Introduction: 50 Cents Heart Key Pendant Necklace
This project outlines how to make a custom pendant necklace from zinc. I got bored and like to work with metal so I figured I would try out making some jewelry. This method for making this necklace doesn't involve casting, but can if you want to make it for less 50 cents.
1) Zinc (You can buy it in a store as a slab, or pour your own)
2) Emery Black Polishing compound
3) Never Dull Polishing Wadding
1) Hacksaw or Jewelers saw
2) Metal File
3) Sandpaper (80,100,120,150,200,300,400, ect)
5) Dermal Tool with metal rasp wheel, and polishing wheel attachment
6) Drill Press
7) Time: Probably 3-4 hours
Step 1: Get Your Slab of Metal
First we need metal to work with. You have two options for this. Either buy a sheet of zinc that is the right thickness you want, or pour your own. But where to find zinc? Pennies (not going to say which countries) are primarily made of zinc, rather than copper. Additionally I do not advocate melting pennies because in the U.S. its a federal crime to do so, but if you're looking for zinc, you can find it in pennies. Once you find your zinc, whoever you go about getting it, pour it into a slab the thickness you want. I did so a long time ago and decided to use this scrap piece I had. Mine is about 1/4" thick and I would suggest going thinner, more like 3/16".
Warning: If you do pour your slab of zinc, do not inhale the gasses, this should be common sense. Zinc gives off ZnO (Zinc Oxide) when melted and inhaling it can cause you to feel very sick. I shouldn't harm you too badly, but you still shouldn't inhale it.
Step 2: Make Your Template
I made this template in photoshop, the outer walls are for blocking in the shape of the key, then the red areas are the details. There are more details in the template then there are on the finished product primarily because I underestimated how hard it would be working on a small piece. The overall height of this is 3cm, so not very big.
Next you want to print out your template (2 just incase one gets messed up), then place double face tape on the back. Use an Xacto knife to cut out the "block in area". Then stick your template on your slab of zinc.
The H,M,L were areas in which I was going to make High, Middle, Low. Again overtime my end result was more simple. The Heart became High. The shaft of the key became Middle. The actual pins became Low.
Step 3: Blocking Out the Key
Now you want to take your hacksaw and block out the shape around the key. This can take a little bit of time, but it's worth doing. You do not want to just start attacking your design, if you slip or make one mistake you're going to be upset. Use a file where its needed. Try to keep your blade and file level, if you dont the backside of the key will not look symmetrical. Another option is to print a mirrored template and place that on the back, but registration between the two would be difficult.
When vicing your piece make sure you place rags around it. This will stop the vice from making imprints on the metal. Zinc is relatively soft compared to metals like steel, so be careful.
Step 4: Adding Details
Next take your file and hacksaw and slowly start to creep towards the red detail lines. This is where you need to be very carful, this is a subtractive process and anything you take off is gone permanently. Your Dremel tool will come in handy here to get the curves looking nice. While doing this make sure you wear safety glasses, nothing hurts more than getting a hot piece of metal in the eye.
Step 5: Cutting the Key Teeth and Sizing
For the teeth I just used a hacksaw to make the gaps. The thickness of the blade seemed to be a nice size so I went with it.
Because my metal was too thick I had to thin it down. To do this I just ran it back and forth on my file to reduce the size. Also doing this levels out the metal so that you get rid of any pits you may have created when smelting/pouring your zinc.
Step 6: Defining the Parts of the Key
To define the parts of the key we need to add a small change in elevation. To do this I used both, my Dermal as well as my file. Mark the areas with a permanent marker like I did and clamp the key down to a table or in a vice. Take your Dremel or file and slowly subtract material from one side of the line. This will define the heart, I also did this where the teeth of the key are. As you can see the areas are labeled H,M,L. You don't need to remove very much material only about 1/32 to 1/16 of an inch will work, just enough for your eye to see the different segments. Do this to both sides and your key will have a little more dimension.
Step 7: Holes for the Chain
Use a small drill bit to place two holes in the top of the heart. Mine did not come out 100% aligned, but thats what you get when working with very small objects on a large drill press. Either way, the chain hides the sloppiness of the holes pretty well. Make sure to have your chain before you punch your holes, you don't want to oversize or undersize your holes.
Step 8: Sanding and Polishing
Start sanding with 80 grit and work up to whatever grit you want to end with. Tip: The higher the number the better the piece will shine. Once you are content with sanding, you then want to use some Emery Black polish compound. Once done with that, wipe the pieces down with the Never Dull wadding for a nice shine.
I don't have any shots of me polishing the key, but it's pretty simple. Put the polish on your Dremel tool and go to town. Also the images below don't have holes in the heart area because I sanded twice, once before putting the holes in. I thought I was going to use the key for something else but then decided to make it into a necklace.
Step 9: Finished
Just run a chain through the necklace pendant piece and you're done. I had an extra chain at home, but if you don't have one they can be easily picked up from a local department store.
Your necklace pendant is complete, while it may not be perfect, and its easier to buy a necklace; doing it this way shows that you put real effort into your gifts. No relationship is perfect so why should jewelry that expresses your relationship be perfect.
I hope you guys liked this instructable, if you did please vote for it in the Jewelry Contest. If you have any questions leave them in the comments and I will try to get back to you as soon as I can.