My son volunteered to teach a basic chainmail workshop at a family camp.  He had two hours and wanted to give the students ready made rings - but it's no fun to cut so many rings by hand.  A search online showed many variations on cutting jump rings with a jeweler's saw and variations on using a rotary tool/flexshaft with a circular jewelry blade and some kind of jig to hold the coils steady for sawing.  Well, we don't have a jeweler's saw or small, very thin rotary blades... but I have my trusty RBI Hawk scroll saw.  Mmmmm.  Here's what I came up with using stuff from the garage:  This is faster than handsawing jumprings, but not as fast as a dedicated rotaty saw jump ring cutter.

I used:

2 x 4 inch lumber scraps (2 x 2 inch or similar also works)
drill bits
drill bit gauge
fine toothed scroll saw blades (varies with gauge of wire used, but something like 40 - 60 tpi should work - thinner kerf is better)
metal rod to use as a ring mandrel - I used 1/4 inch metal rod and 3/16 inch brass rod
non-ferrous metal for making rings - I used 17 ga. aluminum wire for electric horse fencing - $22 for 1/4 mile spool of wire.
drill press or hand drill
metal file

drill driver to help speed up coiling the wire
small wood dowels or skewers the same size as the coil mandrels.

Wire of your choice:  Any non-ferrous (no iron or steel) wire should work, but test a small sample before you coil up tons of rings. 

 Standard SAFETY warning:  be careful when using sharp tools and power tools.

Step 1: Wrapping the wire coils

There are many ways to get wire coils, you can find lots of ideas online.  Here's a summary:
1.  Hand wind wire around a rod of the desired size - you can use metal rods, metal hole punches, plastic pen barrels, knitting needles etc.  Wood dowels and skeweres don't work that well because tightly wound wire can crush the wood and get stuck on the dowel.
2.  Hand wind wire on a crank style mandrel - this is easier on your wrists.
3.  Insert rod into the check of a and electric screw driver or drill.  Wear gloves to protect your hands and guide wire onto the slowly spinning mandrel.  Use scrap lumber with a hole drilled in one end to support one (or both) ends of the mandrel as it spins.  My son has strong hands and loves to use the cordless drill driver to wrap coils - I like to hand wind coils.

<p>thanks for the great idea of the wooden block for cutting the rings :-) I have used so many different ways but end up in a mess :-/ this block idea is the best I have seen outside of the rininnator :-)</p>
<p>&iexcl;Great idea! I will do it for sure :D &iexcl;Thanks!</p>
<p>oh my goodness!!!! :D where has this instructables been all my life, this is just what I needed </p>
i had a simpler and faster idea. get a dowel or PVC pipe. wrap metal wire around it like a tight spring. take a small dremel cutting wheel and cut the sprint just enough to snap it apart. it is very fast.
Yes, a Dremel cutoff wheel could be faster... but the kerf is pretty wide and not suitable for small rings. You can get very thin metal saw blades for rotary tools, which I've been told work really well. Scroll saws are slow, but I already had one in the garage :-). Also, it is safe enough that my kids can use the cutting jig - I am not sure I'd want them to use a cut off wheel yet. Thanks.
<p>If you use a thin blade slitting disk for the dremel please remember to drop a drop or two of light machine oil on the coil before you start. It makes it go so much better. I have done the slitting saw with galvanized as well as Stainless steel. As long as you use oil no problem.</p>
Very nice! makes the whole operation so much easier! Thanks for taking the time to share your ingenuity!
I bet this would work with a jeweler's saw too. The slots may need to be a little wider to prevent breakage of the blade, but this is something I'm definitely going to try!
Sweet thanks I have to try this.
Very Clever!! and a very fast way to make a bunch <br>Thx for sharing your shortcut <br> <br>
Wow thank you! Very cool idea. You saved my sanity!! ;)
That was pretty useful to me as I have a scrollsaw too &amp; an unfinished collection of parts to build the cutting jig in my link. I think the links in the article to the saw blade &amp; spindle are out of date but I found a source in Ohio. http://www.mailleartisans.org/articles/articledisplay.cgi?key=6667 It's older, but seems an upgrade to UR project.
Thanks. I looked at the jig in your link - it looks much faster than mine. Scroll saw is not fast, but it's what I already had on hand. If I ever decide to mass produce rings, a circular jeweler's saw &amp; spindle seem like the best way to go.
sent this link to a friend who make his own chainmail armor he will be thrilled to learn of a faster way to cut many rings at once, thank you
Thanks for your idea. I've been looking for a cheaper way to cutting rings and this is great.
You welcome. I'm glad to share what's worked well for me.
Very clever, thanks for sharing it. I make wire rings sometimes, and cutting them is the worst part, without a jig.

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