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#JOTW Homemade E-ring... 2mm ok? What about prongs?

Undercover999

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
62
HopeDream|1322965074|3073726 said:
If you're going to make your own alloy, do you have a carbon stirring rod to mix it with? http://www.fdjtool.com/custom.aspx?id=7
Yes: quartz, actually. However I have been advised that this will not be necessary; the flame will stir it plenty.

HopeDream|1322965074|3073726 said:
Do you have the capacity to safely maintain the high levels of heat necessary?
Yes, of course. The white gold requires only about 500F higher temps than the alloy I've been using thus far.

HopeDream|1322965074|3073726 said:
Are you going to test it for purity before you cast the ring? (possibly not necesary) Are you going pour it into casting grain before using it? (I'm not sure if this is necessary or not)
I'm not sure why I'd do either of these things... no, the plan is to not.

HopeDream|1322965074|3073726 said:
Keep in mind that some zinc will burn off during the alloying process: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioLZUbbzncU Do you have proper ventilation (zinc lungs = :knockout:)? You have to account for that when you measure out your metals. Other alloying metals might do that too.
My chosen alloy contains no zinc. The next lowest boiling point would be that of the copper, which won't boil unless I exceed my target temperature by almost double - an extra 2000F, well hotter than my torch. I don't think fumes are of any concern. :bigsmile:

HopeDream|1322965074|3073726 said:
If your homemade alloy turns out to be brittle, the prongs could crack or snap during the diamond setting process instead of bending nicely like they should - I'm sure you don't want that.

I wonder if you could trade your boullion metals to a jeweller in exchange for the casting grain of your choice? It would stil be using the value of your inheritance, but a lot less messy and heat-intensive.

Stuller X1 is supposed to be nice http://www.stuller.com/pages/1236, and there are a lot of other different casting alloys out there- including palladium white gold (Which I know you prefer).
The alloy I chose is a composition thats sold commercially and has at least 100 years of heritage based on the books I've read. I can't imagine that I'll have any trouble based on the composition itself. Of course, if I somehow screw up the alloying process that'd be another matter... but I'm an optimist.

Getting the grain would be no problem if I wanted it... but I don't want it. If my alloy doesn't work I'll do what it takes to make it work... and if that doesn't work only then will I buy some.

HopeDream|1322965074|3073726 said:
I'm sorry I ask tough questions - I really want you to succeed. ::)

You're definitely getting much closer to your final cast - the most recent ring looks great!
Thanks!
 

Undercover999

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
62
Decided to learn how to polish today. Pro Tip: don't stick the rotary tool into the rouge container unless you are holding said container... I'm now performing a second experiment studying if red rouge will wash out of clothing.

polished.jpg

The finish isn't perfect, there are some file marks that I didn't want to polish all the way out. I'll do a more careful job on the next one.

This felt a little like cheating for some reason, but I just couldn't resist. I set my stone on top just to see how it looks. ;))

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Th pics make the prongs look small, but they're just how I wanted them and will fit perfectly when the seat for the stone is ground.
 

anne_h

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 13, 2005
Messages
982
You are hardcore. Talk about a labor of love! lol

I hope she adores it. :)

Anne
 

MrsDrP

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Messages
112
I can't wait to see the finished product....how much longer!!?? :lol:
 

Clairitek

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
4,881
What an awesome treat to come and see your progress! Bravo!
 

Undercover999

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
62
Things have not been going well this week. :blackeye:

My (Asscher) stone is 7.5mm across the corners so I picked up a 7.5mm setting burr. I also got some 7.5mm cubic zirconia (brilliant, it was all I could get) to test with.

I've found that the setting burr is... hard to use. I thought I'd just be able to plunge the setting bur into the prongs and voila, the seat is cut, for example like this page says: http://knol.google.com/k/gene/set-the-perfect-stone/2hgtk8z72nvkr/4#

But in practice its very difficult to control the burr. All of my test rings have been... uh... used. :blackeye:

I did finally get a CZ set, but in truth I'm only happy with the fit of one the four prongs. The rest of the prong tips became too narrow.

cz2.jpg

I need to try this out again, but I'm out of test rings. I tried to make another one tonight but it cooled too much before I poured and I wasted my mold. :blackeye: :blackeye: :blackeye: I'm out of waxes (made more tonight), have only about 2 pours of the test alloy left, and am nearly out of investment.

If I ever get another test ring made I thing I'm going to file the prong tips by hand to the proper thickness and THEN use the setting burr to cut the seat. That way I can be sure I get the burr centered in my prongs.

Thats the idea anyway. Sigh. I need to have this ready for a jeweler next week so it can be plated before Xmas.
 

Jim Summa

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Sep 9, 2009
Messages
176
About the only thing that I think of that might work is to cut the seat for the stone with tiny files (the finer the file cut the less apt it will hang up and bend the prong), one prong at a time. Think of fitting your stone to the prongs and be sure to turn the ring as you work on it. You only want to remove about 40% of the total thickness or width of the prong or the prongs will be to weak to hold up over time. Try to think of the prong as a clamp. A trick to setting is to move the metal as little as possible. What takes a little time to understand is you can move the prongs laterally...or bend them slightly to the sides a little and then slip them over the stone.
You have been doing well.....very well. Good luck!
 

Undercover999

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
62
Another bad day. :(( Last night I made another mold but I used a wax that had broken at the sprue. I thought I did a good job melting it back together but when I burned out the mold I could see immediately that somehow there was only a narrow pinhole leading into the cavity. I tried to quickly widen it even while hot but alas the casting was a bust; the prongs didn't fill completely (one was only half-full) and there was a lot of shrinkage near the sprue. Looks to me like the narrow opening starved was starving it for metal.

I did what I could with it - I tried filing the prongs to ~60% thickness first and then cutting the beveled seat with the setting burr. That, thankfully, went much better; nearly perfect.

Sigh. New mold setting up now for tomorrow's DisasterFunTime. I need to be finished by Monday... mid week at the LATEST.
 

Undercover999

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
62
Tried another mold today... same problem: after burnout the sprue was basically closed! BUT... I know whats causing it now - I was loading them into the kiln wrong. DOH!

The investment appears to be damaged when boiling wax sits on it too long. If I place the sprue downwards then the wax melts out before boiling and everything is good. But if I place it upward (as I did these last two times) then the wax boils in the cup and turns the investment to something like foam and closes up the mold cavities.

Oops.

Trying again tomorrow, this could be IT!
 

LadyMaria

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2008
Messages
1,240
I'm saying a prayer to the jewelry gods to look upon you with favor! :saint:
 

Jim Summa

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Sep 9, 2009
Messages
176
999,
I can't figure out whats going on with your burnouts.
What I do here is steam out the wax before I put the flask in the oven. I use a square baking pan, fill it a couple inches with water and drop in a grill that you use for cooling cakes. I put the flask on the grill and cover it with a stainless mixing bowl and boil away. Its good to have the corners of the baking pan showing in that you can add water and see the wax floating and know its working.
This enables you to look into the mold and tweak it if need be without it being to hot to handle (you can pick it up with a washcloth) and you don't have to put up with all the smoke.
When I put the flask in the oven for burnout I leave it the way you were doing (open side up) to let the smoke out of the flask.
So first you get the wax out...then you get the smoke out....for a cleaner mold.
 

Undercover999

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
62
Tilting the molds solved my burnout problem. Everyone on the 'net says to load flasks so the wax can drain, I have no idea why I decided it wasn't necessary... but it is!

I ruined two test castings over the weekend - first by overheating the flask, which caused crazy porosity in the casting, and then by underheating the metal, which caused an incomplete fill. But I managed to practice my stone setting and have it sorted out.

I also realized that my alloy of choice - the 75% gold 24.5% palladium 0.5% copper is unworkable. I screwed up my math when I "calculated" it from Hoover and Strong's page, I'm really kicking myself over that. Stupid stupid stupid. :(sad :(sad :(sad :(sad

Backup plan - I found another reference says that 18kt alloys with palladium and silver are nice and white. I'm going to go with 12.5% palladium and 12.5% silver in order to keep the temperatures down by not using excessive palladium.

I am very very much out of time. Casting in 45 minutes........................
 

TravelingGal

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Messages
17,193
I've been reading along, and you know, I'm not sure if anyone has done this yet but it's a long standing tradition here on PS for good luck, so...

DUST!!!!
 

Undercover999

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
62
A perfect casting!! By far the best result I've had thus far.

It looks a little yellow, I can't tell if thats the oxidation or not - I'm going to give it a polishing and see how it turns out. If its too yellow I can go up to 20% Pd, I suppose... but then I have to start again ARRGGHH.

IMG_0118.jpg

Very pleased.
 

Undercover999

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
62
Well I don't think its too yellow. I'll have it plated anyway, since she likes the look.

I think she'll be pleased, I'm not going to recast it.

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diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,517
Wow, it is coming along well! :appl: I have been scared reading your whole thread, but you're almost at the finish line! Are you sure you don't want help with getting the stone set in the prongs???
 

LadyMaria

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2008
Messages
1,240
You are amazing 999! I was so happy to see the words "perfect casting!"
 

TravelingGal

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Messages
17,193
Undercover999|1323766471|3080359 said:
A perfect casting!! By far the best result I've had thus far.

It looks a little yellow, I can't tell if thats the oxidation or not - I'm going to give it a polishing and see how it turns out. If its too yellow I can go up to 20% Pd, I suppose... but then I have to start again ARRGGHH.

IMG_0118.jpg

Very pleased.
All ya needed was PS dust. ;)) Congrats!
 

ame

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2004
Messages
10,714
WOW. WOW. WOW. I cannot WAIT to see this all finished and set. She is gonna DIE.
 

Undercover999

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
62
Its done! Done done done done done!!

... moral of the story: TIP YOUR JEWELER! This shit is HARD.

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I'm almost a little sad to get this plated as the metal is beautiful. Obviously all white golds aren't created equal but this one is gorgeous, I really don't think it needs plating, there isn't a trace of yellow. Of course, it costs nearly the same as platinum, so something tells me you don't find this alloy too often.
 

Bella_mezzo

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
5,754
:appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: CONGRATS!!!!! This is the coolest thread ever and I am so excited that it worked and it's done and your diamond is set!!!! :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: :appl:

I wouldn't plate the ring, it's nice and white now. let her decide. If my DH had made his own alloy to make my ring, there is no way in h*ll I would want to but rhodium plate over that!

It looks beautiful and CONGRATS!!!!!
 

madelise

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 23, 2011
Messages
5,294
Bella_mezzo|1323927317|3082001 said:
If my DH had made his own alloy to make my ring, there is no way in h*ll I would want to but rhodium plate over that!
ditto!

i am 100% jealous right here. you are absolutely amazing, this is an absolutely amazing story, and she will be absolutely blown away. absolutely. good luck on your pending engagement!! keep us all updated!
 

MizNina

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 20, 2010
Messages
286
Thoroughly enjoyable to watch and an incredible outcome. DO NOT PLATE THAT RING you can't let someone else touch it now you've done it all YOURSELF :love:
 

sonnyjane

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 13, 2008
Messages
2,471
MizNina|1323947056|3082090 said:
Thoroughly enjoyable to watch and an incredible outcome. DO NOT PLATE THAT RING you can't let someone else touch it now you've done it all YOURSELF :love:
I agree. You've done all of this by yourself... don't "paint over" all your hard work! Awesome awesome awesome!
 

Clairitek

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
4,881
Another vote for letting her decide whether or not to plate it! THAT RING IS AMAZING! I cannot WAIT to hear about her reaction to hearing that you made it yourself. Seriously, you're a one-of-a-kind man and a one-of-a-kind ring.
 
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