Let’s twist again
The winding path from nuts to jewelry
A twist of lime, a twist of the hips, the twist of a plot, we all love twists in life. Our story starts simply, but the twist comes later.
The lowly hex nut secures, stabilizes, and supports nearly every facet of your life, but we’d wager you barely give them any thought. This product arose from a day I spent thinking about how to elevate that lowly form into something at which you’d want to stare for hours.
I was in a meeting not that long ago. You know the kind — a very boring one — and I noticed a small nut had fallen from the table. Someone had picked up the little nut and placed it on the table near the phone, hoping someone would return the little guy home. As boredom transitioned to fidgeting, I picked up the wayward nut and began turning and tumbling it across the table and around my fingers. At first I was caught by its form, the threaded inner circle, and its perfect hexagon sides. I thought about history, how difficult it would have been to create perfect threading with limited tools, and the endless hours I spent digging through bins in my first job at a hardware store searching for that one matching nut to calm a frustrated homeowner.
Quickly my meeting notes got pushed aside. I began sketching the little nut from various angles. What else could this seemingly simple form become?
As the meeting ended, I closed up my notebook and went back to my desk. Throughout the rest of the day, I found myself returning to draw morphed versions of the form again and again. Wobbly nuts on Post-Its, outlined nuts on envelopes, textured nuts on whiteboards, I had created an army.
I took a break for coffee and when I returned to my desk, my notebook had casually flipped back to the second page of sketches. Stuck in the corner was this little sketch.
Hmm, a simple twist. This felt so silly at first. I took a moment and thought about how it would fit on your finger, how it would look from afar, and how it would print in various materials. We had to try this out.
I won’t lie to you, it took just over 5 minutes to model the initial form with an elegant twist in 3D. The CAD model quickly passed manufacturability tests and we pulled the trigger to order one in steel from Shapeways, knowing the anxious weeks we’d wait to see the first results.
Upon arrival, we weren’t disappointed; the initial prototype already looked terrific. The 3D printed build lines read wonderfully in stainless steel and matte bronzed steel, but the Sterling silver version floored us. One seemingly simple twist in the model created six curving panels, each throwing off circus mirror transformations of our surroundings, like a miniature funhouse on your finger.
Unfortunately, that first prototype did not pass our tests to be considered a finished product. We expect all of our products to have such a balance of beauty, interest, story, and refinement. What is the best angle? How much twist is too much? Can we align the twisted panels comfortably between your fingers? We spent weeks tweaking the angle of twist, the thickness of the walls, and the fillet on the edges. How could we preserve the industrial feel, yet with a GothamSmith twist.
Ever since we got our final version back, I’ve worn this ring on my finger daily. I already spend hours idly spinning it on my finger just as I did that first little nut that I came across. I love how it sits comfortably between my fingers yet feels in constant motion. We hope you love it as well.
Tired of working in bits, four gents from New York challenged themselves to work with atoms and GothamSmith LTD was born. These are their stories of inspiration and creation.