When the proverbial gavel dropped at Roadster Homecoming Bracelet auction, it raised a jaw-dropping $6000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The original mold and carving used has forever been retired to ensure its winner has a bracelet that's exclusively her own and unquestionably unique.
The slate, or in this case workbench, is wiped clean and it's time to begin a new project.
This new carving will begin from an entirely seperate block of wax.
Experience from previous projects gives the hand confidence in making deep, deliberate cuts.
Wheelwells are positioned with painstaking care.
General shaping begins by identifying how major bodypanels like the hood and trunk drape.
The fine flat file is exchanged for a chisel tool to shave away paper-thin layers. Subtle curve details begin to suggest there really is a roadster hidden within.
Hundredths of a millimeter at a time, the shaved layers both smooth and shape the surfaces. Underside is cut away so that the wheelwells settle to the ground evenly.
Wheelwells are hollowed. Rocker panel and door panel surfaces are fleshed out. Nose and headlamp surfaces are sharpened.
This shot best illustrates how the new model distinctly portrays the 6-cylinder roadsters with its flared rear fenders. The model carved for the 2006 Homecoming is on the right.
An entirely new carving means there's opportunity to create a top-down version with factory rollhoops.
Interior is a few more strokes from being finished. Front grille, airdam and foglamps are completed.
Dashboard and instrument pod fleshed out. Twin-V rollhoops and rear boot cover detail finished.
Some wheels are designed in the computer and rapid-prototyped using some of the most sophisticated equipment in the industry. The resulting sharpness of detail at this scale is astounding.
The rapid-prototyped model is transformed into 14k white gold wheels through an investment casting process. The individual wheels are cut away from the casting sprues with a jeweler's coping saw. It's fine steel blade is roughly the thickness of dental floss. When a wheel is hardly larger than a letter on a dime, small sawing mistakes could become BIG problems. Well-honed experience at the workbench ensures that doesn't happen.
Wheels cut, trimmed, leveled, drilled, and sanded. Why yes, the front and rears will be staggered in width! Now to complete another 32 of these.
The hand-carved roadster model is also cast and what emerges are 14 karat variations of yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold.
2007's Homecoming project takes shape.
The insanely small wheels are fitted with white gold axles, centered in the wheel wells, and microwelded into place.
Those free-rolling wheels and axles serve as hingepins for 14k gold links.
With all the roadsters, wheels, and links assembled, the 2007 Homecoming Bracelet is finally finished.
Line up! It's time for a group shot. High Resolution version.
The 2007 roadster bracelet is created with both styles of roadsters in combinations of yellow, rose, and white gold. High Resolution version.
Measures 6½ inches. This can be sized through adding additional roadsters for larger wrists.High Resolution version.
Bracelet weighs approximately 50.9 grams. An estimated 70 workdays were used to employ an exhaustive list of techniques including: handcarving the models, CAD wheel design, rapid prototyping, investment casting, machining hubs & axle stays, metalworking, torch soldering, microwelding, and multistage finishing. High Resolution version.
And what about a suitable bracelet case? Here's a nice case in the same style used for the previous year.
...but the utilitarian inside is total Dullsville. Yaaaaaawwwwnn.. oops, did I do that outloud?
The inside gets gutted and furnished with soft non-scratching felt.
Some yellow-line stitching, some handcrafted yarnball folliage and some foam rubber buildings finishes a case worthy of the bracelet.
Itty bitty roadsters convoying past an itty bitty Zentrum museum. larger version.
Click here to watch the final bracelet progress for the last Roadster Homecoming