Get Gold From Steel

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Introduction: Get Gold From Steel

About: I'm a simple guy from a simple country called Latvia. I enjoy making useful (and sometimes not so useful) stuff to make people around me happier!

I'll start withs saying that for now, there are no possible ways to get gold from steel, however there are many ways to get the effect of golden texture, and I'll show you how I did it!

This is an easy project, for everyone, who has a blowtorch or a gas stove. This small project is good both for appearance of your things and for your knowledge about metalurgy!

All you need is:

  • Piece of steel,
  • Blowtorch or gas stove,
  • Pliers
  • And precision!

I used a small steel ring that I made from a coin!

Thanks to tomatoskins, Mrballeng, and many others for inspiration! The coin ring turned out great!

Step 1: Science

For me it's easier to do something if I understand how it works, and why something happens when I do it!

If steel has been freshly ground, sanded, or polished, it will form an oxide layer on its surface when heated. As the temperature of the steel is increased, the thickness of the iron oxide will also increase. Although iron oxide is not normally transparent, such thin layers do allow light to pass through, reflecting off both the upper and lower surfaces of the layer. This causes a phenomenon called thin-film interference, which produces colors on the surface. As the thickness of this layer increases with temperature, it causes the colors to change from a very light yellow, to brown, then purple, then blue. These colors appear at very precise temperatures, and provide the blacksmith with a very accurate gauge for measuring the temperature.

The table that can be seen in pictures is not very precise, because almost every steel has a different mixture of metals. So every steel changes colours at its own temperatures.

Also it's important to know that this layer of iron oxide IS NOT PERMANENT and it will fade with time if you wont coat it with varnish (or something else)!

Step 2: Heating

If you want the color to be bright, first thing you have to do is to polish the steel.

When polished, you simply take the piece of steel and start heating it, but be careful, as blowtorch can reach TEMPERATURE ABOVE 1000 CELSIUS, and because of that I suggest using smaller flame so you wouldn't overdo it. If you do overdo it, than that's not a problem, you can easly sand down the layer of iron oxide, and overdo it!

As I said earlier, if you do want to keep the colour, you have to varnish coat your piece of steel.

Have fun!

Information from:

  1. Wiki
  2. Wiki pictures
  3. Anvilfire
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    43 Discussions

    0
    Mic100
    Mic100

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you very interresting

    Voted :)

    0
    agis68
    agis68

    5 years ago on Introduction

    great instructable...thanks for sharing voted

    0
    jadonlimoges
    jadonlimoges

    1 year ago

    Is this how rainbow steel is made?

    0
    Tellier'sS
    Tellier'sS

    3 years ago

    If you want to prevent the steel from scratching away, quench it in motor oil. used motor oil could give it an even black look. otherwise, it should preserve the colour.

    0
    3967
    3967

    4 years ago

    maybe You could use an Heatairgun with temperature control . They can Reach 450-700 Degrees Celsius depending on the Model.

    0
    3dcats
    3dcats

    5 years ago on Step 2

    This site is so full of wonderful people and info. Now I know why my cooking pots are rainbow coloured : )

    0
    mickkell
    mickkell

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I did that in HS back in the late 60s from a Silver Quarter ,turned it to Gold color too.

    How ironic.

    I spent two days last week REMOVING the heat colourisation from the tig welded joints of a load of stainless steel arms using industrial scouring pads.

    Where i work are too stupid or tight(really not sure) to let us use chemical dips.

    0
    Kaiven
    Kaiven

    5 years ago on Introduction

    If you wanted the gold color precisely, wouldn't it be easier to just leave it in the oven at 250C for a while? Then let it cool and varnish it? Or would letting it try to oxidize for too long of a period make the color wrong?

    0
    ElmarsM
    ElmarsM

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    It's true, it is more precise to place it in oven, and the colour would be the same, however for such a small piece of steel it's more effiecient to use a blowtorch rather than oven! If you wanted to colour a knife or a sword blade than using oven is much easier!

    0
    rhkramer
    rhkramer

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Where did you get a steel coin? (I guess an alternate to a steel coin could be a steel washer...)

    Also, what did you use as a varnish, and did it change the color very much?

    0
    sublingual
    sublingual

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    US pennies were also made of steel (coated with zinc) in 1943, so you could use one of those ;)

    0
    rhkramer
    rhkramer

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Ahh, yes--good point--thank you! (Of course, I'd need to avoid breathing the zinc vapors.)

    0
    sublingual
    sublingual

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, I wouldn't mass-produce zinc rings in a closet ;)

    0
    ElmarsM
    ElmarsM

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I took the most suitable coin from my coin stash, Czech 10 korun (http://en.ucoin.net/catalog/?tag=10_kc)

    I didn't varnish it, but the colour shouldn't change!