Making an Acid Etched Superconductor Ring with Obsidian Facets
I wanted to make an acid etched superconductor ring with obsidian facets. I had lots of fun making this ring. I had a customer who wanted a ring that's very similar but made out of a different material. I had the idea to do a practice of it first and I thought it'd look really cool and superconductor so I decided to experiment do it with that and I actually really do like the result.
First, I cut off a piece from my tilted superconductor rod. I did think this ring would look much better with the tilted superconductor on there so that's why I cut off the tilted piece. It's not just because it was the easiest piece I had on hand. I actually do think that having the superconductor rods themselves sticking out at a bit of an angle after I added this acid was going to look cool.
After a few minutes of cutting on the metal bandsaw, I cut all the way through. I got this cookie shape that needed to be trimmed down on the oblong edges in order to fit into the lathe jaws.
I manually sanded down the shape on my belt sander. I went through two sanding belts just on this step. So I definitely got the ten pack of sanding belts ready to go. Then, I stopped before it's perfectly circled and that's okay. I just need it to fit in the lathe jaws.
Once I got the hole drilled out in the center and mounted onto the ring mandrel then I can true it all up and make sure everything's smooth and flat. To bore it out I used this center drill. These are made specifically for lathes and they're a really sturdy drill bit that you can just plunge straight into hard materials just like this superconductor. They are really durable and they're able to cut through it.
But that's not to say that it's not still a very difficult process to cut through the superconductor. It's actually really difficult because the titanium and the superconductor make it really hard to machine. Then the copper surrounding it is incredibly hard to work with. It hardens as you go and it's a really gummy material. So it's getting gummed up and hardening and causing problems.
I go through drill bits like crazy. I only got one use out of this drill bit before I needed to flip it around. I got one more use out of that on another superconductor piece. This thing will be garbage. A superconductor is definitely a really rough material to work with it uses up a bunch of tooling.
After the center is all the way through, I switched to a boring bar. Then I used a tungsten carbide bit on that and continued the process I started. I hollowed out more and more until it fit on the ring mandrel.
After it was hollowed out I put my expanding ring mandrel on the lathe jaws. With the ring blank on the mandrel, I used my left-handed lathe cutter to trim down the outside diameter slowly. About a half millimeter at a time and eventually I got through all the surrounding copper that goes around the superconductor filaments.
I get to the part of the ring where it's mostly those superconductor filaments and because I'm not making this ring for a specific person or purpose I decided to pick and choose the pattern I wanted rather than the size I wanted. I cut into the superconductor until I saw a pattern that I thought was really cool. I then made the size according to that outside diameter so it's kind of the opposite.
I needed to widen the inner diameter of it so it's not such a fat ring. Once it was widened I used my dremal tool with a coarse sanding wheel on it. I rounded out the edges so it has a nice comfort finish to it. I wasn't super careful on this one, so it left a gross smeared finish to the superconductor so I used the sander to grind that away and get a really nice clean surface finish.
In the end, I switched to a finer Dremel sanding wheel. Then I used that to clean up the inside and give it a smoother finish. I took it a step further for this ring and put a whole bunch of bezels and angles all over this ring with the sander. It gave it, what I call an obsidian finish to the ring.
I put about three to four bezels on to the ring before I adjusted that angle to be a bit steeper and then repeat the process. I flipped the ring 180 degrees a couple times throughout the whole process so that I get it even on both sides.
I threw it into the rock tumbler. This scraped away that reddish pinkish coating that the copper had over it and rounded away some of the sharper edges that this had. Then I left it in there for four days, making it nicer. It hid some of the scratchings from the sander that was on there too. Then I pulled it out and you have the ring.
Check out the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0JsWZTGJmI and subscribe to Patrick Adair Designs.