Red Copper Ring

55,640

698

95

Introduction: Red Copper Ring

About: Hello! My name is Jonathon Zalakos and I am an independent maker of many different media. I do harbour a soft spot for goldsmithing though

In this instructable, I will show you how to make this super bright red copper ring. It is really easy, really cheap and can be completely customized by you, so let's get started.

You will need:

Materials

Copper sheet - The thicker the better, I used 1.2mm thick copper.

Paste flux - Mine is made for jewellery, but you could use some plumbing flux instead.

Silver solder - Again, can be bought from a plumbing supply store.

Polishing compounds - I used jeweler's rouge but you can use an automotive polish.

Pickle - You can make your own with vinegar and salt.

Tools

Soft mallet

Pliers

Hammer

Jeweler's saw or hacksaw

Fine file or sandpaper

Rotary tool or elbow grease

Ring mandrel or appropriate cylinder

Step 1: Cut the Sheet Into Three Strips.

The three strips were cut out with a jeweler's saw will be soldered together to make a thick, chunky ring shank.

The formula for how long these strips should be is:

(Diameter of your finger + Thickness of material) x pi

I wanted a size 10 ring, which is about 20mm in diameter, so in my case this formula was:

(20mm + 3.6mm) x 3.14 = 74.1mm long strips

Step 2: Prepare Shanks for Sweat Soldering.

Sand the copper

Apply flux

Add generous amount of solder

Heat up copper to melt solder

Then pickle the copper to remove the oxides, you can use a mix of vinegar and salt to do this.

After the copper is clean, stack them up and solder them on top of eachother.

Step 3: Form Ring and Solder Seam.

File the rough edges smooth.

Bend the ring shank around with pliers and hold it closed with some scrap binding wire.

Solder the ring shank with plenty of solder.

Step 4: Hammer Ring Blank Round.

Using a cylinder and a soft mallet, beat the ring into a round shape.

I used a ring mandrel, but you could use a large drill bit, a socket set or anything round you can get your hands on.

If your ring turned out too small like mine did, it can be enlarged by hitting it with a metal hammer around the circumference until it is the appropriate diameter.

Step 5: File the Ring Blank Over.

Get the basic shape of the ring in with a file and some elbow grease.

This step is open to your imagination, I just went with a classic domed look.

Step 6: Sand, File and Sand the Inside of the Ring.

Using a rotary tool and a needle file, round over the edges of the ring to make sure it is comfortable.

I taped some sandpaper from 400 grit to 600 to 1200 onto a drill bit to sand the inside.

Step 7: File Some Texture Into Your Ring.

I chose to file facets on my ring, but you could use a hammer to beat some interesting texture into it or even file grooves and troughs into it.

My process was to clamp the ring, file a facet, run over the facet with sandpaper, unclamp, rotate and repeat. This took a long time.

Step 8: Polish the Entire Ring.

I used cotton buffs in my rotary tool for the inside, and larger felt buffs attached to an old wood lathe for the outside of the ring.

I pre-polished with green crocus and final polished with red rouge polishing compound, but you could also use some abrasive automotive polish.

Step 9: Heat Treat the Ring.

To get this particular texture and colour, I covered the entire ring with flux, heated it up to a bright red, then quickly quenched it in a bowl of water. This has to be done quickly for the best results.

Step 10: Polish the Ring Again and Done!

I just went over the ring with my final polish, red rouge, and buffed it with a rag to end up with this.

The red is super bright and truly eye catching in the sun light. Depending on how you heat treat it you can get colours from deep purple to bright yellow!

To preserve your finish, rub some wax or a sealer onto the ring. I used renaissance wax. This prevents the colour from chipping off or darkening as well as prevents the copper from turning your skin green.

Homemade Gifts Contest 2015

Fourth Prize in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2015

Jewelry Contest

Second Prize in the
Jewelry Contest

1 Person Made This Project!

Recommendations

  • Plastic Contest

    Plastic Contest
  • The 1000th Contest

    The 1000th Contest
  • Battery Powered Contest

    Battery Powered Contest

95 Discussions

0
ApprenticeWizard
ApprenticeWizard

4 years ago

In several pictures you are wearing a similar style ring but it is golden / bronze colour. What is its metal base and what did you use to get the colour?

0
JonathonZ
JonathonZ

Reply 4 years ago

That ring was a prototype I made from brass and the colour on it is completely natural, a result of having no sealer on it. As it is worn, it turns a beautiful yellow colour.

0
Oldprophet
Oldprophet

Reply 10 months ago

Speaking of brass, what kind of solder and flux is best for working with it? I have had a lot of trouble soldering brass on some of my past projects.

1
JonathonZ
JonathonZ

Reply 10 months ago

I've had no problems with silver solder of any hardness and borax flux. My favourite flux is handyflux though. A lot of making solder flow is preparation and heating technique

0
Oldprophet
Oldprophet

Reply 10 months ago

Ok, thanks for the input, heat may have been my problem. Just cast a bar of copper and ready to attempt this project! this instructable was very helpful and the final product looks amazing!

0
Ilan Voyager
Ilan Voyager

Reply 4 years ago

What brass are you using? some brass alloys can be nasty like the cupro nickels and the beryllium alloys. Nu Gold (copper zinc brass) used in jewelry is pretty safe.

0
JonathonZ
JonathonZ

Reply 4 years ago

I am using jewellers brass, it is just copper and zinc.

0
Ilan Voyager
Ilan Voyager

Reply 4 years ago

Thanks for the answer. It's a very beautiful alloy, very close in color to 14 kt gold. You have published an outstanding instructable, very clear and precise and the result is spectacular. I have to make one, as I have 2.5 mm copper sheet and 3 mm thick, 12 mm wide strips. I'll braze with phosphorous copper to see how it works, it's far cheaper than a 30% silver.

0
onekindredtribe
onekindredtribe

2 years ago

Thank you so much for this tutorial! You explained it very well.

I searched forever it seemed to find instructions on how facets are made on metal. I accidentally made some facets when I used my grinder to remove some etching that I didn't like, but it wasn't done intentionally so it was uneven.

I decided that I wanted to create facets, but wasn't sure if I should use a file or a flex shaft accessory (I'm self-taught with the help of people like yourself online and books). Now I know!

So exited to do this with some of my jewelry because I really like the look.

0
JonathonZ
JonathonZ

Reply 2 years ago

Thank you so much! Good luck and make sure to share some pictures of the ring too!

0
ldallas1
ldallas1

2 years ago on Step 7

I will try to make your ring. I will use a calculator to layout the center of the cut with the file. This ring I made is 2mm square wire.
I like what you have made, Thank you

FSCN0273~2.JPGDSCN0266~2.JPG
0
JonathonZ
JonathonZ

Reply 2 years ago

That ring looks great! Definately share a photo once you try out the project, I'm eager to see it

0
MazinM
MazinM

3 years ago

Hi im having a go at this instructable but I couldnt find any copper so im using brass, do you think I could get away with tin-lead solder or do I have to use silver solder?

0
JonathonZ
JonathonZ

Reply 3 years ago

You should avoid using tin/lead solder because it is much softer and more prone to breaking. Also the lead in the solder is a bad idea for prolonged contact with skin so is not a good solution for jewellery.

0
olivi3r
olivi3r

4 years ago

Hi ! I love your ring, I'm currently trying to make one similar myself but I'm struggling with the soldering, it always break when i try to bend the copper sheets ! I'm using silver solder and flux...

When you stack the three sheets do you just melt the soldering or do you press the sheets together when hot ?

if you have any idea why this happens it would be great, if not, i'll keep trying !

Thanks a lot for sharing anyway ! :)

0
JonathonZ
JonathonZ

Reply 4 years ago

Hello! It's great to hear you're giving this project a go.

When you say it breaks, are you referring to the solder joint itself splitting and separating the three sheets? Or does the copper itself crack when it is bent?
If it is the first issue, I recommend adding more solder, and ensuring it is completely melted over the entire surface of the copper. When heating it, make the entire piece really really hot to ensure there are no gaps that haven't melted.
If it is the second issue, you should try annealing the copper as you bend it, so bend it a bit, heat it up to a dull red, quench it and repeat until it the two ends meet.

You shouldn't need to press the sheets together, but you have to make sure the solder is melted over the entire piece at the same time so the sheets can come together on their own and not be held back by a solid piece of solder on the opposite side of the shank.

Sorry that I wrote so much but I hope this helps, and if I misunderstood your question, please clarify your problems (maybe include pictures), and I will do my best to help you fix them.
Thank you!

0
olivi3r
olivi3r

Reply 4 years ago

Don't apologize for writing so much, thanks a lot !
It is the first issue, solder break every time, I will follow your advice and keep you posted !

Thanks again !

0
olivi3r
olivi3r

4 years ago

Hi ! I love your ring, I'm currently trying to make one similar myself but I'm struggling with the soldering, it always break when i try to bend the copper sheets ! I'm using silver solder and flux...

When you stack the three sheets do you just melt the soldering or do you press the sheets together when hot ?

if you have any idea why this happens it would be great, if not, i'll keep trying !

Thanks a lot for sharing anyway ! :)

0
arostirolla
arostirolla

4 years ago

In one of the comments you mentioned that copper oxides would form different colours. How whould i heat the ring to achieve different colours?

0
JonathonZ
JonathonZ

Reply 4 years ago

In my experience you can only get yellows, oranges, reds, blacks and maybe a purple from heating the copper. To get yellow, heat the copper less, to get black, heat the copper more.

To get colours like blue and green, you can use other chemicals and methods. Using an ammonia fumigation box you can get blues and greens and it is very easy to do although less consistant.

If you're aiming for a specific colour I would highly recommend experimenting on test pieces to make sure you can get the results you want consistently before you colour your nicer projects.