How to Cut Coins to Make Jewelry

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Introduction: How to Cut Coins to Make Jewelry

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Metal Challenge

Have you ever wondered about this cool beautiful designs on coins like state quarters and world coins and said hey i think this could be a great key chain or a pendant??
If you did here is how to make it, if you didn't then here is the idea and also how to make it.

Step 1: What You Need to Get Started

first coins are really small and when you try to hold it down on a bench pin to cut with a jeweler saw will put lots of strain on your fingers joints , if you are cutting one or two then it's okay to use your hands if you are cutting many as a hobby or business then you need a better solution
If you gonna use your hands skip to the next step if not then you need to make this jig for coin holding

Tools
a drill with a drill bit and driver bit
a saw to cut the piece of wood (optional)
a pliers to tighten the wires (you don't need it if you get the steel hanging pictures wire)

Materials
- a diamond shaped hinge
- a piece of scrap wood about 8 inches long and have a whole 1.5 inches from the end , the whole could be any size bigger than the nail or bolt you are using from 3/8th to 1 inch because the hinge holes are 1/4 "
- 2 rubber rings
- a piece of wire about 5 feet long depends on the height of your desk (i recommend a 3 foot high desk or the height of your chest)
try use a steel picture hanging wire because the one in the picture didn't perform as required and i had to replace it
- 2 wood screw to fasten the hinge to the scrap piece of wood
- a nail that has a hole in its end or a carriage bolt and you can attach the wire between two nuts the idea here is to have anything smooth in the hinge holes , a thread will keep stopping the hinge from fully closing
- a spring in the hardware store it was #4
- a washer that fits the nail or bolt you are using

Assembly
- first glue the rubber rings to the tips of the hinge with super glue , they protect the coins you are cutting from scratches and also they make a better grip on the coin doesn't make em slide

- attach the hinge to the piece of wood with the 2 screws

- get the spring and the washer and nail and assemble them like in the pictures below
- thread the wire through the nail hole and tighten it firmly
- wrap the other end of the wire to a any piece of steel or hard wood (anything that will work as a pedal or foot rest  get creative)
- you are done just attach the jig to your desk using a clamp or screws what ever you like

optional
you can get a small fish tank air bump and attach it to the jig to blow away the metal filing while you are cutting because they really get in the way and block you from seeing the details and as a rule of thumb
"if you can't see it you can't cut it"

you can use a small paint brush to brush the filings away

Step 2: Get Your Coins and Start Cutting

for this instructable i used an Egyptian coin (50 piasters modern)  i brought with me from home
- use a center punch to mark where your holes are going to be that's very important because the drill bit tends to wander off and scratch your coin surface for ever
- drill the holes  i use a flex shaft with assortment of fine drill bits ranging from 0.5 mm to 1.5 mm depends on the coin design
- now use a jeweler's saw with fine blades to cut the coins mainly you would use a 0/4 swiss blades but depends on the level of details in the coin and the material of the coin some coins are copper or silver or brass some are steel and alloys of different kinds
don't worry the blades will cut through anything  so for starter just stick to 0/4 will get you through most coins just fine
-  now i won't tell you how to cut there are instructables that teaches you that and first of all you have to experience it yourself and practice it to learn how so just start and do it and you will learn after breaking so many blades and using so many curse words and injuring yourself couple of times (all depends on your temper really)

Step 3: Make It Pretty

up till now that was the usual coin cutting technique that are used by many and you can find it sold every where on ebay and etsy
me included but i sell prettier ones and i here show you how to do it.

depends on your coin color yo can have a different color background that will accent the coin and really makes a difference of the over all look
as in the example in this instructables the coin cut was golden color so i think adding a copper background will be very pretty

so get a piece of copper and cut it the same size as the coin you are using leave a small area protruding from the circle so you can make a hole in it to hang the coin from (like in the picture)

now you have a lot of choices you can texture your background or shine it to a high luster finish whatever you like what ever floats your boat
for this example i went with textured background so i got the piece of copper and used an engraver i bought from HF for like 5$ and made this textures in the pictures for the front and back  (you can substitute the engraver with a nail and a hammer and a lot hammering)

sometimes a hammered look background (you can achieve by hammering the copper with a ball peen hammer) looks pretty too it all depend on your taste and the coin you are working with

after you are done with texturing use a brass brush to scrub the background piece it will make it shine and get rid of dirt and small filings and then you can clean it with rubbing alcohol so to get rid of grease on it




Step 4: Putting It Together

now you have your shiny cut coin and your shiny textured background but wait they are 2 pieces and you want em to be 1 piece okay here is how
i use clear epoxy resin to put em together and also to protect the coin from scratching and tarnishing afterwards

the instructions for using the epoxy may differ from a brand to another  the brand i use clear cast instructions is as follow

- mix ratio is 1 : 1 and  for 1 coin i would mix 10 drops of each would be enough
- stir for 2 minutes and then pour it in another container and stir for 2 more minutes
- pour the mix slowly on the background first just enough to cover it and then place the coin on top and move it around till you center it exactly in place
- continue pouring on top of the coin till you cover it
- try look for any bubbles forming and get rid of them and let it to dry
- you're done

Step 5: Final Product

now after the epoxy solidifies you are done just use it as a key chain or a pendant or even hang it on the wall

here are some pictures of the final result

the actual product is much more impressive than the picture because the texture surface reflects the light  when held in different angles which is so pretty.

thank you for reading through this

if you like please rate and vote for me in the metal challenge contest

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45 Comments

Ooooo, You are GOOD! Thank you. I figure the hardest part will be making the jig (for me at least), if I can get through that, I'm IN! Thank you again for sharing your genius with a "needs help" like me!

i'm already fed up.. i've been trying to cut a US gold dollar liberty and i've broken 9 blades in the last 2 days. i've tried a 1/0 and a 2. its not working and the blades are binding and breaking. I'm out of options i can't find an answer as to why. Any suggestions i'm about to chuck it all. Someone please email me knight16a1@gmail.com. please i hate to think i wasted all that money on a saw and blades.

A bit of beeswax helps.

when you say the blades bind and break i believe it's not stringed correctly in the saw the best way to know if you have the blade at the right tension is after you string it in the saw strum it with your thumb if you hear a ringing tone then it's done right if you hear a thud like tone its too tight and if it doesn't do any sound or just a click then it's too loose , other than that try with a blank piece of metal make sure you are not cutting a metal that is too thick with the blade sizes you listed , let me know if you have any more questions.

Those look killer loved the gold rush. Nice Work I have all the tools dont Know if I got the hands and eyes, it will become a iron in thr fire for sure Thanks for yhe inspiration

practice makes perfect you will never know unless you try you might surprise yourself and got a talent just needs to be uncovered.

You don't need to use the rubber "soft jaws" that come with a ball vice if You want a firmer hold, or make a set from sheet lead that really holds them where You set the position on Your new Ball Vice. ~:-}

Ball vices come with a pair of rubber "soft jaws" included and can be locked in any position. ~ : - }

try to loosen the "vise" and reposition the coin and re tighten it every time you need to make any cut other than straight lines which is almost non existent on coins

~ : - }

very handy instructable

just worry though, i'm UK- if i did that to Queeny it's called treason and they can still legally put you in the tower for it......you sure it's ok for all other coinage? ;-)