Monday, May 23, 2011

Prototype to Finished Product

The most commonly asked question we get here at the Bit of Sugar studio is, "How do you make that?"  While our policy is not to share any proprietary information, we did think it would be nice to show you how a product evolves from an idea into a finished product.  The idea to create a life savers ring started with the first commercial in the clip below:

The first step was to buy a roll of life savers as "research."  I must have gained a pound from sucking on life savers all day!

We initially thought we could buy hundreds of life savers, make molds from them, and then cast the life savers from resin.  Nope, nothing is ever that simple.

We bought many, many rolls of lifesavers and not a single one was perfect.  They all had little bumps, ridges, scrapes, etc.  Ewww.  So not jewelry quality.  Using a real life saver to cast a mold was sooooo not going to work.  Also, as you can see in the picture below, it was not going to fit the ring bases we stock:

Hmmmm, what to do?  Buy another 1,000 lifesavers and hope to find one in perfect condition?  Print a super-duper expensive 3-D model and use that as our master?  Spend hours and hours sculpting the perfect replica in the perfect size?  Well this part is a secret, but I can tell you that any of those options work of you are willing to spend the time and money.

This became the first prototype and also happened to be my 2011 Valentine's Day gift:

But it still wasn't perfect.  The color was washed out and the resin was cloudy.  So Brad tinkered with it over and over again until he came up with this:

As you can see, the color is MUCH richer.  I used a flash in the picture below and you can definitely see how clear the resin is in the final version of the ring.  The prototype's surface is not perfectly smooth, and you can see how the light refracts, creating a cloudy appearance. 

More shots of the initial prototype versus the final product:

Total time it took for this ring to develop from an idea into an actual piece of jewelry:  5 months

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