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Sand Cast Engagement Rings
February 2018 Bianchini-Love
This is a special project that we are excited to present. During our last semester as undergraduates at MIT, we set out to create our own engagement rings. While the final rings are made of platinum, a pair of bronze and stainless steel rings were also made as part of the experimental process. In addition to the rings, we also created a wooden box to protect and house the rings when not on a finger. Built in the Course 3 foundry at MIT, the final product is a unique set of rings that have a special meaning to both of us.
In the video below, you'll get an overview of our process in the form of just photos and video snippets. We will go into more detail in the sections following.
We are both fans of old things that look like how they were made. Since Bibit was using the foundry at MIT to work on a larger sand casting project in the fall of 2017, she got us insider access to the MIT Course 3 foundry in the basement of the Infinite Corridor. Our tastes plus this unique resource led us to make sand cast rings.
Our material choice was platinum due to its hypoallergenic and robust properties, though not for its availability and associated cost. Because it would have been infeasible for us to get enough platinum to fill a large sand casting sprue and runner system, we developed a way to achieve a sand cast look through investment casting a form that was replicated from a sand cast ring. More on this later.
The process we created in order to achieve the sand cast look in platinum rings. Note: there is a non-fuzzy version of this uploaded as "process_diagram.pdf" that you can view instead for more of the detail -- see the file listed under "Project Documents".
Part 1 is the test rings. This section will highlight each of these steps.
To determine what size we needed and what shape we liked, we first made CAD models of different ring profiles and sizes. We then 3D printed several of these to test their look and fit to our actual fingers. We were able to 3D print these for free using Ultimaker 2 3D printers in MIT MakerLodge.
CAD model of a test ring sizer.
We incorporated a size label on each to make things easier. Note that the ring size is a letter, indicating that it is a UK size. This is because we found we could get a free ring sizer from the British company Wedding Rings Direct. We used this sizer to get an idea of what sizes we would actually print out and test.
Bibit wearing one of our test ring size pieces.