Defined Green Lantern Comic Rings

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Gregatron

Sr Member
Had a few hours of experimentation with that aluminum ring I had printed, initially.

The Shapeways printed aluminum polishes well, but my concern is getting into the nooks and crannies of the more complex ring designs. I’m wondering if it would be easier to polish the aluminum rings with a rotary tumbler and a polishing medium. Does anyone here have experience with that sort of thing? What would be the best way to neatly remove the textured surface layer of the printed aluminum, so that the rings can be polished to a shine without too much elbow grease? Based on the results of today’s test, I’m sure it’s possible to get good results by hand, but it would likely take hours of work. And then there are those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.



I also gave the quickly-polished ring a few coats of the candy-emerald transparent paint I bought. Exactly the nice, metallic green I was hoping for. I’m gonna hold off on clear-coating, since I may strip the ring and use it for further tests, especially if I end up getting a rotary tumbler. Any recommendations a tumbler/medium good for smoothing out aluminum without losing detail?
 

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Gregatron

Sr Member
Ordered a vibratory tumbler. I have the metal test ring to experiment with. Here’s hoping it does a good job polishing the aluminum, especially in hard- to- reach places. The V2 and V3 aren’t so bad, but the V1 has a few tricky spots.


Meanwhile, I continue to work on the V2. For such a seemingly simple design, getting it right is tricky. There are numerous factors to keep in mind—The symbol-hole needs to be either 13mm or 15mm to fit one of the two sizes of gems I’ve ordered; As drawn by various artists, both the thickness and width of the symbol and the band can vary, but the band is generally shown to be as wide as the central ring-section of the symbol which is sandwiched between the upper and lower crossbars; The band must fit comfortably on my finger without being too wide or too narrow.


I’ve created nearly 20 variants of the V2, so far. All slightly different in size and shape. Some with ring-bands based on a cylinder (which looks more accurate to most comic drawings), and some with sphere-based rings (which are curvier). The cylinder-based rings are the ones I favor.

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The gray one is my initial, crude version, which I sent off to Shapeways, early on. I received the print, yesterday, and it’s providing valuable data. The ring-band is crude, and too small/wide/thin, but the print helps give a good sense of proper scale and fit. It barely fits, though. With a hole around 22mm, it’s too tight, and the width of the band makes curling my finger uncomfortable, especially with the thin edge of the band cutting (not literally) into my skin on both ends.

On my current favorite of all of them, I’ve given the ring-band a slight taper to provide a more comfortable fit. My friend is still having problems with his printer, so I don’t yet have any other test prints with which to determine proper ring-hole sizing. My current estimates are between size 13-13.5. Somewhere around 22.30-22.60mm. But then I have to factor in material loss from polishing, as well as the buildup of paint and clearcoats. Tricky work. I also don’t want the ring-band’s edge to be TOO thick, which is why getting the hole-size pinned down is important.

Here’s the current favorite. I’m still wondering about the thickness/height of the symbol section, and I think the slight taper is pretty reasonably spot-on to the comics (while also being practical), which usually show either no taper or a very slight taper, depending on the artist. Of course, when seen in perspective (as in the 3/4 shot seen in the center of the image below), the taper isn’t even noticeable, so maybe the comic artists did intend for it to be there.

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Gregatron

Sr Member
Still tinkering. Still digging through old comics. Artistic interpretations of the V2 vary pretty wildly. Dave Gibbons usually (but not always) went with a thin, parallel band generally shown to be the width of the symbol-hole, which is also what Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez depicted in the 1980s DC Style Guide (which was sourced for use on the blister card art for the SUPER POWERS action figure and other licensed products). Joe Staton usually went with a wider band, which occasionally looked tapered. Sometimes the symbol portion is very tall and thick, sometimes very thin. Gibbons and Staton are two of my favorite GL artists, so I’m looking mostly to their runs for inspiration.

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Interestingly, there’s an alternate version of the GL symbol which was used for various purposes in the 80s and 90s, mostly as decoration on letter pages, for the Direct Market versions of UPC boxes on covers, on trade paperback reprints, and whatnot. It’s a taller and thinner version.

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This also appears to have the basis for the promo ring released for the launch of GREEN LANTERN MOSAIC.
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As far as I can determine, the DC Style Guide version came along first, in the early 80s, and it is clearly—by far—the most-used for licensing. It’s obviously the “official” version of the symbol, and the one you see on t-shirts and mugs and the like. That being said, the alternate version tends to look closer to what a lot of artists were drawing back in the 80s and 90s, and the shape is thinner and more compact, and thus, in terms of the V2, fits better over a finger. That said, I intend to stick with the official symbol.

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Here’s the test print of my initial V2 model. As noted, the band is a little too small and wide to be comfy.


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The test print model is the pale green one on the left. The rest are variations to compare it with. From left to right, we have a sphere-based ring, two cylinder-rings with sides slanted at slightly different angles, and two cylinder-rings with parallel sides and differing widths.

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Gregatron

Sr Member
Ordered plastic prototypes of the main designs (Abin Sur, V1, V2, V3, M.D. Bright, modern symbol, Sinestro, Guy Gardner yellow). We’ll see how they turn out.

Meanwhile, I received the green cabochons I ordered. Looking good.

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Gregatron

Sr Member
Experimenting. Sanded the mirror backing off of one of the gems, and painted it with glow-in-the- dark paint. The mirror backing gives the gems a nice look, but the raw peridot color is a little less flashy, and more in line with what I’m looking for. And the glow factor is just fun.

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Meanwhile, I’m wondering if paint might not be the wrong way to finish the metal rings off. I’ve been searching for a very durable clearcoat, but that fear of paint chipping would always be there. So, I’m wondering how hard/expensive it would be to get these things anodized in a nice, deep emerald color (and yellow/gold for the Sinestro rings). Or perhaps even doing it myself, although I’m leery of the toxicity of the materials used. I’m not sure if any professional services would even do such a small run of items.

As it currently stands, I’m aiming for painted metal rings for display, and the plastic rings for wear. But, anodizing would greatly increase the durability of the colors, and would provide a cleaner look.


Any suggestions?
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
Powder coating is less durable and less rich in color than anodizing, to say nothing of the fact that I wouldn’t even be able to consider doing a DIY job if I went that route, since it would require a powder coating oven.
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
Received the first prototype of the V3 ring. The one I ordered before I refined it. This version is slightly too big and chunky to fit comfortably in terms of flexing my fingers—the revised version is nearly 5mm shorter, and shouldn’t obstruct finger movement. It’s also VERY tight, and too small of a fit. Although maybe my finger was just swollen when I tried it on. The revised version which is in production has a slightly bigger finger-hole. I’ve also created yet another variant which just squeaks right up to the 22.6mm finger-holes that I put into all the other rings which are being printed. See, it’s tricky with this one, because the wall between the symbol-hole and the finger-hole needs to be thick enough for structural integrity, but the finger-hole also can’t sit too low, because it’ll start to cut into the shallow areas on the sides of the ring where the symbol’s sidebars meet the center. Tricky work. If the 22.5mm version that’s on its way is still too small, then I’ll order the 22.6. We’ll see.

Hugeness of this particular print aside, the overall design of this one looks solid.

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Gregatron

Sr Member
Managed to tweak the V3 design to accommodate a 22.6mm finger-hole, like the other rings already on order. Placed another order for the revised version. As noted, the integrated design of the V3 makes it especially difficult to keep everything in proportion, but I managed to break it down and build it back up so that the 22.6 hole fits a shape with an accurate GL symbol and a symbol-hole that isn’t too deep or too shallow.

Here’s hoping that 22.6 (13.5 US ring size) is the magic number. It seems the knuckle of my right middle finger is thicker than the left. I can get the 22.45 ring off my left middle finger without too much trouble, but the right finger is a real pain. The skin bunches up and I have to twist it off. Pain! Of course, things like temperature and swelling are also variables in proper fit.

Here’s where we’re at. From left to right are the version I just received (22.45mm finger-hole), the version I ordered last week (22.5), the new version I just made (22.6), and the official GL symbol, used for reference and scaling. The newest version is both the smallest (31.25mm long, versus the chunky 35.47 of the initial print), and will have the best fit. We’ll see how it goes. I expected to have a few extra prints coming out of the R & D phase of this project.

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Gregatron

Sr Member
I wasn’t quite satisfied with my original Abin Sur design, so I reworked it from the ground up. Since it was one of the earliest designs I created in Tinkercad, I was able to apply what I’ve learned in the past few weeks to greatly refine the symbol. I’ll be receiving the test print of the original version soon, which will give me an idea of how the relief-symbol works when printed.

It was tricky work, since the original GL symbol as seen in SHOWCASE # 22 is just all over the place, changing shape and details from page to page, and even panel to panel. My version is something of a hybrid of the artwork of the symbol as seen on the ring and uniform, along with the the actual power battery that the symbol is based upon, which itself changes from panel to panel in that initial story, “S.O.S. GREEN LANTERN”.

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Indeed, the GL symbol and power battery were in a state of constant flux during those early issues. The classic symbol as we now know it first appeared in GREEN LANTERN # 13, but, even then, it fluctuated from panel to panel. GL # 14 was the first issue to have it drawn consistently, but there were still variations, mostly with the symbol’s center hole being colored either green or white from issue to issue. Eventually, it did stabilize back to the classic version we know, but then Neal Adams shook things up again when the series became GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW, since he usually drew the sidebars as separate from the central ring, and also occasionally curved the sidebars. Subsequent artists also played around with the symbol, and it only really stabilized again during Joe Staton’s initial run, circa issue # 130. After that, the most notable changes were John Stewart and Kyle Rayner’s variants, and now the modern version with the slanted sidebars.

I suppose it would be within the scope of this project to model some of the many variant symbols. We’ll see.
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
Heard from Shapeways in regards to my latest V3 order. The interior wall of the ring-hole was too thin where the sidebars meet the central section, and needed to be revised for printing.

I thought I had this design nailed, but this new wrinkle provided an opportunity to really nail it. I finally found the magic formula by lowering the height even more and widening the body of the ring. This allows for thicker sidewalls (and thus structural integrity), a lower profile, even more accurate proportions for the GL symbol, and a rounder, sleeker, more accurate shape on the bottom. As a bonus, this latest and even more compact design is now a mere 30.5mm long, so wearability and comfort will be even more improved.

From left to right, the printed model, the subsequent revision, and the current version.

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Gregatron

Sr Member
Still doing research on DIY anodizing, but it seems more and more achievable as I look into it. That’s a ways off, though. The first round of printed rings will be arriving in a few days. Then more revisions based on that data.

However, thinking ahead, I’ve created a three-piece design for the 1990s-era Hal Jordan ring, which had a distinctive two-tone coloration. Thus, I could, in theory, anodize the main body and the GL symbol a deep emerald green, and the inset a lighter lime green, then glue the parts together. I’m just wondering about the tolerances, but polishing would eliminate any fit problems, in theory.

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Gregatron

Sr Member
First batch of test rings is in. They’ve already provided valuable data in terms of size, proportions, and fit. And I’ve already attached the cabochons to the V2 and Sinestro rings.

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13.6mm does indeed look to be the magic number for properly fitting me. And I’ve already made tweaks to a few of the designs to improve them. The modern age/post-REBIRTH ring needs more relief/depth on the GL symbol so that it’s taller and more easily visible. The 1990s ring needs a bigger disc and a wider band. And so on.

More importantly, I can now better determine the proper hole depths and tolerances for the rings which will use cabochons. As it stands, the current hole size on the V2 and V3 is too shallow, which makes the gems sit too high. Interestingly, the hole depth on my original V2 prototype (about 2.5mm) looks much better than the version I received today. My main reason for making the holes so shallow was to accommodate the V3, in order to have some wall thickness between the gem/symbol-hole and the finger-hole.

As it stands, I’ve reworked the V3 YET AGAIN to accommodate both the 2.5mm symbol-hole and the 22.6mm finger-hole while retaining structural integrity for printing. Mind you, this is much more of a problem for printing the plastic rings than aluminum, but I’d rather lock down one version for both materials. The current revision of the V3 now sits at 31.42mm long, rather than the 30.5 of the previous iteration. Just enough extra length/width/height to accommodate the deeper hole for the gem. That said, I’ll wait for the previous version’s print to arrive before test-printing the new iteration.

Previous version on left, current on right.

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Gregatron

Sr Member
Second round of test rings arrived.

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I’ve acquired valuable data from them. The V1 is pretty much spot-on. Just a few minor tweaks. Same with the V2. I definitely prefer the deeper hole for the gem. Lower profile for the gem, and the slight, er, ring around the gem (from the tiny gap between the 90-degree wall of the hole and the curvature of the gem) looks more aesthetically-pleasing than having the gem sit higher (and flush against the wall of the hole).

Finally, the ever-persnickety V3 is SO close. Still a little too wide on the bottom to fit comfortably. I’ve rejiggered it yet again to angle in the sidebars by a few degrees, thus eliminating a few more millimeters of length.

Left is the new revision, right is the model I just had printed.

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Meanwhile, the 1990-era Jordan ring continues to vex me.
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
After going through all of the designs and making numerous small revisions and tweaks, I’ve ordered a new batch of test rings.
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
The Mark Bright/EMERALD DAWN/GL Vol. 3 ring continues to vex me. It’s basically a sleeker version of the V1. Almost a standard signet ring, but with the band blending into/flaring out into a disc/bowl which encircles the recessed GL symbol. Modeling it has been a pain, and I could use some pointers.

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Gregatron

Sr Member
...so, I’ve been doing research on the various ring designs, when they first appeared, as well as the specific ring histories or various characters.

Today, I think I pinned down when and why the V2 first appeared.

Of course, the V1 first appeared in SHOWCASE # 22. After that, it went thought various evolutions, as the GL symbol slowly evolved, and/or Gil Kane drew the symbol inconsistently. These variations surely fall under the realm of “artistic interpretation” and “finding the right look” rather than multiple in-universe designs.

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Then, in GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW # 90, Mike Grell redesigned the ring into the V3 (which should technically be the V2, but my numbering system* (see end of this post) is based on the various designs’ prominence over the decades, rather than chronology). In-universe, this was stated to be an actual new and improved ring, replacing the Gil Kane design. It also had shape-changing abilities, which could explain—in-universe, that is—how it eventually morphed into the V2. Like the V1, the V3 also slowly evolved and was inconsistent in appearance.

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Alex Saviuk soon took over the art chores from Grell with GL/GA # 100, and initially drew the V1, but later corrected the error beginning in # 104.

The great Joe Staton did his first GL work with the cover to # 107, which could very well feature the V2, but it’s hard to tell. Meanwhile, Saviuk locked down his version of the V3, which provided the template for all later versions of that design.

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However, Don Heck filled in for a few issues between the end of Saviuk’s run and the beginning of Staton’s. As far as I can tell, Staton’s first real GL work was in ADVENTURE COMICS # 459-460, and he was clearly following Saviuk’s depiction of the ring.

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Crucially, though, Don Heck ended up creating (either by intentional artistic reinterpretation or a misreading of what Saviuk had previously done) the now- familiar V2 ring, with the separate GL symbol attached to a smooth band. As far as I can determine, the very first clear appearance of this design was in GL/GA # 121 (...in contrast with the Dick Giordano-drawn cover to # 121, which clearly features the V3).

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And then it got further refined in # 122.

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Then, Joe Staton took over the regular art chores, and very likely glanced at the most recent issues of the book as reference. And, of course, he would have seen what Heck had drawn and gone from there. So, the V3 morphed into the V2, and remained that way right on through the Kyle Rayner era and into the present (at least for certain GL Corps characters).


* As noted, my numbering system is based on the designs’ prominence. To break things down...

The V1 (and variants, such as those drawn by Mark Bright, Pat Broderick, Darryl Banks, and Ethan Van Sciver) was worn by Hal Jordan (and others) from 1959-1976, 1989-1994, and 2005-present. Also worn by John Stewart from 2005-present. It’s also the version used in most animated adaptations of the GL characters, from SUPER FRIENDS to JUSTICE LEAGUE to the various direct-to-video films.

The V2 was worn by Jordan from 1979-1989, by Kyle Rayner from 1994-present, and by Guy Gardner from 1985-1992 and 2005-present. This version was used in Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez’s 1982 DC Style Guide, art from which has been used on numerous licensed products over the years, including the 1984 SUPER POWERS Green Lantern action figure.

The V3 was worn by Jordan from 1976-1979, and (thanks to artistic interpretations/errors) by Guy Gardner (occasionally) and John Stewart (pretty consistently, at least when drawn by Mark Bright and/or Cully Hamner) from 1991-1993. Despite being the least-prominent of the main designs, it also served as the basis for the GL Corps rings seen in the 2011 GREEN LANTERN film.
 
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