Picture of Scroll saw jig for cutting jump rings
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.

oh my goodness!!!! :D where has this instructables been all my life, this is just what I needed

nerd123 years ago
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.
wombatmorrison (author)  nerd123 years ago
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.

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.

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!
saosport2 years ago
Sweet thanks I have to try this.
Kitty9z2 years ago
Very Clever!! and a very fast way to make a bunch
Thx for sharing your shortcut

Wow thank you! Very cool idea. You saved my sanity!! ;)
mcshawnboy3 years ago
That was pretty useful to me as I have a scrollsaw too & an unfinished collection of parts to build the cutting jig in my link. I think the links in the article to the saw blade & 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.
wombatmorrison (author)  mcshawnboy3 years ago
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 & 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
cokecola3 years ago
Thanks for your idea. I've been looking for a cheaper way to cutting rings and this is great.
wombatmorrison (author)  cokecola3 years ago
You welcome. I'm glad to share what's worked well for me.
rimar20003 years ago
Very clever, thanks for sharing it. I make wire rings sometimes, and cutting them is the worst part, without a jig.