!!!Caution!!! Melting pennies will release Zinc Oxide fumes which cause flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, nausea, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, joint pains, shortness of breath, chest pain, and cough. Use a well ventilated area with power assisted ventilation to avoid breathing these fumes.

That being said, this is ring made from pennies. You can smelt the copper coating off leaving you with zinc. Pennies minted after 1983 are all made like this.

You don’t have to have a lathe to do this. You could always hammer the ingot flat and follow the nickel ring instructions. A surprising thing is how lite it is. My wedding ring is the same size weighing 8 grams. This ring weighs in at 3.

Step 1: Smelt

smelt 1 (sm lt). v. smelt·ed, smelt·ing, smelts. v.tr. To melt or fuse (ores) in order to separate the metallic constituents.

I placed 10 pennies on a spoon and heated them with a propane torch. The spoon was held with locking pliers, which was held by a wooded clamp. Once the zinc liquefied I removed the copper with a metal probe (I used a light tester I had near by).

I then poured it into a section of ½” pipe and let it cool off.

<p>Will the final product be toxic to the wearer? Just wanted to be sure boefore i give it as a gift.</p>
Help! While hammering out the ring on an improvised mandrel (no drill press or lathe at my house) the ring fractures and cracks every time I attempt it. Any thoughts on why, and how to prevent it?
Make sure that you're using the face of the hammer and not the edge when you contact the metal. If the ring gets too thin it's more likely to split.
<p>can this be done on a candle?</p>
<p>No. Not unless the candle could heat the pennies to 787.2&deg;F or 419.5&deg;C. It's best if you just use a torch or a smelter. The torch is probably cheaper though.</p>
<p>to all the people suggesting that you ignore the zing and just use copper, i'd like to point out that copper has a MUCH higher melting point, so you'll have to spend more time getting it to melt, IF you can. it's hard to melt copper with just a torch</p>
Not to mention the fact that zinc pennies are only 2.5% copper in mint condition.<br><br>It would take a lot of pennies to make anything substantial.
<p>thank you Mrballeng, because of this instructable i have started making jewelry from melted pennies. i carve a shape out of foam and then cast it in sand. zinc melts at 787 degrees, but foam casting usually requires at least 1000 so most people don't use zinc. i simply heat it a little extra until it glows a bit then pour it.by grinding and sanding it, i can get as high a polish as your zinc ring. i have made about 20 or 30 successful pendants and rings already and have had only one problem, the polish only stays for from a few days to a couple weeks depending on how wet it gets or if it is in contact with the skin. i have been trying to find a hard and protective coating to deal with how quickly zinc oxidizes with not much luck. super glue works but it is rough and bubbly and imperfect so it decreases the polish. if anyone has any ideas then please share.</p>
I'm glad it's helped your creative spark. And thanks for letting me know that. Watch those fumes. Don't forget to post your creations.
Any time you work with zinc in a heated form drink a couple glasses of whole milk you will be fine still try and avoid the fumes.. it is an old welding trick i learned a long time ago
that isnt a true remedy its just old wives tale that won't work
<p>Even if it is an old wives' tale it will still work, there is actual science behind it. I suggest reading &quot;High dietary calcium intakes reduce zinc absorption and balance in humans.&quot; by R J Wood and J J Zheng. It's a research paper published in 1997 by The American Society for Clinical Nutrition, readily available online.</p>
<p>The calcium in milk is not even able to be absorbed very well by the body because of pasteurization. The milk only says high in calcium, it doesn't say that it is in a form that you can actually use. Raw milk would work better, but natural thngs like veggies and fruits will give you even more calcium. But you are very correct on calcium in the system blocking zinc from being absorbed.</p>
<p>Finally, someone who is informed about the 'calcium' in milk. Milk, in the form it is sold as today has no benefits to an adult human being-- perhaps more destructive to the body than anything.<br><br>Anyways, I really enjoy this thread. Thank you all for being so informitive and ontop of your knowledge. :)</p>
<p>Saying it has &quot;no benefits&quot; is a bit strong, it definitely has some benefits, but they change dramatically depending if the milk is unpasturized, regularly pasturized or high temperature pasturized. One can say though that the benefits of milk drinking has been grossly exaggerated, and that there are many downsides to drinking milk as well, such as osteoporosis (which it is supposed to help against).</p>
<p>It has worked for me for years.... Im not saying ignore the use of PPE just that it helps.</p>
<p>Thats not an old welding trick. You have the wrong metal. You are talking about welding galvanized metal, and this man isn't welding, so there are no fumes. Great job making the ring. I've used stainless mainly but am looking at pennies to make jewelry. I will post what I make. Kudos man.</p>
<p>somebody asked that isnt it illegal to destroy currencies</p>
<p>At least under US law it's not illegal. It is however illegal to alter currency to make it appear as other currency, like altering a 1 dollar bill to look like a 100 dollar bill. That's usually what people confuse and think it's illegal to destroy US currency. It's only illegal if you intend to still use it as currency, in the case of a ring or any other application where you're altering the currency to the point where it's no way you could still use it as currency it's still quite legal. The small amounts of currency that gets destroyed by people each year is very low, and has pretty much zero impact on US economy, inflation, etc, something which is often quoted as a reason to why it's illegal (when it's not).</p>
US law explicity states melting of pennies and nickela is illegal.
<p>You would be right, if it wasn't for the case that there are exceptions written into the law where it is perfectly legal to melt down, or otherwise &quot;destroy&quot; both pennies and nickels for certain purposes, such as jewelry. Or, as it states in &sect; 82.2 of Title 31, Subtitle B, Chapter I of the Code of Federal Regulations:<br><br>&quot;The prohibition contained in &sect; 82.1 against the treatment of 5-cent coins and one-cent coins shall not apply to the treatment of these coins for educational, amusement, novelty, jewelry, and similar purposes as long as the volumes treated and the nature of the treatment makes it clear that such treatment is not intended as a means by which to profit solely from the value of the metal content of the coins.&quot;<br><br>This is exactly why coin squashing machines and the usage in this instructable is completely legal.</p>
<p>And there is also the fact that the government itself recycles its old coins. When they become to worn (paper money especially) it is removed from circulation and destroyed and recycled. The older pure silver coins have long been sold by weight to companies that recover the silver in them. </p>
<p>In almost every country it's illegal to destory money for any reason.</p><p>People used to &quot;steal&quot; coins metal flakes, but if someone get cought the one can be in prison for 1 to 3 years and a large amount fine.</p>
<p>It's illegal to alter money for fraudulent purposes. People have been melting down silver coins for a long time. It is illegal to melt pennies and nickels down for profit though because the metal in the coins is worth more than the face value and the government doesn't want people to just get free money like that.</p>
<p>Actually, that makes sense.</p><p>My great uncle back then made from old silver coins, silver cutlery that cost more than the coins face value.</p>
Hi! Are you able to make rings for me organization? We are looking to make/sell aum rings with a heart around them like our logo. Lets me know. Thanks :)
<p>Now I want a lathe with tools. Who's looking to be a sugar momma/daddy? Apply here.</p>
@Mrballeng, this coming weekend my father and I are going tovbe making miniature swords from nails. I had the idea of melting pennies (because we have plenty of them) and pouring them over the swords to give them a nice shiny finish. I was under the impression that pennies were made from copper, obviously I was wrong, but the zinc has a nice Shine to it too. Now I've seen the comments on the dangers of zinc fumes and whatnots, so it does worry me. Should I be worried at all?
<p>Just do it outside, and don't hover over it, enjoying the aroma. I've been playing with &quot;toxic&quot; metals for decades, and have yet to become a mad hatter</p>
<p>^Love it.</p>
Alright, sounds like a Plan thanks :-)
Lol. good point. we could just turn a fan on too to circulate the air as well.
<p>pennies before 1982 are made of copper so you could melt those down and get copper</p>
Melting Pennies with a torch will may you feel like you have a cold. It lasts for about a day. That is if you don't evacuate the fumes.
Oh, so it's not anything to be excessively worried about then, and there are steps we can take to keep it from happening. Alright. Very helpful thanks a lot :)
<p>I'm still wondering why someone would want a ring made of zinc. It's one of the least noble of metals. Why not just add more copper and make bronze?</p>
<p>Dumb question: Will wearing a zinc ring irritate your skin?</p>
<p>Material cost... &cent;10</p>
<p>No, cant say I've ever 'smelt my own ring'. I'm not into yoga.</p>
<p>Really laughed out loud. Funny stuff out of you. Well done.</p>
<p>Yes I laughed out loud at my own joke too. (Pretty sad hey :) )</p>
could i use pure copper pennies and make a copper ring
This is what i'd do. Use pre 1982 pennies
NO! you cannot use pre 1982 pennies! :) j/k But that is because those are pure copper. This instructable is for zinc pennies. It's kind of hard to make a zinc ring from copper. And actually if you read my other comments there is other sources of zinc that are much easier to get. <br>Yes you can make a copper ring if you want, but really all you have to do to make a copper ring is get some copper tubing and cut it to size and sand it down. Then you don't need to smelt anything.
<p>Just as general knowledge: from 1856 on until the zinc penny took over, pennies were made of brass or bronze. Pure copper pennies were made at one time, but pure copper has an affinity for oxygen that tends to make it porous. By adding zinc, zinc and tin, or nickel, the alloy is easier to melt and recycle. </p>
Hmm ywah I was just trying to avoid the problems with zinc fumes. Pipe is good idea though pennies are cheaper to get. And I just like melting things.
use canadian pennies, if you can find any, to avoid zinc poisoning as they do not have any zinc in them.
<p>Copper requires much higher temperatures to melt. It would be almost impossible to melt it with nothing more than a propane torch. So while you are correct in that it would be a better material for a ring it would also be a much harder process to make one. In fact you would be better off to use a section of a copper pipe and just hammer it to size and shape and forget about trying to melt it or use coins for the metaal. </p>

About This Instructable


1,547 favorites

Bio: Fish Bone. Paracord's new best friend.
More by Mrballeng: Cord Keeping CRAB Laundry Room Cabinets. DIY. Acrobat Cable Cam
Add instructable to: