Introduction: This Is the Way... Hand-forged & Etched Ring

About: Just another tinkerer

Hello everyone,

Being a HUGE fan of the Mandalorian series I simply had to include it in one of my designs.

The ring is hand-forged out of 40% silver bronze and I think it looks pretty swanky.

I made the ring using the bare minimum of tools so that it would be easier to reproduce.

It took a few tries to get use to the etching method but after a while I got the hang of it and it now helps me tremendously when making resists.

Let's get going...

Step 1: What You'll Need:

Here's what you will need to make this Instructable:

  • First and most important you will need bar stock, in this Instructable I will be using 4mm 40% silver bronze rod but you can also use regular bronze rods that's available at the hardware store intended for brazing. A sterling silver rod can also be used but they do cost a lot more.
  • Hydrochloric acid/pool acid
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Metal polish
  • Sodium carbonate/Washing soda
  • 220/400/1500 Sanding paper
  • Glass
  • Photoresist film - Banggood
  • Transparent paper
  • Fine permanent marking pen
  • Leather gloves
  • A sturdy metal piece that you can forge on. I use an old square hammer head mounted in a table vise.
  • Hammer
  • Tongs
  • Silver solder
  • Eye protection
  • A heat source, I'm using a butane torch that's usually in the camping section at the stores.

Step 2: Start Forging:

Safety first!

Always wear leather gloves when forging metals, the pieces can cause serious burns even after standing for a while. Always handle your metal as if it is hot.

First use a piece of string to measure the circumference of your finger so that we know how long your metal piece needs to be.

Don't cut the rod to that length just mark it so that we know how much to forge, if you cut it to length now there will be no place to hold it while forging.

Start by heating up the section of rod you marked with the butane torch, we want it to reach a nice dull red.

You can either hot forge it or quench it in some water before forging if you don't want to work with the hot metal.

Now that you've softened ( annealed ) the rod you can place it on your work area and start hammering it, work down the rod without turning it and try to get it uniformly flat. The process usually takes me two times per side.

Tip: Pick a hammer that has a defect free head as all the scratches and dents from the head will be transferred to your piece.

Once you start to feel that the metal gets harder again you will need to repeat the heating step. Not annealing the rod frequently will lead to it fracturing as pictured.

After flattening the one side you can anneal it and the turn it on its side and gently straighten it out. The side you are hammering on will bend upwards.

We want to go from a round rod to a uniform rectangle bar of about 1mm thick.

Keep repeating until you are happy with your piece.

Step 3: Prep:

Now that you have a nice even rectangular bar we can get it ready to be etched.

Start by cutting off the excess bar so that you are left with a piece the length that you measured in the previous step.

Then take a file and square off the two edges that you've just cut. You want these to be as close to each other as possible to make your solder line less visible when we do that later.

Now take some 220 to 400 grit sanding paper and start sanding the one side of your bar, this is to get a nice flat even surface to etch on.

You will want this side to be as dent and scratch free as possible to ensure that the resist sticks to it.

Once you are done sanding you want to clean the piece thoroughly with some isopropyl alcohol or spirits to get rid of any dirt or oily residue.

Step 4: How to Make a Resist:

Now I'd like to show you the method I use to make a resist for my etchings. You could use a sticker or write directly on the piece that you are etching to form a resist but this method works perfectly for me and you can make multiple resists from one design.

First check to see if your marker works well on the transparent sheet, If not take some of your 1500grit sanding paper and sand the one side of the sheet. This give the sheet an opaque side that's easy to write/draw on.

Draw the design of your choice onto the transparent sheet, the one I used is on the next step.

Make sure your design is nice and dark otherwise your final resist might not come out crisp.

Now I used some black insulation tape to mask out a border around the design and to stick the sheet to a piece of glass. Remember that every piece of the photoresist film that is exposed to sunlight will develop and be part of your resist.

In a low light area of your workspace cut a piece of the photoresist paper just bigger than your design.

Place the film on a dark non reflective board eg. a piece of cardboard will work.

Place the piece of glass with your design onto the piece of film (centring your design on the film)

Now place it in the sun for about 30 seconds, the time will depend on the brand of resist film that you are using. This will require some trial and error but you want the part that's exposed to the sun to start getting darker blue while the unexposed part should stay the same light blue.

Now remove your film and quickly store it in a dark place to prevent it from developing further.

Step 5: Etching:

Now that you've got a resist we can move on to etching the bar.

To stick the resist to the bar you want to remove the protective backing from the film, this can be done with the help of some sticky tape.

Next you want to make sure your bar it clean and dust free then heat it up with a candle/lighter to about 100deg Celsius.

Now position your resist over the hot metal bar and press it down evenly making sure there's no air bubbles.

I like to just heat it up again and rub it down with a soft cloth just to make sure it is properly adhered to the surface of the bar.

I recently discovered that you also get the photoresist in a spray can, this would make it easier to use on pieces like this.

To remove the unexposed film we need a development solution:

Add 1 teaspoon of washing soda to about 200ml of water, you want about a 3% solution. Adjust this according to your specific brand of photoresist film. It's best to first try with a spare piece of film, you want it to take about 3 minutes to dissolve. If your mixture is too strong you'll also disolve the developed film.

Now remove the top protective film and submerge your bar with the film into the solution.

You will see the undeveloped film starts to get opaque and dissolve into the water.

Agitate your solution until all the undeveloped film has dissolved and you are just left with the dark blue developed resist.

Rinse with clean water.

Take a permanent marker or nail polish and cover all the exposed parts of the bar outside of the resist, only leave the parts that needs to be etched exposed.


In a well ventilated room or outside mix two parts hydrogen peroxide and one part of hydrochloric acid together in a separate container. Ferric Chloride can also be used instead of this solution if you have some available. (this is your etching solution handle with care)

Tip: The hydrogen peroxide + hydrochloric acid is a safer alternative to Ferric Chloride and is great to use when making your own PCB's

Carefully submerge the bar into the etching solution, the face that needs to be etched has to be completely submerged and facing upwards.

Agitate the mixture regularly.

Leave it in the solution for about 3-5 minutes or until you see a nice deep etch.

When done rinse thoroughly in clean water.

Step 6: Shaping:

Now that the etching is done we can start shaping our bar into a ring!

First like in the first step you need to anneal the bar so that its easier to bend.

Heat the entire piece to a dull red and then quench it in water.

While waiting for the piece to properly cool off grab your tongs and wrap some tape around them so that the teeth won't damage all of your hard work.

Now grab the bar with the tongs and start bending it into a rough circle, we just want to bring the two ends together for soldering.

Next I pinch the ring in the vice with the place that needs to be soldered facing up.

Take your butane torch and heat up the joint until it gets a nice warm red, smear some of the flux around your joint and heat it again. When the joint is red hot dab your silver solder onto the joint and let it flow into it.

I always add some more flux and heat it up again to get a nice smooth joint.

Now we can start shaping our ring.

I found that a ball point hammer mounted in the vice made for the perfect jig to hammer the ring round.

You want to avoid hammering on the face that you've etched as it could ruin it.

Keep hammering gently around the ring until its perfectly round.

Are you getting excited now!?

Step 7: Sanding and Polishing:

Now that we have a round ring we can move on to the last step.

I started by rolling up a piece of 220 grit sanding paper and sanding away all the imperfections on the inside of the ring, next move up to 400 grit to remove the scratches from the 220.

Next I placed a piece of 220 grit on a glass pane, rub your ring in circular motions to even out the two sides. Repeat with 400 grit.

The outside should already look nice because we sanded it before etching, I just sanded the joint with some 400 grit.

Now go over the entire piece with 1500 grit.

After you're done with the 1500 grit you should be left with a satin defect free ring ready to be polished.

Smear some metal polish onto a soft clean rag and start rubbing away, when I was almost done I used the permanent marker and went over the etching to give it a better contrast. leave it to dry for a minute and rub away the excess with the polish rag.

When the ring was nice and shiny a put it onto the ball point hammer again with a cloth to protect it, then I hammered around the edge with a small polished hammer to get a nice textured edge.

Step 8: You're Done!

And that's it, you're all done!

Now slip that beauty on and marvel at your incredible new creation.

Happy making and please share your creation with me!

Hand Tools Only Challenge

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Hand Tools Only Challenge