Intro: Fake Sterling Silver Ring From Plumbing Solder
I had some time on my hands and a roll of Silver lead free Plumbing solder. I thought, why not try to make a ring out of the stuff. So far, I've made two. I must say, they look very convincing. For this project you will need patience, good soldering skills, and the ability to use hand tools and electric tools. Safety is always first.
Step 1: Gather Tools and Materials.
These are just the tools I had on hand. If you have the proper tools, use them. It may go faster. Like shown in the photo, I wrapped steel wool around a drill bit to make a sort of polishing lathe.
#1 Steel wool (preferably some coarse and fine)
#2 Cordless drill and some old drill bits
#3 Good pair of leather gloves, (No sense in making rings for lost fingers) and some safety glasses.
#4 Sand paper
#5 Grinder and wire wheel. (Or a Dremel tool)
#6 Round coarse file
#7 Propane or Butane hand torch
#8 Lead free silver solder. (If it contains lead, don't use it)
#9 Flux paste
#11 Random scrap 2x4 or anything that can be used as a flat rolling tool.
#12 Flat work bench (Flat as in not all pitted up from tooling)
#13 2 pairs of needle nose pliers
#14 About 2-3 hours of your time and lots of patience
Step 2: Let's Get Started!
Cut three strips of solder (or two if you want to make a thin ring) a bit longer than the intended ring size.
Step 3: Flatten the Solder Strips
Use a 2x4 or whatever is available to press down moderately hard on each strip and roll back and fourth till each strip is perfectly (or close enough to) straight. Mine aren't perfect either.
Step 4: Add Flux
Add flux as evenly as possible to the three strips, or they will not fuse properly when heated with the torch.
Step 5: The Critical Part
Now, don't get frustrated when you mess up the first time. This took me a few tries. Solder them together but you must retain the overall shape. If it blobs, you must start over. Cleaning the flux off may be a good idea when you're done but I got lazy since it needs more work anyways.
Step 6: Size It Up
Now select the least cruddy part of the strip you just made. Estimate a little more than you need for the intended ring size, and cut off the cruddy part. Try to make it as close to a 90 degree cut as possible as you will be soldering the ring together at this point. As shown in the photo, size your ring up to whatever finger you are making it for. Make it kinda tight though if the inside needs a lot of sanding. once you've got it size up, cut it as shown in other photo.
Step 7: Close the Loop
Without destroying all your hard work up to this point, add some flux and solder in the gap. Do not try to solder it together without using more solder, you'll deform the ring.
Step 8: Grinding, Grinding, and More Grinding.
By now, you should have a bit of a knot of solder you need to smooth down. Grab that file. You may want to put on some music so you don't go crazy.
Step 9: Nobody Likes an Oblong Ring
If your ring is kinda oblong, grab the hammer and lightly flatten it down. Only do this if needed. Don't turn it into a pancake though.
Step 10: Shaping the Ring
Use the grinder to shape the ring as you go along. (remember patience or you'll surely mess it up) Once you have your shape, take it to the wire wheel but go lightly or the wire will make pits that are hard to polish out.
Step 11: Polishing
Now, if you have a better idea or tool then use it but here's what I did. Take an old drill bit smaller than the Inner Diameter of the ring. Fasten it to the drill. PUT YOUR GLOVES ON. Slowly work the steel wool onto the bit till you have enough on there to where the ring fits snug but not too tight. Work the ring around as you run the drill. This will polish the inside fairly good.
Step 12: More Polishing
Take the ring out and add more steel wool until the ring fits tight. This is my makeshift polishing lathe. Grab some coarse steel wool and lay into that ring as you run the drill. You may need more than one battery for your drill. once your ring looks flawless you can do the same with some fine steel wool. Just keep at it till it looks satisfactory to you.
Step 13: Complete
Enjoy your new ring! If it loses it's shine or get's scratched, keep some steel wool handy.