Saturday, 5 September 2015

Ring 1.0

I recently went to a couple of jewellers to get sized and enquire about rings. It should be noted that I currently don't really own much jewellery, and am embarrassingly remiss in the Decorations department. But it has become necessary to procure a set of rings, for it is stated that if you want to have state recognition of your legal, economic and romantic partnership with a special other person, then you might want to prepare rings for... actually, I don't know, exchanging???

WHAT IS A RING? What is in the ring? Why do people have wedding rings? Why is it that this is the only vestige of a wedding convention that is retained by most people today? And why do I myself somehow desire to have a symbolic ring or object to exchange on that day, although it is optional? How did this seed of an idea get planted into my head? Is the wedding ring a part of a big advertising scam by the jewellery industry? To be honest, I no longer know. The ring is a bit like a word which seems completely nonsensical after you have stared at it or obsessed about it for too long. In the middle, the ring is visibly hollow. As hollow as your soul after you accidentally stare too long into the dark depressing abyss of a wedding fair in a shopping mall...


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I found out that if you go to a conventional high street jeweller, a set of the most basic of bands would still cost almost or more than S$1000 (around £460) - EACH!!! In fact, it seems most people in Singapore can expect to spend around S$2000-5000. WHAT PEOPLE. WHAT ARE YOU ALL DOING? ITS JUST A GODDAMNED METAL RING! The average size of rings in Singapore is apparently around SG Size 12 (which is my size), but I was also told that George's ring size was too big in Singapore terms and would require a custom resizing which could take over TWO MONTHS.

Fortunately it had never been my plan to purchase an off-the-shelf ring, because I have to do everything the hard way. NO!!! I had already decided much earlier that I would figure out a way to design it by myself.

But unfortunately, after faffing about in Rhino, I can tell you that it is certifiably impossible for an average human being to hope to have learnt how to make a complicated ring after merely watching a couple tutorials on Youtube. I just... can't even... I... its simply impossible to do in a weekend. Ideally, I'd need a few months to be proficient enough to model something like my dream ring full of organic shapes and other wildly impractical features...


After an abortive weekend of banging my head against my mac, trying to get up to speed to modelling a t-splined ring, I gave up and decided I would make a really simple ring in Openscad. Because, who said this ring had to be forever? Why can't we make a new wedding ring every year? How about iterative wedding rings? Maybe next year George can design it - after all, he is probably better at Rhino than me. We could take turns designing rings and finding different ways of fabricating them ourselves each year. Maybe next year I'll have even finally built a home metal foundry....

So I made a ridiculously simple ring in openscad. Because... like they always say in design, less is more.

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I emailed the gcode of an engagement ring to George to print a prototype in PLA on the UM2 at home.

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I like it, so I put a ring on it*
* By which I mean I emailed over the gcode of a ring for him to print and test out

I then sent the file to be printed and casted in 14k White Gold. 14K is sufficient, because 18k is too soft for everyday wear. Shapeways is priced by volume, so you are incentivised to design smaller or more hollow objects. My total bill was below S$550 (£240) for a pair of basic customised wedding rings.

Ring 1.0

It remains to be seen whether it will arrive in time and be exactly as I measured, but in the meantime we could print a backup prototype in Brassfill or some other metal-like filament. Its fine, I mean, its just Ring 1.0 right now. But I mean Ring 25.0 had better be more epic than this...

Other interesting facts about solemnisations in Singapore:

Can solemnization be conducted in a ship or aircraft?
It is possible but it is your responsibility to ensure, with documentary proof, that the ship or aircraft is not foreign-owned/registered. If it is, it is regarded as foreign territory and the marriage cannot be solemnized overseas.