Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tutorial: Creating a Whip Burnisher for the Flex Shaft

If you need a burnisher to remove scratches, engraving mistakes, or porosity, there's a great tutorial on Ganoksin. (Thanks to Konstanze of nodeform for finding it!)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Charm Swap 7 ~ Progress Report 4

Inbar has finished her Moon Charms! They are on their way to the USA. These beautiful little moons are made out of Sterling Silver and Bone.

Nina Gibson of NinaGibsonDesigns
Nina is making an applique filagree style charm. Below is her sketch.

Elizabeth Scott of ESdesigns
Elizabeth is moving nicely along and has her "Pool" component enameled now.

Victoria Takahashi of Experimetal
I am cutting components out and will be beginning to add texture and make 44 tiny hinges soon!
This picture below are my prototypes all patina'ed and prettied up!

Members who have completed their charms, congratulations for being early birds!

 Shae Freeman of CitizenObjects
Meg Auth of SimplyMega

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Quick Tip for Tumbling

as I was packing up a few pieces to get tumbled today, I realized this may be a simple tip to share with my fellow metalsmiths.

If you have many items to tumble at once, AND they have a hole of some kind in them, string them up with something before throwing them in the tumbler. I've used wire in the past, but my newest discovery is using up a pack (really just one) of surgical steel earrings. As shown in the picture, if you string the pieces on the earring, it locks in place with a little hook. When held together this way, the pieces all stay together, but still get tumbled nicely. SO Much easier than fishing around in your media!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Charm Swap 7 ~ Progress report 3

Meg Auth of SimplyMega
Meg has made amazing progress on her charms and is almost done!
These beauties are Sterling Silver and Operculums. Operculums are the little trap door on the snail shell!

Shae Freeman of Citizen Objects
Shae's charms are complete! These fantastic charms are made of Steel bearing races  and hand blown Glass.
Elizabeth Scott of ESdesigns
Elizabeth is calling these Pebble/Om charms. They are heat colored Copper discs stamped with an Ohm sign, and she is also adding a tiny Fine Silver Pool charm. 

Kira's sweet charms are inspired by her sisters love for bees and her hand making wooden hives.
These little cuties are made out of Sterling Silver and Brass.

Victoria Takahashi of Experimetal
I am making a pancake die in this photo. My next step in this process is to harden and temper the tool steel die so it will be use able for many many cuts. This is a new process for me so it is very exciting!

Thanks for peeking at our 3rd progress report.
The end is coming closer for our 7th charm swap. There will be an extra bracelet made for our EtsyMetal Team shop, half of proceeds will be donated to a Youth Art Organization (TBA).

See you next week!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Charm Swap 7 ~ progress report 2

Shae Freeman of CitizenObjects

Shae says, "My charms for CS7 are based on a pendant design I started making last year. They are comprised of 100% recycled parts: hand blown glass, bearing races, cotter pins and freeze floats. The hand blown glass bubbles are cut offs from larger work that my good friend and glass artist Jim Vella makes. He kindly lets me have whatever leftovers and 'seconds' that I want. The 'settings' for these charms are actually bearing races that have the bearings removed. These are former bicycle bearings that no longer function properly, but make fantastic industrial prong settings. Freeze floats (also called expansion plugs) are small, convex pieces of steel that are used to plug engine blocks. As the name suggests, they are supposed to pop out of the engine if it freezes therefore keeping the engine block from cracking. Lastly, the bails for the charms are fabricated from cotter pins, all found on the streets of New Orleans."
Ruby from Iacuca
Ruby says, "Hi!  I have started on the charm swap! I will be doing assorted cast brass coral pieces."

Shannon Conrad of RubyGirl
Shooting waxes!

Inbar says, "I've started mine today... I call it: "With me to the moon"Materials are Sterling silver, fine silver and carved bone.

Victoria Takahashi of Experimetal
I am working on fine tuning the functioning of the wings. I think I am going to make the flying crow version on the left for my charms. I am pretty excited about this little guy! He measures 1.5" long and has a 2.5" wingspan.

Ann Jenkins from Tuizui just checked in and adds, "Mine will be a loose doughnut shape that has rustic torch fired enamel and is embellished with multi colored moving "wands" around the edge."

Thanks for reading and we will see you next week with another progress report!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Product test; "Rolling Mill Resources". For sheet metal, metal clay, polymer clay and probably more uses besides.

Through choice, I have a very basic workshop and outlay of tools and machinary, but by far my most expensive and indispensable piece of equipment is my small rolling mill. Not only does it allow me to purchase just a few basic thicknesses of metal and then roll them down thinner when I need to, but it is also a great way of embossing texture onto the metal through the use of materials and home-made paper stencil designs cut with a scalpel or laser-cutter, as well as plates which I have etched.
I was recently invited to try out a product developed by "Rolling Mill Resources", who make a wide range of interesting patterned and textured paper stencils for use with your rolling mill. They use laser cutting technology to 'etch' the designs into high quality card-stock which you can then emboss into your silver, brass, gold, copper, aluminium, etc. Although I haven't tried it, I see no reason why these plates couldn't also be laquered to seal them and then used with olive-oil resist as texture plates with precious metal clays and polymer clays. They also offer a custom service whereby they create texture plates to your specifications.

In the package they sent me, were a geometric, organic and script texture, along with small "depth tester" cards which you can use to calibrate your mill to the correct pressure for the metal you are embossing into. There were also instruction and information sheets.

Here is one of the tester cards shown with the annealled metal which I've left oxidised.

The card goes into the mill, texture down against the metal...

...and above you can see the gap I set on this mill.... achieve the results you see here. The metal result on the left, the 'spent' tester in the middle, and a fresh tester on the righthand-side. You can clearly see that I've set too much pressure, the gap too narrow on my mill, for this thickness of copper, so I would make a note of the dial setting on my mill for this thickness and I would be able to use that as reference in future.

Here above, I have again set a little too much pressure but despite this, the designs remain largely un-distorted and are merely enlarged. This means the card stock is indeed good quality and fit for the job. I have left the metal oxidised and rubbed back with fine emery so that you can see the results easily in all the photo's.

This time I have managed to get the gap in my mill just right, the design is crisp and virtually the same dimensions as the original texture stencil. The straight lines of the geometric pattern are intact. I would make a note of the dial setting on my mill as regards to this thickness of copper for this particular design. Rolling Mill Resources say that the stencils have been produced with the added calculation of compressing the designs slightly in one direction, so that the lengthening distortion of rolling results in an accurate impression, a square should be a square. I found this to be the case and RMR helpfully print a little arrow on the back of each texture stencil so that you are aware which direction it should be fed through the mill to incorporate this feature.

Here is another experiment. The metal which was roll-printed from the stencil is on the left, then a rollprint was taken from that metal print, to create a 'negative'....a roll-print from a roll-print. Below you can see the two pieces of copper being fed into the mill

Finally, for another experiment I wondered if I could get a print by laying the textures face-up on the metal (incorrectly), so that the backs are against the surface of the metal to be embossed...
Above you can see sections of the texture stencils, face up on the metal before going into the mill....

...and here you can see the results, just as crisp and clean as if the papers had been placed face down correctly onto the copper surface, testament to the quality of the card-stock used and the precise cut of the design. Although not photographed, I managed to get a second good roll-print from the stencil. If you like what you see then Rolling Mill Resources are based in the US but can be found on Etsy where they sell their product at a very reasonable price, though if ordering from outside the US, I would be inclined to order at least a handfull of stencils to make the postage worthwhile. I received my package here in the UK in just a week from posting.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

EtsyMetal Blog Carnival

March's Blog Carnival Topic is here!
Private Jewelry Collection
What do you wear?
What is your favorite piece (or pieces) from your private collection?
How many finished pieces do you keep for yourself and why?
What is your favorite piece of jewelry that you didn't make?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March Challenge - "Space"

Our March Challenge due to February 28th was:
The first Spacewalk by Soviet Cosmonaut was on March 18th, 1965
We have such gorgeous entries this month !!!

Jennifer Lawler Designs

On April 22nd we are celebrating "Earth Day"

Our April challenge due to March 31st is:

I can't wait to see what you are coming up with !!!
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