Instructables
Picture of Custom Aluminum Ring
I wanted a ring that was simple yet unique. I have really small fingers for a guy (size 7) and unfortunately every time I found a nice ring, it was too large. So I decided to make a pair of matching rings (one for me, the other for my girlfriend) out of a solid block of aluminum and the most basic of tools that almost anybody has at their disposal.

Overal Cost: $0.00
 
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Step 1: Cutting down your block

I looked many places for an aluminum block that was small enough to not cost a fortune yet big enough to make a ring out of. After exhausting my options, I decided to ask the machine shop down the street from my house. Three minutes later I left the shop with the perfect block of aluminum -- for free. So as long as you ask the right people, these rings will be completely free (but they are a fair amount of hard work).

So the first thing to do when you get your block is to cut it down into a more manageable size. I used rectangular stock because that was all I had access to; however, round stock would obviously save a lot of time.
nerd121 year ago
i was trying to make these out of some aluminum i salvaged from a hard drive, but i have only a drill and a coping saw, which will take me only a few years to cut through the aluminum. any suggestions?
curvy771 year ago
wow! thats a huge block of aluminum! you so lucky, i have to make mine from scratch. though my way more fun cause i use fire. (hehe fire, BURN BURN!!) about how long did it actually take u to fashion the rings?
i make my own rings and they are easy. find a bit of aluminum pipe that fits your finger.then i cut it 8mm wide. but it can be thicker or thinner on what you want. then i file the sides with a file then fine sandpaper.then i sand the inside. then the outside.then sand all the corners and make them smooth.then if you want you can shine it. the left ring is shined and the right is not
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How did you shine it, and do you know any links for how to anodize aluminum, or copper plate it without cyanide?
Much obliged.
They look great!!
chainsawz3 years ago
You should anodize it, i plan to make an instructable soon showing how to anodize aluminium at home.....
I look forward to your instructable on anodizing aluminum at home.
hey in step 2 picture 5 is that an lg dare I spot?
j626no (author)  snowluck23453 years ago
Yes, that is an LG Dare. Loved that phone for its high speed video option.
Tobz11223 years ago
Actually, We see aluminium as aluminium oxide, or AlO. Because it is reactive (above zinc and carbon but below magnesium) it will react with the air on its own, and it is very difficult to stop. Fortunately it does not have many bad effects on the aluminium.
theexpert3 years ago
nice hole haha
Achan203 years ago
does the ring bend easy?
No, It's very strong.
thanks :-)
Aluminum is  very prone to corrosion so I'm curious as to what you will use to prevent any corrosion damage to your rings.
Aluminum is actually very corrosion resistant.
Actually my ring is corroded.  We had sent it to get some coating put on it to prevent this but it did not work.  Right now mine looks completely different than the pictures he has posted.  It has been over a year since he has made these, but my skin does corrode the aluminum. 
It is not corrosion it is referred to as oxidation. In order to stop this process you need to either powder coat or anodize the aluminum. Either process is safe for your skin and both processes offer a million different colors.
It's both. On the inside you can see small holes, and can see how it's changed slightly in ishape.
This probably happened because the powder coating or anodizing came after it started to oxodize
Having worked with aluminum in various forms in a custom metal shop, I can tell you that if it is anodized very soon after its made, then you wont have issues, but if its oxidized already, the oxidization has to be removed completly, probably making your ring too large to wear.
This is why the second (engagement ring) he made it so I was not allowed to wear it, until after the anodizing. Thought it didn't do much difference. It lasted awhile. It's holding up it's shape well though. The first one however, has started to lose it's shape and has become just a tad bit too big for me to wear.
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leed pkmn4 years ago
If you're wanting to prevent your skin from corroding the aluminum, you can paint nail-polish around the inside (thin layers for good results) and it should help. This is also a common trick for people who are allergic to nickle but want to wear it anyways. The other, option, of course, is anodizing, but for such small items is not quite worth the amount that it will cost. The aesthetics on the outer surface will wear quite fast, too, with aluminum.
Well it's not as much as the inside as it is the outside. Though I have just recently cleaned it and put clear nail polish on it. Hoping this will stop it.
Robotrix5 years ago
what did your final wall thickness turn out to be in the end? They look pretty hefty, but i bet the aluminum doesn't weigh too much. Very nice looking set in the end! Do you have problems with the finish getting marked very easily?
j626no (author)  Robotrix5 years ago
wall thickness is about 2-2.5 mm. real light. and its weird....aluminum is very reactive, but aluminum oxide prevents it from completely oxidizing. my ring has the same sheen that it's had from day one...maybe even shinier from brushing against clothing and stuff. The weird thing is that my girlfriends ring is almost black, as if it's oxidized. i dont understand why since (to the best of my knowledge) aluminum only oxidizes in the presence of mercury (in any form) and bases. so my thoughts were her shampoo? or maybe just the salts from perspiration. but like i said, i'm not entirely sure.
Oscelot j626no5 years ago
I work in chainmaille, and my preferred metal is aluminum.. whenever I get my bright aluminum rings in, I clean them by putting them in a bath of lemon juice and sticking them in the fridge for a few hours, being sure to mix them up every once in a while to make sure everything gets clean. Just thought it might be a useful tip. _
j626no (author)  Oscelot5 years ago
Alright...I'll have to give that a try with my girlfriend's ring. Currently we need to clean it every other week because it gets so black. Do you know of anything I could coat it in to prevent this from happing?
paqrat j626no4 years ago
I've used clear fingernail polish to mask off the inside of certain metals. I am really surprised to hear that her aluminum ring is turning black. That sounds a lot more like some other metals. My understanding, perhaps mistaken, is that aluminum oxidizes, forming a coating that prevents further oxidazation. This oxide coating is, for the most part, clear. The ring should look a bit like pewter after it has oxided for awhile but black sounds llike something else is going on. Hope this helps.
happens to me too with an ali ring i got once in singapore. has something to do with acid levels in someones skin i think...or something along those lines anyway...DO NO laquer it watever u do. that just makes it go black un-uniformly as the laquer wears and harder to clean n such...
j626no (author)  Black Cat5 years ago
Thanks for the advice...I actually contacted an industrial metal coating company and got them to clear anodize the rings as a "trial" batch. haven't turned black since, hardly noticeable (the anodizing that is)
Well, mercury and gallium. Oxidizing acids have a way of oxidizing aluminium as well.
Women have a lower skin surface Ph level than men. I made my own ring too, except I have a lathe ;-)
dansan1014 years ago
 Great work, do you think it would be easier to make from a piece of aluminium pipe?
Rufda Camen4 years ago
Very pretty work, but it is a time of time and of resources (aluminum thrown to the garbage and without recycling ...: () for that you did not do it with a piece of pipe since they come in all kinds of size and thickness?

Greetings!!

P.D.: sorry for my English...
Patented4 years ago
Nice ! I like plain rings!
NetReaper4 years ago
seems like you could just start with an aluminum tube
Kaiven4 years ago
Those look really nice! But I think it would be easier to build a forge and make some molds for multiple rings cast out of aluminium :P
j626no (author)  Kaiven4 years ago
that is true, but I liked that it was actually crafted from my own two hands. I made another one since that i actually used my dremel with a polishing wheel and it gave it a perfectly smooth mirror finish. it was a gorgeous ring -- looked like a wedding band and only took 3 hours to make.
that's really sweet. was the wedding band for your girlfriend?
Kaiven j626no4 years ago
Nice. I might look into doing one of these! (I want to build a forge first :D)
Nautilus345 years ago
i've taken on way too many tasks lately...but i love this idea. i just collected a bunch of over-sized aluminum rings from some old hard drives (another instructable) they fit my thumb, but i want to find a way to bring it down a few sizes. any ideas?
xproplayer5 years ago
sp what are the right words and people to say them to to get a block of aluminum?
j626no (author)  xproplayer5 years ago
i just went to a local mechanic and asked if they had a small block of aluminum lying around....if you are friendly enough, you can usually get a small "scrap" piece for free
no man ur not alone in thinking that
Need I say more? =D
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Scammah5 years ago
This reminds me of making rings out of quarters. Great job.
Using your tools I would have drilled the hole first and cut around it. That way you end up with a centered hole and its easy to keep the wall thickness consistant.
BrianKT5 years ago
Wow! That's amazing! Great job!
frollard5 years ago
That's pretty awesome!

You must definitely get a lot of passion in your project to start with square stock instead of round :D

I see you used a drill-press for drilling the centre. I would try to do a makeshift lathe once the centres were drilled. It would make the outer profile much easier to shape 'round'.

Tip: If you have a *lot* of material to remove from the block, filing some regular chalk (calcium carbonate?). This fills the depths of the grooves in your file; and lubricates the file against your material - preventing the teeth from jamming up = less cleaning your file.
j626no (author)  frollard5 years ago
well that's what those "don't ask" holes were for. i actually put a bolt through there and put it in the drill press to make the makeshift lathe you were talking about....only it had a slight wobble so it was making an elliptical shape (highly polished though) and was really slow...faster if i just did it by hand. CaCo3 is a good idea though. thanks.
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nosemeat j626no5 years ago
this is pretty cool. i think if you had left the blank in the same shape as that last picture, it would've made a pretty neat ring that wasn't perfectly round
Nice work :-) The small "lathe mounting hole" in the workpiece helped the drilling in step 4 by providing a guide for the larger drill bit. So it was very much not wasted effort.
gmjhowe5 years ago
wow great work! The final thing looks really good.