Completed ring first! This is easily my favorite side! Huge contrast and crazy fun layering! This thing glitters when the sun hits it. All in all, this project took about 35-40 hours over the course of about 2 months. I do literally everything with my fiance so finding time to be alone (and lie about it) was super challenging.
I had never bought a meteorite before and they're all listed in grams which means nothing to me. This one was ~120g and cost about $140. Advice: ask the seller to explain the shape of the rock! Mine had a divot in it that would ultimately change the outcome of the ring.
Blurry, but you can see the "depth". Unseen is the divot in the middle of the rock. I barely had enough room to carve the ring.
I had a vise, but the height of it would have given me no leverage. I decided to pin the thing down with some old nails I had lying around. They worked perfectly.
Here you can see the divot a little better. I used that to my advantage to better center the drill bit.
WD-40 isn't the best cutting oil, but it's what I had available on a short time frame and it's better than cutting dry.
I decided to use a step bit to cut the inner ring. It made drilling easy and also the drill steps were the perfect depth for the final ring.
Done! This process took about 2.5 hours of drilling, cleaning, wetting, cooling, and repeating. I knew that you can't heat up a meteorite too much or you may lose the Widmanstatten pattern, but I didn't know exactly what temperatures would do it. I decided to play it safe and take the cautious, but long route.
Here's where the divot screwed me. I'll be using that middle ring, but in order to get the full width of the band, I had to surpass the divot. I wasn't paying close enough attention and forgot that the bottom most outer edge of the rock slanted inward. The wall of the ring became too thin and the wall flapped
Still, I decided I could salvage it and roll with it. Onward!
I'll be using a dremel to begin the shaping process.
Be safe guys! Dremels and grinders put out a ton of dust. Don't breathe that in!
Plan is to cut the thick bits thinner and then to begin grinding.
First cut went pretty well. Again, I took the slow, cautious route so as to not heat the rock up much. The smaller it gets, the faster it will heat.
Yeah, yeah, I know… Wtf just happened?! Grinders are crazy dirty and dust gets EVERYWHERE! My gloves and hands were filthy and I was using my phone to take pictures. I used the grinding wheel to shave off the smallest band and to begin thinning the wall of the ring. I tried to grind down the widest band, but the almost cracked! I literally had a small heart attack when that happened. Some of the later stage pictures show the crack. Before snapping this picture I used a wire brush to smooth it out.
Here's a close up of the f*** up. Here's what I figure: woodworkers use 'live edges' all the time and it's super hip now. Well, my ring will have a 'live edge' where my girl will be able to say, "dude, this part of my ring was exposed to space!" Still, it's twice as wide as it needs to be. About to sand the sucker down!
Wall thickness is pretty okay so that will be put on the back burner. Right now, I need to sand it's width down.
As I said, I can't continue grinding it because it almost cracked. I'll have to sand it by hand from here on out. This process easily took the longest time. Here I used a square of 60 grit adhered to a piece of ply by double sided tape. I'll be wet sanding it until the entire larger inner band is gone.
This picture is about an hour in and 3 sheets of sanding paper down. Put on some music and find a happy place…. this has just begun!
2 hours in. Wax on, wax off. Bonus challenge: use your non-dominant arm!
3 hours in. At this point, I started getting desperate. It seriously felt like I was making no progress.
3.5 hours. SO CLOSE! There's barely 1/8th of an inch left.
Hand sanding is finally done! Next I'll be hand filing the edges and dropping the wall thickness to its final form.
It's dark, but here's the view of the live edge. There's still some sharp bits on this that I'll need to be creative with. I don't want to sand or chop too much of it, otherwise it would become way too fragile and delicate.
Hand filing! Not anywhere as hard as sanding was. Small amount of work goes a long way. At this stage, I'm just focusing on removing any hard edges and finding the right wall thickness.
Filing done! This didn't take much time. Maybe a half-hour. The shape is pretty nice so I'll begin the final sanding process and bring it up to 600 grit.
I forgot to take pictures of the process until this point. I started with 100 grit and worked my way up. This is now 600 grit – the last stage! I'm still switching between wet and dry sanding.
Sanding the inner ring was a challenge but this method actually worked pretty well.
Hey now, that looks like a ring!
Live edge! Sanded down so there's no sharp edges. As the great Bob Ross would say, "There are no mistakes, only happy accidents!"
There's some weird cuts of layering on that right side. I wasn't sure what to do about it and decided to leave it and see what happens. This would actually turn into my favorite part of the ring pattern.
Sanding done! Time to etch this sucker! All meteorites have a unique pattern. I have no idea what kind of pattern this one will have so the suspense was huge.
After a lot of consideration, I decided to ditch the Nital etch in favor of the Ferric Chloride etch. This was partly because everything I read on the internet was telling me that ferric chloride would result in a funky, high-contrast etch (but sometimes at the risk of easy rusting), but also, it was easy to find and buy at RadioShack. It kind of sucks that I really only needed like .5oz of this entire bottle.
The etch FANTASTIC! I was totally blown away. Also, in this picture you can see the crack that runs through the band. I'm glad I chose to stop grinding it and do the hand sanding process.
Every edge of the etch is unique. I could stare at this thing for hours.
Live edge up close. I dig it and so does she!
An engagement ring isn't complete until it's accepted and worn!
It's been two weeks since I finished it and it's definitely darker now since I oiled it. Still, it glimmers when the sun hits it.
Most importantly, she loves it! And she loves that I made it. She's not a fan of diamonds, so I didn't attach a gem to it. Maybe she'll decide to later, but for now, it's perfect!