High Speed Finishing

High Speed Finishing

There is an old axiom; “Time is Money”. When working with precious metals; this axiom aptly applies. Process time of jewelry products equates to a time-cost-of-money calculation. The higher the metals cost and the longer the process time, the more cost to the manufacture. High speed finishing shortens the process time to manufacture products.

For high speed finishing; G&S Jewelry Mfg has a large model HZ-120 Centrifugal Barrel Tumbler manufactured by Mass Finishing, Inc. (MFI) of Howard Lake, MN. This system has four sealed tubes that spin in a planetary system very dynamically. So much so that it can reduce a typical two day tumbling cycle to less than 7 hours.
 

Handling Issues

However, the size of the system presented some issues with handling small parts with intrinsic high value. This was most manifest with unloading the tubs after tumbling is complete. We made contact with the technical team at Mass Finishing to solve this issue. They suggested an elegant solution to our problem.

Solution

A sealed insert canister was their solution.  The frame around the canister could be securely inserted into each tub. The parts, media and solution would be loaded into the canister. A pair of “o” rings seal the plug in place. The pictures below show these attributes in detail.

Insert Horizontal 300x225 High Speed Finishing
Sealed Insert Canister With Frame

Maintaining control of the parts is easy with this design. Opening the canister and removing plug makes for easy emptying into rinse basket.

Insert Upright 300x225 High Speed Finishing
Insert Canister Sealed After Loading

The canister is placed in the tub and the cover of the tub locked in place. The frame is held tightly under the tub lid. The frame is clamped securely between the lid and the lining of the tub.

 

Insert Installed 300x225 High Speed Finishing
Insert Canister Installed In Tub

 

Operation

Our system has four tubs. Tub loading is sequential. First the tub marked “1” is unloaded.  Similarly, the tub marked “2”; second and so forth.  Tub tracking ensures that system balance is maintained. This in fact will minimize vibration. Furthermore the MFI system has an excellent jogging control function. This reduces the loading time between tubs. Before long, the system is fully loaded. Finally the safety lid is lowered and locked in place and the system started.

Meanwhile when system is running, previously unloaded material can be rinsed. The canisters are then reloaded and prepared for the next lot to be finished. That is to say having multiple canisters in back of those operating increases throughput dramatically. We believe a second complete set besides the set in the machine to be perfect for handling long runs.
 

Results

After the parts were removed we compared to our previously tumbled samples. The results were exceptional. To clarify; the tumbling time will vary depending upon the process step and finish requirement. First stage is cut media, followed by a second stage of burnishing. Lastly a third stage of ceramic media to deliver a mirror finish.
 

Summary

To sum up; the use of these canisters has shortened process times dramatically. Before our avalanche barrel tumbling took two or three days to complete. Today we have shortened times around 60% across the board. Now our planning is centered around how best to leverage this time savings.

For more information; please contact us.  If you are manufacturer; we highly recommend contacting Mass Finishing, Inc. Lastly, we wish to thank Cole Mathison and his team at MFI for their able assistance and for using our project as a case study for their equipment and problem solving abilities.
 

Case Study- G&S Jewelry Manufacturing

G&S Jewelry Mfg is a small woman owned business located in Albuquerque, NM.

Green Manufacturing

Green Manufacturing at G&S Jewelry Mfg

Remember when you were a kid and someone would ask you: “What’s your favorite color?” At G&S Jewelry Mfg we have many favorite colors, but we all agree that we love green; as in green manufacturing!

Our Focus

Being that we live in the beautiful, but dry New Mexico climate; water is always a concern. From drought conditions in the worst of years to the normal low humidity, water is always at a premium.

 

Our Process Technology Roadmap

Because we are an investment caster; our technology roadmap shows water employed in four main areas:

First, water is used to mix with dry Ransom & Randolph investment. Rinsing the mixing machine completes this operation.

Secondly, water cools our vacuum induction casting systems.

Third, we use high pressure water in a blasting cabinet to devest the castings to remove the investm

Fourth, rinse water for tumbling operations to rinse the parts and the media.

 

Our Remedies

Investment Water – Pumping rinse water to a separation tank using a double diaphragm pump.  The solids settle and the water is filtered for reuse.

Casting System – Acquisition of a recirculating system from Rio Grande.  Water management problem is resolved by delivering cooling water at a consistent temperature and flow rate. At this time we are contemplating purchasing an additional unit for other cooling application. These systems immediately reduce water consumption to nearly zero.

Cooler Mounted on J15 225x300 Green Manufacturing
RC6 Cooler Mounted On J-15 Automatic Vacuum Casting System

Devesting – Generally speaking devesting is the least technical water requirement. Our blasting cabinet is located adjacent to our casting and tumbling areas. Therefore, plumbing of recycled water from a filtered source is simplified.

Serial Filtration 225x300 Green Manufacturing
Removal of Solids From Process Water

Tumbling Operations – Installation of a rinsing part separator with a closed loop water system.

Neutec Wet Part Media Separator e1493575689340 225x300 Green Manufacturing
Neutec Wet-Media Flow Separator

Summary

Summing up; Green Manufacturing is good for the environment and results in more “Green” wallet share.  Hence, this is a key part of G&S Jewelry Mfg commitment to sustainable manufacturing. In the long run it is the best for our customers and our industry!

Our Biker Rings Are Ready To Ride

Our Biker Rings Are Ready To Ride! Summer is right around the corner. That means it’s time to gear up for the open road. Short pipes, V-Twins and two wheels. Heaven on earth.

Our Biker Rings Mean Business

Silver plated silicon bronze construction means durability for the open road.  Inlay with enamel or stone, whatever your taste. We have many styles to choose from, so you will have a bunch of happy bikers! Here are a few of our most popular styles!

 

BR74 1 Our Biker Rings Are Ready To Ride
Silver Plated Maltese Cross Biker Ring

 

BR110 1 Our Biker Rings Are Ready To Ride
BIKER Ring Leaves No Doubt

Our state-of-the-art equipment delivers excellent investment castings. The Neutec division of Rio Grande supplies much of the precision equipment used in our facility. Incidentally they are a terrific resource for information about casting and jewelry making.

Grinding, tumbling and polishing of the castings completes the casting process. Afterward silver plating and inlay complete the process and return a beautiful ring that will last a long time. Of course competitive stainless steel rings are cheaper. Because they are stainless steel, they don’t have the same shine as a result.

Our Biker Rings – Made in the USA

Regrettably, overseas  manufacturers produce these stainless steels rings. Ironically these rings are often copies of our copyrighted designs! In fact, ALL of our biker rings are made in the USA. As a consequence we can be easily reached.

Whether worn on the first, second, third or fourth fingers; flashing fellow bikers on the down low brings more prestige. Be that as it may, ultimately how you wear them is up to you!

In any case, you are part of Americana, an icon of the open road!  For this reason; full throttle blasts or low and slow cruising on a hot summer night announce you have arrived!

In conclusion, you will look good in any of our biker rings! Check them out here.

Composite Jewelry Designs – Add Color and Value

Joining two or metals together in your jewelry designs add color, contrast and ultimately value to your designs! There are many different ways to do this. The most common ways are:

Mechanically – Linking pieces together via a jump ring, clasp, swaging or a clamping device.

Soldering – Using a metal solder by pre-placing the parts with a solder beneath or along the edges to permanently join the parts together.

Infiltration – This process entails casting a piece with a high melting point first, re-investing this first piece back into a flask and casting a lower melting point alloy to “infiltrate” the piece already in place.

These various methods of adding color are suited for a wide range of applications.

We have worked with our customers to join the following combinations:

Karat Gold to Sterling

Sterling to Different Color Bronzes

Bronze to Different Color Bronze

Pewter to Bronze

Pewter to Stainless Steel

Pewter to Nickel Silver

 

During finishing; various patinas can be added that will color one metal and not react with another. This contrast in colors can be further enhanced in this way.

From a practical standpoint, its possible to place small amounts of an expensive precious metal onto a lower cost precious metal back or a non precious metal back to present the piece at a lower overall cost than otherwise made homogeneously with a high cost metal.

If you have ideas that you want us to consider contact us for more information!

G&S Jewelry Mfg is a small woman-owned business located in Albuquerque, NM

3D Printing Larger Pieces With Good Detail

3D printing is a fabulous tool for the designer. However, when pieces increase in size, detail can be lost if the software and hardware driving the printer cannot be adjusted. Reducing the “step” in the printing process means going to a higher resolution. To do this the software needs to have higher resolution settings available and the computer used enough memory to accommodate having the need for density in the lines. The phot below shows the finish object which is over 1.2″ tall and greater than 1.4″ from chin to back of the head.

3D Printed Skull 300x225 3D Printing Larger Pieces With Good Detail
3D Printed Skull With High Resolution

The videos show close-ups of the progress of the printing process from about 3/4 finished to just before the printing completed.

3D Skull Video 1

3D Skull Video Finish

The detail is very visible in these videos. As the part size was increased from a small part to a larger overall dimension, the resolution was increased so that the finish is smooth and the details sharp.

We will be moving from this plastic master to a investment bronze cast piece which will then be cleaned up and then molded so that many more pieces can be cast.

Let us help you reach your design goals and aspirations! G&S is a small woman owned business located in Albuquerque, NM

Chip Inlay – Adding A Splash of Color to Your Designs!

Chip inlay is an attractive means of adding color to your designs. We take ground synthetic stone and fill cavities and channels in a wide range of designs. The chips are then infiltrated with low shrink adhesive that binds the chips together and securely to the piece. The cavity is slightly overfilled to create a dome. This dome is then ground flat when the adhesive is fully cured and hard enough to grind without tearing. The large surfaces shown in the pewter belt buckle below require careful attention when filling to ensure even distribution of the chip and binder.

BUR 5684 300x201 Chip Inlay   Adding A Splash of Color to Your Designs!
Southwest Belt Buckle – Two Color Chip Inlay

After grinding is complete the surface is inspected to ensure that no pinholes are visible and the stone is securely bound. The piece then returns to finish processing. The example below shows a bronze ring that was chip inlaid, finish tumbled, silver plated and then blackened to highlight the texture detail

 

R3 Chip Inlay   Adding A Splash of Color to Your Designs!
Silver Plated Bronze Ring

 

The starting design has to have enough depth to adequately hold the chip. Good examples would be bezel containing components and parts such as rings, earrings, pendants, and bracelets. The parts are first cast and the cast surface roughened to create a good foundation for adhesion.

Let us work with you leveraging our experience and our CAD systems to design a beautiful piece that can be inlaid to YOUR design requirements. If you have a design in mind and would like a quote; contact us and we will respond promptly.

G&S Jewelry Mfg is a small woman-owned business located in Albuquerque, NM.

Celebrating Native American Handmade Sterling Jewelry!

We recently had a beautiful piece of sterling jewelry handmade by Ronald Tom at Nakai Trading here in Albuquerque. Ron is a Navajo craftsman with many years of experience and carries on the Native American tradition of handmade and handcrafted sterling jewelry. The Sterling Silver was supplied by W.R. Cobb in East Providence and consisted of 6″ wide stock for the base and a special #4 Comfort Low Dome for the rails on the top. The rails were soldered in place by hand and the piece oxidized in liver of sulfur and then all of the upper surfaces polished to a high shine.

The photos below show the outstanding result in a size 5-1/2 cuff bracelet.

Handmade Sterling Bracelet Side View 300x225 Celebrating Native American Handmade Sterling Jewelry!
Handmade Sterling Silver Cuff Bracelet
Handmade Sterling Bracelet 225x300 Celebrating Native American Handmade Sterling Jewelry!
Handmade Bracelet – Low Dome Soldered to Solid Base

 

We thank Ron for his beautiful work and can say with 100% certainty that this bracelet will be worn and yes, shown off for many years to come!

G&S Jewelry Mfg is a small woman-owned business located in Albuquerque, NM.

 

 

Business Roadmaps for The Jewelry Designer

Designers Unite! A business roadmap is a very useful visual tool for bringing your designs to market! The picture below illustrates a simple Ideation to Creation roadmap. The steps shown are simple and logical. The distillation and cost benefit evaluation stages are important steps and may require some test marketing or one of a kind builds to get helpful feedback.

 

Ideation to Creation Roadmap 300x170 Business Roadmaps for The Jewelry Designer
Ideation To Creation Roadmap

The overall goal is to bring your designs to market quickly and profitably by putting the most resources on the items that will bring the quickest and best returns. So much so that the profits of these designs may fund development of additional designs to keep cash-flow positive during the critical pilot production stages.

 

G&S can work with your team to understand where the best avenues for development will be from a manufacturing perspective. We can provide detailed cost information for various options to aid in decisionmaking, let us help you be successful!

 

G&S Jewelry Mfg is a small woman-owned business located in Albuquerque, NM.

Metal Shrinkage – The Why’s and How’s of Metal Shrink

As designers and casters we have to work around the fundamental physics of making metal products via casting. Whether it is vacuum investment casting, gravity pour casting, centrifugal casting, horizontal or vertical continuous casting, or grain/powder casting, the transition from the liquid state to the solid state will include a volume change. For most casting alloys the shrink is minimized so that the fill is consistent and the external surfaces conform to the surfaces of the mold or die. Vacuum investment or centrifugal casting ensure that the walls of the mold have metal drawn or thrust upon it first and the metal following the initial part of the stream “backfills” the solidified shell against the wall of the mold.

Important commercial alloys generally have shrinkage of between 1 and 3%. This is true for popular precious metal alloys such as karat gold and sterling silver. These alloys will vary amongst themselves as there are a great many alloys, for color, casting or working properties with minor metal additions.

For both investment and centrifugal casting; we want to minimize porosity, which is in itself an outgrowth of shrinkage. If porosity exists; we want it to be internal only, not on a visible surface that will detract from the beauty of the design. The nature of solidification and the amount of shrink back from the wall of the mold is important for maintaining detail of the surface. Highly textured surfaces or designs with fine filigree can be diminished if the shrinkage is too much.

In sterling silver adding a small amount of zinc to the alloy reduces the shrink during solidification. The photos shown below illustrate a the casting button for standard 925 Ag-Cu alloy (top) and a corresponding 925 Ag-Cu alloy with zinc additions (bottom).

Standard STG Button 300x225 Metal Shrinkage   The Whys and Hows of Metal Shrink
Standard Sterling Silver Investment Cast Button

 

Deox STG Button 300x225 Metal Shrinkage   The Whys and Hows of Metal Shrink
Deox Sterling Silver Investment Cast Button

 

Both meet the 925 minimum silver requirement, but the shrink on the standard sterling silver button has a pronounced concavity whereas the alloy with the zinc addition is noticeably convex on the edges and flat across the middle.

Both of the these buttons are as-cast and shown after a regular pickle to remove residual investment. Note the finer grain structure in the deox sterling silver button with the zinc additions. The fine grain structure aids the investment caster in that the porosity will be smaller in size, more distributed and less pronounced in larger surfaces.

This coupled with the tarnish resistance adds value to incorporation of the alloy into the design. Though it is more costly than standard sterling, the attributes for reduced shrinkage, reduced porosity and tarnish resistance can outweigh the added cost.

Let us work with you and your design team to show you how to design around shrinkage issues in your jewelry.

G&S Jewelry Mfg is a small woman-owned business located in Albuquerque, NM.

 

 

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all our Irish friends and those that are just Irish for the day!

Happy St. Patricks Day 300x286 Happy Saint Patricks Day
Happy St. Patrick’s Day

To honor Saint Patrick, G&S Jewelry Mfg has a line of Irish themed belt buckles, rings and pins. This way you can show off and wear your Irish pride any day of the year!

Click here to see a photo of some of our items. If you don’t see what you like; contact us!

G&S Jewelry is a small woman-owned business located in Albuquerque, NM. We are right in the heart of the beautiful Southwest!