
Thank you Holly. Now this instructable is legitimate.=)
cjgordon9 months ago
are you going to make them to sell
Mrballeng (author)  cjgordon9 months ago
I like to keep jewelry one of a kind. So this is the only one.
ledshed9 months ago
Nice - stainless is not the easiest of metals and takes a while to polish, but the results and durability make it worth it.
Dakotamouse9 months ago
greatly impressed!
U do very nice work on all ur stuff. Ur wife is one lucky lady. Ur son did a very good Lego instructable also. I really enjoyed it. Keep up the nice work. Looks like son will fellow in Dads footsteps... Lol..
tjk19399 months ago
Good job, sure makes me wish I still had my lathe.
chuckyd9 months ago
I'm a wood turner, and I would turn this the other way around, with the thin part at the end. That way, you don't have to worry about breaking it off so easily.

Also, could could you have turned a longer thin piece and wrapped it around a mandrel to avoid flattening and drilling?
dkeach9 months ago
I absolutely love your stuff mrb, I actually just modified your butterfly tutorial a little and tweaked the size, its about four or five times bigger, kinda regret it bc the solder is more visible, its nice to see youve been getting better equipment though. again u r an inspiration to all of us that beauty is crafted not just biught, thank you. keep it up
Mrballeng (author)  dkeach9 months ago
Why thank you very much. Soldering takes practice, just like anything else. But i know exactly what you mean. I'm really excited about my new anvil. Thanks for taking the time to write.
lillyann9 months ago
Beautiful!!! You should register and sell them at fiverr.com! I'd be the first to buy one!
Kinnishian9 months ago
Quality instructable :). Thanks for the detailed pictures and clear explanations.
This is soooo good; I totally want to try this. I wonder what my husband will say when I ask to play with his lathe ;)
stumitch9 months ago
Well done! (as usual :-) do you have tips on shaping your lathe bit? it looks a bit different than the usual ground shape that tends to get taught at school..
gravityisweak9 months ago
Beautiful work! How many hours did this take all together?
Mrballeng (author)  gravityisweak9 months ago
The whole project took about 1 hour. Probably less without taking pictures. Thanks!
LeumasYrrep9 months ago
That is beautiful. You did a great job shaping it. Like a commentator before said I though you had melted it and then dropped it in water to get that teardrop shape. This would make a great gift for my girlfriend. I might have to go searching through my bar stock tomorrow for a pice of stainless and then fire up the lathe.
Mrballeng (author)  LeumasYrrep9 months ago
Cool thanks! If you thought I melted it than the design worked. Thanks for the comment.
snoopindaweb9 months ago
1 great looking anvil, much better than one I mite have suggested. Looks like the Ol' Hammer Head is taking a bit of a break. ~( :- )={
Mrballeng (author)  snoopindaweb9 months ago
I finally bought an anvil. Really excited about it too. =)
nanosec129 months ago
Exactly what Action Pig said below vvvvv this is an example of why I follow your work!
action pig9 months ago
I always love your work!
I am speechless, you projects are just way too awesome :). Thank you so much for sharing.
Mrballeng (author)  Tarun Upadhyaya9 months ago
You're so nice. Thank you.
tomsmac9 months ago
wow

shazni9 months ago
I have a triple drop earring ! And I love it! This is so cute :-)
ian91149 months ago
vary cool! :)
SHIFT!9 months ago
Whoa stunning. I wish I had a lathe!
kondzio299 months ago
Perfect as always ;)
That is soo cool! One day, one day...
At first I thought you melted the metal and dropped it in cold water lol
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