Introduction: One Cent Arrowhead

Picture of One Cent Arrowhead

intro: in this instruct-able, I will show you how to make an arrowhead for one cent. 

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Step 1: Gather Materials
you will need
1 Hammer
1 Set of scissor-like incredibly strong  cutting device. (must be able to cut a penny)
1 Penny
Vice (semi-optional, you can probably get it to work without, but it makes life easier)
flat head screw driver

Step 2: Making the Arrow Head

Picture of Making the Arrow Head

       use the hammer to flatten the penny as thin as possible without tearing the metal
besides making it sharper it work hardens the metal, making it stronger.
      cut the penny into a sharp wedge shape, about 30 degrees.

Step 3: Making the Arrowhead 2

Picture of Making the Arrowhead 2

Cut of the round bottom of the arrowhead.

Step 4: Making the Notches for Attachment

Picture of Making the Notches for Attachment

Using the Flathead like a chisel, make to notches on either side of the arrowhead to wrap string through for the attachment to the shaft

Step 5: Sharpening

Picture of Sharpening

using the whet stone sharpen the edges at about a 27 degree angle. pay special attention to the tip. 

now your ready to attach the arrowhead.


Think_Design_Build (author)2014-12-13

Using tins snips would make cutting the penny much easier and will also protect your scissors.

cepinstruct (author)2013-10-18

I've seen this before and when I tried it I couldn't get the penny right. So I used a quarter and just cut it without hammering it. Worked great.

jamob (author)2013-08-12

Melt and mold it into an arrow shape and will look much better and easier to shape, use a torch and pennies. It's not illegal to destroy coins to harvest the materials that make them

Nomadichuntergatherer (author)2012-06-07

There's a fun discussion of the relative merits of pennies versus nickles (if i remember correctly) as arrowheads toward the end of George Stewart's post-apocalyptic novel _Earth Abides_. Your Instructible made me think of a favorite book I haven't thought of in like 20 years.

Question: Does anyone have experience doing this with very heavy gauge copper wire?

DIY-Guy (author)2013-03-06

Thanks for mentioning the URL, it has nothing to do with coins minted by the Treasury Department. That particular code only relates to Federal Reserve Notes and similarly paper issued by other private banks (even the so-called "Federal" Reserve Banks.)

Here's the pertinent part:

"§ 333.  Mutilation of national bank obligations.
Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
[Codified to 18 U.S.C. 333]"

Federal Reserve Notes (so-called dollar bills) are "evidences of debt" and although they are denominated in dollars, they are actually a "note" which is the same as an I-Owe-You promise to pay.

Coins are minted by the united states and are not the same as "national bank obligations."
Your mileage may vary, and as always- DO CONSULT WITH AN EXCELLENT CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER IF YOU INTEND TO MODIFY A COIN. (Your busybody neighbor might just start an investigation that will leave you fighting to prove your innocence.)

Lokisgodhi (author)2012-09-27

I don't see the point of wasting one's time doing this.

There's a classified ad in Backwoodsman magazine which sells trade point arrowheads made from banding steel. The steel strapping they use to bind loads to trucks, pallets and railroad cars.

 You're far better off using steel banding, which you could probably get all you want for free just for hauling it off from a local business like a lumber yard.

All you do by hammering on soft metal like zinc and then filing it to shape is waste your time making an inferior item.

yobwoc (author)Lokisgodhi2013-02-25

I've had my own experience with banding steel, and to be honest, most of it is too thin to really be that sturdy, and bent up, too. Besides, while banding steel is cheaper in cost, for most a penny is much more convenient. I realize steel is superior to copper for this job in general, but a penny is thicker and sturdier.

Lokisgodhi (author)yobwoc2013-02-26

Pennies aren't made of copper anymore. They're made of zinc with a thin copper plate.

I mentioned the steel banding specifically because it's used to make arrowheads by the primitive archery community.

The best way to be successful is to copy someone else's success.

tech hamster1101 (author)2012-12-23

i noticed that wen the peny was hit alot its edges turn bright silver

videogamemaster (author)2011-04-09

Isn't it illegal to deface money (Including coins) like this? Just saying....

astrong0 (author)videogamemaster2011-04-10

No, it's only illegal if you try and (knowingly defacing it) try to buy something with it.

videogamemaster (author)astrong02011-04-11

Ah. I see. If that's the case, maybe you could make an arrow head that costs 5 cents (In the form of a nickel, obviously) and get a more traditional silver color.

A "more traditional silver color?" How many years have folks been working with steel, and how many years have they been working with copper?

At least five years.

you could try, but nickel is a lot harder than copper and zinc, and a nickel is thicker.

jschultz9 (author)Rockser112011-11-13

it may be thicker, but it would provide a better arrowhead. it'd just be a little more work.

Rockser11 (author)jschultz92012-04-14

but would the increase in quality be worth the increase in work? one of the reasons a penny works so well is that copper and zinc both have low melting points, meaning that they can be shaped easily. if you find a way, please, tell me.

flamekiller (author)astrong02011-06-11

Specifically, it's only illegal to deface money in an attempt to make it appear more valuable' e.g. trying to pass a penny as a dime.

.....How would you turn a penny into a dime? Their completely different colors.

How to Make Silver Pennies

Pour a spoonful of zinc (1-2 grams) into a small beaker or evaporating dish containing water.
Add a small quantity of sodium hydroxide.
Alternatively, you could add zinc to a 3M NaOH solution.
Heat the mixture to near-boiling, then remove it from heat.
Add clean pennies to the solution, spacing them so that they are not touching each other.
Wait 5-10 minutes for them to turn silver, then use tongs to remove the pennies from the solution.
Rinse the pennies in water, then set them on a towel to dry.
You can examine the pennies once you have rinsed them.

This chemical reaction plates the copper in the penny with zinc. This is called galvanization. The zinc reacts with the hot sodium hydroxide solution to form soluble sodium zincate, Na2ZnO2, which is converted to metallic zinc when it touches the surface of the penny.

So I was using a relevant coin as an example. I never said it was practical.

Ever see a (new-ish) penny without its copper cladding though?

Eh... No.

thats what i ment

Lol, apparently astrong0 didn't read you're comment

yup lol :D

not unless you try to re spend it

de0509 (author)2012-04-19

Cost of materials... 1 cent...

overhead cost????? (electricity, tools maintenance, labour... etc)

making your own sharp weapon.... priceless XD

jschultz9 (author)2011-11-13

ouch what did you hammer that on, concrete? find a smooth metal surface to hammer on and it'd be easier to shape.

Rockser11 (author)jschultz92012-04-14

yeah, i learned that. didn't have a good surface around at the time though.

Noodles For Free (author)2012-03-28

why not just grind down the penny to a sharp poitn and use that as a strengthener for an a dowel or stick that has been ran through a pensil sharpener?

rockgod1 (author)2011-08-22

useless and non practical, couldn't last a through even 1 target if you could by some means attach it to an arrow.

Mugsy Knuckles (author)rockgod12011-12-08

Not everyone uses arrows for targets in the park. Some people use them to shoot animals, which are made of meat.

mpinson (author)rockgod12011-11-17

im sorry to correct you on what you think you know, but if it is attached properly, using the old cordage and pine method, it is very functional

brooklynlord (author)2011-07-15

Well, how exactly do you put the arrowhead to the arrow?

mpinson (author)brooklynlord2011-11-17

i use cordage since thats the purpose of the notches, then dip it in a little bit of pine tar, and cook the the tar with fire, if done right you get a VERY sturdy arrow tip

not a arrow head!

i learned how to do this in boy scouts it works just fine

ironsmiter (author)2010-09-29

not that much bigger, when flattened out...
I'd go straight from penny to cutting the wedge shape, then sharpen edges on a rock, nail file, sharpening stone, even a knife blade(carefully) can be used to give it a nice sharp edge.

Certainly good for a few shots.
Any hard targets though(wood, bone, etc.) and you'll be making new arrow heads. cheap and easy enough though. just make 10 cents worth of spares, and keep them in your pocket :-)

Rockser11 (author)ironsmiter2010-11-25

it shouldn't break of, as long as its secured to the shaft well.

enentrup (author)Rockser112011-07-11

that's what she said.

bruc33ef (author)2010-09-29

Sometimes there are solutions to problems right under your nose. This is a great example. I wonder how many bushcraft or survival types have gone around searching for a suitable stone to make an arrowheads with when they could've just dug into their pocket for a coin. It could be flattened out with a rock and scraped into an arrowhead shape in not too much time. I'm giving this one four stars.

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