Introduction: Brass Hex Nut Ring for $1!
This is my take on a popular way to make a ring out of a nut. I’ve seen a few tutorials on stainless steel nuts but not much on using brass. Brass is quite a soft metal and is easy to work with, so if you have never tried to make one before, a brass hex nut is a great place to start.
The nuts are available in any hardware store in the plumbing section and usually don’t cost more than a dollar which makes this a very cheap project.
The nuts come in a few different sizes but the main one you will find is the 15mm version in hardware stores. This size should fit most men’s hands though. For a smaller ring try a 9.5mm sized hex nut (check the parts list in step 1). There is thread on the inside of the nut which you need to file/sand down. You can use this to help size the ring and reduce until the fit is right.
I have made a few of these now and find that each one has its own individual look. You can also add a small nut to the top which looks pretty cool as well (see step 6). There’s definitely a touch of irony adding a small brass nut to the top of a ring that was made from a nut...
This really isn’t a hard project and you only need some basic tools to make. Actually, you could just use hand tools if that’s all you had.
Step 1: Parts and Tools
1. Brass Hex Nut 15mm (1/2") – eBay or hardware store (the size I used)
Brass Hex Nut 9.5mm (3/8") - eBay smaller sized ring
You can get different sizes of the nut on eBay - just type in "Female Thread Brass Pipe Fitting Hex Lock Nut Brass"
2. Small brass nut (optional). You can either just leave the ring as is or attach a small brass nut on for extra bling. – eBay. You could also use a small dome nut which would also look pretty cool. You can buy them on eBay
1. Grinder – I use a table grinder with a grinding wheel attached. You can also just use a hand one too
2. Dremel – Sanding drum attachment. You can also just do this by hand if you wanted to
3. Drill – I use this for final sanding and polishing but again you could just do this by hand as well.
4. Sandpaper – I used 280 grit, 800 wet and dry and 1200 wet and dry.
5. Metal Polish – I used Autosol – metal polish but any metal polish will do
7. Mini blow torch
Step 2: Removing the Corners of the Nut
The first thing you need to do is to remove all but 2 edges on the hex nut. The 2 you don’t remove will form the flat, top section of the nut. Using a grinder is a quick way to rough in the general shape of the ring.
1. Use a grinder to remove the corners. Don’t push too hard or you’ll lose too much material. Keep the nut moving until the edge is rounded.
2. Do this to 4 of the edges.
3. Once you have removed the edges (but 2), take a good look at the thickness of the ring and grind away any thick sections until the ring is about the same thickness all around.
Step 3: Smoothing the Inside and Outside of the Ring
If you take a look at any ring you will see that they are usually slightly rounded and have smooth edges, both inside and out. The hex nut that you just grinded will feel rough and sharp. The next step is to start rounding the ring and smoothing out the edges. You could do this with files but I decided to use a dremel with a sanding drum as it’s quicker
1. Attach a rough sanding drum to your dremel and start to smooth out the parts that you just grinded.
2. Next place the sanding drum on a slight angle and sand the edges of the ring, both inside and out. This will help remove the sharp edges and start to form the ring into the shape you want.
3. Next, you need to remove some of the thread that is inside the nut. The easiest way is to just stick the sanding drum in there and sand away. Keep on trying on the ring until it fits onto your finger. You don’t have to remove all of the thread, just enough so the ring fits.
Step 4: Sanding
Now that you have your ring to the shape that you want it to be, the next step is refining. You do this but using sand paper and progressively use finer grit sandpaper.
1. First you need to sand the sides of the ring to get these uniform. I used the 240 grit paper for this. You might have to round the edges a little again as well after you have sanded the sides.
2. Next use the 800 grit on the sides and refine a little further
3. To get the top of the ring refined, the best way is to add it to a piece of dowel which is spun by a drill. You can then control the speed and it gets the job done fast and even. Add some electrical tape to the dowel until it is thick enough for the ring to fit tightly on. Next, place the dowel into a drill and have the drill secured (I use a vice)
4. Start with the 240 grit. This will help you remove any blemishes quickly.
5. Grab some 800 grit sandpaper next and wet it a little and start to sand the ring. Move the sandpaper side to side and make sure you also sand the side of the ring but folding the sandpaper. Pull the ring off the dowel and turn it around so you get an even finish and keep on checking!
6. Next start on the 1200 and do the same thing until you are happy with the overall finish and shape of the ring.
Note: if you find that the shape isn’t what you were looking for or some part is uneven, you can always re-sand with the heavier sandpaper until you get your desired shape.
Step 5: Polishing
Polishing gives your ring a mirror like finish. Being brass however, you’ll need to give your ring regular polishes to ensure it stays that way. Actually, I don’t mind it a little duller but it’s up to you.
1. Put some polish onto a cloth (I used Autosol Metal Polish) and rub it into the cloth a little. This way it won’t just flick off everywhere.
2. Next place the ring back on the dowel, turn the drill on and start polishing.
3. Do this about 2-3 times to ensure you have the best polish possible.
4. Once you are happy, take the ring off the dowel and then polish the sides of the ring. You’ll have to do this manually by rubbing the ring on the fabric and polish.
5. Wipe clean
If you want to add a bolt to the top of the ring then check out the next step
Step 6: Adding a Small Hex Nut to the Top of the Ring
Attaching a small bolt to the top of the ring is a great way to finish it off. However, it can be fiddly and the first couple I did, the solder leaked out and I had to start the sanding/polishing process again. It’s all about how much solder you use and how hot you get the ring and nut.
1. Find a brass nut (could also be stainless steel – up to you)
2. Add a small amount of flux to the bottom of the nut. Secure the ring in a vice and place the nut on top
3. With a small blow torch, heat up the ring first, then the nut. Once you have them both up to temperature add a little solder to the inside of the nut. The nut does have a tendency to move due to the flux so make sure you only use a small amount of it.
4. Keep on heating the ring until the solder completely melts.
5. Leave to cool and check that the solder attached to the ring. If not, try it again remembering to clean the ring before you start.