Julia - what a wonderful opportunity. Embrace the challenge.
First make one ring, documenting time, materials, waste metal. Show
it to your client. Get a deposit that covers your materials at a
minimum. Get specifications on sizes, time frame, other expectations.
Then - make the rings, be smart about figuring how long to cut
blanks for different sizes. Make a couple and see how sizes change as
you forge the rings.
With a ring sizer, you can shrink fabricated rings easily, not so
easy to size up. If you don’t have a shear, use rectangle wire -
1.25mmx5mm should make heavy rings, 6 feet should make 24 rings and
metal costs about $115 or about $5 each. See, it’s easy to get the
order done, just think past the big number and go for it. Just don’t
give away your labor, regardless of cause.
Use mass finishing - rotary and vibratory tumblers to finish. If you
don’t have the finishing or sizing tools, find a
friend/school/community workshop that does. Or price the job to allow
you to purchase the equipment to do the job.
When you are done, you will have learned multiple (pun intended)
skills and enriched your bank account.
For more standard orders - I’d suggest casting, but since each ring
size would need a mold, that is not economically feasible for such a
The numbers look like this - for 6 sizes, molds at $30 to 40 each or
about $200. And can you use the molds again?
I had a similar challenge years ago as I was trying to figure out
what this business is about. I was asked to produce 1800 sheriff
style badges in brass and 30 in sterling for a large national
convention. They were etched, cut out, domed and fastened on a large
plastic name tags. It changed the way I looked at things. I found a
company that could etch the surface and drop-out etch the cut outs in
both materials. Then had the etched sheets sent to me.
I punched them out of the sheets of metal, ground the flanges, domed
each piece with my first Bonny Doon press, sent the batches off to
have attachment pins precisely welded on the backs and delivered the
order on time. I priced the pieces so that I could buy an electric
pump for my press and the large doming die. It was a very big order
for a one-person shop, but I got it done in a matter of weeks,
acquired a very useful piece of equipment - the electric pump for the
press - and made a decent take home return on my labor. It certainly
wasn’t all fun and games, but I’d do it any time again.