Clamshell Jewelry Box


This was my personal project for Stanford's ME 203 Design & Manufacturing class. I designed & created a clamshell form for aluminum sand casting. I built a custom milled hinge and press fitted a magnetic closure between two identical clamshell castings. I worked with master pattern maker Bud DeLisle (Ideo), who helped me with my unique, unattached pattern design.


I wanted to work with Bud DeLisle on a sand casting project. So, I decided to design an aluminum clamshell inspired jewelry box, ditching other initial ideas of a sheet metal and wood purse, and an indoor swing.
I first rapidly prototyped various clamshell designs using foam and tubing in order to nail down the final dimensions, alignment, function, and design.
I mocked up the clamshell in CAD (Solidworks).
The first step to making a pattern for sand casting was to cut the general shape out of a block of pink modulan material.
I created a custom texture on the outside of the modulan clamshell pattern using a dremel.
After the form was completed, it was used to create the negative space in both sections of the sand packed mold boxes.
I watched closely as the product realization lab teaching assistants carefully poured the 1900+ degrees Farenheit molten aluminum into my completed sand casted mold.
After cooling, the aluminum clamshell was revealed from the black oily sand.
I was very grateful to Bud DeLisle, who helped me create the pattern for aluminum casting to the right specs in order to turn out successfully. Both of my castings turned out perfectly!
I custom milled a hinge out of the two identical clamshell castings.
Here is a view of the two clamshell parts prior to press fitting metal dowels on either end to allow for movement.
A product view of the inside, including the finished custom hinge.
I took the clamshell out to Half Moon Bay for a photoshoot in it's 'natural' environment on the beach.