to make or not to make

I pretty much make every element in each of my designs.  There are a few things that don't make any sense for me to make, for example the small chains that I use or the little spring clasps.  I would have to charge an arm and a leg for each piece if I was hand making the chain- plus I'd probably only have finished 3 pieces over the last year and I'm sure I'd be completely crippled. 



Another element that I don't completely hand make is my clasp which I stamp with my initials.

I used to make these completely by hand (that's the old version below), bending, rolling, sawing, soldering and finishing each piece.  After some time slaving away on these things, I realized I was procrstinating making pieces because that would mean I would have to make the clasp, which is clearly a problem.



Jeremy took the reins on this one and researched some options to have my clasps made.  He found a local company that does Micro Waterjet- which is pretty crazy that we have this technology in North Carolina- there are only 3 of these machines (The WomaJet) in the entire United States and only a few more in the world!  There are lots of waterjets just not micro waterjets, which has an insane amount of cutting accuracy, +/- .01 mm to be exact.



So Jeremy and I sat down and laid out the design I wanted in AutoCAD and after several meetings with the sweet guys at Micro Waterjet we were in business. 

They let me watch my pieces being cut.

First they set up my sheet of silver.



Then they pushed a series of buttons on this crazy computer attached to the Womajet and we were waterjetting.



That reddish bottle at the top has garnet sand in it- with out that extremely fine abrasive the water has no cutting power.  The sand and water is forced through a sapphire with a teeny, tiny hole in it.  While they were jetting my piece the sapphire cracked and they had to replace it so I got to see just how teeny it was.



Typically most of the jetting is done with the metal slightly submerged in the machine's huge tub but since I was there to watch they raised the platform so I could snap a few pics.



And in about 20 mins it was all done! 

Since we were going for as little waste as possible each piece was squeezed in so tightly that there was practically nothing holding it on to the sheet and the water pressure sometimes would blow a piece out- that's why the sheet looks a little snaggle toothed. 



Then we pulled out the mesh bag that was fastened under the waterjet to catch any blow outs to pick out all of the pieces of silver.  I collected a handful of really expensive glitter.



Now instead of all of the soldering and pain in the butt other stuff I was doing, now I just snap one of these babies off, stamp it with my signature and polish her up and I'm done!  Plus it is nice to have the consistancy in size and quality.



Thank God for some technology!:)

Need. Want. Love. on the blog tomorrow!