Introduction: REUSE-A-BELL

About: Diving headfirst into metalworking. Mostly just making tools to make more tools, occasionally ending up with a finished product along the way. check out what i have been building on my instagram over at http…

Q: what is REUSE-A-BELL???

A: REUSE-A-BELL is an instructable showing how to reusing mini steel airtanks to make a jingle bell for a strange looking kitty.

I got a cool tool for the kitchen as a gift. this tool uses compressed nitrous oxide gas charges to fluff fat laden liquids using some cool science!

nitrous powered dispenser is great for making fun whipped desserts, foams, even doughnut batter. You put liquid ingredients in to the container, screw on the cap and charge the system with a tiny steel air tank filled with nitrous oxide. as the high pressure nitrous zooms in the container it is dissolved into the fats in the liquid ingredients because it has nowhere else to go. as the solution of ingredients and nitrous leaves the high pressure of the canister the nitrous now has room to expand. as it expands it also foams up the fat and cream surrounding it. There wasn't much info that I could find on the internet regarding the pressure of the cartridge air tanks. The only thing I saw was a website called chefsteps claiming that 8 grams of nitrous oxide propellant is contained inside a 0.01 liter container at "450bar or 6527psi" this seems very high to me. I am guessing it more like 1200- 2000psi but either way the nitrous is stored inside a strong container made out of steel.

for this project we are going to take advantage of the cool shape already in the bottom of the steel air cartridge. This perfect hemisphere is a pretty hard shape to form in the tough 18 gauge steel. These tanks are made using a very large amount of pressure in a huge press with complicated tooling consisting of many dies. This 18 gauge steel is going to be kinda hard to move but it should make for a nice tone.


MATERIALS-- we are going to reuse all of the materials. They were former items that are going to be reborn into a cool sounding bell

Bell body- nitrous oxide cartridge

These cream fluffer tools only whip up 0.5l of liquid ingredients per
charge, therefore a fancy restaurant or coffee house must go though a lot of these air tanks on a busy day. If you know the right places to look you could find an endless supply of free materials to reuse and of course keep out of landfills.

Dinger ball - ball bearing -bottom bracket (bicycle part)

You can use anything! for best results you want something smooth that can effortlessly roll around and bonk the tines. its important to have it be hard like a hammer and round. you want it to be round so only a small amount of surface area of the dinger hits the metal tines, this concentrates the force on a small dink dong zone for a good jingle tingle. After some digging in my bin I found a hardened steel ball that happens to be the perfect size!!! I found it with some bike parts so it must be from the bottom bracket bearing assembly.

if you want to make a REUSE-A-BELL of your very own follow along i am going to use some basic hand tools that most people all ready have


  • Hand Saw -hacksaw or jewelry saw
  • small vise
  • sharpie marker
  • Centerpuch
  • Drill bit- around 1/16 inch
  • Drill
  • File -triangle shape
  • Sandpaper- 220 grit
  • Hammer - cross peen
  • Punch - Flat rectangle tip, flat circle tip, round tip
  • Pliers 2 pair

Step 1: Cutt It Out - Bonk It Shut

  • I used a jewelers saw because it has a thin blade, it makes a thin cut in the metal. you can use a hacksaw or a coping saw as well.
  • first scribe a line near the bottom hemisphere. if you have one try and use a copper pipe cutter to scratch off a line in the paint. then cut along the line with the saw.
  • mark off the 4 quadrants with sharpie. center punch and drill small hole as near as the start of the dome as possible. put the four 1/16 inch diameter holes at opposite "corners" to each other.
  • draw some lines for reference about where you want the tines/ tongues to go. cut out the excess materials using the saw. using a file and sand paper to smooth out all the edges. round off the tips to make it look good.
  • sand the paint off the outside of the bell
  • put that special dinger ball into the bell and gave each tine of the bell a few wacks with the hammer until the dinger is nicely trapped inside.

You have made a bell!!! put it in you hands and shake it around. sounds neat doesn't it... now is the time where I wondered what the heck i am going to do with a tiny bell???

There is a tiny little fluffer that hangs out at the metal shop with us. sometimes she thinks she is a kitty. she sneaks around and takes naps under our wheelie chairs. I guess it would be nice to know where she is sometimes. next step is to secure it to the dog some how. you don't want to weld a ring to it because the extreme heat from welding will mess up the temper of the drawn and forged steel. this will soften the metal and deaden the sound of the bell. instead forge a bail from the material already on the bell.

If you don't have a punch that is small enough you can make one from a big nail or a steel rod. use sand paper and a file to shape the tip of the nail into a good shape. cut off the sharp part of the nail and round it out. put the nail in the vise and you just made yourself a cool mini anvil. I used a flat circle shaped punch and one with a flat rectangle shape.

  • Cut two parallel slits into the backside of the bell. you can space them as far apart as the punch is thick.
  • Put the bell over the punch in the anvil so the center part of the bell is on the middle of your nail.
  • Use a cross peen hammer and hit the bell body on either side of the nail pushing the metal down while the nail pushes the center part up. hit both sides a bunch of times until the tab is looking good.
  • Smooth out the rough exposed edges with some sandpaper and put a ring though it.
  • I used some 1/16 inch thick steel welding rod to make a ring. do not bend the wire with pliers into a crooked wonky circle... instead wrap the wire around a 3/8 inch diameter metal rod. after you have a coil of wire wrapped around the rod you can cut little rings off of the coil with the saw.
  • bend the ring open with two pliers and attack it into your bell!

Congratulations! you now have a very beautiful sounding bell. if you want to spend another 30 seconds on another second bell you can tie a machine nut onto a string with a few knots in it and stick it into the top unused portion of your mini air tank and make a nice little ding ding dinger bell. I made a little chain out of some thin wire for mine! I cant wait to use more airtanks in the whipper so i can experiment with all the different uses of these cool tiny little forged vessels. the last picture shows the nut dinger on a wire chain. I tucked it all into the top part of the air tank and made a loop on wire ends that stick out the top to hang it from.

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