Working with metal clay

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AndyC
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Working with metal clay

#1

Post by AndyC » Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:24 am

My girlfriend is a wonderful person, so I decided to try something I'd never done before to make a Christmas present - make silver jewelry from metal clay. The basic premise is that you can carve/create something in silver-bearing clay and then "fire" it in a small forge/kiln which burns away the clay binder and sinters the silver together (shrinkage is about 10-15%), pretty much like MIM parts in some guns.

I had gotten her two emeralds - one small, one large - and went to work on a ring for the smaller one (about 6mm square, just under a carat):

Drying the finished design using my PC's warmth (can't fire it until it's dry):
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In the kiln, the binder material burning off and with a sacrificial plug insert to maintain the ring-size:
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15 minutes into a half-hour firing (I just had to peek):
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Ring finished and the emerald set in place. There's an embossed pattern which didn't turn out perfectly, but oh well:
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Ring in position - she loves it and no, we're not engaged:
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PriestTheRunner
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Re: Working with metal clay

#2

Post by PriestTheRunner » Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:53 am

AndyC wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:24 am
Ring in position - she loves it and no, we're not engaged:
:lol: :lol: :lol: Someone is trying to give you a hint! lol

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Re: Working with metal clay

#3

Post by C-dub » Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:06 am

Very cool!
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Re: Working with metal clay

#4

Post by mcscanner » Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:32 am

Nicely done!
One constructive recommendation. On the inside of the ring, break the edge with a small radius both sides. That improves the feel of the ring on the finger and is less irritating.
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AndyC
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Re: Working with metal clay

#5

Post by AndyC » Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:45 am

I did actually round both sides, yes, but thank you :) By "finished" I meant that the major work was done and just the finer details to get done, polishing etc.
Last edited by AndyC on Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Working with metal clay

#6

Post by ELB » Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:19 am

I didn't know there was such a thing as "metal clay" or the process that goes with it. Very interesting, and very nice gift.
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AndyC
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Re: Working with metal clay

#7

Post by AndyC » Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:39 am

Thank you very much. I didn't either - this was brand-new to me and even as artless as I am, it was fairly straight-forward to do.
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Re: Working with metal clay

#8

Post by PUCKER » Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:46 am

That is very interesting! I was going to say "cool" but it looked very hot (the process)!! :biggrinjester:


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Re: Working with metal clay

#9

Post by mayor » Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:07 pm

AndyC wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:24 am
Ring in position - she loves it and no, we're not engaged:

Hahahaha. I said the same thing 30 years ago. I gave my girlfriend a ring as a gift too (but I didn't build it). Me, the wife and 2 kids had a great Christmas time yesterday!

nice work, by the way.

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Re: Working with metal clay

#10

Post by AndyC » Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:21 pm

1,300 deg F kept me toasty doing this outside past midnight on Christmas Eve/Christmas, yep

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Re: Working with metal clay

#11

Post by The Annoyed Man » Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:47 pm

Dude, that’s pretty cool. Sort of compliments the idea of 3D printing.
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Re: Working with metal clay

#12

Post by WildBill » Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:58 pm

AndyC wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:21 pm
1,300 deg F kept me toasty doing this outside past midnight on Christmas Eve/Christmas, yep
Is this a gas kiln?
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Re: Working with metal clay

#13

Post by puma guy » Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:29 pm

Very nice! You mentioned "carve/create" is the clay solid or pliable?
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Re: Working with metal clay

#14

Post by AndyC » Wed Dec 26, 2018 6:13 pm

Electric kiln, temp controlled by an add-on. The clay is tacky as it comes out of the foil package, but starts to dry slowly (can be easily re-moistened as needed).
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Re: Working with metal clay

#15

Post by JustSomeOldGuy » Wed Dec 26, 2018 8:10 pm

Kiln looks like a fat luminaria, appropriate to the season.... :thumbs2:

Were the emeralds because
- birthstone
- she likes them, or
- that's what you already had on hand to contribute to an experiment? ;-)
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