In this Instructable I will guide you through the process of creating your own riveted stone-trapping ring. I made my own from brass and copper, though you can use pretty much any metal, as there is no soldering involved.
This is a slightly more simple project than my previous one, How to make a silver signet ring, so there is less equipment, especially expensive one, involved.
As making your own tubing falls out of the scope of this instructable I will not be discussing it here, though I plan to write an instructable on making it later.
You will need:
- Sheet metal of your choosing, between no less than 1 mm thick,
- Tubing of two diameters. The narrower needs to have the exact same outer diameter as the inside diameter if the larger tubing. The wider tubing cannot be wider than the ring shank!
- Steel Callipers,
- Pen and paper,
- Universal glue or any other adhesive that will hold paper onto the metal,
- Superglue (cyanoacrylate) ,
- Binding wire,
- Jeweller's saw and sawblades,
- Bench pin,
- Steel block,
- Planishing hammer or a hydraulic press,
To make your own tubing (Optional):
- Cylinder daping block and punches (aka U-channel forming block)
- Round drawplates
- Sheet metal up to 0,5 mm
- Silver solder (hard or medium),
- Soldering block,
- Flux (a borax cone will do nicely, for an alternative try boric acid and alcohol solution),
- Long steel tweezers,
- Propane torch (or a torch using any other fuel, acetylene, propane/oxygen, MAPP, anything will do as long as you can heat your metal enough)
- Flexishaft, Dremel, or a bench grinder/buffing wheel,
- Flat and half-round files (cut 3, or 4)
- Miter cutting vise (optional)
- A ball burr
- Sandpaper of various grits,
- Polishing compounds
- Ultrasonic cleaner (optional)
- Cleaning compounds ( or your good old dishwashing liquid)
- Polishing cloth
- Liver of sulfur (optional, for a black surface on copper and silver)
I am not responsible for any injuries or deaths that may result from attempts to follow this instructable. All steps must be followed in a ventilated space with sufficient lighting and preferably with a fire extinguisher at hand. Inappropriate use of the blowtorch, chemicals and hot metals may result in permanent injuries and/or death.
Sorry, but you have been warned;)
This ring was made during my studies at Wytwórnia Antidotum.
English is not my native language, and despite my proficiency there may be some errors in the way I name tools, steps or any other random stuff. Forgive me if that happens and let me know in the comments:)
Step 1: Prepare Your Design
There are some important questions that you need to ask yourself before you read any further:
- What should be the general shape of the ring?
- What kind of a stone you want to set/trap?
- What is the size of the ring?
- What is the exact size of the stone?
So, measure your stone, get your size right and dot it down. Decide for the number and placement of rivets, but remember, that no less than three are needed for a stable construction. Then draw your rough sketch and try to stick to some proportions. Otherwise you will get something like my rough sketch, where numbers and lines don't really work together ;) I recommend using some software that lets you make a reliable and proportional model and input all of your measurements. You can see the difference between my sketch, and the actual model. I've also put lines to keep the symmetry.
Step 2: Transfer Your Design Onto the Metal
This step is pretty straightforward at first glance, but you need to be careful if you don't want any surprises in the end.
You need to print your design at least twice (you can actually make multiple layers, as long as the stone fits through all of them). Then cut it out with some margin and glue it onto the metal. Let it dry completely. I cannot understate this, as I'm pretty hasty myself, and I get to do the work twice, as the design moves on the gooey glue and the result is far from salvageable.
Now you will need some holes for piercing. For a reliable result get your centerpunch and a hammer and punch on marks in the center of the ring, in the stonetrapping holes and on the riveting places of ONE of the rings. Now drill pilot holes with a 1 mm drill bit and then widen the riveting holes with a drill bit matching the size of your riveting tube.
A little tip here: you don't really need a centerpunch when you are drilling on a paper-covered sheet. The paper will likely hold the drill bit from slipping and marring your work. It works for me 90% of the time, but if you want to be on the safe side, use your punches ;)
Now take your good old jeweler's saw and cut it all out!
After you've done that you need to carefully glue the two parts with superglue. Then, using the drilled holes on one part of the ring drill through the second part. This is extremely important if you want all your rivets to go through and your ring to be nice and straight.
Step 3: Make Necessary Alterations
Now you need to check out your design against ruthless reality. As you may have noticed, I deeded to widen the stonetrapping holes, as the ring would have been too deep on the finger. So I carefully filed away each hole, checking against each other and my stone. When I was satisfied with the depth and the shape, I filed a bevel on the inner edges of the trapping holes to accommodate the shape of the stone better. You can do this either with a needle file, a flat graver or a sharp scraper.
You should check what is the distance between the two parts while holding the stone. You need to check the minimum distance, when the riveted ring would hold the stone securely and the maximum distance, when the stone moves freely, but cannot fall out of the ring. This will allow you to choose the length of the riveting spacers which all need to be of the exact same length. If you are not precise here, your ring will be crooked, the flat parts will bend, or it might not rivet at all.
If you have bought your tubing now is the time to cut it to the right length. If not, you will need to make your own, though for now I recommend buying pre-made;) . The wider tubing will be needed for the spacers. Cut as many spacers as there will be rivets. Sorry for repeating myself, but remember, that the length of the spacers will determine the width of the whole ring and that everything needs to be equal. I recommend using a miter cutting jig for filing the tubes for a perfect uniform flatness.
Now cut the rivets from the thinner tubing that fits the spacers. Add a 1 mm to the length of the spacers, so if your spacers are 5 mm each, your rivets should be no less than 6 mm long. You shouldn't add more than that 1 mm, as during riveting the whole construction might get crooked and there will be no good way to fix this.
Once you have all of your parts ready, continue to the next step :)
Step 4: (Pre)finish Your Parts
Now grab some sandpaper, or abrasives of choice and finish all the parts to the shine/texture you want. Remember to finish the inside of the ring smooth, as it needs to slide on the finger comfortably.
The trickiest thing might be to finish the tubes, but there are two nifty ways to do it.
If you have a flexishaft with a chuck piece, you can insert your tubes into the handpiece, and sand/polish it in a mini-lathe style. Try not to round the edges, as it will impede the stability, but other than that it should do just fine.
If you only have a dremel-type drill or a micromotor with a 2,35 handpiece there is another way of finishing tubes. You need a drill bit of the same diameter as the inside diameter of the tubing you want to finish. Put the tubing on the drill bit, start your motor and finish your tubes. It may go slightly slower than the first method, but should give just as good results.
Now take your burr of choice, set it in your flexishaft/dremel and make slight bevels on the riveting holes. This will allow you to flush-sand the surface later with the rivets still holding everything in place. Be careful not to widen the holes and to make equally deep bevels.
Step 5: Check for Perfect Fit
Slide and center rivets in the spacers. Carefully put the rivets in the holes of one part of the ring, place the stone and then cover everything with the second part of the ring. Check if:
- The rivets stick out evenly.
- The construction is stable.
- The stone is trapped like you wanted.
- The tension is not too high on the stone area. If so, file the whole wider.
Step 6: Rivet and Finish!
Before you start riveting I recommend using binding wire to hold everything in place. You will need both hands, trust me.
Bind evenly in between the rivets. Place the ring on a rivet on the steel block or jeweler's anvil. Avoid placing the parts with binding wire on the steel block, or the riveting will cause it to mar the ring. Now take you centerpunch and rivet the tubes slowly, a few taps at a time, on both sides. Do this in the N-S-W-E pattern to assure a stable connection.
Then sand the protruding parts off for a nice flat surface. Avoid the stone at all costs, as most abrasives may damage it. You can use abrasive rubber discs or bristles for more precise and safe finish.
Inspect the ring one last time, check for any flaws or tool marks and if everything is fine, then you're finished!
You can see some pictures of my finished stonetrapping ring.
Should you have any questions and/or comments, feel free to write a comment, I'll be glad to write back :)