How to make a stylish ring from piece from 3/4" copper pipe.

Made with inexpensive plumbing tools, polished with available materials.
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Step 1: Aquiring materials

You need only a few things to make this ring:
  • Copper pipe. 3/4" pipe makes approximately a size 9 or 9.5 ring.
  • Something to cut copper pipe. I use a pipe cutting tool, but a hacksaw would probably work.
  • Something to remove sharp edges. Sandpaper, a file, or a dremel should work.
  • Something to polish the ring. You could try several grades of very fine steel wool, or fine sandpaper, followed by a polishing cloth, or a dremel.

Step 2: Cut the ring

This is actually the easiest part. Grab the pipe, and cut it to size. The best way to do this is to decide how wide you want the ring, then cut it to that width. An alternate method would be to cut a pipe to length for plumbing purposes, then find out you cut it too long. Simply cutting the excess off leaves a ready-to-go ring section! If you are lucky, your wife is not there when you curse at the realize your mistake, and you can tell her you thought this whole thing up as a way to say you love her.

I cut two rings to 1/4" width and one to 3/4" from one section to try different looks.

Step 3: Remove sharp edges

A pipe cutter can leave some very nasty sharp edges on the rim of the ring. A hacksaw would leave some nasty burrs. So we need to get them off.

I tried 3 different bits on my dremel trying to find one that worked. In retrospect, a simple metal file might have worked better, especially as it can get difficult to hold a ring while grinding at it with a 20,000 RPM tool grinding at it fruitlessly. I ended up using a sanding band attachment, which took a good whack at it. A grinding stone was worthless, and a sanding disk was not up to this task.

Make sure to grind not only the inside, but also outside edges. One can still be cut by the part fo the ring away from the finger.
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tear drop14 days ago

you can use a ring stretcher available at amazon

are there any ways of making the ring smaller because its a realy good ring

sysiphus (author)  matthew.byfordloggie4 months ago
The easy way is to use different sized pipe. Not only are there different sizes (1/2", 3/4", etc.) but some have different wall thicknesses, which will change the inside diameter of the ring. (The 3/4" measurement is outside diameter.)

Beyond that, you will need to look at the various jewelry Instructables to find one on sizing rings; I'm pretty sure you are looking at buying equipment to do sizing.
thanks thats realy helpfull ;)
bmac_1511 months ago
Is there a way to keep my finger from turning green
clincoln1 year ago
By the way the copper ring will oxidize and turn your finger green just to let you know
drapeta1 year ago
Pro tip Orion
the way i made mine was i cut the pipe length ways so i got a long strip, then cut a piece with tin snips (heat it with a blow torch then let it cool to make the metal softer) and bent it into a ring shape, then i used lead-free solder to join the ends. it is much more difficult but lets you change the size of the ring if your fingers aren't exactly 3/4"
you can soldier on a symbol or something to cover up the joint- I made a cross with 2 pieces of copper
Is there a cheat sheat for the ring to pipe size? I wear a 13 in rings thats like
22.26mm\0.876in I think. I ask because I don't feel like going to lowes and shoving my fingers into pipes again.
This might save you from getting your finger stuck in a hardware store pipe.
Sorry its not sheat its sheet
dac012204 years ago
I think that one may also try copper fittings for an in-between size, they are slightly bigger then the too small, but still slightly smaller than the too big.
 off topic...but slightly obsessed with the ink series?
Why, yes, Mr. dustfingerssilvertounge (if that is indeed your real name), it's cheap. That's kind of the point.
gilleseg5 years ago
I just purchased a 3/4 inch copper coupling for this project.  My fingers are rather large and this fit me the best.  If you are looking for a somewhat larger size that the 1/4 inch you might try the coupling... Also I am going to try some simple engraving with my diamond tip dremel attachment.  I may do simple lines or circles or something.  Cheers and thanks for the instructable, its great!
Wouldnt the ring make a big green patina ring around your finger?
Yes it does.  if you coat it clear nail polish it should keep the copper from oxydizing on your finger.
freerunnin16 years ago
haha ur finger will go green, i did this before and that happened to me...
If you lacquer it, it will keep the metal from oxidizing.
does regular polyurethane work I know its usually meant for wood... I've also heard clear nail polish works.
Poly is a bit messier and in my experience, more finicky than lacquer, being a plastic. Clear nail polish is essentially the same thing as lacquer. Nail polish remover = acetone = lacquer thinner. If you try poly, good luck; you'll need it.
well I was only asking about polyurethane because I have that on hand, but I just realized that I dont have any pipes the correct size so I have to go to the hardware store anyway.
I tried nailpolish, sticky and it remains sticky forever and becomes irritating on your fingers. My ring is clear in the morning and by the night it becomes greenish, the finger too looks kinda wierd but i don't care.
SG1Oniell5 years ago
lol, didn't think that through eh? using your left hand to take a picture of your right hand with a right handed digital camera.
OrionBlade5 years ago
I used to use ball peen hammers of various sizes to stretch rings I made. clamp one hammer, ball side up, in a vise, and put the ring on the ball, then put another hammer on top, ball side down. You wind up with a C shaped cross section that you can then flatten back out by inserting a rod and hammering the ring between the rod and hammer. This works great, but remember to anneal after every pass. To shrink, get a jeweler's doming block - hammer into the dome, flip, hammer again, then flatten with the same technique. This will shrink the circumference slightly. Good for getting half sizes to a size or so. to go real wacky with size, slit the tube, overlap, and use an oxyacetylene or oxypropane (or even oxy mapp) torch to weld the copper back together - leaves a huge bump from the weld bead, but you can just file or grind that down. I'll post an instructable about how to do a welded ring soon, maybe even a forge welded steel ring too! good work on the cut and polish - wonderfully simple and quite pretty.
I did this at science olympiad today (school science thing) with a leftover bit of pipe. I used a grinding wheel to shine/even it out, and used a dremel to round out the edges. I placed the ring on a dowel rod and pressed it to the grinding wheel, so that the ring spun around the dowel and against the wheel. question about tinning it with solder to resize it smaller, how exactly would you do that? It's too big for my ring finger at the moment, and although i have an iron and such i wouldn't know how to do that without making a mess. Thanks for the tips!
sysiphus (author)  Dr Science115 years ago
I've never tried it on a ring, so I don't know a way that would work. If I were trying it, I would get a very thick flux and apply it very carefully, and very thin, over the whole inside. The solder will follow the flux, so adding a little bit, carefully, may work. Just be ready to have to clean some off the parts you didn't want it to go onto.
davidcarr36 years ago
A 22mm olive fits my fingers perfect and is already convientiently shaped. just throwing it out there....
Troutful6 years ago
Thanks for the great instructional. I tried this last night, and had a ring in about 20 minutes. I applied some additional techniques that my dad, a master plumber, taught me over the years. I thought I'd share them. 1. If the pipe you are cutting from already has a burr or lip on the inside edge from a previous cut, it's easier to remove this before cutting the length for the ring. It's also easier to clean it first this way. Think of the rest of the pipe as a clamp to hold your ring-to-be in place. 2. An excellent tool for polishing is a fine steel wool. I used aluminum sandpaper (don't know the grip, just this strip that my dad uses for plumbing) followed by steel wool. The steel wool not only polishes the surfaces, but does a good job of putting a final touch on smoothing edges. I have thin fingers like the author, and the ring it on my middle finger. I am replacing my lost wedding band, so the final product will have to fit my ring finger one way or another. My first try would be heavier grade tubing. I wore it to bed to test out the green factor, and yes, I do have a green mark from about 6 hours of wearing it. Silver solder on the inside might help this, as someone else suggested. I may be able to tolerate the green finger, but what I don't like is the smell of it. I'm used to wearing a rose gold ring (gold & copper that looks like copper) that didn't have any odor to it. So in order to wear a copper ring, I would have to try out that oxygen-free copper someone mentioned. Thanks again for the great idea!
mkamchin6 years ago
is there any way that you could change the size of the ring with out buyig a different sized tube
i made one in jewelry class. If the ring is SLIGHTLY too small you can use a ring stretcher (like a stepped cone that you pound a rod into to spread out), and annealing doesn't hurt (red hot, left to cool) it's also very easy to make the ring smaller, just slice off a chunk, squeeze it closed, slice off both ends with one cut to even out the ends, solder, file off excess solder, pound round on a ring mandrel (skinny cone), and polish... I guess it's easier if the jewelery department at your school rocks
theRIAA theRIAA6 years ago
You could probably stretch it out a bit since copper is quite malleable but finding something that wont warp the circle would be hard, I suppose you could do it in a few steps witha conical stretching device of some kind... Or heat it enough to make very malleable and use a bar of the right diameter with a taper to get the copper in, however you'd have to get the ring back off again before it gets cool or you may wreck it.
sysiphus (author)  mkamchin6 years ago
I am sure there is a way. I am also sure that I don't know what that way is. Sorry.
WTSerpent6 years ago
I made a copper ring about a month ago, and was surprised to find this. i had done almost exactly what these instructions say. however, i happen to have a ring anvil and a ball-peen hammer lying around. between steps 3 and 4, i lightly hammered the ring to produce an almost golf ball-like texture. to polish it, i used emery cloth. a little while after i made the ring, i was reaching into a cupboard and bumped my hand, and the edge of the ring scraped my skin. though it was a minor wound, it was painful for a while afterward. to avoid this problem, anyone making a ring could file out the inner edge, and/or use nail polish. i have made several more rings since, and both methods seem to work. i was thinking about using brass instead of copper, it doesn't seem to turn your finger green.
kimro6 years ago
yea it will turn your finger green I made a ring a cupple days ago from some copper wire ( using the a Simple wire ring Instructable in the related menu right below this) and mine was vary green by the end of the day (but I'm about as white as they come)
smokehill7 years ago
One warning about a copper ring -- if you have a job or hobby where you may get something heavy dropped on your hand, a soft-metal ring may not be something you should wear (actually, for auto mechanics & others, rings are something that ought to be in your pocket during the workday anyhow). Aside from that little caveat, you might want to check out some of the different "flavors" of copper pipe available. Even though the cheapie joints like Home Depot usually only carry one Harry-Homeowner size of copper pipe, a regular plumbing store will stock several different grades ... I think the grades are K, L & M thickness. The thicker-walled pipes (which is what plumbers use on their own houses, heh heh), will have a smaller inside diameter, I believe, which will yield slighly different "ring sizes." Also, by using the repair couplings or copper joints (not just the tubing itself), you will get larger diameter "tubing," in effect. This should give you a better selection of "sizes" to work with. NIce instructable. With some imagination & basic tools, you could do some interesting decoration, perhaps, too. Drilling in just a wee bit, and either gluing in contrasting metal "dots" (brass?) or filling the cavity with silver solder? Scalloping the edges? soldering on small metal decorations? Engraving with a Dremel, or stamping in letters or numbers like machinists use (cheap sets in Harbor Freight). Nice ... and lots of ways to take it further.
Another further thought for different sizing -- If you brazed or soldered on some sort of metal decoration, that would neatly hide a cut in the ring where you made it smaller ... and would give you a lot of brazing area to hold it together, not just the "ends" where the cut was made.
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