In this Instructable I will show how I was able to make a ring from a regular US quarter. I have done a previous Instructable making a silver spoon into a ring as well. This process could work with a steel washer but takes a significant amount more time as a regular quarter is made from copper and nickel. I didn't come up with the idea of making rings from coins, this is just my take on the process.
Aside: It is fine to use a US quarter to make jewelry, what you cannot do is alter us currency and pass it off as another denomination.
Step 1: The Tools
The tools I used are:
- Drill and Drill Bits
- Step Drill Bit
- Center Punch
- Ring Mandrel
- Blow Torch
- Nylon Hammer
- Plastic Pipe
- Sandpaper of various grits
- Round File
- Digital Caliper
- Polishing Compound for Metal
- Doming Block
- Dremel and Polishing Tools
Step 2: Watch the Video
Here is a video of the the whole process. The written instructions will follow.
Step 3: Get a Coin and Drill a Hole
I'm using a quarter and I marked the center of the coin with a sharpie after measuring with a digital caliper. Then I center punched the coin so the drill bit would not skate when drilling the pilot hole. To make drilling the center hole easier I took two pieces of aluminum bar stock and using a small Dremel cutting wheel I notched out a spot so the coin could be clamped in a vice without damaging the embossing of the coin. Then I drilled out the hole using a step drill bit and cleaned up the hole with a round file.
Another option is to use a metal punch to punch a hole in the coin. I don't have one so I am using a step drill bit instead.
Step 4: Annealing
Next to make the coin easier to work and to relieve any stresses you need to annealed the coin by heating it up and quenching in water. This does not harden the coin, that only applies to ferrous metals that have a high carbon content.
Step 5: Working the Coin
Place your "washer" coin on your ring mandrel and start tapping it with a nylon hammer. You want to use quick and firm but not overly hard taps. Work slowly and move the mandrel around while tapping. You can also work the coin against a piece of wood while tapping to help keep the coin on the mandrel. Slowly the coin will start bending down around the mandrel.
Using a piece of plastic pipe you can smack the coin down around the mandrel to help speed up the process.
If the coin becomes hard to work with, anneal it every so often.
Eventually you will want to flip the coin around and start working it on mandrel facing upwards. See the pics.
It will start looking like a ring.
You work the ring down on the mandrel with the plastic pipe to the size you need.
Step 6: Doming Block
An optional step is to use a doming block to round the edges of the ring. You put the ring in the doming block and apply pressure in a vise. You will want to make the ring one size larger than the final size., as the doming block will make the ring smaller. Take your time with this step as if the ring is not centered it can make the rounding of the edge unequal, ruining all your hard work.
If you need to adjust the ring size you can use the ring mandrel to make the ring larger.
Lightly sand the ring to take off any sharp edges.
Step 7: Polishing
Using some metal polish and Dremel with a polishing wheel, polish the ring until it shines. Repeat as many times as needed.
You can also polish by hand if you don't have a Dremel, or use a drill with a buffing wheel.