Make a Steel Ring From a Coat Hanger!

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About: I have always loved the feeling of finishing the construction of an object and if I don't have something I need or want I usually give it a go to build it from what I have. Usually though, I look at a boring...

Intro: Make a Steel Ring From a Coat Hanger!

This is a pretty basic project but it does require quite a lot of effort and, depending how good you want it to look, time.

The great thing about this simple ring is that you don't even need to leave your house to find what you need for it!
I had quite a bit of fun making this ring and I am happy with the way it turned out. :)

If you find this guide useful, please vote for it in the jewelry contest! :D Thanks!

Step 1: What You Need

You only need one material for this project, the wire coat hanger. But you will require some tools:

- Hammer
- Anvil/ Axe/ second hammer/ steel plate (Anything solid and smooth that you can beat metal against without it deforming) [I used a large chisel]
- Fine sandpaper
- Grinding wheel (optional)
- Dremel tool (VERY helpful but not entirely necessary)
- Pliers (you will need long-nosed pliers for bending the ring)
- A hand-file (No necessary but also helpful)
- Sanding and polishing attachments if you are using a dremel tool
- A piece of paper/ measuring tape/ string

This ring can look very different depending on how much time and effort you are willing to put into it, as well as the tools you have available. Patience makes the biggest difference to how good it will look in the end!

Step 2: Clip the Hanger

Very easy, just open out (straighten) the wire of the coat hanger. Then measure about 7 cm of it (or just guess) and clip that off of the larger wire.

Once you have clipped this piece off, make sure it is absolutely straight. Use the pliers to correct any bends it may have.


Step 3: Beat It Flat!

This step is very important and is the most labour intensive, place one end of the wire onto something solid and smooth (preferably an anvil, but here I used a chisel). Then use a hammer to hit the wire into the other solid object and be forced to flare out to either side.

Choose one side of the wire to be "up" and the other "down". The side you strike with the hammer will look more lumpy and less even than the side against the flat solid object. The "down" side will look flatter and is better for the outside of the ring.

Try to do this uniformly and when you get to the middle, start at the other end of the wire. The width of the wire should be about 3-5 mm all the way from end to end. Your wire will likely bend while you are hitting it, and this must be immediately corrected with pliers, as shown in picture 4.

Expect this to take time and do not rush. Once yours looks relatively smooth, straight and even, it is ready for the next step.

Step 4: Sand and Clip to Size

Sand the piece of metal (only the edges, not the two sides) until it looks like the sides are straight and parallel. You may also use a grinding wheel or a dremel tool. Finer sanding can be done just before bending the ring to shape, so you do not need to worry about making it look too neat.

Once this is done, cut a little strip of paper (or use a measuring tape or string) and mark on it the circumference of your finger. Use pliers to clip the metal to this length.

Sand and smooth the edge you just cut so that it looks like the one you already sanded.

Step 5: Final Smoothing and Bending

This is where a dremel tool comes in handy, cleaning up the imperfections is very easy if you have one. Use the finest sandpaper you can find, to smooth the edges until they look perfect this time. Make sure both ends of the piece of metal look the same.

If you want to engrave your ring, now is the time to do that. I do not have the tools for that so I could not.

Rounded edges are safer than sharp ones, so ideally you want the cross-sectional shape to look like this:
n
U

Once this is achieved and your metal looks good, you can move on to bending. Only if you have VERY fine sandpaper and preferably a dremel to attach it to, should you sand the two faces of the metal. Otherwise leave them as they are if they look smooth already. Polish the metal well with a cloth or something similar. A rotary felt polisher for a dremel works well too.

Remember that one of the sides will look flatter and more smooth than the other, so make sure that this is the outside of the ring.

Press it onto something round of a similar diameter to your finger, to get a nice even bend.
This will not work the whole way round.

Use a cloth or an old shirt around your long-nosed pliers to make it harder for the teeth to scratch the metal. This is not necessary but it may help if you have spent a lot of time up to this point on polishing the metal.

Take your time to make it circular.

Once it looks like mine in picture 7, it is good enough to test-fit.

Try it on your finger and see if you like the fit of the size and shape of the ring, if it is too big, use a file to shorten the two sides a few millimetres and try again.


Step 6: Polish It!

Now that it is circular, give it one more good polish to remove any imperfections in the metal and allow it to shine! I used a felt attatchment on a dremel to achieve this.

Once you are happy with the result, test it again and enjoy your new ring! :D You could also try to engrave it, but I do not have the tools for that.




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    93 Discussions

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    jgonzales34

    4 years ago

    I had an idea about getting the straightened wire flat. Could you possibly, carefully set it on the train tracks and have the train flatten it way quicker and much easier? You could use some scotch tape to make sure it stays in place and doesn't fall off the tracks from the vibration that occurs from the approaching train. Obviously, be VERY careful when on or around train tracks, but I have always enjoyed flattening spare change on train tracks since I was a kid.

    3 replies
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    TexBoydanne.selmon

    Reply 1 year ago

    I finally read this reference about a boy derailing a train with a coin! It was not a little coin; "The offending coin was 3 ton slab of stone from the Yap islands." So I down vote this note from Mrs. Selmon

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    Garra23

    4 years ago

    I made one today!! Not out of a coat hanger but of some old metal rod layin in the yard. I made it shiny with the bench grinder then went over it a bit with a wire brush wheel thing and it's super smooth and some feeling on the outside. Inside is just as I found it

    temp_1939737179.jpg
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    Garra23

    4 years ago

    Great job! Definitely gunna do this!

    I made it out of a nail. When I tested it the first time it got stuck so hard I started to plan how to saw it of. But soap and water worked well. Mine did not turned out so round as yours. Have to try agin. Great project.

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    Lazy Glen

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nice results! Most bench mount vises have at least a small anvil area behind the gripping portion of the stationary jaw. A small to medium vise has a lot more uses than an anvil (unless you are Wylie E. Coyote) and isn't that expensive. Amazon has several available starting as low as $30, which should certainly stand up to jewelry making. Do yourself a favor and DON'T get a clamp on vise unless you are sure that is all you need or have space for. Get a bench vise and lag that puppy down to a sturdy table, or even to a two to three foot section of 2x8.

    Where exactly does the "Stainless Steel" part come in? You must be using much nicer coat hangers than I do.

    I didn't read through the whole thing, but would it help to use a smithing technique, and heat it up while flattening it out in the third and fifth steps?

    2 replies

    That does work, but is not necessary for thin wire like that of a coat hanger. I wanted to avoid any metal blackening and do it in less time, so I opted to cold-forge it instead.

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    This instructable actually has inspired me to do something completely unrelated to jewelry, and I thank you for that. Buying an anvil is expensive, so I had no idea what I was going to do. Thank you for the inspiration! On a second note, I still might actually experiment with the intended purpose of this one anyway, as I have some pretty neat ideas for it. Thanks again!

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    P.S. - Here's a link to an example:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vanadium-Steel-Heavy-Duty-Bench-Block-4-x4-x3-4-H-Jewelry-Metal-Smith-Jewelers-/390778393872