Introduction: Stainless Steel Dragon Bracelet Form Welding Electrodes
For me, this instructable is entirely different. I never stepped into carving work because I think I am not good in this type of work. But being a person who stepped into every kind of artwork and works like wood, metal, stainless steel, plastic, resin and many more, I decided to give carving one shot. To the professionals, it might not seems good but I personally think that this thing turned out good because that's the initial thought I have in my mind before starting this project. The material is also very different from what people can actually use for making these kinds of things. I know I definitely seem to be a waste of money to some of you due the material price. But I think the material price might vary from place to place and for me, there wasn't a huge difference between the price of welding electrodes and solid pieces of rod. There are a bunch of different ways person can make this bracelet but I think I go with the difficult one, but the build journey went very well. The good thing about building it with welding is because I can shape it according to my need and deposit the material where it needed. This is more like a 3d print but made out with the help of welding machine and human effort. I hope you are going to enjoy this Instructable and the video. If you have any suggestion to improve or something which I did wrong then feel free to correct.
Following is the material I used for this build.
- Stainless Steel 308L Welding Electrode
- Enamel for jewellery work
- Pickling Agent (for cleaning purpose)
Tools Used:- Although there are many tools you can use to make this build. I go with those which I have available at that time. You are free to use whatever tools you find helpful for your build. If you are a beginner then use the power tools wisely and wear all the protective gears during your work. Following is the list of tools and machinery I used in this build.
- MMA welding Machine
- Angle grinder
- Grinding disks, Cut off wheels
- Rotary tools
- End mill
- Buffing Compound
- Drum sander
- Diamond burrs
- Carbide Burrs
- Needle files
- Wire Brass brush
- Marker for Layout purpose
- Buffing drums
Step 1: Making the Basic Template of the Actual Size
I didn't have much jewellery tools so I tried those things which I can easily find in my workshop. For the basic size, I am going to use a piece of tig wire and going to give it a round shape and make the basic template of the actual bracelet. Although I have a bracelet in my hand. I thought not to use it as a template because it's very small to take the reference that's why I decided to make my own template. The first thing I did is to weld two pipes adjacent to each other with a gap of around 1⁄2". The diameter of the pipe is around 1⁄2". The pipe diameter and gap really don't mean a lot here because their main objective is to make a round ring circle equals to the template I wanted for my design. Although you can use anything round available to you for the reference of your bracelet. But make sure you have the right diameter for what you are making. Once I turn the wire into a circle I made a tack and closed the ends. To convert the wire into the ring I pretty simple by putting that wire into that setup we made earlier and tried to bend. Here you didn't need to turn it too much, just barely enough to make a slight bend. Then insert little more and then again bend. Here you need to make sure not increase the length too much. You have to make a bend after every 5 to 8 mm and always bend it in the same direction. If you know the diameter then by πd you get the perimeter of the bracelet template. This will tell you where you need to stop and join it with the other end. If it wasn't completely round then use a round rod or a pipe having a diameter smaller than the template and with the help of hammer make it completely round. Although it's really not necessary to make it round because it's just for reference.
Step 2: Welding Ring
Now the second step is to use that circular template and start the welding according to the template we made. The template is in such a way that when you are going to take a reference the bracelet centre line( which is in round shape) aligns with the circular template I made. To start the initial weld I decided to choose a piece of the stainless bar over which I am going to start the welding and completing it into a circular bracelet. The main key to success in this process is that you have to make the surface as much clean as possible you can. If there is any black oxide get trapped into the surface then it's going to create a problem in the phase. For the cleaning process, I kept using pickling agent which primarily used to remove the black oxide from the surface of stainless steel and makes the surface very bright and Clean. During every layer of my weld bead, I wait for a while and then apply the layer of pickling agent. Make sure not to apply this pickling agent over the hot surface because pungent fumes produced if you do that. Also advised you to do this in an open environment. I usually kept a piece of damp cloth near me and after the weld bead place it over the weld joint. Since it's not a structural thing that's why this didn't create any problem. I did this jut to reduce the working time. This is a very time-consuming process like the 3d printer. During the welding, I constantly kept checking the shape with the help of that template which I build earlier and making sure that the template lies in the middle of the welded circle which we are making. The advantage of this process is that you can turn the shape in any manner you want. The most important thing you need to know that after the welding of stainless steel the slag will pop out automatically so make sure to cover the surface after the welding because sometimes what happened is that you went to check the weld spot and suddenly the slag pops out and stick to your face and any other uncovered part that will be going to give you serious burn marks. It happens to me so it's good to take care of this. Since I am making a dragon and the body of the dragon is thick at one end and thin at the other so I placed my weld beads according to that. If you are making something else than you have to consider that design in your mind and place your welding beads. Once the ends are closed I detached the circular ring from the bar and then complete the weld onto that cut part and make the profile cylindrical. If you think that in your design some areas are higher than the remaining body then it's good to place weld bead over that area and make it higher instead of carving down the entire body just because you wanted to raised a perticular area. During the weld make sure to keep the amperes equivalent to the maximum amperes that electrode can be recommended to use according to the company specifications. Also If you didn't have pickling agent you can just make a light pass with the help of angle grinder and a flap disk.
Step 3: Straightening the Shape and Saperating the Head
So heating is really not necessary for this and I did this just for an experimental purpose because according to the Japanese swordsmithing heating and beating removes the impurities from the metal. And this is the only aim for doing this. Along with that, there are some weld bumps here and there which are really not necessary I also hammer them down so that I have to do less grinding work on those places to flatten them out. Form thereafter I apply some pickling agent to descale them and start the cleaning work with the help of angle grinder. The only motive of this is to true up the shape.
In the beginning, I thought to keep the round bracelet without any separation but from thereafter I thought that it might create some problem in carving. To counter that problem I decided to make a cut in between the head and the tail section so that later on it would be easy to carve out both the sections. Also, the second advantage of this is that if somehow the size increased then because of the open ends I am able to adjust the size. In the soft metals like gold and silver, it's not difficult to increase or decrease but stainless doesn't allow you to do the same without damaging the surface.
Step 4: Tuning Up to the Final Size
The next process is to finalize the size of the bracelet and I used a couple of different tools and techniques. Initially, I started from the inside and with the help of tungsten carbide burr and a rotary tool start the process. Starting to machine down the high spots of the weld beads because it's not possible to do the inside stuff with the help of angle grinder. From thereafter most of the work is eyeballing and I have some experience to tune up the things with just by the visuals. This all comes from practice and paying attention during the work. The outside area tuned up with the stone attached to my drill press( this might be dangerous, so use it carefully or use those tool which seems feasible to you and you are aware of using them with full safety equipment). Once most of the machine work finished I shifted towards the hand-filling method to true up the edges.
Step 5: Carving the Head
So this is the first thing from which I started the carving work and I think like the drawing head defines the overall shape of the body. If made the head first with the help of that you can easily able to carve out the entire body or at least have an idea that what proportion is required. I used mini burs to start the work and since the horns are the part which stays slightly higher I start the work form them. With straight burr create a cavity between the horn area and then start the carving from the outside of the horns. With the bottom portion of the burr, I make the outlines and with the side of the burr give the horn more organic shape. I also give the initial shape to the dragon face. As I said earlier that it would be good if you placed a weld bead to raises certain area rather than carving the entire section and here you can see the advantage of that work in the head section. The forehead and the snout section are slightly higher than the remaining area. Then I move to the adjacent side of the horns and true-up that section also so that if you look it from the front the face sides looked almost identical. I watched too many images of dragons and what I did in this build is that fused them together and made something different because it's an imaginary creature and each artist made it in a different way and that's the thing I did in my case. The bottom of the head is provided with a v shape design. At many places, I use a marker to do the layout of the area where I need to do the carving. With the conical bit, I made some texture to the horn-like a step effect. Along with that I also give a skin folding effect to the snout area. With the same bit, I made the mouth outline. This is important to do because most of the chance without the reference the straight face burs slips and cut down somewhere else. I wanted to do some carving at the area where ears need to be made but find it difficult to do so instead of that I made some flow like carving and this thing also look like ears. From thereafter I move to the eye section and for that, I made just small holes so that it will look like the eyes because later on, I am going to fill it with enamel. Since the forehead and the horns are combined together that's why I didn't need to make eyebrows and any other details.
Step 6: Making a Uniform Body
Once the head area is constructed it's much easy to pay attention over the rest of the body. First I coloured the sides, and then with the help of divider, I marked a parallel line by taking a reference from the outer body. Once that's done with the help of carbide burrs I flatten out the entire inside area but now the overall body is parallel to each other. The key here is that you have to make a body like a snake which is wider at the starting and thinner at the bottom.
Step 7: Carving the Body
This is really a challenging task for me because frankly said I never did carving work like this. Now there are a bunch of ways to do this and if this is a brass or copper bracelet then I would definitely try something different design but for stainless, I go with a simple design. I coloured the entire piece. Then with the help of divider, I made markings onto the spine and from thereafter with the help of diamond wheels and burs engrave a line over those marked areas. This will be going to create a guideline for the endmill to turn. I did this work both inside and outside. Inside work is little difficult then the outer one but with the help of diamond wheel it's easy to scribe a line in the inside portion. From thereafter with the help of 6mm carbide end mill, I start the gauging work. One thing I found in this carving is that if you have to Hogg out a lot of material then endmills are the best. Then by keeping the bit at an angle of around 30°, I start the gauging work. For this work, only the end portion of the mill is used. Overall my aim is to make a v groves channel both inside and the outside of the bracelet and raised the middle section.
Step 8: Rounding the Sides
After carving the v grove channels next thing to do is to round the edges to give it more organic shape. For that, I first marked the centre of the side. Since it has a distilled taper so at some point I need to do just the eyeballing. After the marking, I start the rounding work by joining the top to the centre line in a circular way. Form thereafter with the help of needle files I start the hand shaping work because power tools remove material at a very high speed so after getting the basic shape it's better to do the hand shaping method. Inside refining is difficult to do with the file but fine dental burr makes the job done but it takes a lot of time for its completion. With the files, I also refined the outside edges. After removing most of the material with files and burrs I shifted towards the diamond burrs. The grit size is 120 but it smoothens out the entire surface and removes all the deeper scratches which occur due to the use of endmill.
Step 9: Dragon Skin Scales
To create the scale texture I coloured the sides with the marker and draw a layout of criss-cross lines which intersects each other and makes a rhombus like a shape. I first engrave the lines in one direction by following the layout and from thereafter did this in another direction. When these two lines cut each other they make a diamond-like pattern and that texture really feels like scales. To refine the edges I have to use the needle files because many times the wheel wasn't able to lock down its position. In those cases, I made small but deep scratch so the diamond wheel sits into it and then make a uniform line without losing its path. This is really a time-consuming process and stainless makes it much harder to so.
Step 10: Spine Work
For the spine work, I chose different ways because I made the scales onto the sides and I wanted to highlight this section to make it look different than the remaining section. There is not enough material to make horns onto the spine so decided to transfer the belly design onto the top and belly portion left as it is. First I coloured it with the marker so that I am able to see my outlines and from thereafter with the help of dividers made equal marks onto the spine. From thereafter I extend those line over the entire surface with the help of scriber. Then with straight cutting end mill scribe lines over them. I tried to work at a slow speed because if the bit gets slip then it gonna damage the finish of the adjacent sides. I made deep scratches and the rounding work is done with the help of diamond burrs. The key is that you have to make a dom like a shape and need to smoothen it out from all of the sides. But doing that you are able to get a fairly dom shaped spine onto your bracelet.
Step 11: Carving the Tail
Tail carving is the last part I did in this build. The scale work I did earlier not go up to the bottom so I decided to give it some different look. I coloured the tail section and draw the design by taking the reference from the picture. In between area having a spherical-shaped a design like small sphere connecter together. With the help of conical burr, I made those rings and then converted them into a spherical shape. I use a round file and triangular file for this process. From thereafter I move onto the flapper portion of the tail. This is going to look like a fire like a shape. With the help of end, mill thin down that section and also creates a spine over it. Usually, it completely depends upon your design. I watched different designs and for mine merge a few of them. The area is very congested at this point so I have to bend the tail section little bit so that I am able to carve the tail. I just focus on making a leaf-like shape. It really didn't take much of the time like it's remaining sections.
Step 12: Polishing
For the polishing I shift to the drum Sanders started from the 150 grit drum sander and goes up to 1000 grit. I started from 150 because the diamond burrs grit size is 120 grit. I sanded down every surface and every part at Crisscross direction because that is the only way to see the scratch pattern onto the surface. After the 1000 grit sanding, I align the tail section by heating it and bent it with pliers. Make sure to use flat teeth plier otherwise you need to redo the work. With the pickling agent, I remove the black oxide layer and start the buffing process. For that, I use my grinder and start the polishing work the difficult area polished with the help of small rotary buffers. Overall it didn't take much of the time if you remove the scratch evenly with increasing the grit size progressively. I found that if you are doing polishing with an angle grinder then tried to lower down the rpm did a better job.
Step 13: Coloring
I wanted to give the bracelet a distinct look. For that, I go with the heating method. First I did the bass deposition process. I did this for the head and tail section. For this, you need a fine bristle wire brush and heating torch. First, you need to heat the surface but make sure not to heat too much and at pale straw colour start brushing over the heated surface. By doing this the brass gets deposited onto the top of the surface. In this process, you get a slightly matte finish rather than the chrome finish. For the middle body, I only did the heat anodising process. At different temperature, steel changes its colour. Near about 280°c the metal turned into blue colour. If you are able to provide even heat then you are able to get a blue colour but I am not able to do that and get a purple-blue colour. But this rainbow colour looks extremely beautiful. The eyes are filled with enamel and for that, I place the enamel granule into the eye cavity and brought torch near it. Within a couple of seconds, enamel gets melted and stick inside the eye.
Step 14: Final Shoot Out
Finally, you can admire your work. For me, I really like the overall look because being a person who never did any kind of carving or sculpting, I thought that it turned out as it is I imagined.
Second Prize in the
2 years ago
Nice job. You got my vote!
Reply 2 years ago
Much Appreciated :)
2 years ago
That is so detailed and beautiful :)
Reply 2 years ago
Thank you so much Penolopy..
2 years ago
It turned out amazing, you have my vote!
Reply 2 years ago