Another happy RingGenie owner!

KCSteve

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Been selling Hobo Nickels to bring in a little money. Not getting that much yet, but at least I'm able to pay for my own toys, one of which is a RingGenie.

I got the 'plus' kit because it strikes me as the best value. You get the RingGenie, the lovely wooden box, the layout guide - everything but the aluminum collets and the side fixture.

None of the kits include the side fixture and the cost difference to buying the Deluxe vs. adding the Al collets later is only $30. Adding the extra bits to get from the plain unit to the Plus would be a lot higher - and the box isn't even available separately.

It arrived on Friday afternoon but during the weekend we do what the ever-indulgent wife wants to do (part of how I get her to stay ever-indulgent ;)) plus I had to finish a nickel.

So it wasn't until yesterday (Monday) that I finally got to try it out.

:banana:

At a recent wholesale show in KC I picked up some simple sterling silver bands. They're about 2mm wide and half round. They were only $3 each and I figured they'd be good practice items. Before I did them though I first tried my really cheap practice rings - sections of copper tubing.

Usually I use a tubing cutter to cut them off but it's hard to do a clean 2mm bit with one so I did my second one with my jeweler's saw - I have two sizes of pipe: too small for the ever-indulgent and too big for normal people. :rolleyes: Works out to about size 3.75 and 10.75. I have a GRS collet I can just get the small ones on so I used it.

Did a quick try at a running leaf on the larger ring and it came out surprisingly well. I was just trying out the unit and I have to say it's a joy to work with.

The first test came out so well I reviewed my copy of Sam's DVD so I could do the second one right. It came out much nicer. So nice I decided to do one of the silver rings.

Going from a flat ring to a half-round was an interesting new set of challenges - the results of which are clearly visible under the scope. :rolleyes:
But it looks really nice to the naked eye. Little bugger's worth a lot more than $3 now!

To give those of you who haven't at least watched the videos an idea of how much nicer the RingGenie is than the older methods, here's how it went:

Opened the jaws of my vise and dropped the RingGenie in.

Took the appropriate sized collet, slipped the ring over it and put it in the RingGenie. Tightened it up snug. Don't recall if I needed to use the helpful turning rods or just my oversized paws.

Put on the layout tool - this just sets in place and then screws on and it takes less than a minute to put it on or take it off.

The ring wasn't quite 'true' on the unit so I couldn't use the point of the layout tool to mark my border. I think this is a user error issue. No problem - I just used my dividers to mark my border lines. Very easy to do because you just leave the drag loose and spin the mandrel.

Cutting the border lines was easy! I just held my graver against the ring and used my hand to turn the ring into it like a little lathe. None of the usual 'cut a little ways, stop, loosen, turn the ring, tighten, repeat' business.

Put the layout bit back on and marked my divisions. I used Sam's trick of making the marks in the border cuts and using a bit of transfer wax and a pencil to ladder them across. I turned on the detents on the 10 degree side and marked every other one to give me a nice, even set of 18 divisions* I tapped in a mark, turned two clicks, tapped a mark, two clicks, drew the line across where the first mark was, repeat all the way around.

Take off the layout unit and you're ready to go! I took the time to draw in the curve of the back of the leaves and where the split goes, then I worked my way around cutting each one.

You can either loosen the drag, turn to where you want, tighten and then cut (the drag is a simple knob on the front of the unit, by the way) or set the drag so you can still turn the ring when you want to and use one hand to keep it still while cutting. That way you can do some 'lathe' type cuts as well.

After I cut all the leaves I spun the vise around and did my shading lines.

Cutting a half-round ring was an.... interesting experience. Nothing like a little (2mm wide, remember) compound curve to work with.

I forgot to do a time check but I think it was only about a half hour total - and remember, I'm still pretty much a newbie, definitely a newbie doing this, and only the third thing I did on my new RingGenie. I'll bet I can get this down to about 20 minutes with practice - and that's for doing all the way around a simple band.

*On the 10 degree side you can easily get anything that's a factor of 36 so you've got 36, 18, 12, 9, 6, 3, and 2. The other side is 45 degrees so you get 8, 4, 2. But if you want 16 or 24 you just make one set of marks, loosen the tension from the end you're not using the detents on (so you can stay on your detent), turn the ring on the collet to the 1/2 way point between a pair of marks, tighten it back up (and really, how tight does it have to be for marking?) and make the second set of marks. If you're really worried about precision you can use one set to find the halfway point between the other set. If you're using the 10 degree detents just find one that lines up with one of the 45 degree detents, then click to the next 45 and mark it - that mark will be exactly between two of the 10 degree marks. Going the other way you'll just have to use your dividers to get that precise 22.5 degree offset.

I'm thinking all of you jewelers really want a RingGenie, whether you know it yet or not. Later this week I'll be visiting a jeweler I know here in KC and I'll show him my new toy. Hey Chris, if he buys one do I get a commision? :p
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2010
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Location
Tracy, CA
#2
Nice testimonial, Steve......well written....I've seen that video....pretty amazing....pretty simple solution to a normally time consuming task. Thanks for writing it up for us!
 

James Roettger

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Apr 21, 2008
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Minneapolis, MN
#3
I hope to own one someday too. Just a note though, I recently purchased the GRS ring holder and am very pleased with how well it works too at a fraction of the cost. One capability it has is that the holder can be clamped on edge to make the side of the ring workable as well. This is a tool I wish I had years ago, especially for working on the bottom of a stone set ring which can't be clamped in the stone area upside down.
One thing to watch out for with the GRS holder though is if the ring is only lightly clamped (to prevent cracking a sizing seam for instance), the ring can rotate if you are doing any hand pushing and you'll get one of those fine gouges to the bone in your left index finger. (which tend to hurt a lot from being stabbed repeatedly in the same spot over the life of a middle aged engraver.)
 
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Jun 7, 2010
Messages
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Tracy, CA
#4
or right index finger if you're a southpaw....I just had to say that even though I don't own either of the tools! I've got the right hand scars though...;^)
 

KCSteve

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I've also got the GRS set - including the one for working on the sides of rings (which is one reason I don't feel a need for the RingGenie side bit).

Having used both, I'd say it's worth the difference in price.

Did a couple more rings today (well, one real ring and one bit of copper tubing). The real ring I did another running leaf and paid attention to the time. This was one big enough for my sausage fingers so I had to do 36 segments instead of 18 which meant it took longer to do. Came out at 1 hour, 15 minutes.
 
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