Introduction: Mokume-Gane Motion Ring

About: I am a civil engineer and a full-time maker and YouTuber. I love doing innovation and making unique things that can entertain, inspire, and educate you. checkout my youtube channel for more awesome builds &…

This Instructables is all about making a motion ring which was totally inspired by famous jeweler Bobby White. He is an amazing artist and the level of craftsmanship is speechless. I don't want to make the ring in a simple material that's why I decided to make a mokume-gane which is a Japanese technique of fusing two or more nonferrous metals together. In my case, I use two different metals brass and copper. Mokume has a pretty high rate of failure if you are using brass because of their different melting points and that thing makes it a bit more difficult to make. But one more advantage is that it's not that expensive so you can take that risk. I made this material two times in the past and every time it's difficult to make something out of this material in one go. Since this is a layered pattern material that's why I decided to add two different patterns in this ring and that definitely gives it a much more vibrant pattern when you open up that ring that vibrant pattern can be seen all around the ring. Definitely, if you have some Jewellery tools like a rolling machine then it saves a lot of your time and is able to make perfect jewelry. One thing which I didn't show in the video is the annealing process of the material during the making process of the jewelry. This is an important process while making jewelry. Now, most of the nonferrous act differently and to soften them you need to dip them in water after getting red hot. The rest of the process you see during the journey. If you have some more tips and tricks to ease the process then surely post them in the comment section down below.


Material and tools used.

For the jewelry builds it's better to have all the jewelry equipment you can possibly grab. I don't make jewelry very often so I didn't have too many tools regarding this particular field but there are a few basic tools which I used are listed down below.

1. Angle grinder

2. Sheet metal cutting scissors

3. Hammer

4. Plastic mallet

5. Ring mandrel

6. Rotary tool

7. Drill machine

8. Polishing paste

9. Heating torch

10. Jewellery saw Material used

Material used

For the material, I used brass and copper sheet. The brass I have is 22 gauge in thickness while
the copper sheet is 20 gauge in thickness. I recommend doing one thing is to choose the material of the same thickness so that heating action remains consistent throughout the whole billet.

1. Copper sheet 20 gauge

2. Brass sheet 22 gauge

3. 1.6 mm brass rod

Step 1: ​Cleaning and Marking the Sheet

The first and foremost important process in making a mokume is the cleaning process. These materials get oxidized quite quickly and you can clearly see that on the surface also. So with the help of a Scotch Brite pad, I clean the oxidized layer of the sheet and make it nice and shiny. This process has to be done on both sides. Once the sheets are nice and shiny I started the layout process. The stack I am going to make is 50mmX 100mm. Since in the future I wanted to make a few more things out of this billet that's why I made a thick billet. I first made the marking on the sheet and then draw the cutting lines onto both sheets.

Step 2: ​Cutting the Sheet

Now, this isn't a small sheet and you can't cut it with a jeweler saw. So to do that I use metal cutting scissors and this will surely ease the process. Now one disadvantage of this process is that the edges are not going to come up straight but when you are going to press this then it's not going to create any problem.

Now if you are not using the pressure plate then this is going to be a rather difficult process for you need to make sure that the pieces you cut out need to be absolutely straight without curles. So I first cut the sheet from the shortest side and then cut them further down to the required size.

Step 3: ​Making a Pressure Plate

A pressure plate is a rather easy and most crucial thing while making mokume-gane. The main purpose of this is to apply constant pressure onto the billet while it's heated up. and this action is going to fuse the metals when it's going to reach the exact temperature. The advantage of this is that it has a high success rate and since you are not hammering the billet it's going to fuse a lot better. For the pressure plate, I am using a 15 mm thick plate and I made a layout of holes in this, center punch them, and then drilled a 12.5 mm hole because I am using 12 mm bolts. It's necessary to have thick bolts because you need to put a lot of pressure onto the billet. And second thing is that when you put it in the coal forge the temperature is a lot higher and thinner bolts often get melted in my forge. I experienced this in my last mokume billet so I change the strategy and choose a thicker bolt. I use a threaded rod cut it into the required section and use two sets of M12 nuts on one side to clamp down the billet.

Step 4: ​Cleaning and Stacking the Billet

Once the pressure plate is ready all you need to do is to stack the billet. For the top and bottom plates, I am using a stainless-steel sheet because it's not able to fuse with mild steel. The last time I put copper over the mild steel the entire billet gets fused with the pressure plate so that's why these stainless pieces are necessary to have on. Now before stacking the billet I need to clean them with acetone to remove oil and dirt because that's important to make a perfect billet. Once the top plate has been placed I tighten up all the nuts crosswise to apple an even pressure on all the sides so that billet can squish evenly.

Step 5: ​Heating Up the Billet

Once the material has been prepared and stacked up I lighten up my forge and start heating up the billet. It's an extremely delicate process and heating up too much on one side makes the brass completely melt. So that's why during the heating time I constantly rotated the billet so that this giant stack evenly heated up. I even use borax to prevent the oxidation but to be honest it's really not that important. When I see that the metal gets heated up to the right orange color I stop the heating process of the forge and allow it to cool slowly at room temperature to avoid any delamination and thermal shock.

Step 6: ​Forging the Billet and Cut Down Stipes

Once the material cools down I started the forging process of the bullet. The only reason to do this is to squish the material a bit more to make it more consolidated. But at this point, I made a mistake and during the heat up I kept the temperature a bit lower and start the forging process because of that, there is a weak spot that later on get delaminated. But I forged them individually and. the billets then get more consolidated. Now I use the thin billet for the ring purpose and I cut down some strips out of the thinner billet. The material looks quite solid enough to continue further.

Step 7: ​Cold Forging and Stretching the Billet

Once the strips have been cut out of the billet I stretch out the billet. To a few strips, I decided to give a twisted look but that was completely failed because of oxidation, and during the twisting oxidized layer squished under another oxides layer and that makes the material unusable. So I continue my journey with the one which is straight stacked.

During the cold stretching I anneal the material regularly so that stresses are removed from the material and it also softens the material a lot more and you can feel that softness while hammering down the material during cold forging. Once the material had been prepared I started the process of making the ring.

Step 8: ​Making the Ring Blanks

To make the ring blanks I need the size close to the square and the material I have is more likely to be rectangular in shape. So if you have a rolling die then it's a bit easier to do after some annealing cycles and passing them through die but I didn't have that so that's why I need to cut it from the center and then make it much closer to a square shape. It's definitely a time-consuming process to cut it with a jewelry saw but I did it. The billet is a little longer than the throat of the saw so I need to flip it and complete the rest of the cutting from the other side. The material wasn't even at all but with hammering and constant annealing, it's going to even up pretty quickly. Then I measure the amount of material required and I did it by calculating the perimeter and then cutting the rod to the exact length. now one thing has to remember that during the ring forming process the length is going to increase and From thereafter with the help of plire I bent the rod and then wrap it around the ring mandrel to make it round. For this, I need to do many different operations from hammering to manual bending and also refining that over a mandrel and you can clearly see that the length is also increased a little bit because the material gets stretched out. So time to time I need to trim down the length to the required periphery. This heating and beating process kept going on until I get a perfectly rounded piece of the blank. For the motion ring I need three different ring blanks and to highlight the pattern I made the center one with a different pattern compared to the sides.

Step 9: ​Flattening the Sides.

Once the rings are made in pretty close circular dimensions I started flattening the sides. For this, I used many different processes. I use sandpaper and files. Since the ring is quite smaller in size that's why to ease the filing and sanding process I glued it to a scrap piece of wood so that I get a thick portion to hold on to. Then I made two sides completely flat and start the drilling process.

Step 10: ​Gluing the Template

Once the sides are completely flat I made a print so that I am able to layout the hole position. The template is divided into 8 sections but for the motion mechanism I need only 4 holes and there is a point in the ring blank where there is a cut already placed and the longer line in the printed template needs to be aligned with that cut. Then I apply ca glue on the blank and then place it onto the template. After the glue became a little hard I peal the template and the pattern glued onto the ring blank. Now I can easily drill out the holes for the motion ring mechanism.

Step 11: ​Drilling the Hole and Cutting the Ring Blank in Half

Once the layout work is finished I center punch the holes and then with a 1 mm drill. Now my drill press is quite wobbly so rather than using that I use a regular hand drill and am able to drill 4 holes in one ring blank. Later on, I enlarged the holes with a 1.66 mm drill. The rod I am using is 1.6 mm in dia. I cut down the rod with the help of a jeweler saw. All the 3 individual rings need to be cut down from the center so that the machine can be successfully worked. Now, this cut is made just by eyeballing.

Step 12: ​Assembling the Ring

Assembling the ring isn't that difficult. What you need to do is align the top ring and bottom ring cut in the same line and the cut of the middle ring needs to be kept 90° to the top and bottom cuts. Only by doing this, you are able to make this squishy mechanism. I kept the ring dimensions a bit smaller so that I am able to counter the misalignment problem in the ring while assembling all pieces together.

Step 13: ​Finishing and Peened the Rods

Once the basic structure has been constructed I polish the inner surface and also file down the high and low spots. I use a regular file and foredom rotary tool to make everything level up. Once it's flushed from all the sides I cut down the rod and then peened it to lock down everything. Then I again grind it onto the lapping disk to make the putter surface completely flat. Thereafter I buffed the ring onto the angle grinder. Here I am using a variable speed angle grinder and using it at a slow speed. Once the ring is buffed the pattern is a bit difficult to see, so to highlight the layers I gave a little flame touch and oxidized the layer a little bit and every layer popped out.

Step 14: ​Finally

The final product is in front of you and I am ok with the result. Definitely, I can improve on many areas like gaps need to be a lot smaller, material needs to be a lot more precise. Rest I leave to you what improvement you want me to do. Definitely leave your feedback in the comments section down below and again I thank Bobby white for inspiring me for this particular build.

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