Introduction: Vaquita Jewelry

Picture of Vaquita Jewelry

In this Instructable you will learn how to make a Vaquita shaped pendant. Vaquita's are an endangered porpoise in the gulf of Mexico, there are only 30 individuals left. We need to come together, to save this tiny porpoise. By making this piece of jewelry, you would be raising awareness of the smallest porpoise on the planet, and that we need to save them as soon as possible.

Step 1: Choose an Image of a Vaquita From the Internet

Picture of Choose an Image of a Vaquita From the Internet

The first step is to choose a high quality image of a Vaquita from the internet. It is best if the image is just an outline of the Vaquita, since it will be easier to counter bitmap it. Once you have chosen the image, download it.

Step 2: Counter Bitmap Your Image

Picture of Counter Bitmap Your Image

Export the image into 2D design, then select the image and go to the top bar. Click where it says BITMAPS, then go all the way to the bottom and click on Counter bitmap. If it is a good quality image, you should now be able to move the image you downloaded from the internet, and underneath you will have the outline of the image from the internet. If it does not work, try the counter bitmap step again.

Step 3: Refine the Outline of the Vaquita

Picture of Refine the Outline of the Vaquita

Once you have made the outline of the Vaquita, you need to delete any parts that you will not use, for example, we do not need the writing at the bottom of the image, you also need to delete the second outline of the Vaquita, and the eye, since we do not need it. As you can see, the fin of the Vaquita is not connected, however, we will fix that in the next step.

Step 4: Make the Outline All One Continuos Line

Picture of Make the Outline All One Continuos Line

To make the outline of the Vaquita all one continuous line, you must delete some parts of the fins. To do this, go to the left-hand side of 2D design, and you will see many little boxes, go to the bottom right one, do not click on it, but keep your mouse on it. The icon should expand, and you will see many other icons, chose the second icon by clicking on it. When you have done that step, you can delete parts of the fin of the Vaquita to tidy it up.

Once everything above is compleated, go to the icons on the left of the page like before, however, this time, you must click on the first icon to the right, it should be a line. Then go to the icons on the right-hand side of the page, and click on the attach tools, this will make sure that the new lines you make are connected to the Vaquita, hence making it one continuous line.

Now that you have managed to make the outline of the Vaquita only one line, you need to merge all the separate lines that are making up the Vaquita. To do this, select the whole thing, and right click, then click merge path.

Step 5: Create a Double Line

Picture of Create a Double Line

The next step is to create another line inside the original outline of the Vaquita, this way the jewellery will be stronger, and it will look better. Originally, I had quite a thick outline, it was 5mm, however, since I added writing in the middle, I chose to make it thinner since it did not look balanced now my Vaquita outline is 2.5 mm thick.

To make the outline, you need to go to the left side of the page, where you will see the icons, on the right in the middle, there is an icon that looks like a polygon with another identical polygon inside it. That is the contour tool, click on the outline of the Vaquita, then click on that. Now you need to put 0.25cm in the box on the top right (this is the thickness the Vaquita will be). The contour will not be perfect, to make it tidier, you need to do the same thing you did before, go to the line tool, then click the attach icon on the right, and tidy up the lines; Once you have done that, make sure to merge the lines together (ONLY THE COUNTOUR LINE NOT THE WHOLE THING) and you are done creating a double line.

Step 6: Add the Word Vaquita

Picture of Add the Word Vaquita

Now we need to add the text. It is important to get a text that is mostly cursive because when I was choosing the text, I chose a print text, however, this would mean that they would all fall out since they were not connected. At first, I thought of making a vaquita with a hardback, so that I could add print letters, however, that would be too heavy, so Instead, I set for cursive writing and no solid back.

To insert text into 2D design, you must go to the icons on the left side of the page, and click on the icon that says ABC. In the text box, write Vaquita. Then go the setting, and change the font to a font that is mostly cursive, this will keep the letters connected. Once you have done that you can click done.

Step 7: Insirting the Writing Into the Vaquita Outline

Picture of Insirting the Writing Into the Vaquita Outline

Once you have managed to insert the writing into 2D design, put the writing in the middle of the Vaquita. Now scale the writing down to a suitable size, and rotate it a little bit so that it fits better into the Vaquita, and you can make it bigger.

Since not all of the letters will be connected, the next thing we must do is connect the letters to make sure they do not fall out. To do this you simply need to get the polygon tool (another icon on the left-hand side of the page) and start to connect all of the letters.

Step 8: Connect Your Writing to the Vaquita Outline

Picture of Connect Your Writing to the Vaquita Outline

The next step is to connect the writing to the actual outline of the Vaquita, to do this, get the polygon tool again, and click on the attach tool, you will now be able to connect the ends of the letters A, Q, and V to the outline of the Vaquita. It is important to make sure that the outline is all one continuous line with the writing, otherwise, it will not work. It is also very important to make sure that the vaquita you make is flipped backwards, otherwise, your writing will come out backwards. I made this mistake the first time I did this vaquita jewellery, and I had to change everything. Once you have connected the writing to the outline of the Vaquita, select the whole thing, and flip it so that it looks like the picture above.

Step 9: Give Your Vaquita Depth

Picture of Give Your Vaquita Depth

Now it is time to make your Vaquita a certain colour which will determine the depth of the vaquita. The colours differ on each machine so make sure that you have the right colour for your machine. It is also time to scale down your design to 5cm of length.

Step 10: Engrave Your Design Onto Moddeling Foam

Picture of Engrave Your Design Onto Moddeling Foam

It is now time to engrave your design onto the modelling foam. I decided to put two of my Vaquita designs onto the modelling foam, so I had double the chance of success, since the first time I did it, I put an Air channel to let the air escape, and not all of the writing got filled. This time I put no airway channel, and the writing came out fine, so only put the air channels to let the air escape on the sides of the Vaquita.

Step 11: Make a Well and a Runner

Picture of Make a Well and a Runner

Once you have engraved your design into the modelling foam, it is time to make a well and a runner. For this, you will need to get a dremel and a pencil. With the pencil, draw the well and runner, the well should not be too shallow, but not too deep either since the purpose of the well is to make sure that the pewter is not too hot when it is poured into the mould. The well and runner should be about half as thick as the original mould since you do not want the mould to be too weak, however, you need space for the pewter to flow.

MAKE SURE TO WEAR SAFTY GOGGLES!

Step 12: Casting

Picture of Casting

It is now time to actually cast the pewter into the mold. For this you will need to get a backing plate, and attach it to your mold. You can attach the two by getting elastic bands. Make sure that the plates are closed properly, otherwise the pewter will flow out, and you will have to make another mold. Make sure you know which side the well is on, start pouring the pewter in on that side.

Wait for 10-15 minutes before opening the mold and taking out the pewter cast Vaquita.

Step 13: Polish the Pewter (optional)

Picture of Polish the Pewter (optional)

The next step is optional. At the start of the project, I was not going to polish the pewter, since I thought it would look better shiny, however, as you can see in the pictures above, in the end I did polish it, and I think it looks much better. The top one is not polished and the bottom one is polished. To polish the pewter, I used a sanding machine however, you can also use sand paper, but it might look messier. Beware that when you sand it, part of the pewter comes off, so the final result will be thinner. At the beginning, I wanted to cold enamel the Vaquita, however, I really like the pewter color, so I chose to leave it plain. I would not recommend cold enameling this, because I do not think it will look as good as the normal pewter color.

Step 14: Final Result

Picture of Final Result

Congratulations, you have made your own piece of Vaquita jewelry. It is now time to attach it to a necklace, at the beginning I thought of drilling a hole through the metal to make enough space for the necklace chain to pass through, however, it is much easier to just put a necklace chain through the fin. The crook in the fin will support the chain and prevent it from slipping.

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