Picture of Machining a Steel Jewelry Box
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Ahh, the unconventional things we do for love. I made this jewelry box for my wife for Valentines Day. Now all I have to do is make something to put in it.

To make it I used an electrical conduit connector, plexiglass, 22 gauge sheet metal, auto body filler, paint, and leather. After about 200,000 revolutions this is what turned out.

This video shows me turning body filler on the inside of the jewelry box.

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Step 1: Cut the bottom out

Picture of Cut the bottom out
The conduit connector has flat edges and corners because it’s designed to be gripped by a wrench or pliers. All that will be machined off. Also machined off is half the threads we won't be using.

Once it’s off, I’ll continue to shape the body with 40 grit sand paper.

Safety first: Wear a dust mask. Watch out for the metal shavings that come off. They’re very hot. Be careful and work within your experience.

Step 2: Remove some threads

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I cut off six threads. That way the lid has to only turn 3 revolutions to open and close.

Step 3: Shape and Polish

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I continued to shape the box until it no longer had any flat edges or corners. I moved on to progressively finer sand paper. I first used 40 then 180, 400, 800, and then 2000. I kept the sand paper wet to keep it from clogging up.

As the piece polishes it gives the appearance that it stops moving. Once all the imperfections are polished away the sense of motion is lost and all you see is a shiny ring even though it’s still spinning at 2,500 rpm. It’s pretty cool.

Step 4: Solder in the bottom

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I used sheet metal for a floor in the jewelry box. First I traced the foot print onto the metal. Next I cut it out and glued it onto a mounting piece I made from a bolt soldered to a quarter.

I machined the circle down until it just barely fit into the bottom. Next I soldered it in.
Corinbw14 days ago

I have always wanted a lathe, and now that I have used some in high school. And I can see what they can make I really want one. Really really. How much was yours?

Mrballeng (author)  Corinbw12 days ago
It was around $400 with a coupon from harbor freight.
This is beautiful, amazing, pretty, gorgeous, lovely, awesome and nice.
Or, in other words, prettiest jewelry box I've ever seen!
Mrballeng (author)  emilyvanleemput1 year ago
Thanks you so much. Nice of you to say!
You're welcome!
All I can say is "WOW"!!!
U do nice work. I like this one very much. I like ur others also as long as no coins before 1965 was not harmed in anyway or fashion. I'm a coin collector & it just hurts my soul when people destroy Buffalo Nickels & any coin before 1965.
Thank u for this one. U made a piece of junk fittings & made them alive. Nice!!
drdoesit2 years ago
I found your vids over on Youtube and jumped over here. I would like to thank you for your efforts to share these projects with everyone. I am sure I will using some of your ideas in my own shop.
Mrballeng (author)  drdoesit2 years ago
Alright! Thanks for taking the time to let me know.
canucksgirl3 years ago
Congratulations on winning the Valentine's Day Challenge! ;)
Mrballeng (author)  canucksgirl3 years ago
Thanks! It took about 78 instructables worth of practice to get it. I'm really greatful.
That's really nice. Your wife will love it and probably has plenty you have already made her to put in it. Ha you might need to be looking to make a bigger one even! You got a winner any which way you look at it and think you wife has got a definite winner too!
i agree with you...
Mrballeng (author)  barefootbohemian3 years ago
I'll make sure she reads this comment=) Thanks.
grendel10973 years ago
I can't say it any better than " Well done. " hope she likes the work.
Skill and affection in one handsome piece of work. How good to see aMini-Lathe task which isn't a model loco or a useful bit of machinery!
zomfibame3 years ago
Wow. Nice.
Kryptonite3 years ago
I was admring the build before I realised what you made it out of, and my mind was blown! That is definitely the most amazing pipe coupler I have ever seen.

I'm sure you'll made your special someone very happy happy with this.
sharkh2o3 years ago
Stunning piece - you never cease to amaze me.
Mrballeng (author)  sharkh2o3 years ago
jonnyd553 years ago
This is quality..... great idea of using the connector...if this does not win the valentine comp.....there is no justice in the world.
Phil B3 years ago
You did a fine job. It would be very handy to have a metal lathe. Harbor Freight has a red metal lathe. Is yours from Harbor Freight or from someone else? If it is from Harbor Freight, how is it working for you? Thanks.
Mrballeng (author)  Phil B3 years ago
Yes it's from Harbor Freight. I got mine while it was on sale and was allowed to use a 20% off coupon on top of that. It cost me $400. I'm happy with it. It's just a little on the small side as far as making adjustments to the set up of the machine but I think it was worth the money.
Thanks. I wondered how those work. In my fantasy world I would have a metal lathe, but it will probably never happen in the real world. I am very thankful to have welding equipment and wonder how I ever got along without it for so many years..
pheenix423 years ago
The things we do for love, indeed. At least it ain't like the song by 10CC!

(ugh, now I'm carbon-dating myself)

Another splendid project!
Oh Bato, you cant be old, you're a cyborg!

And about the project, WOW, I would plotz if my hubby made that for me :D
Mr.Sanchez3 years ago
Now That´s a Valentine Gift and a sure winner.
canucksgirl3 years ago
Beautiful. I'm sure your wife will be very happy. :)