Introduction: Five-Cent Wedding Band
Tired of gold and diamonds? Perhaps you're a bit cool on that whole "diamonds are forever" bit? Maybe you're reluctant to prop up the De Beers cartel? Gold is nice, but doesn't it leave a bad taste in your mouth to be such a conformist consumer?
Well this is the project for you, the progressive, self-sufficient DIY'er! Show your love and lasting commitment in the way you know best: by making your own wedding band from a Genuine US Nickel! (or other coinage of your choice)
This is a great beginner wedding band project, suitable for a first engagement or wedding. By the time you're ready for your next wedding band, perhaps i'll have written up how to make something a bit fancier :)
Note: In all candor, I do not personally find this to be an especially attractive ring although I do wear it daily. I think it would be a lot nicer if you can find a thicker coin to use.
Step 1: The Parts
You will need:
A nickel (or other suitable coin). You only want to use coins made from a relatively inert metal: Copper/Brass/Bronze, Silver and Gold are all fine. A US Nickel (75% copper, 25% nickel) will work for ring sizes 7-10 or so (see the comments about possible nickel allergies though). Most other US coins are not suitable because they have a Zinc core, which corrodes rapidly and is bad for you. The Sacagewea dollar is a bronze alloy, so that will work nicely for large fingers. Several of the EU coins are made of bronze alloys, and they come in quite a few sizes.
There are a couple of different fairly easy ways to make the band. You'll need: a vise, a dremel tool (small rotary tool), a drill and a small hand file. Nice to have but not required: a center punch, a reaming tool, a micrometer for measuring the hole size.
Step 2: Mark the Center of the Coin
Use a center punch to make a starting point for the drill. You can use a nail or other pointy thing. Just make sure you get the notch in the center! If you are off, start over on a new coin.
Step 3: Drill a Pilot Hole
Start by drilling a small hole through the center, this will keep any further drilling or reaming on-center. Use cardboard to sandwich the coin when gripping it in the vice to protect it from nicks from the vice.
Step 4: Enlarge the Hole
This is the trickiest part. You need to make the hole large enough to get the dremel tool into it. Once you can get the dremel tool in you make the hole large by grinding away with the dremel, but before you can do that you'll need to enlarge it enough some other way. There are a couple possibilities: you can drill it, use a reamer, or even an industrial hole-punch. Drilling it is a bit tricky because there is not much of the nickel to hold onto while you are drilling - but it is possible if you are slow and careful and don't go too close to the edge with the drill. It may take a few tries to get this done without mangling the coin.
Step 5: Enlarge the Hole More
Use the dremel (rotary) tool with a grinding bit to enlarge and shape the hole to the proper size. Check the fit periodically.
Step 6: Round the Inside Edge
Use the small hand file to round the inside edge of the ring so that it goes on and off smoothly and doesn't cut your finger. You could probably do this step with the dremel tool instead.
Step 7: Buff the Ring to a Mirror Finish
Use a buffing tip on the dremel tool to buff the ring to a mirror finish. You'll want to use buffing compound for best results.
Step 8: Done!
Marvel at your new look!
Note: In all candor, I do not personally find this to be an especially attractive ring although I do wear it daily. I think it would be a lot nicer if you can find a thicker coin to use, I'm currently looking for a thicker bronze coin to replace it with.