Design Review

First Impressions

When I first began this project, I wanted to make sure that my personal style was obvious. I am a light hearted person who loves colors and gold. I talked about my art and love for jewelry in my previous posts. Jewelry, especially statement jewelry, is my favorite form of art because it alters to the person wearing it and how it is worn. It is dynamic within itself. On the first impression I want it to be a piece that makes a statement in both color and form. I want the mechanical components to be seen as pieces of art rather than functional mechanical components. I want it to draw attention and have a very preppy look. My style is not steam punk so I would like to add color and sparkle to the gears to integrate the two styles.

[1] Colorful Statement Jewelry
[1] Colorful Statement Jewelry

The functionality of my piece adds to the aesthetic and serves no practical purpose. It is hanging art that can be altered with user input. I have not figured out the exact design of the project, but I intend to have a base plate that has gears mounted on it by gold pins. These pins will allow the gears to freely spin and mesh. I want to attach several components that will fold out when the gears turn. This will change the shape of the necklace. Its function is a piece of wearable dynamic art


When I first declared my major as mechanical engineering, one of my best friends gifted me a mechanical gear necklace. It was made of simple balsa wood and the gears were connected in such a way that they rotated altering the shape of the necklace. I loved the necklace, but the fragile wood soon broke and it has long since been thrown away. The design was similar to the image below. This design allows the user to ensure all the gears mesh and turn. This could be a perfect design to prototype with the laser cutter.

[1] Balsa Wood Gear Necklace
[2] Balsa Wood Gear Necklace
After looking at designs online I realized that I also loved the look of different metal gears with different size teeth. I assume this will be more durable that thin wood and create a more unique aesthetic. There are also various forms of jewelry including necklaces, rings and potentially even bracelets. A range of the potential products are shown below.

[2] Gear Bracelet
[3] Gear Bracelet
[4] Gear Ring
Critical Components and Prototypes

The trickiest component of this project with me the mount plate. In order for the gears to properly turn and align, there needs to be a gear mount plate. Originally, I wanted to look at making bracelets and rings. Both of these will require very small gears and mounts. I intend to try design for a necklace, bracelet, and a ring. However, I am concerned that the structural integrity of the design will decrease as we decrease the size of the components. I plan to print several designs for each type of jewelry. This will allow for adjustments and testing on the integrity.

Cost and Timeline

The following timeline is a basic outline of the project:

Timeline for the Final Project

The following is an approximate cost of each piece:

Item Number of pieces Cost
Sq. ft of acrylic 1 $8.00
Gold Pins 10 $1.00 ($.10/piece)
Paint 1 $5.00
Chain 1 $3.00
  Total Cost Per Piece $17.00








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9 Comments. Leave new

  • Derek Sikora
    March 9, 2016 12:16 pm

    The inspiration behind this project being the combo of mechanical engineering and fashionista is great! I like the idea of introducing vibrant colors into your piece, but a copper/metal finish may make it look more high end. Either way I think this fits great into the steampunk aesthetic. Best of Luck!

  • I am always fiddling with things in class and this seems like a ring like this would be great! One thing to be wary of is the 3D printer (I assume that’s what you mean by printing the base plate). I am guessing the the ObJet (the nicest one) is what you will have to use for the tolerances you’ll probably need. The material it prints is pretty strong but also brittle. I would do some really small test pieces on both the high level printer and the mid level printer to see what you will need to use. Good work, I’m excited to see how it will turn out!

  • Jason Mcgrath
    March 7, 2016 12:08 pm

    This is going to be a great piece of jewelry. I think it would be neat if it could hold up to babies punishment. My kids always like playing with my wife’s necklaces when they were being toted around. Great job presenting a formal Design Review. Also, really nice formatting on the PPT.

  • Thomas Brunsgaard
    March 5, 2016 10:54 am

    Recently I stumbled across an interesting idea of using a laser cutter to create a mask to etch copper. The idea is that you spay a piece of copper (or copper coated circuit board) with black spray paint, and then you use the laser cutter to etch away the paint in the areas that you want to be removed. You then put the piece in a bath of ferric chloride (copper etching solution that you can get at Radio Shack), and it will eat away the copper that is not covered in paint. Using this process you could create your pieces out of copper/brass. To take it a step further, you could even experiment with plating the metal with silver. It is actually fairly easy to do this at home, just search google for “electroless silver plating over copper diy”. I am excited to see what you come up with, I think there are a whole bunch of really cool process to experiment with!

  • Joseph Graff
    March 5, 2016 9:53 am

    I’m anxious to see how your jewelry turns out! I love the idea of dynamic jewelry, being that jewelry is inherently wearable art, and adding a dynamic component to the art only makes it more compelling. It might be interesting to experiment with using a few different materials (although I do love acrylic), adding an element of juxtaposition or dichotomy, and I think it would work really well with the steampunk aesthetic.

  • Elyse Skinner
    March 4, 2016 12:26 pm

    I love this project and it has a great steampunk aesthetic as well as combining your love of art and mechanical engineering. Your inspiration pictures look beautiful and I would buy one if you get a lot made!

  • Sreyas Krishnan
    March 4, 2016 12:19 pm

    Excellent combination of mechanical engineering and art! Looking forward to seeing the finished product.


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