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Square metal keychain with doming MKA102

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Square metal keychain with doming MKA102

The MKA line are metal keychain with doming logo process. We offer 5 standard shapes as standard, but dont hesitate to provide your own custom shape. Take advantage of doming with cheap setup charge, low MOQ and rush delivery.

Zamac material, 43 x 38 mm. Recessed front siede (RC102) 34 x 34 mm, nickel plated.

9.0 mm C ring (CR9) + iron stamping split ring 25.0 mm(SR25) nickel plated

19.0g/pc, 600pcs/0.014cbm/11.4kg/11.9kg

Very low setup charge, very quick delivery for small quantity, running number and UID code.

Vectorise (.eps) or high definition 300 DPI, 2/1 (200%) scale artwork ( .ai/.psd/.pdf/.jpg..etc )

1- MKA102 KEYCHAIN – RC RECESS – QCS PIC.psd

2- MKA102 KEYCHAIN – FUNCTION – QCS PIC.psd

3- MKA102 KEYCHAIN – ODD DOMING – QCS PIC.psd

4- MKA102 KEYCHAIN – ALL DOWNLOAD – QCS PIC.zip

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Dapping Metal or Wood

Hi Stacy, Can you give me some beginner info on a dapping block wood vs metal. How to judge which size on the block to use. Thanks I appreciate any guidance here.

Both tools are important bench tools and I use them frequently. They are both for doming metal, more specifically round discs, but you get a different look with each one. Here are some differences between the two, plus some advice on how to use them.

Basically, dapping cubes are created from high-grade hardened steel and sometimes wood. Designed with hemispherical depressions or dies in varying sizes to give a curve to flat soft metal discs as seen in bead-caps.

The wooden dapping cubes do not have as many choices in the size of dimples to choose from (6 being average). They are also usually more shallow than their metal counterparts. Because wood is soft, it will not mar or damage the design youve added to the disc as you dome it. As long as the disc is pattern-side down, you can hit it using either the round part of a chasing or ball pein hammer, a steel dap or one of the wooden ones they usually come with. If you are needing to make the disc concave with the pattern on the inside, then you would place the disc pattern-side face-up. Using the wooden dap to shape the disc will not distort your texture pattern.

The wooden cubes put a nice gentle dome on a disc. I tend to use the largest dimple because sometimes discs can get stuck in the smaller dimples. You can dig them out, but its rather a pain. 🙂 Wooden cubes are very inexpensive and come in a variety of sizes from very large to the standard 2-3 inch cube and even flat-ish rectangles sporting several different dimples.

The metal doming blocks have more dimples – 18 being standard. The metal dimples are much deeper than the wooden ones creating a more dramatic arch to the disc. They are great for forming bead caps and lentils, pods for earrings and necklaces, etc. Because hitting steel-to-steel will damage any design you may have in the disc, you must place a thin, soft protective barrier between the disc and the dimple. They are available in steel and bronze.

Steel dapping mandrels or punches to go with the steel cubes can be purchased together with a cube as a set or separately and vary greatly in price. The punches are used with a dapping block to press the metal into a spherical shape. Sizes correspond with the depressions in the dapping block. The thickness or gauge of the metal determines which punch and die set you should use. Thinner gauges or sheet use a punch and die with similar diameters for a close fit. Thicker gauge metals require a larger die and a smaller punch to compensate for the metal thickness.

Metal thickness determines the punch and die size you should use to form sheet metal. For thin-gauge metals, a punch and die with similar diameters work best together for a close fit.

Thicker-gauge metals require a larger die and a smaller punch to compensate for the metal thickness.

When doming, work the metal into shape slowly. Starting with a larger or more shallow die and working your way down to the size you wish to end up with. Dont try to complete the dome in one step unless you need a very shallow curvature.

I prefer to use a brass dead-blow style mallet to strike the metal daps. Provides a soft dead weight that reduces bounce. Used for stamping, dapping and chasing and for hammering with disc cutters. You can safely deliver a good thwack to the daps when doming discs with a steel block without fear of damaging one of your good hammers.

Thanks Stacy, The information is great, for some reason the dapping tool has been a challenge for me, I just am not getting a comfort, but I am sure I will, I really appreciate the explanations and the help ALWAYS.

Thank you for this valuabla information. I am confused on one thing. You stated you must place a thin, soft protective barrier between the disc and the dimple. They are available in steel and bronze

Please tell me where I would find these barriers and what they are called.

This may sound dumb but please tell me exactly the parts to the dapping set up. What is the die? What is the dap? What is the punch? Tell me the procedure with the named parts please….

A dapping block or cube has dimples of varying sizes cut into it. These blocks can be wood, steel or brass. You can buy dapping sets which inlcude a dimpled dapping block and coordinating ball daps used to give metal shapes a convex or concave shape like a bead cap or half sphere. The different products available produce different results depending upon your jewelry design needs.

A simple small wooden dapping set has a block with more shallow dimples and not many size choices and just 2 ball daps. Metal sets have more of an arc to them (think half a sphere) and more size choices for creating large and small domed shapes. A metal disc is placed into a dapping block dimple and then he ball dap is placed on the disc and hit using a heavy hammer or mallet which drives the dap into the disc and forces the metal to form to the dimple shape. This is called dapping. Sometimes the holes or dimples in the cubes are referred to as dies.

Basically, using a dapping cube and daps to form metal into domed shapes is a type of die-forming also used to create shapes in sheet metal which is hammered or pressure forced into a depression. Below are some examples of dapping cubes and block sets.

A protective barrier could be a small square of chamois, paper towel or small pieces of toilet or Klenex-style tissue paper between the steel and your disc. This prevents the textured parts of your disc from coming into direct contact with either the steel block or dap.

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Enameling 103 Metal Preparation

2013 Saul Bell Design Awardwinner,Nena Potts, crafted this lush and vibrant necklace using her considerable enameling skill. An inspiring example of whats possible with this fantastic technique!

We discussed safety and supplies inEnameling 101, and kiln firing vs. torch firing inEnameling 102. Now, lets get down to the hands-on process. This post will cover the importance of proper metal preparation for the enameling process.

Its important to have your metal clean and free of any contaminants such as oils, dust, fingerprints, or oxides prior to applying enamel. If you dont begin the enamel process with metal thats properly prepped and cleaned, all of your other planning could be in vain. Its possible to end up with enamel that wont adhere to the surface, or, after firing, might chip, crack and possibly pop off your work piece. Its kind of like trying to put makeup on a pig. Itll last a short time, but all the color will come off and youll be back to a dirty pig again.

When it comes to enameling there are several methods of preparation and cleaning. Some are more complex than others, but that doesnt necessarily make them better. Its important to select a method that will work with the piece youre creating and above all, one that youre most comfortable with. Regardless of your preference, the point is, do it right the first time!

Top: After annealing, dip your piece in pickle to clean the oxides off; Bottom: RiosHardwood Dapping Block and Punch Set

The first part of this process will be to prepare your metal by smoothing any rough edges. This can be done with aScotch-Brite™ pad, which also works great for scrubbing and texturizing metal. Next youll want to decide if you should dome your piece or leave it flat. This will be determined by your design; however, doming the metal will help to keep its shape and avoid warpage during the enameling process. A domed piece will also reflect light much better than a flat piece.

To dome the metal, youll first want to anneal it with a torch. Yes, annealing can be done in a kiln, but it takes longer because youll need to wait for the kiln to heat up and reach the correct temperature.

If youre working with copper, after annealing, quench in water, and then place inpickleto remove firescale. Once the pickle has cleaned the oxides off of the piece, remove withcopper tongsand rinse both sides thoroughly under running water so as not to leave any of the acid on the piece. The metal is now soft enough to be placed in awooden dapping block. You can now press down upon it with your fingers or a doming tool to generate a slight dome. (Not familiar with annealing? Heres a link to a greatAnnealing Metal videothat will help you to understand the process.)

If youre working with fine silver, theres really no need for annealing. The metal is already soft enough to put in a dapping block and dome slightly with your fingers or a doming tool.

Youre now ready to clean the metal and remove the oil and grease transferred from your fingers during the preparation process. You might wonder why the metal needs to be cleaned after its been heated, pickled, and rinsed. This is necessary because pickle only removes tarnish and oxides. It does not remove oil or grease and if you touch your piece during the sanding and doming process youll need to clean it prior to applying the enamel.

Take a Scotch-Brite™ pad and water, along with a cleaning agent likePam Easts PreNamel Surface Scrubor somepumice powdermade into slurry. (Pumice powder is a de-greasing agent and is great not only for cleaning a piece to be enameled, but also prepares metal for soldering, and helps to remove firescale. Its always a good idea to have some on hand.)

Scrub the metal on both sides in a circular motion until the water flows evenly across the surface. If the water beads up or pulls away from any part of the metal, then youll need to scrub again.

Once thoroughly clean, dry the metal using a clean, lint-free cloth. Be sure not to touch the surfaces with your fingers or youll have to clean it again. Hold the piece by the edges or with some tweezers to avoid re-contamination.

Left: Scrubbing in a circular motion with a Scotch-Brite™ pad to clean your metal; Right:Stainless Steel Straight Tweezers with Fiber-Grip Handles.

You can heat the copper with a torch, or in a kiln to burn off any grease or oil. If you work with atorch, set the piece on a tripod and begin heating under the piece keeping the flame moving. Soon, the copper will begin changing to a dark reddish-orange color. Within a very short period of time, as youre moving the torch, youll see the color begin changing to a greenish tone. Once the entire piece is this color, turn off the flame.

If working with akiln, pre-heat to the standard enameling temperature of approximately 1500. Once heated, set your piece on the kiln shelf and watch for the dark reddish-orange color change. This should take about 35 40 seconds. As soon as this happens, remove the hot item from the kiln with a spatula or kiln tweezers. While the piece is being removed, it should begin changing color to a greenish tone. If it doesnt change, place back into the kiln for just a few seconds. Watch closely to be sure you dont over-fire.

Either set the piece off to the side to cool, or usingtweezers, pick up the hot piece, and quench in water. When firing to green, theres no need to pickle the piece. However, if you over-fired to black, youll need to pickle, and then rinse both sides well under running water to remove the acid.

Dry the metal using a clean, lint-free cloth. Remember not to touch the surfaces of the piece or youll have to go back and start the process again.

Left to right: The copper changes color as it heats. It goes from a dark reddish-orange color to a color with a slightly-greenish tone and in the end its color is changed and its surface is grease-free.

Pre-heat the fine silver piece with a torch until it has a slight orange glow.

Watch carefully for the piece to look like its about to melt. At that point, pull back the flame of the torch where only the tip is heating the surface of the metal. Be sure to keep the flame moving over the piece in a circular motion until you see the entire surface of the metal become very shiny. Once this happens, immediately remove the flame and turn off your torch. This is known as flashing the surface. Use some caution with this technique. Too close with the flame and you will actually melt the piece, too far away and it wont flash. Flashing the fine silver not only helps to clean the piece, but also creates a polished looking surface visible through transparent enamels, which adds to the beauty of the piece.

Once the piece flashes, put it aside to cool. Be sure not to touch the surfaces.

On the left, a dull disc of non-flashed fine silver and on the right, a disc of polished-looking, flashed fine silver.

Follow the previously-described metal prepping process (anneal, pickle, and rinse your piece).

When youre ready to enamel, get some saliva on your clean thumb or finger, then rub the saliva over the surface of metal youre enameling. Once this is done, dont touch the surface. Saliva is a good neutralizer and works well to easily clean off the oil and grease after youve been handling the piece of metal. Please note, while this works great for small pieces, you wouldnt want to use this technique on large projects. It would be hard to create that much saliva for your piece, not to mentioneww!

This post, along withEnameling 101andEnameling 102, includes an explanation of all recommended supplies, except for theenamels. Now that you have an understanding of the prep and cleaning process, its time for the fun to begin! In my nextand finalpost, Enameling 104, Ill discuss the enamels and their application. Until then, if youre still questioning your ability to enamel, remember this

You dont have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. Zig Ziglar

Filed Under:Tools & TechniquesTagged With:cloisonneenamelingHow-Toknow-howtechnical know howtips & tricks

Hi! How can I clean the enamel surface between firings from finger grease?Except fiberglass brush is there any other method to clean grease?Is it wrong to use denatured alcohol?

Thanks for the question! To clean the enamel surface between firings you can follow the process suggested under the Metal Cleaning Process, Method 3 Saliva or you can take standard isopropyl alcohol on a cotton ball and gently clean the enameled surface. If using alcohol, be sure to close the lid immediately after use and do not keep the container near a hot kiln or torch. We hope this helps!

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This little corner of the web is your opportunity to read about fellow jewelers, learn about your craft and become better at the business of selling jewelry. Come by often and see whats new.

Whether youre just starting out or are always on the prowl for a new idea or inspiration, we look forward to getting to know you!

Welcome to Rio Grandes Blog, a meeting place for those who, like all of us at Rio Grande, share a passion for making jewelry.

This little corner of the web is your opportunity to meet and visit with our experts and the experts who are our friends and partners. Come by often and see whats new. Offer your take on the latest and greatest in your shop or studio.

Whether youre just starting out or are always on the prowl for a new idea or inspiration, we look forward to getting to know you!

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In the previous three parts of my series on Designing a Jewelry Collection, Ive talked about what a collection is, design principles, designing for your customer and the [Read More…]about Designing a Collection part 4

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Designing for Sheet Metal

About: Im a compulsively curious guy. I have taken things apart all my life, intrigued by how things work. I didnt know other tinkerers growing up, so Ive learned mostly by doing or through the internet. I hope …

What works on paper, doesnt always work in the physical world as planned, for a variety of reasons. What follows here are some of the various lessons I have learned while laying out sheet metal projects. Hopefully you can benefit from this guide and save yourself the time I spent learning things the hard way!

When youre making something out of paper, the thickness of the sheet is negligible–everything will line up and work out most likely in the end. Sheet metal is a different creature in this respect. Bends have radius, sheet has thickness, and tools need space to access a bend. When laying out a simple box with tabs, the tabs will meet the perpendicular face of the next side when folded up to 90 degrees, so when you are folding your tabs, measure in from the edge of the material the length of the tab, plus the radius of the bend, plus the thickness of the material for a perfect corner.When folding over a seamed edge, the folded-over portion is going to need to clear the adjacent faces on both sides. Slightly notching these helps resolve these issues. A file is sufficient for fine-tuning these bends.Think of bending sheet metal as what it really is: stretching one face, while shrinking the opposite face in a controlled way.

Welding sheet metal isnt always the ideal way to join sheet–especially thin or non-ferrous sheet. Heat causes metal to expand and warp if youre not careful. When spot welding, for instance, each spot weld causes the sheet to expand 360 degrees around the weld. If you start in the middle of the work and work your way out to edges, youll have more uniform results than moving from corner to corner.POP rivets are a good alternative to spot welds. Punch a dimple in the sheet metal before attempting to drill the pilot holes using an awl and mallet. Then, your bit has a depression to hollow out and wont stray and scratch the work. Put the rivet in the hole youve drilled, and draw the mandrel through the rivet shank with a riveting tool. You actually can dress these rivets as well. Doming them with a ball peen hammer helps a lot. Just be sure to use a steady hand, the appropriate size hammer, and a rivet set if possible. Solid rivets are another option, but doming them in tight spaces can be an issue, hence the choice of pop rivets for this box.If rivets arent your cup of tea, try brazing. Use a MAPP gas torch, brass brazing rods, and flux to heat the joint to braze and draw brass into the seam using capillary action.There are also methods of joining metal without fasteners or brazing. Hemmed seams are a good way to join two edges. Make a v-shaped channel on each end on opposite sides of the sheet, nest the openings and flatten closed. Clean up the seam with a groover–a steel stamp with a rectangular cut-out. Or, overlap tabbed-seams with a seamed edge.

If money is an issue, look no further than your closest alley. Cut the chassis off of a dryer, refrigerator, or filing cabinet. Cut down enough sheets that its worth the trouble to negotiate a price with a sand blaster in your town. Pay a fair rate to have the sheets sand or bead blasted down to bare metal. If youre really strapped for cash, use a belt sander. If the dumpster gods arent smiling upon you, try calling your citys trash collectors, inquire about large item pick-up day. Most towns have someone who breaks down appliances into recyclable materials, disposes of toxic things, etc. Ask for this contractors contact info and negotiate a price for the un-processed sheet metal.Sometimes your local steel yard will discount corroded material. Learn methods for removing rust and other types of oxidation. Ammonium works well on Aluminum Oxide. Sandpaper and stainless steel wire wheels work well on rust.

Sheet metal is sharp. You think youll be careful enough that gloves wont be necessary all the time, but youre wrong. I was wrong once and lost a weeks worth of work time. All it takes is one slip and youre out a few hundred dollars for stitches or surgery.

Adding a perpendicular face to a curved surface sounds like a daunting proposition, but with the right tools, its not such a big deal. The tool you want is called a Bead Roller. There are several companies that make them new now, Mittler Brothers Machine & Tool is the first that comes to mind, or several serviceable vintage machines are out there too, such as those made by Pexto and Roper Whitney. With the right combination of dies, you can roll that profile in 3-4 passes.

There are several different types of shears out there, and each of them have very specific uses. Trying to make straight cuts with a non-straight cut shear may lead you to believe that youre a crumby metalworker. Not true! Straight shears make straight cuts.Types of ShearsI. Tinners Snips:These are your grandpas tin snips. They are a very sturdy and useful tool, deadly accurate, easy to sharpen and maintain, and damned near indestructible.A. Straight Cut Tin Snips- Have a long, straight jaw. Used for straight line cutsB. Duck-bill Snips- Useful for cutting short straight sections and curvesC. Circle Snips- Used to cut circles of larger radiusD. Hawk-Bill Snips- Used to cut circles with smaller radius. Allows for added clearance in tight cuts.I. Compound Action Shears / Aviation Shears:used originally for making aircraft, these are easier to use because of their compound action, yielding a higher mechanical advantage. They are color-coded, though all you really have to do is look at the jaws and use your common sense. Yellow is straight, red is left, green is right. Long-cut aviation shears have the jaw angled 90 degrees from the handles and are good for making long, straight cuts where clearance of material is an issue.A. Straight Cut- Cut reasonably straight linesB. Left Cut- Make cuts that curve to the leftC. Right Cut- Make cuts that curve to the right

When you buy sheet metal it will have crisp, straight (on some axis) lines. Before you start laying out a project, take the time to check the edges for square. I use an aluminum T-Square for this. A carpenters square, machinsts square, etc. all work as well. This will save you from tearing out your hair after 4 hours worth of work when your project is 1/8 off center!Another option if youre buying your sheet metal from a specialized sheet metal supplier, they can cut the sheet on a squaring shear, a huge hydraulic monster machine that makes perfect cuts.

Theres a reason why sheet metal workers scribe lines, rather than mark them with a sharpie. While fine-line marker might do a fine job, a scribed line has a pin-pricks diameter and can be very accurate. A scratch awl or a divider are traditional and effective. A nail even works in a pinch. Scribe along a straight edge, or use your divider to drag along your squared edge to mark off distances from the edge.

If youre laying out a part with angled faces, for instance, to determine the lengths of the sides, you would have to use trigonometry. Are we metalworkers or mathematicians though? What I do is draft it out exactly. I know the base measurement, I know the angles, and I can draw the intersections. From there, set the distances from point-to-point with your divider, scribe onto the metal, and go from there. Its much faster for non-math types like myself. If you need to have tabbed-edges on a piece with these kinds of angles, divide the internal angle measurement by 2, mark it out on your draft, and go from there. Much easier!

Sheet metal in a flat sheet is not very sturdy. It can be bent, warped, and folded easily; thats why we love it! But when youre designing a sheet metal part, add a few strength-enhancing features to make sure your part lasts for generations.Hemsare created when you fold over the metal back onto itself. It saves time (less de-burring), gives a more finished look to your edges, and, most importantly, it adds tremendous amounts of strength to a face!Beadsare embossed lines that run across the surface of the sheet. These are made using a bead roller. These indentations add strength perpendicular to the bead. This is the idea behind corrugated tin roofing.Grooved Seamsare a great way to join two pieces of sheet metal, but they also create tremendous strength perpendicular to the joint. A properly grooved hem has 2 broken edges, and 4 layers of sheet metal in one spot. Very strong!

If you need to break small edges that are difficult to access, try using a hand seamer. These are designed for HVAC work, but work very well for making finger-break type work without the proper break. Fold the part over in the hand seamers jaws, use a mallet to sharpen the edge, and release. These can be used to break long, continuous edges as well, but in 3-4 steps, working uniformly across the surface. I use them to finish hems.

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Please be positive and constructive.

Ive been a sheet metal worker for close to 20 years now. Went from old school techniques to modern equipment. This is a GREAT instructable. Very well done.

Nice and useful instructable! Thanks 🙂

Hi iwant to make a small working boat model with thin sheet metal can i glue it with araldite or is there any way to make joint watertight without welding or rivets

I am not familiar with araldite, but you could do a grooved flat lock seam and silicone it from the inside. If youre trying to make the keel joint where the two hulls meet, you may be able to form this from a single sheet rather than seaming it.

Heat it to anneal the sheet. Use a blunt v-shaped die over a wooden form or sandbag to begin to stretch a ridge in the sheet. Anneal often. Use a ball peen hammer and work out from the keel and up the hulls and raise the radius into the sides. Trim flush with a pair of snips and clean up on a disc sander. Copper would work best, and youll want the sheet to be a little thicker than your finished piece.

You could roll a hem on a rotary machine. Thats how soda cans are made (kind of) and theyre water tight.

You could also form a keel seem from a 90-120 degree bend on a sheet break. Draw the arc you want for the hull, transfer it to both sides, Cut away the excess on one side, cut away all but a 1/4 tab on the other side, then epoxy the tab to the opposite side. Silicone the inside.

That said, you could also just learn to solder. Its way easier than forming sheet stock manually like this. Happy tinkering!

I wouldnt even try to weld galvanized metal, unless you want zinc poisoning haha.

pretty cool Bro , I learned more than a few things , well done man !

A thick Sharpie line before you scribe can help make the scribe line much more visible, though, and you can use different colours for bend, cut, etc. Excellent instructable, thanks!

Great instructable! Watchoutn when using HF hand seamer, I squeezed mine a too tight and broke it in half. I kept the bits to make a sand casting with in order to make a real Made in America tool in my home founfry.

Thanks! Most HF tools leave a lot to be desired in terms of durability. Id love to barter for a home-cast hand seamer if youre casting some!

Very nice instructible, brought me back to a better day. As does just thinking about the glorious sheets of 060 stainless steel (with the edges so dul, gloves were merely a fashion statement) and 12 foot skids of clad and unclad aluminum stacked 15 + feet high, with brown paper sandwiched betwixt every sheet. Oh yes, those were the good old days and now that youve mentioned it, theres no reason they cant be relived a bit for old timers sake. Thank you for this. One question; Ive a pair of straight tin snips that need to be sharpened and perhaps tightened up, what type of edge should they have and how tight should they be etc. I think you are the person to ask. (if the good old days were still here Id have a brand new pair)

My shears all have a single bevel edge that I touch up with files. Im not sure of the angle. As for the tightness of the shear, there are many styles with their own specific tightnesses. My recommendation would be to pick up a set of thickness gauges like machinists use. Slide them into the joint on a pair that feels good to you and adjust accordingly. Happy metal working!

While this is a great instructables, theres two small thing I could suggest to help you improve it.

1. The scratch awl is a good idea to precisely trace a flat pattern on sheet metal, BUT I would not recommend using this method for any structural component. The reason is simple, you are adding weak spots all over the place,and they will sooner or later result in fractures.

2. You probably did this for the convenience of it when cutting your metal, but the sharp corners on your flange near the bending lines are also weak spots waiting to transform in fractures. You can easily drill a small hole in those corners before cutting the metal with your snip to create small radiuses that will help increase toughness.

looks like the engineers toolbox (i know its not, its an older design of a toolbox)

Thank you for a very fine, useful Instructable. I am thankful to have a welder, but find there are times when my pop rivet gun is the better choice. As regards free metal, we recently replaced a water heater. The old one is full of lime and heavy. I am cutting it up in pieces before trying to haul it up the basement stairs. The outer shell is a nice gauge of sheet steel I want to use for various projects, including some small parts trays. I hope your Instructable is featured and makes the newsletter.

Thanks! To make that outer shell lay flat, you can cross break the sheet using a break press. Make an X across the sheet, then a box around the perimeter and it will lay flat.

Nice intro into becoming a diy tin knocker, thanks.

I have been thinking about making a small brake and trying my hand at it.

If you just want to get a feel for sheet metal without a huge investment, there are tool called bar folders which are basically a hinge that bolts to a surface with a machined-flat piece of bar stock that you clamp over the material you want to bend. Bend the piece up to the desired angle. Harbor Freight has one for $40:

This is a great intro to working with sheet metal! I learned a ton.

Enameling Metal Jewelry

Introduction: Enameling Metal Jewelry

About: Jill is a high school art teacher who works primarily with digital and jewelry in the northwest Indiana region. Shes a sort of a Jill of all trades and hopes to share her experience and ideas with you! …

This Instructable is designed to show you how to do some great basic jewelry techniques, like doming and torch enameling. This is one that is fairly introductory in skill level, so if youve never worked with metal jewelry, you will be able to do a lot of this with ease. I actually teach these basic skills in the jewelry class that I teach at the high school that I work at. I hope you enjoy! Heres a list of supplies and links to where you can find each of these items! I hope you enjoy! If youre trying to do this as cheaply as possible, research before you buy! Sometimes, certain items will be on sale through different websites.

You can also buycircle blanksas well, which would save you from having to cut the metal–tends to be more expensive by bulk, but if you plan on doing a lot of metalsmithing, youll save much more by purchasing big sheets, generally, the larger sheet you purchase, the less per square inch.

*If you didnt know, metal gauges work as the lower the number, the thicker the metal, the higher the number, the thinner the metal

3. Enamel Powder *Pay attention to your opaque and translucent powders! Opaque will not show metal through, as opposed to translucent need a base color to make it really show the color. Usually a white base works well.

Rings-Things–they sell small sample packs for really cheap, but limited selection.

Rio-Grande–great selection, but tends to be a little more pricy.

Fire Mountain Gems–Be careful you get the vitrearc type enamels, not their resin-based materials.

4. Beads–I used pearl and glass seed beads for this instructable, but you can always substitute!

5. 20 or 22 Gauge Silver Wire– I like to useArgentium Silverwire and Rio sells them in customized segments. For this instructable, you would only need about 4 inches for earring wires. You can use sterling silver as well. I like to use silver for earring wires, primarily because I have sensitive ears and I rash when using anything plated.

6.Head Pins- this link is to Argentium head pins, but you can substitute for sterling silver.

11.Nylon Ring Pliers–optional, you can also use a steel block to pinch the dome

17.MAPP gas(yellow canisters) andtorch(propane torch nozzles work on MAPP gas tanks!) –NOTE: Propane gas will fire enamel, but it WILL take longer to heat, so if youre impatient like me, youll want the MAPP gas.

18.Tri Pod and Metal Mesh ScreenOR Screen and Clamp

20.Rubber Earring Backs*Some prefer to use them, some dont. That is your preference.

3. Nonflammable surface to torch on–large ceramic tiles work great on top of another surface to protect your table tops!

Theres two approaches that I like to use that are relatively quick. The first is using a steel disc cutter. If you plan on cutting a bunch of round pieces, these do a good job at being consistent. Youll need the brass hammer and steel disc cutters. I used 1 diameter discs. When using steel tools (for example, the cutter die), youll want to use the softer brass hammer. Its ok for the surface to be rough on the hammer, its more to keep from your cutters from mushrooming at the top while using a steel hammer. Some important things to know when using your steel disc cutter. Make sure youre hammering it square, like a nail. If you hammer it crooked, it will shave the inside of your cutter and you will wear out the inside of it, causing for lopsided/stretched cuts. So, instead of a crisp edge, you get irregular lumps.

The second way to cut your metal is using thefrench shears. You wont get as smooth and perfect of a circle, but nonetheless it is a much cheaper solution, if youre looking to keep this pretty cheap.

If you would rather just purchase the discs, theyre more expensive in the long run, but for a set or two, they are significantly cheaper than buying the disc cutter.

If you cut your metal using the french shears, you may consider filing now to get the nice elliptical form you were looking for. I love filing to get the beveled edge that makes it feel more of a finished edge. It also removes any burrs that may be left behind from cutting them out. My go-to is a 10 inch single mill file. Theres many other options, but the one suggested at the beginning is a pretty good staple. Sandpaper also works really well, but I usually use 400 grit or higher if I go that route. The higher the grit on sandpaper, the more smooth/finer the finish will be.

Once your edges of your circles are filed, you will want to start doming them. I like to use my dapping block, which has a range of different sizes and depths for this particular one. You can also use a chasing hammer to do this doming process, but it gets more challenging. When you use steel tools, like the daps, youll want to use a soft metal hammer, like brass. If you strike steel against steel, you will mushroom your tools, which will end up in damaged tools in the long run. Heres a greatvideothat goes into the ins and outs of dapping and doming. The important thing to remember is that you should do it gradually, by going from largest to the intended size, step by step. When you hammer, there will be a change in the pitch of sound when hammering, and youll notice the difference if you listen for it.

Using the handy Eurotool Metal Hole Punch, create two holes in each domed piece of copper. These are where your headpin will run through to hold your pearl in the middle later. If you also noticed, the dome is not exactly perfectly domed, because I pinched it laterally using nylon ring pliers. If you dont have any of those handy, you can also use a chasing hammer to hold it sideways and collapse the dome just slightly, so theyre not exactly perfect domes.

Any surface oxidization you may have on your piece will need to be cleaned off. If you start with bright copper, I find the yellow Sunshine Polishing Cloths are super quick to get back that high shine if you have a few spots here and there after handling it. Be sure to wash both your hands and your piece with soap and water after you get done polishing it because the compound will be a contaminant in your enamel later and you REALLY dont want that. Any contaminants can potentially cause your enamel to crack later. You can see the difference between unpolished versus polished in the image above.

Using a small brush, apply the clear liquid called Klyr-Fire. There are several other brands of solvents that you can use, but a small amount GOES A LONG WAY. I like to keep from cross contaminating my big stash by using small film canisters (provided by my fellow Photo teacher). Be sure to always label the container. Let it dry. This will help keep your enamel fused to your metal.

When youre sifting enamels, be sure not to contaminate the powder. I like to use little scraps of matboard as a base to capture the lost enamel. With translucent/transparent enamels, like our cascade blue that we will be using later in this instructable, generally, you will want to use a base color, like white.

While using the sifter, gently vibrate the enamel powder onto the domed discs. Ive got mine inverted to act like a cup to hold the enamel. The sifter handle has a series of ridges where you can run your thumbnail across it to vibrate it enough to sift it like powdered sugar. Give it a generous coat, but you dont want to make it too thick. You shouldnt be able to see any of the underlying metal and it shouldnt be more than an 1/8 thick. Any thicker than that, you run the risk of cracking your enamel. Be sure to also remove any contaminants that may fall onto the surface. Occasionally, a fleck of dirt will fall in, so you want to do a double check before torching, because once its heated, its very difficult to remove any blemishes/dirt.

When firing enamel on copper, you will want a couple things handy. First off, a MAPP gas torch. As mentioned at the beginning, a propane torch nozzle will work with MAPP gas. Propane can work as well for firing, but it will take considerably longer to hit the firing temperature to melt the enamel, which is 1300F to 1600F, depending on the glass color, thickness, and chemical composition. Youll want a well-ventilated space, safety goggles, a nonflammable surface, and a dust mask (because of the powder). If you dont have a metal surface handy, ceramic tiles work as a great substitute! I would suggest using independent tiles placed on top of your surface, as opposed to using a ceramic tiled surface, if you go that route.

When you heat enamel, it should be fired FROM BELOW. Any fire that comes directly in contact with the enamel itself will become smoky and not as vibrant of a color. Hold the torch so the blue cone of the flame is touching the metal. Make small circles continually to heat the metal evenly.

As you torch the enamel, it will change to three textures. The first, it will look like burnt sugar, so it will still be in powdered form, but typically it darkens, like burnt sugar, hence, the burnt sugar stage.

The second stage is the orange peel stage, when its half melted and looks like the bumpy skin of an orange peel.

The third and final stage is the glossy stage. As soon as you see it hit that stage, pull the torch away. Let it cool. I usually like to move it after its no longer glowing and place it on a metal surface out of the way for at least 5-10 minutes. The larger the piece, the longer it will take to cool. If you rapidly cool glass, it will crack and fracture off, so let it take its time and cool.

Once the enamel is cooled, you will sift on the second layer, similar to the white layer we just did, but using the transparent enamel. In this case, I used Cascade Blue. If you want more vibrant of a color, layer more and do multiple layerings and firings of the same color. You can do this several times, especially if theres a thin spot. The process is the same as the base coat, just a different color.

Here in the second round of firing the Cascade Blue enamel, I included pictures of the enamel as its firing and cooling to show that colors can change during the heating process. DONT WORRY! Most enamels will cool to the color as sampled! Some colors, like reds and oranges that if they are fired too long, may result in duller colors, so make sure you pull the fire away after youve hit the glossy stage. I also included images of the stages of how it goes from powdered to the melted gloss.

Now that weve created the enameled part, we will now need to create earring wires. Theres all sorts of designs and styles, but my go to is creating the fish hook style. This is done with a small loop using round nose pliers (in the first picture) and then a bigger loop with the bail pliers (in the second picture). Bail pliers can always be substituted with dowel rods and other items slightly smaller than a pencil diameter. Once I do the big loop, then I will typically do a little kink parallel to the little loop.

Using the french shears, I typically cut at anywhere from 1/8 to 3/8 from the kink, depending how comfortable of length you want. Be sure they are the same length for both earring wires. I cut these a little longer (the ones demonstrated are at 3/8) Once theyre cut, they will need to be filed and rounded down. French shears do a nice job being pretty flush, but can still leave a pretty sharp cut. Filing prevents ear punctures later down the road.

Now that we have our components all made, next we will use the headpins and string the few little glass beads at the base, then through the first hole. After its through the first hole, then string on the pearl and feed the headpin end through the second hole. Make a 90 kink flush to the enameled piece. Use the french shears to cut the length of the headpin, which is typically 3/8 to 1/2 in length from the kink. Use that length on the headpin that is weaved through the holes and create little loops using the round nose pliers. Finally, once you have the loops, open them back up, using the round nose pliers, and insert the earring wire and join the pieces together! Keep in mind, you can always substitute different beads and different enamels to create different effects. Because of the weight of these earrings, you may consider rubber earring backs. I typically put them on majority of the earrings I make, simply as a preventative to keep them from falling out. Hope you enjoyed learning about enameling! This just scratches the surface of what this medium can do!

Did you make this project? Share it with us!

Please be positive and constructive.

What kind of eye protection do you use? The ones Im finding with the right IR and lens type are crazy expensive!

I found a pair on Amazon was reasonably cheap. With the green filter, it is kind of hard to see colorations as youre torching, but at least it does provide a decent amount of coverage against burning your retinas. Its scored for a 3.0 level, meaning light brazing, torchwork, etc. They do have a 5.0 level pair, but that gets hard to see, unless youre doing for significant lengths of time, and at that point, you might as well get a welding helmet. If youre just doing small batches at a time, these will be uncomfortable at first, but I found that they help in the long run.

Ive long wondered how accessible enameling metal is for the casual DIYer and now I know! Thanks for sharing this! How long do you normally get out of a metal screen before it becomes too burnt through to use?

About 50-60 firings at least. It also depends if you use the same spot frequently or if you rotate it around. The replacement screens are usually under 10 to replace. I actually just ordered a heavier gauge steel screen to try out and I will let you know how that lasts! This particular one isnt flexible and is typically used for kiln firing, so I assume it will last a lot longer.

Ive had a chance to try out the screen and ITS FANTASTIC! have a feeling its going to outlast at least two of the screens that I have used previously. I also recommend the enamelwarehouse etsy store if you need specific materials for enameling. They carry a lot of the random colors no one carries anymore.

Speaking as a professional jeweler this is a really great project/write up!

Do you think you could do this with an induction furnace? Would that work for the first layer but get to hot for additional layer or be no problem?

You can do it, and its been done traditionally previous to the experimentation of torch firing, but the big thing you want to pay attention to is the temperature. With torch firing, its pretty easy to see the three stages of melting, whereas if you put it in an induction kiln, you will want to make sure that you have a thermometer handy, to make sure you dont overheat it, or at least some range of visibility to watch for those three stages. It can also be done with a traditional ceramic kiln as well. In fact, you will get more consistent results and less fracturing/contamination with kilns, but kilns are much more expensive to stock, rather than a little torch.

Excellent, clear instructions! I have unsuccessfully tried copper enameling using inherited supplies. Now I know what I did wrong! Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Ill bet you are a great classroom teacher!

Youll have to post pictures! I love seeing what others do!

Most of my jewelry students favor enameling over other mediums like porcelain or lampwork, so thats why I wanted to share!

Nice – very cool to see this process. Excellently taught/documented too. Thank you!

Thanks! Ive been doing a lot of research to learn enameling myself, and I truly enjoy creating enameled jewelry!