Prototyping the Gear Ring involved figuring out how to design engineer tiny parts for a complicated assembly keeping the profile slim enough to wear comfortably while simultaneously allowing smooth kinetic movement to work in a rotational way.
Traditionally, static jewelry involves casting in soft metals like gold and silver. But the product demanded stainless steel for the everyday wear and tear these guys would soon endure from hours of spinning. Trying to micro precision machine the parts without having a firm understanding of its assembly would have been expensive and tricky. So, I learned about 3D printing (which was still a relatively "new" technology at the time) and the opportunities that additive manufacturing could offer during the prototyping phase. It proved to be an essential step in figuring out how to take the concept from a 3D model to a functional prototype to a finished piece ready to spin. Once I was able to assemble the parts in plastic, making the transition to stainless steel for production machining became a possibility. It's like creating the parts for a puzzle and then assembling. It's a bit weird and incredibly frustrating, but very satisfying once everything finds its place.
I love these plastic prototypes. I keep them hidden away in the McMaster jar that was once packaging for the screws that went directly into the core part of the ring. These were the first of many to come.