PactsZella Pendant

(Click thumbnail above to see larger image.)

Assignment for DAI342 (Metals Manufacturing), taken in Spring 2008 at SFSU. The objective was to design and manufacture a body ornament integrating the neck or another area of the human figure, using steel bar/rod, sheet metal, and/or metal wire. I decided to make a necklace pendant for my wife, as she had requested that I make her some kind of jewelery when I first enrolled in the class. The first step was to do some quick ideation sketches, shown below:
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For the first set of sketches shown in the first image above, I was playing around with the idea of our wedding date — July 7, 2007 (or 07/07/07). For the second set of sketches, I was playing around with the first letter of our nicknames — P for Pacts for me, Z for Zella for her. Rather than keep the letters separate and distinct, I decided to combine them to make a somewhat abstract yet familiar form. At this point, I liked the triskelion-esque design and the final PZ design (shown in the third image above) equally, so decided to model both of them in Solidworks; those are shown below:
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After doing the Solidworks models, I decided to proceed with the PZ concept; although I liked the triskelion design equally, I knew it would be extremely difficult to manufacture by hand, and that the design was more suited for CNC manufacture. At the same time, up to this point, I had intended for the finished pendant to be no more than 2″ tall; again, I realized that this scale wouldn’t lend itself well to hand-manufacturing, so decided to double the original dimensions so that the finished pendant would measure up to 4″ tall. With this decided, I created a drawing file from the Solidworks model, shown below:

I decided to manufacture the pendant out of a block of aluminum, primarily for its workability. Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of the manufacturing process, but what I did was to cut out the front view of the Solidworks drawing and affix that to one side of the aluminum block; this served as a guide for me to cut out the rough form using a bandsaw. The form was further refined using a metal grinder as well as hand files; once satisfied with the overall form, I used a drill press to drill started holes for the counterforms. Successively smaller drill bits were used to remove as much material in the corners as possible; hand-filing would be necessary to clean up the counterforms. This was extremely difficult to do, and due to lack of availability of very small hand files, I was not able to achieve the clean, crisp edges and corners I had hoped for. Finally, the metal grinder was used again to make the front and back surfaces concave; once this was satisfactory, I used successively finer and finer grits of sandpaper to polish all the surfaces. The finished pendant is shown below, modeled by my wife:

Although the size/scale makes it impractical for everyday use, it does give it sort of a hip-hop/bling feel. If I were to do this again, I would definitely take the route of CNC manufacture and go with the originally-planned scale of 2″ tall.

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