Introduction: Solitaire Hex Bolt

I've always thought the best part of making something is the moment it arrives in the hands of the person it was meant for. With so many "ugly duckling" materials wanting to become something, there are plenty of opportunities to bring about those smiles. That’s what this pendant is. An "ugly duckling" in a tuxedo =).

I made this using a hex bolt, wire, sheet metal, and a cubic zirconium stone. Everything came from the hardware store with the exception of the stone. I got that from Target.

It’s a Christmas gift for my wife. Hope she likes it.

Step 1: Turn a Hex Bolt

For this instructable I used a lot of tools I’m sure most folks don’t have. However, If I didn’t have these tools I would of used my drill press, a set of hobby files, and carriage bolts.

Using a lathe, cut the sides off a hex bolt. Refine the shape with a hobby file. Next drill a hole in the head of the bolt as close to the size of the stone your setting. Once that’s done flip the bolt around and cut the threads clean off.

If necessary use a hobby file to expand the hole until the stone fits in.

Step 2: Make the Setting

Use a doming punch to strike the hole in the pendant. Start with a larger punch and work your way smaller. This will form a very small ridge around the hole of the pendant which is what will keep the stone in place.

Place the stone in the hole. Wrap a piece of wire around a round rod and form a coil. Cut one of the rings out of the coil and file the edges flat. Close the ring and set it behind the stone as a detention.

Apply light pressure to the ring while you solder it in place. Make sure you wear eye protection.

Step 3: Make the Bail

Cut a strip from a piece of sheet metal. The metal I’m using is 22 gage. Bend it over a rod to form the loop and then use snips to cut it to length.

Shape the bail with rotary tools. I’m using a diamond cutting wheel. Make sure to use a half round file to shape the bail where it will join  the pendant.

Step 4: Solder

Set up the bail and pendant to your desired positions. I had to raise the bail a little so it would contact the pendant where I wanted it to. I did this by placing a paper clip under it. But first I oxidized the paper clip wire so the solder would not adhere to it. The razor blade helped position things a bit too.

Step 5: Polish

Use progressively finer sand paper to clean up the pendant. I used 400 grit followed by 1000 and then 2000.

Finally I polished the pendant with polishing compound on a polishing wheel.

Thanks for reading.


pyrophyro made it!(author)2016-09-03

Had to alter how I set the stone because when I took the earring apart it turned out to be plastic and I didn't want to melt it. And since I couldn't make the sheet metal jump ring (no material) I just used some wire. Still turned out pretty good I think.

Jamessteel831 made it!(author)2013-12-07

I am wandering how to get the pendant and actual piece to bond. Is there a trick that I'm not understanding. Please help.

pattibradford made it!(author)2012-01-21

I would have never imagined something so pretty was made out of something from my husbands tool box. I would love to get one of these instead of a store bought pendant. Nice job :0)

Mrballeng made it!(author)2012-01-22

Thanks! You know all the pendants I've bought her have taken a back seat to the ones I've made her.

The+Metal+One made it!(author)2011-12-22

where do you get the doming block and accompanied set of dies/dollies? great job btw

Mrballeng made it!(author)2011-12-23

I got mine here.

The+Metal+One made it!(author)2012-01-16

thanks, this beats a ball peen hammer locked into a vice any day

Sergris made it!(author)2011-12-26

This is a fantastic instructable!

staceyx3 made it!(author)2011-12-17

Very nice, I would appreciate this much more than a shop bought piece of jewellery!

chaitanya.vedak made it!(author)2011-12-20

^True That

Coffeinated made it!(author)2011-12-19

Wow, thats a nice piece... From a bolt. Masterpiece ;)
But I will never understand why your stuff doesn't rust. i made a butterfly and it rusted, so I had to give it away to let it silverplate, cost me 70€... and yes there even was lacquer on it.

Mrballeng made it!(author)2011-12-19

I've noticed if a piece is highly polished it does not rust like one that has a brushed finish. Another thing is I live in the desert (Las Vegas). I'm guessing where you live is a little more humid. The first butterfly I made still looks like the day I made it. It's been worn by my wife on a regular basis. Thanks for writing.

MrBillG59 made it!(author)2011-12-18

Great idea and good job!

You only mention bolt when you talk about materials and you readily solder it. Isn't that steel bolt going to rust? You didn't show a step where you painted it with clear paint to prevent rust.

Maybe you should try this with a stainless steel bolt.

How 'bout starting with a nut so that you don't have to drill the hole in the middle.

I'm amazed that the stone survived the soldering.

Lennox6 made it!(author)2011-12-19

it looks like he did use a stainless bolt but the bale isn't. Even with a clear coat, the pendant will experience galvanic corrosion and will rust.

It looks great, though, as a proof of concept

awoodcarver made it!(author)2011-12-18

Very nice work , it is amazing how something so plain can make something so nice ....I am sure your wife will like it

black+hole made it!(author)2011-12-16

How much did your lathe cost?

Mrballeng made it!(author)2011-12-18

$400 on sale from Harbor Freight Tools.

black+hole made it!(author)2011-12-18

Thanks. Sadly, that's still miles outside the limit of my cash supply.

bespectacled made it!(author)2011-12-16

How does the stone stay in so well? It looks like it would fall out the front if just the back closed. Was it glued?

PKM made it!(author)2011-12-16

This is what step 2 is about: those ball-on-a-stick things are used to slightly deform the front of the hole by hammering it so there's a lip around the inside, which stops the stone falling out of the front of the hole. The coil of wire stops it from falling out the back.

Incidentally, what does the back of the pendant look like at the end of the process? The front looks delightful but I'd want to maybe cover the back with something flat so the coil of wire isn't exposed.

Mrballeng made it!(author)2011-12-18

The back of the pendant looks just like the photo from when I soldered it. I just filed the retaining ring flush with the back.

Mrballeng made it!(author)2011-12-18

The front side of the pendant has a small ridge hammered in on the inner circumference to keep the stone in.

domestic_engineer made it!(author)2011-12-16

really cool, you should enter it into the bling challenge.

Mrballeng made it!(author)2011-12-18

Thanks for the heads up. Entered.

paganwonder made it!(author)2011-12-16

Now I am lusting for a metal lathe- the wife will NOT be happy (especially the cutting lube and shavings that will inevitably be dragged around)! Another awesome 'ible!

Mrballeng made it!(author)2011-12-18

You got it right on. But it's not as bad as saw dust with wood working.

Aaronius made it!(author)2011-12-16

What type of solder did you use?

Mrballeng made it!(author)2011-12-18

It's silver solder from the plumbing isle. Oatey is the spefic brand.

mdeblasi1 made it!(author)2011-12-18

Yes, Please let us know, at least what the flow temperature is.

canucksgirl made it!(author)2011-12-16

Another stunning piece of jewelry. You're creativity is insane!!

iamkeebler made it!(author)2011-12-16

This is really impressive!

Londonbrig0 made it!(author)2011-12-16

Yet another beautiful masterpiece. I'm sure she'll love it.

Penolopy+Bulnick made it!(author)2011-12-16

That is just amazing! So beautiful! You make the best jewelry!

jessyratfink made it!(author)2011-12-16

I never would have guessed that started as a bolt. Beautiful work! :D

About This Instructable



Bio: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.
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