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Swarovski Sterling Silver Snow crystal pendant [message #59094] Sat, 22 December 2012 22:50 UTC Go to previous message
avatar DavidMulder  is currently offline DavidMulder
Messages: 21
Registered: November 2012
Go to all my models
Junior Member
(Ok, it's not so much that I want this to be featured, but in the It arrived! Guidelines one is pointed here if you want to tell more of a story than just a photo)

So, awhile ago the girl whom I love came up to me and showed me a photo of this pendant she really liked a lot. Being a guy, I of course dutifully remembered which one it was, but when Christmas was coming up I was in for a surprise... it turned out that the pendant wasn't sold anywhere anymore (it was custom made for a single shop and only a limited run had been made years ago). So, after thinking for awhile I decided that this was a perfect problem I could solve through 3D printing.

http://img854.imageshack.us/img854/870/dsc08949y.jpg

As I am a very inexperienced blender user myself I went to the "Modeller needed" forum and posted an 'ad' there... and within a day I probably received about 20 reactions (to all modellers I didn't reply to anymore... I am really sorry, I was so overwhelmed by all reactions that once I choose a modeller I didn't write something to the rest of you). Either way, of all the reactions I choose the most expensive and in my humble judgement the most experienced modeller: Kevin Wei. Do allow me to wholeheartedly recommend him, working with him was a real pleasure and his organized way of working allowed me/us to identify a lot of relevant problems before sending it of for printing. For me it was a bit of a gamble choosing somebody who was 3 to 4 times more expensive than the rest, but he was the only one who showed prior experience and all in all I think it was worth the gamble.

So, the first model looked like this:

http://img42.imageshack.us/img42/1737/blurredname.jpg

However, it turned out that the engraving did contain too much detail after all, so in the end I had to print a version without it. (I was planning to have a jeweler do it for me... but it turned out they couldn't do it... *cry*... apparently it "didn't fit" (no matter how small or short the text was...))

So, due to the fact that it got rejected once that caused another two day delay, meaning that last thursday (20th of december) it finally arrived (minus the single crystal that's already on this photo):

http://img6.imageshack.us/img6/2691/dsc08900a.jpg

The packaging was awesome, as it was a huge box, with perfectly in the center in *lots* of bubble wrap the pendant... but I guess you guys are already used to that. Either way, the amount of residue (black 'stuff' inside the gaps and other places that aren't 'touched' from the outside) from the manufacturing process was ridiculous and it took me hours to scrape off most of the black stuff out of the holes with a knife... there might be chemical ways to do it as well, but I couldn't find any on here. I also noticed that when I brushed over the pendant (including areas that looked clean) with cotton, the cotton turned pitch black... I assume that's the same black stuff... but I still find this weird and even slightly worrisome.

Next up was the job of glueing all the swarovski crystals on to it. From the research I had done I found out that E6000 was the best glue to use and I got myself also 'special' crystal placing tweezers (allow me to recommend them), some 'jewel setters' (don't buy those) and of course the 150 swarovski crystals. Glueing all of them on there was a huge job... as in... if there exists something like a 'test of love', this would probably fit right in, because after doing about 10 I already felt like I had worked for hours... not to mention doing 150 of them. Though I guess that when I got halfway through it wasn't too bad anymore once you get some more skill (I will write a few tips at the bottom of this topic).

Last up was packaging it perfectly (as it has to make a trip through half of europe by post), so I used the box in which I bought the silver chain as my basis. I added a black piece of paper to it to make it look far better (originally it was white) and (not on the pic) I added cotton to the lid, to prevent the pendant from moving during transportation.

http://img854.imageshack.us/img854/870/dsc08949y.jpg

Oh well, right now it's being transported... so I don't know yet whether she likes it. But honestly, when I send it off... it felt like I was sending a piece of myself... the amount of work and dedication that goes into making this... really made it the most special gift I have ever given somebody.

Tips for adding Swarovski crystals to your designs:
- Don't forget to add a bit of a margin to the diameter of your 'gaps', I went with twice the precision of sterling silver (2 x 0.125mm from the top of my head), but *slightly* less would have been enough as well.
- Apply the glue with a pointy tool (I used a pointy knife) and repeatedly tap on the place where you want to place the glue (rather than trying to smear it out straight away)... it takes some skill to get used to, but once you get the hang of it, I was able to do about 9 out of 10 right without any 'mistakes' where the glue got outside of the gap.
- When the glue gets outside of the gap is the only situation where it gets really frustrating. The good news is that you *can* get the glue off perfectly... the bad news is that it takes a lot of patience sometimes. I used the tweezers to simply pull off the glue repeatedly till nothing was left... but the glue behaves likes a rubber... so sometimes it went off straight away, and sometimes I had to pull it off 20 times before it was too small to notice.
- Cotton might be great to use... but I didn't have enough of it to make sure.

[Updated on: Tue, 19 February 2013 17:50 UTC]

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