Iron Meteorite Ring With Sterling Silver

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Introduction: Iron Meteorite Ring With Sterling Silver

About: I specialise in creating wooden rings and jewellery for customers all over the world as a professional Etsy seller. I also make videos sometimes, come check out my shop at: www.ZebranoWoodcraft.etsy.com Fin…

I made a meteorite ring and I can't believe I'm wearing a shooting star! The inside of the ring is made with sterling silver. This is by far the coolest ring I've ever made so I hope you enjoy watching the process.

Where To Get Ring Supplies Like This

This piece of Muonionalusta meteorite was sent to me by Alex from @RingcraftUK - check out his store here for the freshest ring making supplies in Europe:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/RingCraftUK

Ring Making Online Courses
Want to learn the craft of making rings? Download my "Guide To Making Bent Wood Rings" here: http://eepurl.com/btZpJv

If you're interested learning more about ring making then check out my course "Next Level Wooden Rings": https://bit.ly/2rCxSue

Also a big shoutout to @MikeBDesigns for the camera work: https://www.mikebdesigns.com/

About The Meteorite

The Muonionalusta meteorite is apparently the oldest meteorite found on Earth and is estimated to be around 4.5 billion years old! Fragments of the space rock were first discovered in Sweden in 1906 but it is believed to have struck Earth over 800,000 years ago.

Meteorites are typically found in 3 varieties: Stony (the most common type); Iron (much rarer) and Stony-Iron (super rare). The Muonianalusta is an iron meteorite and is world renowned for the beautiful patterns contained within the metal.

The pattern you see on the ring is not man made - it is formed over millions of years as the rock cools while hurtling through space. Crystaline structures form as the elements within the meteorite slowly cool creating the crazy patterns you see in the ring.

These are known as the Widmanstätten pattern (named after Count Alois von Beckh Widmanstätten) who discovered them while flame heating iron meteorites.

This is a super unique material with an unbelievable history - I still can't believe I'm wearing a shooting star!

Step 1: Preparing the Silver Sheet

This ring started life as a 0.8mm thick sheet of 925 sterling silver. To figure out how much silver I needed to cut I used a simple mathematical equation:

Inner diameter of the ring size (mm) + Thickness of the metal (mm) x 3.14

So ... Size 10 19.96mm inner diameter + 0.8mm x 3.14 = 65.186mm

With my length of silver sheet determined I used my calipers and a craft knife to mark a line and then cut the silver with a jewellers saw. After cutting my metal I filed down the edge I had just sawn so it was nice and smooth and then I got the ring ready for soldering.

Step 2: Getting Ready to Solder the Silver Ring

Before soldering I needed to bend both edges of the silver sheet so they would meet in the middle to form a seam/join.

To get both edges of the sheet to meet I roughly formed the silver into a U shape by bending it around a mandrel and then used a combination of hammering and a half round nose pliers to make a D shape.

To make the join as seamless as possible I ran a jewellers saw down the seam and did a bit of filing so that both of the edges connected up nicely.

As this ring only had one seam I cut a couple of pallions of Easy silver solder and mixed up some flux with a borax dish/cone.

Step 3: Soldering

I put a bit of flux onto the seam of the ring and a few pieces of easy silver solder.

Next I heated the ring evenly with my blowtorch until the flux melted away and then I focused the flame onto the solder until it ran into the seam.

I quenched the ring in some water (#satisfying) and then bathed it in a pickling solution to clean off oxidisation from the torching.

After 20 minutes in the pickle the ring was free of any excess soldering flux and oxidisation.

Step 4: Making It Ring Shaped

At this stage I had a D shaped piece of silver which needed to be made into a ring shape. Before doing any shaping a used a number 2 file to clean up a little of the excess solder over the seam of the ring.

Then I took a raw hyde hammer and a metal ring mandrel to beat the ring into a round shape.

I have a nifty ring stretcher tool that is super useful for making ring to right size so I used that a few times to expand the ring.

Step 5: Clean Up and Polish

After all the hammering and stretching the inside of the ring was a bit marred - but that's no problem a bit of sanding and polishing cant fix.

I've found a cool tool for my Foredom Flex Shaft called a "Split Mandrel" that makes cleaning up the inside of silver rings super easy. I cut a piece of 500 grit emery paper, mounted it in the split mandrel and sanded out the inside of the ring.

After a few minutes I used a nylon brush head and some Tripoli polishing compound to get a nice shine on the inside of the silver ring. The ring was then cleaned with soapy water and thrown into an ultrasonic cleaner to remove any contaminants.

Step 6: Setting Up to Machine the Meteorite

When I'd created the inner silver sleeve of the ring I was able to determine the diameter of the hole needed in the meteorite.

I did this by measuring the outer diameter of the silver with a digital caliper. I didn't want to use any glue to bond the pieces together so I needed to machine the hole in the meteorite precisely so both pieces would fit together good and tight.

Luckily @RingCraftUK supplied me with a piece of meteorite that was pre-machined specifically to be a ring blank. This made it easy to mount the meteorite into the chuck jaws of my lathe and get busy making that hole.

Step 7: Drilling a Hole in the Meteorite

I used progressively larger HSS drill bits to make a hole in the meteorite blank. Working from 5mm-20mm.

When drilling steel it's essential to run the drill bit slowly and use plenty of cutting fluid to keep the temperature of the drill bits down. Slow and steady wins the race.

I also kept the drill bits sharp by using a bench grinder (this requires a bit of practice but has save me hundreds of ££ on new drill bits). There's nothing quite as satisfying as drilling through space metal with a nicely sharpened drill bit!

Step 8: The Boring Bit

With a 20mm hole drilled in the meteorite I was able to use a boring tool to expand the inner diameter. I've never been great at this due to my lathe not being very powerful and a lack of machining skill. That being said I managed to get the diameter to 21.4mm (spot on). I just made sure to check the diameter regularly with a digital caliper.

Before moving to the next step I also used a carbide cutting tool to true up the face of the blank and deburred the inside with a bit of sandpaper (sorry the footage of that part didn't make the edit!).

Step 9: Machining the Outside Diameter

I mounted the blank (which was now starting to look ring shaped) on to an expanding mandrel and then used a carbide cutting tool to machine the outside diameter down.

It was like a knife through butter.

When the outer diameter looked good I used the same cutting tool to put a little taper on the outside edges of the ring.

Step 10: Sanding and Polishing the Meteorite Ring

After machining the outside I used a few grits of wet n dry sand paper to smooth over the finish of the meteorite and shape the edges a little more.

400, 600 and then 1200 grit brought the piece to a nice finish and then I used a felt buffing wheel and some Tripoli to buff the ring until it was smooth and shiny.

Step 11: Etching

It was finally time to reveal the Widmanstätten pattern and to do this I used Ferric Chloride to etch the ring.

I lower the meteorite into a coffee jar filled with the acid and left it for 20 minutes. This gave a pretty deep etch and I don't think you actually need to do it for that long. I personally wanted a deep etch and was stoked to see those patterns revealed!

After etching I dipped the ring into a baking soda/water solution to neutralise the acid and then used a green polishing compound to buff the ring.

Step 12: Assembly + Final Polish

With the silver and meteorite portions of the ring complete it was time to squish them together. Once again my ring stretcher became useful as I used it to press fit both pieces and then the stretcher to expand the silver from the inside so it was a super tight fit to the meteorite.

At this stage my inner perfectionist went wild and I did some filing, hand sanding and polishing with a compound called Rouge to bring the ring to a beautiful finish!

Step 13: Time to Wear a Shooting Star!

After a hard days work it was time to take some snazzy pictures with my DSLR and finally wear my shooting star ring!

What did you think of this project? Leave any questions in the comments and I'll be happy to help!

Check Out These Links

This piece of Muonionalusta meteorite was sent to me by Alex from @RingcraftUK - check out his store here for the freshest ring making supplies in Europe:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/RingCraftUK

Ring Making Online Courses

Want to learn the craft of making rings? Download my "Guide To Making Bent Wood Rings" here:

http://eepurl.com/btZpJv

If you're interested learning more about ring making then check out my course "Next Level Wooden Rings":

https://bit.ly/2rCxSue

Also a big shoutout to @MikeBDesigns for the camera work:

https://www.mikebdesigns.com/

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Metalworking Contest

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    6 Comments

    0
    CraftyChameleon07
    CraftyChameleon07

    6 weeks ago

    I love this project. Meteoric iron is so cool-- both geologically and culturally. I love how in the Bronze Age, meteoric iron was worth far more than gold-- as evidenced by King Tut's funerary dagger and the prizes given in the funeral games for Patroklos. It possible that life on earth was seeded by microbes that arrived via meteorites-- maybe even the one that this ring was forged from. So the ring could be part of a 'spaceship' that landed the first life on earth, from which we all developed. Super cool.

    0
    Patteri
    Patteri

    10 months ago

    Nice work.
    The pattern of the Muonionalustan meteorite is really pleasant.
    I've used it in a few rings

    IMG_8770.jpg
    0
    jledwards666
    jledwards666

    11 months ago

    I am both very impressed and envious... very, very well done! And a great write-up to boot! As an amateur astronomer, I'd love to make one of these but not sure I have the experience/skill to do so since I haven't made rings before (lol, I've created a lot of electionic monstrosities but nothing so "mechanically" made with a lathe, etc). Keep up the good work and sharing results. :-)

    0
    lfoss
    lfoss

    11 months ago

    This is quite possibly the coolest thing I've ever seen!!