Nightmare Frog Pocket Fetish Tutorial


CNC milling the “Nightmare Frog Pocket Fetish” in tellurium copper. I fought with computer modeling this monster all weekend!


Here’s what the CNC was milling beneath the coolant bath. The “Nightmare Frog Pocket Fetish” in tellurium copper. This side needs gold eyes and some screws. After that, something needs to be engraved on the back. That’s a quarter next to it…


Here’s the backside of the “Nightmare Frog Pocket Fetish” in tellurium copper. This side is being hand engraved. You can see it from the design transfer stage to the completed 24 karat gold gear inlay.


Halfway finished removing background on the hand engraved rear side of the “Nightmare Frog Pocket Fetish.” Tellurium copper, 24 karat gold.


With texturing and shading on the hand engraved portion of the “Nightmare Frog Pocket Fetish” I’m going to call this side finished. Now to finish the CNC frog side…


Back to the CNC side of the “Nightmare Frog Pocket Fetish” in tellurium copper. Inlaying 24 karat gold in the eyes.


Texturing the background in the “Nightmare Frog Pocket Fetish” in tellurium copper. Difficult to get the tiny carbide bur down into the tight spots. Have to be very careful not to let it get out of control!



With the addition of a small leather wallet, the “Nightmare Frog Pocket Fetish” is finished. A little more than 2 inches tall, in 1/4 inch thick tellurium copper and 24 karat gold.

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.arizonacustomknives.com/tom-sterling-sterling-sculptures.aspx
http://www.sterlingsculptures.com
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Tree Frog Skeleton Dogtag Tutorial


Starting a frog skeleton dogtag project on a Grade 1 titanium Boker-brand blank. I begin by cutting the outlines, then inlaying the 24 karat pure gold.


Removing the background on the titanium frog skeleton dogtag. A pretty big job…


Here’s how you carve a medium-relief fly on the titanium frog skeleton dogtag. Still need to add detail to the wings…


Sculpting the frog on the titanium frog skeleton dogtag. Almost there!

The titanium frog skeleton dogtag is finished!

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.arizonacustomknives.com/tom-sterling-sterling-sculptures.aspx
http://www.sterlingsculptures.com
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WESN Knife Koi Tutorial


I’m baaaaack! Starting a Japanese-style koi engraving on a sweet little WESN folding knife. The Grade 5 titanium (6Al4V) scale is pretty tough stuff, but this little neck knife is so nice I’ll suffer through!


Adding 24 karat gold inlays and removing the background on the Grade 5 titanium WESN Knife


Sculpting the “splash” on the Grade 5 titanium WESN Knife. 1st deepening the cuts next to the fish, then sculpting by carving away everything that’s not splash. Tiny Carbide round bur used for carving.


Time to add tiny little engraved cuts to shade the Grade 5 titanium WESN Knife. Zillions of tiny tapered lines on all those scales…


The Grade 5 titanium WESN Koi Knife is finished now that the special black stuff for inking has finally been delivered.


The finished knife, next to a US quarter for scale.

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.arizonacustomknives.com/tom-sterling-sterling-sculptures.aspx
http://www.sterlingsculptures.com
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Copper Crab Pocket Fetish Tutorial


Beginning a tellurium copper pocket fetish with the previous crab theme. However, I first have to cut the design on the back side, because if I cut the front side first, I’ll never get the piece square and flat in the vise. Got to think ahead with CNC, ‘cause the computer certainly won’t!

There has been some concern from my readers about tellurium in this alloy. Tellurium is only present in tiny amounts in the alloy and the only hazard listed in the MSDS is dust inhalation. Folks are probably thinking of beryllium copper, which does have significant health risks. Also, don’t forget that copper is a heavy metal, too. There’s no extra hazard in just handling tellurium copper (aka copper 145). Here’s a link to the MSDS: http://www1.mscdirect.com/…/MSDS0…/40714214-20120815.PDF

Try it, you’ll like it. Carves, mills and engraves really well. My only complaint is the thinnest I’ve been able to find is 1/4 inch thick. I have rolled it through my rolling mill to thin it successfully, but going from quarter inch to thinner is a lot of work!

 


Here’s the front side of the tellurium copper crab pocket fetish. This is about halfway through the CNC roughing pass with a 1/8 inch carbide square end mill.


Saving the tellurium copper crab pocket fetish… Side B (the octopus) milled correctly, but about 2/3rds through the CNC milling process of the crab the machine stalled (maybe a power transient?) before the finishing pass to refine the details. While the result is pretty cool, it isn’t what I had in mind, and it’s even missing the third leg on the left side. Not to worry, I’ll be using hand engraving techniques to save the 4 hours of milling and days of computer modeling. With a square graver, tiny carbide ball burrs and flat nosed punch I’ll be engraving and carving the details the CNC missed.


Saving the tellurium copper crab pocket fetish… With a square graver and tiny carbide ball burrs I’m hand engraving and carving the details the CNC missed.


Saving the tellurium copper crab pocket fetish… The lonely crab needs some silver barnacles. I melt a ball on the end of a silver wire and use a tiny homemade blacksmith’s nail header to create fat rivets. Here I’ve used punches to shape the barnacles. Still need to detail the barnacles…


Saving the tellurium copper crab pocket fetish… The lonely crab needs some silver barnacles. I melt a ball on the end of a silver wire and use a tiny homemade blacksmith’s nail header to create fat rivets. Here I’ve used punches to shape the barnacles. Still need to detail the barnacles…


The tellurium copper crab pocket fetish is finished…all it needs now is a tiny leather wallet to protect it in your pocket. Thanks for looking!

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.arizonacustomknives.com/tom-sterling-sterling-sculptures.aspx
http://www.sterlingsculptures.com
http://www.facebook.com/TomSterlingHandEngraving#
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Knapped Push Dagger Tutorial



Time to start another knife project. I think this will be a small push dagger, in knapped steel style with my nasty “ripper edge.


Grinding my signature “knapped steel” flake scars into 3/16 inch thick 1084 steel, followed by differential hardening and tempering. You can see the two tools I used for the grinding and carving… By the way, grinding is done before heat treat.


Lightening the knapped steel push dagger by removing some of the interior steel from the handle. Careful drilling and cutting out the web with a jeweler’s saw. Tape that blade! Don’t ask me how I know to do this…


Time to fabricate the handle scales for the knapped steel push dagger. I hot forged and cold rolled 1/4 inch thick tellurium copper thinner. Now I have to figure out what lives on these scales…

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.arizonacustomknives.com/tom-sterling-sterling-sculptures.aspx
http://www.sterlingsculptures.com
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Dragonfly Hobo Nickel Tutorial


I need a little timeout from the hummingbird skull reliquary, so here’s the start of a fun Hobo Nickel with a gold dragonfly. I’m leveling out Jefferson’s head with a punch and abrasive stones, and beginning the engraving.


Inlaying a 24 karat gold dragonfly in a Hobo Nickel. Excavating, undercutting and pounding the gold wire into the pockets. Next, I’ll excavate the background and stipple.


I’ve completed the background excavation with a tiny carbide bur in the Dragonfly Hobo Nickel (first image). The second image shows the completed background stippling. I’ll finish up with the details, signature and inking next time.

 
Here’s the finished Hobo Nickel…

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.sterlingsculptures.com
http://www.facebook.com/TomSterlingHandEngraving#
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Skull Cache Pocket Fidget Toy and Pocket Fetish Tutorial


Starting a tellurium copper pocket fidget toy and fetish. Quarter inch thick tellurium copper – this stuff machines, engraves and carves really well! None of the gummy/smeary problems ordinary copper has.



Marking out and cutting the blank to size.


I’ll use the exact dimensions to computer model the design for CNC rough out.  I’ve used Autodesk Fusion 360 for CAD modeling.


Above, I’m CNC milling the design into the front side of the tellurium copper blank, using 1/16 inch diameter carbide square and ball nose end mills, no coolant.


Here’s a closeup of one of the skulls after machining. I’ve darkened the copper for better visualization. Notice the little milling marks left behind by the milling operations. This was about two hours of machining.


You can see where I’m using small gravers to cut a fine line around the margins of the skull. This will remove the fillet left by the ball nose end mill in the final milling pass.

Above, I’ve been carving and engraving around the edges of the skull to improve the fineness of the presentation. I’ve discovered no matter how fine I try to mill the shapes, it simply can’t compare to the fineness of hand engraving. The CNC is very useful for roughing out the shapes and saving me a fair bit of time, but it’s not what I’m ready to accept as a finished product compared to fine hand engraving.


Above, all of the skulls have had their margins carved/engraved and refined.


Here I’ve used a tiny punch made from a worn-out carving bur to forge the skull surface smooth. This removes those tiny mill marks, and leaves a pleasing texture behind. Of course, you can use a polished punch for a smoother look, but I like this texture for the appearance of a long-buried skull.


And, above, all the skulls given the same punch treatment. I’ve also used a sharp carbide stippler to stipple all the background areas.


Here I’ve added a patina and inked the deep spots for extra contrast.


Now for the back side…I’ve CNC milled the skull shapes, and begun stippling the inside of the skull and the spiral handprint. You can see the carbide stippling point in my Lindsay Nitro G20 Airgraver.


You can see the stippling effects on the left side of the above image, in contrast to the smooth copper areas not yet stippled.


Above, the stippling is complete, and the tiny skull in the eye has been refined in exactly the same manner as its’ big brothers on the front side.


In the above two images, the back side has been patinated like the front.


The Small Skull Pocket Fetish is finished through a unique technique of machining combined with hand carving and hand engraving, each method carefully chosen for its own best effect.  This unique fidget toy is 1.25 inches wide by  1.75 inches long, of an unusual tellurium copper alloy specially formulated for excellent carving characteristics and it’s lovely copper color. Small leather wallet included to keep your fidget toy safe from mishap in your pocket.

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.sterlingsculptures.com
http://www.facebook.com/TomSterlingHandEngraving#
http://instagram.com/tom_sterling_hand_engraving

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Hummingbird Skull Reliquary


Starting a new reliquary project. This is the first of several elements, a 1075 carbon steel blade in my signature “knapped steel” style.


Using a small drum sander, I’m carving in the flake scars that would be left from knapping stone blades… 1075 carbon steel blade, one of several elements yet to come for a small reliquary art project.


After creating the tiny “knapped steel” blade for my reliquary art project, it’s time to begin the next element, a tiny copper and silver press-formed hummingbird skull. I’ve already formed the copper skull (more info on that here: http://sterlingsculptures.com/wp/?p=3960 ). These images show some of the steps to create a tiny silver helmet that will fit perfectly on the copper skull.


A little more progress on the copper hummingbird skull and silver helmet for my reliquary art project. It’s time to trim the silver helmet and extract the skull from its copper sheet.


Trimming the silver helmet from its pressed shape for the copper hummingbird skull reliquary art project. I fill the helmet with pitch, and use a small carbide ball bur to cut away the unwanted parts. It’s easier than using a jeweler’s saw on this difficult shape…


Forging the beak closed and chasing details into the copper hummingbird skull reliquary art project. You can see the tiny chasing tools I used in my Lindsay Nitro G20 Airgraver. I decided on mummified hummingbird eyes this time. Eeeeewww…


Silver soldering the silver helmet onto the copper hummingbird skull. I’ve also filled in the hollow skull with an antler plug. It’s now ready for detailing with engraving techniques.


Fabricating the copper and bronze stand for the hummingbird skull reliquary project. I have to finish fabricating the individual elements before I can do the CNC modeling for the reliquary box and lid.
CNC milling the lower container for the hummingbird skull reliquary project. The wood is bocote, and the container still needs to be trimmed from the excess wood.


CNC milling the phosphor bronze lid for the hummingbird skull reliquary project. The bronze lid still needs to be trimmed from the excess metal.


Finally! The major parts of the hummingbird skull reliquary project are fabricated and assembled. Now on to engraving and detailing the skull and the reliquary lid…

CNC milling the lower container for the hummingbird skull reliquary project. The wood is bocote, and the container still needs to be trimmed form the

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.sterlingsculptures.com
http://www.facebook.com/TomSterlingHandEngraving#
http://instagram.com/tom_sterling_hand_engraving

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When god was a Woman Earrings


I’ve always loved the prehistoric “Venus” carvings, so I decided to make a press forming die for some Venus of Willendorf earrings, and maybe some other uses.


Above is my computer model of the Venus of Willendorf, originally sculpted in limestone. She is one of the oldest and most famous sculptures on Earth, literally a 20,000 year old prehistoric creation. My tag line is based upon the book, “When god was a Woman.” I’ve had to squish it in the “Z” direction, so my earrings won’t be too thick. There’s a good bit of artistic judgement needed here to get things just right, so the viewer gets the idea that the composition is 3D, but in actuality is shallow relief.


Here I’ve placed my model into another computer model, this one based upon the 2 inch diameter slice of steel I’ll be using for the negative/female die. I used the Venus model as a virtual knife to “split” the die slice into two , and then I deleted the unwanted section. This leaves a hole in the surface of the steel in the shape of Venus.


Above, I’m milling the Venus void into the steel slice. The blue painter’s tape creates a little well for containing a puddle of coolant. The CNC machine here is a Nomad 883 desktop CNC, built by Carbide 3d (http://carbide3d.com). I used 1/8th and 1/16th inch endmills, 8800 rpm, 200 mm/min feed and 25 mm/min plunge, 0.1 mm step downs for mild steel.


Here’s the die as it comes directly from CNC milling. There were some overhangs on the digital model that the CNC can’t cut, so I’ll use hand engraving methods to correct those areas (see the left and right upper arms and shoulders).


Above, you can see the modeling clay I use to check my progress.


Above is the first pressing in 22 gauge copper sheet (center), using lead as a formable “pusher” (right). Don’t forget to anneal the copper between pressings. My small 20 ton air-over-hydraulic press needed two pressings to get a decent impression.

A question: What software you are using to model your positive and negative press dies?

Answer: Fusion360 by Autodesk. There’s a female die only, I use lead as a male pusher.

 
Here are a group of hollow back earrings in 22 gauge copper sheet, made by pressforming them with the dies I’ve been making. Guess I’ll have to make some in silver soon. Lots of fun!

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.sterlingsculptures.com
http://www.facebook.com/TomSterlingHandEngraving#
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Skull and Dead Eye Tavern Ring Tutorial


Starting a new tellurium copper Tavern Ring, this time a single large skull, with a few surprises yet to come. Stay tuned…


Tellurium copper machines and carves more like brass than copper. Pure copper is really gummy, but tellurium copper is great! PS – don’t confuse tellurium copper with beryllium copper. The beryllium copper is a health hazard…


Beginning the cut with my Nomad 883 by Carbide 3D. This is a 1/8 inch diameter end mill. I lean toward the 2 flute coated carbides. I’ve been using 9200 rpm and very conservative feeds for 1/8 and 1/16 inch diameter end mills. 250 mm/min feed and 25 mm/min plunge, 0.1 mm step downs.


After a few passes with a 1/16 inch diameter ball end mill.


Above, the machining of the skull is completed. Tomorrow, I’ll machine the teeth at the top. All together, this will be about six hours of milling for the skull and teeth in total.


Here I’m using a jeweler’s saw and 2/0 blade to cut the remaining material of the teeth profiles.


Above is a closeup of cutting the teeth profiles, removing the material left from the milling.


Now I need to remove the center material from the finger hole. I leave a thin web of material on the bottom so that center circle of copper won’t bind the cutter when the last little bit is removed and shear off the brittle (and expensive…) carbide end mill.


Here, I’ve added a texture using a round nosed punch in my Lindsay Airgraver, and added a little patina to get rid of that raw copper color. Rather than my usual round of using flat faced punches to remove the CNC milling marks, I’ve left the tiny marks in place. I’ve decided I like that effect here…


Hand engraving a cracked mud surface on the tellurium copper Tavern Ring.


Here I’ve darkened the freshly engraved cuts and finished and signed the back side. Tomorrow, I’ll start a little bit of extra fun…


The tellurium copper Tavern Ring needs a creepy double inlaid “dead” eye…I’ll create it from a tapered peg of naturally shed moose antler and a really tiny taper of ebony. These double inlaid eyes are a holdover from my netsuke carving days. For a look at some of my netsuke carvings, please go here: http://sterlingsculptures.com/wp/?page_id=4536 Above, I’ve turned a tiny tapered peg from a piece of naturally shed moose antler. The taper creates a very tight friction fit, and I’ve sealed the deal with some epoxy glue.


Here I’ve carved off some of the excess antler with my NSK Electer micromotor grinder and tiny carbide ball burs. Don’t bother with anything but carbide burs, because metals and abrasive materials like antler ruin steel burs very quickly.


Above I’ve carved the white of the eyeball to the correct size, and carved (not drilled) a hole for the ebony pupil.


Here I’m using a tiny Sherline™ metal cutting lathe to machine a very tiny tapered ebony peg. Tapered again so I’ll get such a tight fit you won’t be able to detect a seam where the black ebony contacts the white antler. Turning such a tiny tapered peg takes a good bit of finesse…


I’ve glued the ebony peg in place with superglue. These tiny double inlaid eyes are about the only place I find superglue useful for anything other than a temporary hold.


Here’s the finished, really creepy double inlaid eye.


And a few more views, just in case you haven’t gotten bored with it so far…


The tellurium copper Tavern Ring turned out so well it needs a desktop stand. Above I’m creating the stand out of black walnut and naturally shed elk antler.


Here’s the Tavern Ring temporarily installed in the walnut display box. I need to add a turned round of moose antler over the round central area, so I’ll be able to use a tapered antler peg to retain the Tavern Ring.


Above are all the pieces of the stand.


How do you hold a Tavern Ring (which is actually a small single finger brass knuckle). Like so…


And the finished tellurium copper Tavern Ring in its’ stand.

Thanks for Looking!

Tom Sterling

http://www.sterlingsculptures.com
http://www.facebook.com/TomSterlingHandEngraving#
http://instagram.com/tom_sterling_hand_engraving

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