Picture of Home made aluminum thick pick with engraving.
In this Instructable I'll be teaching you how to create a cool aluminum pick just with simple materials and tools, the engraving part it's optional but it's quite easy and doesn't requires special abilities or machinery.

I don't play any string instruments, I did this pick for a friend who plays the bass, I guess this kind of picks should be used with instruments that require high pressure on the cords in order to play, I can't give additional information about the ideal pick for each person, I just can say it's easier to work with a 3mm aluminum pick and it's easier round shape with it.

You will need:

-Aluminum sheet (3mm works best).
-Jeweler's saw.
-Metal file.
-Sand paper (150->200->300 or more)
-A rag.

Engraving part (optional):
-Paint (I chose black)

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Step 1:

Picture of
First, cut the basic shape of the pic, you might want to use a template from the internet, I used a Gibson bass pick as my reference.

P.D: Sorry for the mess.

Step 2:

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When you're done cutting it out, round the imperfections with the file so you end with an smooth and even curve.

When finished draw a cross like the one in the picture, then draw a circle, that will give you a basic idea of where do you have to remove material.

P.D: New files can be more difficult to use than old files, I recommend using an old file for this job because it won't get stuck as often as a new one, if you're using a dremel a belt sander or similar then good for you, but take care and check the process periodically because you'll possibly remove too many material and make the pick look uneven.

alames3 months ago
Regarding new files, try buying finer toothed files, and try oil or wd40 on them. I keep 6 different grades of file on hand, and a bit of oil makes them work wonders. Guy Lautard makes a stand he stores files in with them immersed in oil.
ck00506 months ago

You can try using that fingernail polishing blocks. The ones that have 4 different grains. Use that to make the final polishing procedure and you will be amazed of the results.

mauro12mdp1 year ago

How do you polish the aluminum? I mean, With which material does the polisher polish aluminum? any polisher will do? (I don't have a polisher that's why I'm asking hehe)
I've tried to even the surface of an aluminum project of mine with the finest sandpaper available but it always made the surface look scratchy. By the way, I've noticed that the pick you've built HAS some scratches, is there anyway to avoid this? polishing harder?

Victor8o5 (author)  mauro12mdp1 year ago
There are many polishers available on the market, I didn't wanted to be specific because of that fact.

I used a silicone base polisher (titan was the brand), but if you have a polishing wheel or a dremel you can use a polishing wax brick, fine sandpaper over metals will leave some scratches, no matter how hard you try, you can give it a shiny look but it's not polished.

Yeah, my pick has scratches, and that's because I jumped from 80 grit to 150 and then 250, the 80 grit scratches are still visible in some places even after all the sanding made, and that's because I wanted to go too fast and used a very large grit and I couldn't correct it without changing the original shape too much, so I left it that way.

Thanks very much for your answer! I'll follow your advice =)

Kiteman1 year ago

Picky point on the science; HCl releases hydrogen gas when it reacts with aluminium. Perfectly safe in the quantities released here.

Otherwise, that's a really nice piece, I didn't know picks could be metallic!

Victor8o5 (author)  Kiteman1 year ago

Oh, thanks, I always thought it was dangerous, nice to know it, I'm going to edit that part.

I've seen thin metallic picks for guitars, the thick ones are usually used to play the bass, my friends say there's a whole world about the picks and It mostly depends on the person who plays the instrument, I've even seen meteorite made picks.

P.D: Sorry for the rotated pictures, for some reason something rotates them, I used the same camera in my other projects but this happens since I started using firefox.

I wish I could rotate the pics in the image editor.

If you use the new editor to tweak your project, it has Pixlr "built in", which can rotate images.

Victor8o5 (author)  Kiteman1 year ago

I had not realized I could until now, thanks again Kiteman.

Mrballeng1 year ago

This is great. Very cool.