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#
http://instagram.com/tom_sterling_hand_engraving

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