Clockwork Trilobite – Part 4

Today I need to make the last little gear, solder everything together and do the initial shaping.

Above, I’m using a computer printout as a pattern for the tiny gear, and drilling the starting holes.  I used a scan of the top silver trilobite plate and carefully scaled the gear to that – the pattern isn’t anything more than than a 16 gauge center hole, and 18 gauge outer holes.  I glued the pattern on my scrap of shibuichi, and used a tiny carbide bur to make a tiny dent for centering the equally tiny drill bits, which like to wander if not center punched or drilled.  I’ve also used my dividers to mark the outer rim.

Here, I’ve begun sawing out the gear with a 5/0 jeweler’s saw blade.  I’ve left some of the gear unsawn to provide me with a handle – one of the biggest challenges in this game is holding onto the work.  I then continue sawing by removing the little nubs of the web to create the little gear teeth.

And, above, is the tiny gear sawn free.  Now I have to use jeweler’s files to trim everything up.

As I mentioned

, holding the work is a big problem, and you need to be creative with your work-holding solutions.  Above, I’ve pressed a tiny little hand clamp into service, and drilled a matching hole in my sawing birdsmouth.

Here is the little gear in position.  Did I mention the center hole was 16 gauge wire diameter?  There is a little madness to my method, since I will eventually use a 16 gauge silver wire to make a rivet for my belt-and-suspenders methodology.

It’s finally time to solder everything together, and I can quit worrying about dropping a tiny part on the floor, to disappear into the clutter…….  Above is my soldering setup – a fiber soldering block, with a charcoal block on top of it, to keep from burning my bench.  The funny little contraptions you see are thick copper wires with wooden bases, and I place small lead blocks on top to provide weight in selected spots while I solder.  They work incredibly well to keep all the parts from moving during soldering.  I think I saw them originally on the Ganoskin web site, but I’m too lazy to look up the link.  I use silver paste solder for most of my soldering needs.  Did you know that solder becomes a lubricant when it is molten, and things will slide around easily?  Also, when the flux starts to boil and bubble the water away during heating, the pressure generated can also make things move.  These clever little contraptions pretty much make that a thing of the past, so whoever thought these up, they are sheer genius, and many thanks to you!

So, above is the sequence of what happened after soldering, pickling, and a little more sawing.  Notice also, I’ve gone ahead and drilled most of the holes I’ll be needing.  It is MUCH easier to do that now while the bottom and top surfaces are flat and parallel.  I might need a few more holes, but that will depend on the carving part, so I’ll have to wait and fight that battle then.  In the bottom view, I’ve added a quick patina to begin getting the idea of how this bad boy will eventually look.

Next, I’ve used my flex shaft grinder and a sanding drum to sand away the sharp corners into a a fat pumpkinseed shape.  Then I followed up that rough sanding with a general smoothing with jeweler’s files and coarse Scotchbrite™ pads, and we’re ready to begin the carving process.  At last, some fun to look forward to!

Thanks for looking!

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