Saturday, February 1, 2014

G is for Gems!

In the fall of 2012, I took Metals II: Technology taught by James Thurman, at the University of North Texas. The next handful of posts will be about the projects that came out of that class.  The processes we used in the metals lab were: Electroforming, Metal Spinning, Machining and Powder Coating.  We were also introduced to creating and using vector drawings which were then capable of being laser cut out of a chosen material to create design components.

For each technology I was responsible for creating a sample piece and a final piece, as well as a comprehensive final piece for the class that encompassed more than one of the processes we learned.

The lovely G below, is my sample for the electroforming process. Electroforming is a process by which you coat an object with metal particles, in this case I was essentially copper plating.

I started with a gem studded G that I made out of wax.  I then coated the wax with a copper conductive paint, making sure to leave at least one small space for wax removal, and allowed it to dry completely.  Once the paint was completely dry, I suspended the G into the plating bath for many hours. 

When I finally removed the G from the plating bath, all of the wax was covered by a layer of bumpy copper.  I placed the G into a pan of water and brought it to a boil coaxing the wax out of the now hollow copper G, and into the water.  Using an annealing torch with with pan below, I gently heated the copper to melt off any remaining wax before putting it in the pickle.

Once the G was cleaned, I used enamels to add color to the G and to create differentiation in the gems.

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