A Tale Of Two Ring Boxes

This is a tale of two hearts, two engagements, and two ring boxes. About a couple of years ago, [curtisabrina] proposed to his girlfriend. Rather than just hand her the ring, he placed it in a locking ring box [imgur link] he custom-made. The box seems normal at first glance, but lifting up the first drawer reveals a complex and ornate gear system. The gears can only be turned by a pair of interlocking heart-shaped keys – a gift [curtisabrina] had given her months earlier. The mechanism is nothing short of stunning – planetary reductions drive a spring-loaded iris which opens to reveal an engagement ring.

[curtisabrina] built his ring box after hours at his signmaking job. The job gave him access to some incredible tools, such as the MultiCam 3000 series CNC. The box turned out great, and he showed his work off in a Reddit thread.

Fast forward two years. [joetemus] was getting ready to propose to his girlfriend, and wanted to do something similar. He didn’t have access to high-end shop tools, but he did have a Shapeoko 2. Using the original box as inspiration, [joetemus] started designing. Over time, trial, and error, a second ring box emerged [imgur link]. Like the original box, [joetemus] started with a rough cut board. Nearly every part, including the aluminum gears, was cut on the Shapeoko 2. [joetemus] also celebrated his accomplishment with a Reddit thread.

[joetemus’s] ring box isn’t quite as complex or polished as [curtisabrina’s], but he was working with a machine that cost much less than the equipment [curtisabrina] was using. We think both of them are great, and are happy to report that both of their girlfriends said, “Yes!”

17 thoughts on “A Tale Of Two Ring Boxes

    1. Yeah, I know. These two boxes are elevated to heirloom status, if they stay together, their grandkids will be showing their grandkids the mystery-of-the-box-and-the-prize-within.

      All I did was get a brick inlaid with my proposal at a local park….. :/

      1. I think that’s OK – you had a completed plan. I was in the process of making a much simpler ring box but didn’t finish it in time for my proposal. After asking her to marry me we had to go back to my apartment so I could actually give her the ring and show her the pile of un-glued box parts. At least she still said yes and appreciated the box when I finished it a couple years later…

        1. IIRC, it took the better part of nine months and the ingenuity of every single one of my girl friends to convince my spouse that I wasn’t bailing out before that brick was laid in. The mason kept redoing the bricks because he (she?) wanted things to be absolutely perfect.

  1. I see these and always think they are pretty great looking. But I have to ask is there actual demand for these? We could make them and offer them for sale but it’s not quite the same as spending hundreds of hours making them yourself and I am not sure there is enough demand to sell more than few dozen a year?

  2. Finding and cutting a diamond is probably out of everyone’s league, but anyone try to buy a bit of gold, a rock and make a ring as well as a killer box? I was watching this show where an old lady in a cabin was buying gold directly from miners and making simple rings, how hard could it be to add the rock after that?

    1. Interesting idea. I wonder if anybody has prospected for enough gold to forge a ring, smelted it, cast it, added an optional hunk of carbon that they mined and then faceted themselves and then presented it. My guess is yes, somebody has.

      1. if you watch any of those gold dredging shows, it is very feasible for someone to mine that amount of gold. one of them with basically an excavator on a barge pulled almost a million dollars of gold off of the ocean floor off of Nome Alaska in summer 2013. making a ring merely takes the energy to melt it down and cast it (lost wax usually). then a whole bunch of carving and polishing.

        the cutting of the diamond is the hard part, as it has to be done within fine tolerances.

        setting a stone is relatively easy, you put the stone in a spot that can handle its size, surrounded by 4 (or more) gold posts, then bend the posts down to hold the stone in place.

    2. Not an engagement ring, but I did make a ring as a Christmas present…

      the metal doesn’t need to be mined, although I guess it makes it somewhat more romantic if you make it entirely from scratch, (mine the gold etc)…

      I took older jewlery and melted it down using a blowtorch to fill a small plaster of Paris mould, after that a load of work with a dremel to smooth and polish…

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