After a few requests I finally got time to make a full instructable of how I made the ring I gave my girlfriend for our one year anniversary. I can unfortunately not afford to make it with silver and gold again (and it would kill some of the beauty of having a one-of-a-kind ring, I made only for her), but I can show the whole process in brass. The method is exactly the same I used to make the original ring.
Step 1: Materials
I am not a goldsmith, nor an educated craftsman. This means I do not have all the awesome tools and equipment that I probably should have had to make this, but I made it work with what I had.
• Hacksaw/Dremel with cutting disc
• Some metal pipe or similar the same diameter as the inside of the ring (ring size)
• Either silver soldering equipment or heavy duty glue
• I used a 2.5x2.5x100mm square silver rod, but have also made one with a 3x3mm square for my mom. The dimensions are up to you, but for this to work it has to be a square cross section. The length of is has to be as least a few centimeters longer than the perimeter of the finger it's meant for.
• Gold rod with same cross sectional dimensions as the silver, 2cm long.
• Since gold and silver is so expensive, I recommend a square rod in a less expensive material, like brass, about 1 meter long, to practice with.
• 2 mm white sapphire (Optional, and really expensive) (man, I had some money back when I made this.. That’s a looong time ago ;) )
• Sandpaper of different grits, 600-1200-2000 would be recommendable
• Buffering wheel and polishing compound
With that sorted out, let's get started.
Step 2: Ring Size
Before you start ordering stuff, it’s a good idea to make absolutely sure about the ring size. If you, like me, make this as a gift, it can be tricky to measure someones finger, without them noticing. I used calipers to measure some rings I knew fit her finger, and used that measurement for the ring.
Then you have to find a metal pipe that fit those measurements. After a lot! of measuring any round metal thing I had lying around, I found that a socket for tightening bolts had a perfect fit.
As for ordering the silver rod, make sure you have enough for an overlap, and a few extra centimeters. My ring is 16.7mm inner diameter, which has a 52mm perimeter + overlap of about 10mm and the extra 20mm, which is a total of 82mm. I ordered a rod 100mm long to make sure.
Step 3: Method and Practice
With all the materials in stock, I started practicing on the brass rod. This turned out to be a really good idea, as I messed up the first many attempts I made. I cut up the rod in 100mm pieces, so it would be exactly the same when I did the real thing.
The first attempt was to hammer the rod around the socket, which dented and ruined the rod completely, so unless you are a lot more experienced than me in this, I recommend not doing that.
Instead, I clamped the rod to the socket, by about 5mm. Then I grabbed the other end with a pair of pliers (of decent size and quality, you want to be able to pull and drag the rod, without it slipping off all the time), and started heating it with the blowtorch. Gently!!! While applying a fair amount of tension in the rod, start shaping it around the socket, by “folding” it around the socket. Keep the heat centered where the rod is to bend, down by the surface of the socket. Make sure you do not twist the rod; the inner surface has to be as flat to the socket as possible. It is necessary to shift the pliers and the torch between your hands to always get the right pull, but take your time, and be as thorough as possible.
You also have to remember the overlap. With the 100mm rod, you should just wrap it around the socket as far as possible. It is a lot easier to cut off the excess afterwards, than to magically make the material longer. for the last centimeter or so, you can push it with the plier, as i do in one of the pictures. Also remember to not sit the overlap neatly flush to the other edge, there has to be room enough to slip the gold piece in, without having to deform the silver, but not so much room that it falls out. It can be a tricky task, but practice makes perfect!
When you are confident you got it, clamp in the silver, take a deep breath and *quote Nike* Just Do It!
Step 4: The Gold Piece in the Middle
The middle piece is a little different than the long piece, because it only is 20mm long. The way I did it, was to clamp it to the same socket as the silver rod, by as little as possible. Then I heated it with the blowtorch, making sure to heat it very thoroughly. It is a very fine balance between melting and malleable, and melting it would be very bad. Keep in mind that the vise sucks up a lot of heat. When it is soft enough to form, take a flat piece of steel and start to bend it around the socket. Be careful not to deform the square section, if you push too hard.
Step 5: Trimming
When the gold piece fits in, it will be too long and probably have some ugly ends. But do not trim it yet! First, decide what size the overlap should be. It does not necessarily have to be the size I made it, that is up to you to decide. One end of the silver is jagged from tightening it to the socket, and the other will not be a perfect circle and jagged. Therefore you need to cut off both ends, and leave the best piece in the middle. I used a caliper set to a specific length to scribe two lines at the same time, with the gold piece in already. That way, you will get neatly matching pieces.
Make sure to salvage the gold dust and leftovers in a small plastic bag or similar, this is very valuable! Silver it too, so save the leftovers and if possible the dust from cutting.
When you are cutting it, i recommend stuffing in a layered up piece of paper, between the two halves. That protects the opposite side from scratches, should you suddenly get through, or slip with the cutting disc.
Step 6: Setting the Middle Piece
There are two ways to do this. You can either solder, or you can glue the gold in place. Soldering takes a lot of practice and skills, but will give a better result than gluing.
I didn’t know how to solver at the time, so I glued it in place. Be extremely careful with the positioning, you only get one chance. I used two component epoxy glue, the toughest I could find. When gluing it, apply glue to the sides of the gold, and slip it in place. Then clamp it between two pieces of baking paper, and two pieces of medium hardness wood. The paper is to prevent gluing wood to the ring, it is more difficult to remove than paper. Do NOT clamp it ridiculously hard in! This will squeeze out the glue, and it will not stick very well to the silver. Leave it to cure completely before trying to do anything with it, it is a shame to mess it up now.
I unfortunately don't have any photos of this, but i have some from soldering.
If you want to solder it, I assume you already know how to solder. If not, check out mrBallengs channel, he has great soldering tutorials. Only advice would be to solder from the inside of the ring, to hide it as much as possible.
Step 7: Cleaning Up
When the glue is hardened, or the soldering is done, unclamp it and clean it up. Don’t scratch it, be careful in this process. Small scratches can be sanded and polished away, but deep damage will stick.
With a set of small files, start rounding the corners, the way you want it to look. It’s pretty straight forward, just be careful with the inside surface. It is made for a specific ring size, so don’t remove too much material.
Step 8: Drilling and Setting the Stone
This is an optional step, and can ruin the ring you just made. Just a little warning.
Now it’s time to set the little bugger in place. It is extremely tricky, and an absolutely one-shot process. My stone was 2mm, leaving just 0.25mm of material to walls of the hole in the gold, so it was very important that the hole was very very centered. There is no easy way to do this, other than to measure, double check and measure again. When you are absolutely certain you found the middle, punch a mark in the gold. This is nerve wrecking to do, so again I recommend practicing on the brass rod.
Then it's time to drill. Get a drill that matches the size of your stone very precisely, and chuck it in the drillpress with as little of the drill sticking out as possible. This it to prevent is jumping to the side, and destroying the little ring. When the ring is clamped in with the mark pointing very straight upwards, *quote Nike again* Just Do It. Drill a hole the depth of the stone, and pray that you had it centered.
I think I was lucky when I made this, because when I tried to see if I had drilled deep enough, by actually putting the stone in the hole, it not only fit, it got stuck. I could not for the life of it get it out again, and to this day 2 years later it still sits there, no glue, no additional mounting. It just fit. If yours can still fall out, don't use glue. It will cause the stone to not be able to reflect anymore, and it will look dull. Instead try to squeeze some of the gold in over the stone, to hold it in place. It is incredibly difficult to make it look nice, so I really hope for your sake that it, like mine, just fits.
Step 9: Finishing Up
I can safely assure you the worst is over! The only things left, are to sand out any scratches, and polish it to a shine. Please don’t get impatient now, be as patient and thorough as you have been all the way through, you can still ruin it.
And that is how it’s done! Good luck everyone, feel free to ask questions comment and possibly vote for me in the jewelry contest, it would be awesome to have proper tools and I promise there will be a lot more instructables if I have the right tools.
Also if you are bored, i have some other jewelry instructables on my channel :)