Instructables
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I made this pendant using the "Dusky Salamander" as a model. It's made from a section of 3/16" steel dowel rod and a paper clip. I had a good time making it. The rod is available at any home improvement store.

 
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Step 1: Turn the dowel

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Chuck the section of dowel into a drill press. The one I’m using is an 8” press laid on it’s side.

Spin the dowel and shave down the desired profile with a file.

Make sure it cools off before you touch it.

Step 2: Hammer out the body

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Use a torch to heat up the body. Hammer the head side flat. Since a salamander has a tail made for swimming turn the body 90 degrees before you hammer the tail section. See the pictures.

During this step use pliers to bend the body the way you want it, but first use a sanding attachement to rough out the shape.

Make sure not to touch hot metal until it cools down.

Step 3: Refine the shape

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Use rotary tools to shape the body.

To further refine it use a set of hobby files.

Step 4: Make the arms and legs

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Cut two sections of paper clip. Bend them into the desired shape for arms and legs. Use vise grips to flatten out the feet.

Step 5: Solder and polish

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Cut two grooves on the belly side of the body. Make sure they fit the paper clip limbs. Apply soldering flux to the grooves and limbs. Solder the limbs in place.

Use progressively finer sand paper to polish the salamander. I start with 400 grit, then move on to 1000, 2000, and finally polishing compound on a polishing wheel. The jump ring is also made from a paper clip.
 
Thanks for viewing.
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1307invert2 years ago
Say, how do you keep your pieces from rusting? it seems like, with such a high polish, that the wearer might have to oil it or such to keep it from growing a dusky red skin. am I missing something obvious?
Mrballeng (author)  1307invert2 years ago
I've noticed that the more a steel surface is polished the less likely it is to rust. Rust is not a problem though unless the piece is in constant contact with moisture. My sister has a few of my pieces and uses clear nail polish with sucess. I've heard there's a liquid called "cold blue" used for gun metal. I'll try it if I ever come across it.
ilpug Mrballeng10 months ago
check the gun section of a sporting goods store
abbycr1 year ago
Hi! I've been following your instructibles for months now, and they got me dreaming about metal work, etc.-- I now have a dremel and access to my brothers' tools, plus a torch. And I made the salamander for a birthday gift! :) It didn't turn out quite like I wanted and I had to improvise some--I used a common nail and turned it down in a drill (nearly perished in the attempt) and bent the body--that was hardest, with a combination of tools, bench vice etc. I was about sick of it till I was done but my brother loved it so it was all worth it! And I just had to show you my dragonfly because I did the body like the salamander--never would have thought it up. I'm thinking brass monkey and spider sometime down the road! And if I ever get my hands on bullet casings, survival whistle, here I come! Thanks for being such a resource and source of inspiration.
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Mrballeng (author)  abbycr1 year ago
Man!!! Those look great. You've got to share the steps on your dragonfly. I know what you mean about getting burnt out. Figuring out how to work metal took me hours on end. Now I can make something in an afternoon from thought to finished piece. But I sure didn't start like that. Hopefully these instructables take out some of the guess work. Thanks for posting the pictures.
neilh1 year ago
Here's my first attempt. I am happy with the shape, but need to watch the tool marks a bit. I don't have a drill press but put a hand drill in a vise and used a C-clamp to gently pull the trigger.

I might re-sand this one to fix a couple spots and then re-polish it.
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Mrballeng (author)  neilh1 year ago
Good work! Thanks for posting pictures.
Made this as a Christmas gift for the wife and she loved it. Thanks for the Instructable!
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Mrballeng (author)  Jeff-of-all-trades2 years ago
I was looking back at this instructable and cannot believe I did not reply to your awesome work. You did a great job! Seeing posts like yours keep me going. Thanks!
black hole2 years ago
I made a Negishi Ryu shuriken using this method. I never would have tried if it weren't for this 'ible.
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Mrballeng (author)  black hole2 years ago
Whoa! That turned out great. Good work!
Thanks!
hechao3 years ago
hello, nice work! what kind steel is that, it's really difficult to shave it ... the press should be very strong?
Mrballeng (author)  hechao3 years ago
There is nothing special about this steel. It's just a plain metal rod from the hardware store. I think I paid about $2 for it. It was very easy to shave down. It took me about 5 minutes. The press is just a normal drill press laid on it's side.
Excellent 'ible, Im finishing up one now as a gift for a caving friend of mine. I ended up using 3 nails, one large one for the body and two small ones for the legs. I turned it on a hand held power drill using a bastard file and used a cheapo propane plumbing torch to heat it for bending. Looks good so far, thanks for the idea and guide (will add a pic when Im finished)!
tmack0 tmack02 years ago
as promised, my version made from nails
thanks again for the instructable!
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Mrballeng (author)  tmack02 years ago
You really did a great job! My hat off to you. I know your friend will love it. Thanks for posting a photo.
I had a drill press, the speed of motor is 1420 RPM, but I can switch the belt on the gears, so the speed can go to 3100, and the power of it is 250W (the motor is 1/3HP), does it good to do this? I bought a stainless steel rod type 303, is it a good one? Thanks again!

I took a look of all your work, nice! impressive!
Mrballeng (author)  hechao3 years ago
Sounds like my drill press. It should work fine. About the stainless steel, I've never had any luck soldering with it though it wouldn't hurt to give it a try.
Lildevil9633 years ago
very nice also ty for the instructable on polishing it saved many unpolished things from being make fun of :P
Mrballeng (author)  Lildevil9633 years ago
"Haha your tarnished." =)
p.ingenhoff3 years ago
super arbeit!!!
42lwood3 years ago
This is very neat and pretty, and extremely cheap compared to most jewelry stores, but I think the Ible could have been worded better.
triumphman3 years ago
What type of solder did you use, silver solder, 50/50, 50/60, like the plumbers use for copper pipe ? Flux type ? Nice job, I can't believe those paper clips made such nice legs! Awesome ! Got to try this ASAP! Thanks for sharing your expertise!
Yes, i completely agree with you i must also know for i have want to make a salamander from steel dowling!! ah the skills learned from drama class.
Drama? 0_0
ya i was doing the lights for a play at my school and that was one of the lines in it......except for the salamander part. So no i was never in drama. do you not care for drama?
No I do care I just didn't think u learn that stuff in drama
it was more of "by chance" that i heard it.
Mrballeng (author)  triumphman3 years ago
I picked up the solder in the plumbing section at walmart. I'm not sure what the ratio is though a picture of the solder and flux is on my philips head earrings instructable. Don't forget to post your pictures.
astrong03 years ago
how long was the straight piece on the press?
Mrballeng (author)  astrong03 years ago
I used the scientific length of my index finger for the over all length. The salamander it self was measured from the tip of my idex finger to the second joint.
such high precision instruments you have!!
abvnatter3 years ago
That's beautiful. Thanks for posting. My gf really liked that you staged it on the polished rocks.
Mrballeng (author)  abvnatter3 years ago
Cool! I'm glad you two liked it.
chaitanyak3 years ago
this is one of my favourites in the metal work diys!
Mrballeng (author)  chaitanyak3 years ago
Thanks a million.
janemermaid3 years ago
This is a really gorgeous thing, thanks for posting it! Are you making any more? would you ship me one?
Mrballeng (author)  janemermaid3 years ago
I hadn't planned on making more. This was a specific gift for someone. Give me an idea, what's specific to you?
astrong03 years ago
Also, very well done instructable, clear and easy to understand.
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