Make a Ring From a Nut




Introduction: Make a Ring From a Nut


In this Instructables learn how to make an awesome ring from a common steel nut. It takes a minimum of tools to make but power tools can be utilized to make the process faster. So to make this ring anyone can do it with some common tools (a round and flat file) and elbow grease.

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Step 1: Watch the Video

Check out the video to see how to make the ring from start to finish. The written steps follow.

Step 2: Tools and Materials

The tools used are:

  • File: round and flat
  • Dremel or Rotary Tool (optional)
  • Wet/dry sandpaper
  • Metal Polish
  • Blow Torch (optional)
  • Vice

For materials all you need is a steel nut, once could make it out of stainless steel but if this is your first ring stick with a mild steel nut. Find one that will be large enough for the finger that will eventually will be the ring's home.

Step 3: Anneal the Nut - Optional

Using a blow torch anneal the nut by heading it up to red hot and allowing it to cool in the air. This step is optional if you don't have a blow torch but it does make working with the metal easier.

Step 4: Enlarging the Ring Hole

There are a few options to enlarge the center of the nut to fit your finger. At the most basic level you can use a file or you can use a rotary tool with a grinding bit which will make things much faster and easier.

If you are using a round file start working away at the hole and don't work at one spot for too long or you may make the hole uneven. So put on some music and keep at it!

I started with a file but switched over to my rotary tools to speed things up. Test you finger occasionally, once the hole is starting to get close to fitting your finger you want to slow down and take your time as if you oversize the hole, there is no easy way to resize steel rings unlike precious metal rings that can be cut and soldered or resized on a mandrel.

It is better to leave the ring a bit tight fitting at this step as you can enlarge it later after the final shaping.

Step 5: Drawing the Outline

Once the ring is roughly sized to your finger, the next step is to draw an outline for the ring. I wanted to keep a flat side of the ring for the face but if you want to make a completely round ring you can draw what ever shape you want.

I ended up leaving the flat side of the ring to be wider than the rest of the ring and put a taper on the ring, see the pics, it's easier to see than explain.

I used a fine marker and ruler to drawn the outline and just eyeballed it but if you wanted to get precise you could measure each side.

Step 6: Cutting Out the Ring Outline

To cut the ring out of the outline that was drawn in the previous step you can do it two ways, option one is to use a flat file and just file at it. Or the second option is to use a hacksaw and cut away the excess material. It sounds like it will take a while but it really only takes a few minutes. Filing on the other hand will take you significantly longer but is totally feasible.

Step 7: Cleaning Up the Top and Bottom

After cutting out the ring from the outline, the top and bottom was flattened. This can be done with a flat file or in my case I used a belt sander. Here you can do some shaping as well to make the ring in to the profile that was drawn in earlier.

Step 8: Shaping the Ring

Once the ring has been flattened, the shaping can start. The points of the nut were filed down flat and then rounded. Most of this was done with a file but I did use the belt sander to do some of the stock removal. Again this can be completely done with a file. The front of the ring was left flat and the rest of the ring was rounded and smoothed. The inside of the ring and the edges of the ring were rounded as well to it would have a nice comfort fit and not catch on things.

Step 9: Wet Sanding and Polishing

Once you are happy with the shape of the ring, the final step is to wet sand and polish. Starting with some rough wet dry sandpaper and start sanding the ring, wet the sand paper this helps remove the sanded metal away. Do the flats of the ring first then move do the rounded sections. Be sure to sand the inside of the ring so there are no rough edges.

I like to start with 220 then move to 320, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500 grits. You don't need to spend too much time with each grit, you are just removing the sanding marks from the previous grits. Once you get to the 800 grit the ring should be very shiny, if it isn't re-sand with the previous grits.

Polishing the ring can be done by hand or with a rotary tool and buffing wheel. Use a good quality metal polish, you can find good ones for polishing car rims. Load the buffing wheel with some metal polish and buff the ring, including the inside of the ring. I polished the ring in a container to keep the polish from flying all over the place.

Step 10: The Finished Ring

The polishing will bring out a super luster to the steel. It is as shiny as a mirror.

The ring is finished! Re-polish when it starts to tarnish.

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49 Discussions

Thank you for the instructable! If I wanted a daintier ring for a 10 year old girl, what would I use? I want it tough enough not to deform but cute enough to be "girlie" you know what I mean?

If you want a ring that will not rust or irritate your skin, use a titanium nut. You can also get a nice color (almost any color of the spectrum) by heating the ring.

I recommend using the lower grades, provided that you can find nuts made of e.g. grade 2 Ti. The higher (alloyed) grades, such as the common Gr5, contain other materials, e.g., aluminium, and may thus be not completely inert to you skin. They are also much tougher to work with.

11 replies

You can also get stainless steel, uh hum, nuts! They are cheaper than titanium and may also be a lot easier to find in sizes to fit man sized fingers. I still have one of two I made while doing refinery construction in the early 1980's. The nut was intended for a stainless bolt on a stainless steel flange on stainless steel piping. I'm not sure what the stainless steel piping was used for, but it had to be expensive.

Your, umm, nuts, being from the early 80's AND from the petrochemical industry, are surely of the best quality available back in the day, and like you figured, must have cost a small fortune. Nowadays, however, 'stainless steel' in most cases merely denotes a steel grade that can (barely) tolerate neutral liquids. Anything significantly higher or lower than Ph7 will indeed corrode or 'stain' the metal.

For all 'rust-proof' / 'rust-free' applications, 'acid-proof' steel should be used. I don't know what the English term for this steel grade is, but is is much more expensive than the regular stainless. What I'm trying to say here, I suppose, is that people shouldn't be surprised if/when their 'stainless steel' nut rings start irritating the skin and/or turning brown...

The stainless steel was very high grade as it was used for the transport of fluorine gas in the production of hydrofluoric acid. Hydrofluoric acid is used in the oil refining process and production of isobutane as well in the production of refrigerants and Teflon. As far as "acid proof" steel there is no such thing. There are processes used on various grades of steel to reduce the effects of acid on them (such as "pickling"). However, in the end corrosion will still occur. Hycdrofluoric acid is one of the "pickling" agents that is used in the process.

I'm not sure of the grade of stainless steel my two rings are made from. However, I do know that in the thirty-four years since I made both rings neither ring has shown any signs of corrosion or left any stains on my fingers. This would seem to indicate a higher grade of stainless steel than used for most consumer products. They do oxide and lose their shine, but a couple of minutes on a buffing wheel with a stainless steel appropriate polish, and they look as good as the day I first polished them.

Actually, in the old continent at least, there _definitely_ is differentiation b/w 'rust-proof' / 'stainless' (what a retarded term!) and 'acid-proof' steel. Not only in terminology, but in properties also, let alone in the price.

Like I wrote earlier, 'stainless' steel is intended to resist corrosion only in Ph-neutral conditions, while 'acid-proof' steel can survive mildly/somewhat acidic environments. Obviously, no steel can be literally/completely acid-proof.

Anyway, what I was trying to say is that _your_ "stainless" ring steel, having been used in an industrial application for dealing with a nasty substance like fluorine gas, _must_ be of the 'acid-proof' variant. I.e., people replicating your work with modern-day stainless steel _will_ end up with a corroding piece of crap. Also, I doubt gr2 Ti is nowadays more expensive than the caliper of steel you got your hands on back in the 80s.

You can join titanium pieces using a TIG welder, but you must use a bottom gas (in addition to the gas coming out of the torch). Other than this, welding Ti alloys is actually easier than working with Al. I am not aware of any other joining techniques for Ti, besides explosion welding of course, but I reckon that is not something you or any other sane person wants to experiment with...

oh gosh over my head . just have a jewelry torch, not acetylene, and silver or hardware store solder. I might try epoxy.

Any idea where to get Ti nuts? I have a sheet of Ti that I may try to make into a ring but it is kinda flat.

For example from eBay, see e.g. or your country's own eBay site.

A plate can be shaped into a ring by cutting a 'donut' and then slowly rolling/hammering it until you end up with a tube. The thickness of the ring will be at most the same as the plate, but probably less. The process also takes a lot of time and effort without special tools, and I would recommend rather buying either Ti nuts or tube/pipe for the starting piece of a ring.

Interesting idea; how's titanium to work with? Will it ruin my nonabrasive cutting tools, what about different Ti. grades? Maybe Flat Eric should do his own intructable!

The higher grades are much harder than CP (commercially pure) Ti (Gr1 and Gr2), and therefore I really recommend using the lower grades for jewellery and all other purposes where steel-like strength is not required.

Forging and grinding e.g. Gr5 Ti is a real pain in the ass. The alloy is super tough, and the titanium oxide that forms onto the surface is also rather hard. I wouldn't say it destroys abrasive media that much faster than e.g. damascus steel or forged 52100 (ball bearing). However, the material just tends to 'creep' along the ground surface, and does not detach from the main block but only moves towards the edge of the piece (and beyond, forming a 'lip').

I have drilled and sawed Ti only when making knife bolsters and decoration pieces to the handles, so my experience with nonabrasive tools is unfortunately rather limited. However, while Ti is definitely tougher to drill and saw than aluminium, copper, and brass, I don't recall ever getting mad about the extra effort needed with Ti. It's only the grinding, i.e., shaping the bolster plate's edges that always pisses me off. All in all, having drilled a whole bunch of holes to the hardest and toughest metal I know, damascus (pattern-welded) steel, I can assure you that compared to this, drilling titanium is an absolute breeze!

What really sucks is that if you want to temper the Ti piece to a nice color, the piece must be all done, ground and polished before heating AND it must be perfectly fitted to the knife handle, which must be ground and polished to its final form. It is much easier to do a rough fit to the separate pieces, then do the mounting, and perform the final grinding and polishing when all the pieces are already solidly stuck together. </rant>

I have plans to make a pattern-welded Ti stack, and to fabricate something (probably rings and bracelets) from it. This endeavor, however, is not exactly trivial, as the stack to be forge welded must be in an air-tight argon-filled canister, and observing the correct welding temperature is obviously pretty much impossible when you cannot even see the metal... There is a company that sells industrially manufactured titanium stacks (called Timascus, what a g*y name BTW), but I personally rather make everything myself, and would never buy e.g. commercially mass-produced 'sterile' and boring damascus blanks.

What comes to my best (well, only) friend Flat Eric, he is sitting in my old E36 M3, waiting to get on the road again. Before the next track day (Sept.11th), a complete brake and wheel upgrade, in addition to some electrical and lighting work has to be done, and, with a schedule as tight as this, I am way too scared to even suggest making instructables to Eric. I have a feeling he has half a scissor, and is not afraid to use it! Anyway, if I ever was to make tutorials about metal works, they would most likely be about forging damascus blades. After all, I am not a jeweler, and will never be one.

Can someone please tell me how I know what size nut to buy? I need to make a ring that's approximately size 9.

That's some rugged style!


1 year ago



1 year ago


It was 5/8 -11 nut. I just tried different ones that seem to fit my finger.