The tetra orbs

3/8" ID, 16-gauge stainless steel rings

Chainmaille tetra orbs!
At one point or another right near the beginning of my having begun geocaching, I had decided to make the tetra orb my 'signature' item that I leave in every cache. By coincidence, I had recently accidentally ordered five pounds of the wrong size of ring needed to continue work on my chainmaille suit (I was going to make the rest in stainless instead of galvanized steel... and eventually remake the shirt and coif in stainless as well). I saw this as an opportunity. An opportunity to make more tetra orbs in any one given place than had ever been attempted before (to my knowledge)! A small cardboard box filled with tetra orbs, and a cutaway of a closeup of one of the orbs.
So... the quest to make five pounds of tetra orbs had begun. Weeks later... the quest had been completed. And it is official... 5 pounds of 16-gauge, 3/8" rings will create 236 tetra orbs! And now you know. One might argue that this was a hideous waste of time and resources. Nay, says I, since these actually have a valid purpose. To spread the word of chainmaille to the world of geocaching! Some have even sought out specific caches I've previously gone to to collect the tetra orbs (or chainmaille balls as I say on the geocaching website or in the logbooks. Likely noone will know what a 'tetra orb' is, but a 'chainmaille ball' is pretty easy to understand). Some geocaches are too small for these tetra orbs, so for the smaller caches, I made miniature mobius balls from 3/16" stainless steel rings. Not worth making a seperate page about, since it's now mentioned here, and is shown in the geocaching page. The whole pile of orbs scattered closely on a table, generally covering a DVD of Collision Course, the Steve Irwin Crocodile Hunter movie.
Quite some time later (ie: about 2 years) I decided to mess around with a tetra orb and see what I could do with it. I started with a regular tetra orb, then off of each 'outer' ring, created another orbital. I then fanangled those together with other rings and orbitals, so eventually the 'inner' tetra orb was fully covered by an outer chainmaille surface... made from a total of 90 rings! It now spends the remainder of its time as the greatest Christmas ornament ever :P. A closeup of a single, very complicated tetra orb, with many many protruding rings connecting the sides, rather than the usual six.
And now that we've gone and made a chainmaille ball massive, the pendulum must of course swing in the other direction. I decided to see just how small I could make a tetra orb. Thus, I ordered the smallest possible rings (since I didn't feel like finding really thin wire, coiling and cutting my own... YET), and came up with this. It's made out of 24-gauge, 3/32" ID rings. It put up many a fight throughout making it, and I'm pretty sure it took about 10 years off my eyesight... but it eventually gave in to my sorta-steady hands and ridiculous amount of patience. Literally, this took about 2 hours to make. 2 straight hours of staring at these tiny rings at about 6 inches away from it (to clearly see where I was holding/moving rings). Yep... that'll do for now... until such time my eyes heal, and I come across some ridiculously thin wire :P. A teeny tiny tetra orb, about half the size of a penny, sitting on a wooden table.

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