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I'm looking for a way to create a metal ring without using any machine or drill. I'd like to use cheap, simple tools. I found two ways for creating it, and they are very simple but it seems like machines are required.

  1. Coin-ring https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEN-iqMlB3Q
  2. Nut-ring https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mx76zjFQe0

I'd like you to tell me can I do the same thing without using machines or a drill. I'd like to use only simple and cheap tools.

If there is another simple way to create it, I'd love to hear it too.

Thanks!

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  • What is your source of metal? If you have a strip of metal or a wire of a thickness which is usable, you do not need more than a dowel and a saw.
    – Willeke
    Jul 29 '17 at 17:19
  • Thank you for your reply. I'd use something common and cheap. Wire is to thin I'd say. I was amazed with cheap stuff such as coin or a nut Jul 29 '17 at 17:34
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What do you need?
You can make rings out of all metal that can be bent by hand and all that can be hammered into shape.
Wire comes in many sizes. Unless you have a hobby involving metal wire, you will likely not stock it. But a good metal shop will have a few kinds and can often order more for you.

No tools to bend:
The 'easy' way is to have wire which is very soft, the disadvantage is that it will not hold shape will when you have your ring. Hammering and heat/cold treatment will improve that but it is a lot of extra work.

Clamps needed:
For a cheap and easy ring, get metal that can not be bent easily, get a wooden dowel (or a round metal bar) and fix that into a clamp on a workbench.

Also clamp one end of the wire, it can be in the same clamp if you can get that working, but if needed you can do it with a second clamp. Now take the long end of the wire and pull it round the bar, till you have a round turn and a bit, that is until the wire lays next to itself for at least a few mm and it does not spring open.

That will make you a ring which will have an opening, which can be closed by soldering or left open, specially if the ends are made showy.

Now you can saw through the wire, close the ring into a circle and solder that shut. (Check with the supplier of the wire for what you need to solder it, as different metals need different kinds of solder and chemicals to make them work.)

If you are an experienced metal worker you can keep the ends longer than just touching and shape them with whatever you want. (Or you can introduce extra materials like beads or stones, or lumps of metal molten to the ends.)

No thick wire?
With thinner wire you can do a series of full turns, solder them all together and have a ring that is wider than it is thick. A more involved way to make a ring out of thin wire, not for beginner metal workers nor for beginner knot tyers if without an experienced coach, is a Turks Head Knot. Here you find instructions for string. Search results for rings, most in silver and gold.

No wire?
Flat metal can be cut to size, hammered around the dowel and then soldered.

Heat treathment (Warning, dangerous hot metal and fire danger):
Place your metal on stone that can take the heat and apply flame till the metal is red hot. Let if cool down naturally/slowly for a soft metal that will take further work.

If you have a fire that is hot enough, like when you burn coal to heat your house, you can use that. Even a barbecue at good working heat can be hot enough.

Cool it down as fast as possible by letting it drop into cold water, and it will get harder and less likely to bend.

No heat?
Hammering will make metal harder but also more brittle and more likely to break if you do it too much.

Which metal?
If you can afford it, silver will give you very nice results, also because the result will be real jewelry. I fear that gold will be out of reach for a while longer, it is rather expensive.

I had nice results with copper to play with but it will colour your skin and you should be aware that it has health risks.

When you buy metal and solder and so on, discuss it with the staff in the shop (if they are knowledgeable) or research on the Internet whether the metal can be used for day to day wear.

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  • I will accept your answer because I see you made an effort and covered pretty much everything even tho I probably won't be able to make a nice ring because I'm not metal worker, I'm 16 years old with no experience at all. I will go trough your answer these days and thing about it. Thank you! Jul 29 '17 at 18:27
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    I was not much younger when I started working metal in school and not much older when I tried some metal jewelry, in a different school.
    – Willeke
    Jul 29 '17 at 18:42
  • Well, my school is not about any crafting. It's only for studying boring subjects... Jul 29 '17 at 20:07
  • But I love programming because it is like an art for me. And also includes brain + skills + designing like some arts too, but no need for real life expensive tools, and destroying furniture at home xD Jul 29 '17 at 20:10
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    Another idea: at one time it was popular to make rings by bending the handle cut off from silverware with an ornate pattern on it. You bend it around a dowel or mandrel. A vise can be used to apply more bending pressure (protect the design).
    – fixer1234
    Aug 23 '20 at 18:39
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There are a few ways to make rings but they all suggest a tool budget. I consider copper your best alternative. It is malleable and soft, so you can hammer and bend. As Willeke said, it will oxidize and leave green rings on your finger but, that can be prevented by coating with shellac, varnish, or a clear spray paint.

Copper is relatively inexpensive and can be had for free. A good source, for free copper wire, would be #12 or #14 electrical cut offs. Cut offs can be found at most construction sites or ask an electrical contractor.

Strip the plastic sheaths from the copper electric cut offs and play around. Bend it, hammer it, or solder it and when that's done start designing. Perhaps you'd think about braiding a few inches and then hammering the braid flat. Cut the length appropriate to your finger size, bend it round and solder the ends.
You might also try epoxy resin for joining and maybe even encasing the copper in an epoxy shell.

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  • Thanks for your answer! I only don't understand how can I merge wires into ring? only by hammering it? Aug 1 '17 at 19:32
  • If you weave the wire like braiding hair, then, when hammering, the strands will flatten and work to hold each other in place. You are correct in seeing that they could simply separate, but you have imagination at you convenience and see that a few dabs of well placed solder or epoxy will stabilize the work and when the ring size is cut and the ends joined, those well placed dabs of solder or epoxy may be scratched off.
    – Ace
    Aug 8 '17 at 21:17
  • Thank you! I have liked your answer but I had to accept the other one because he was first to answer and explained many ways. I'm sorry. If I could I would accept both Aug 8 '17 at 21:57
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If the objective is to engage in "metalworking" and produce a ring, the other answers have that pretty well covered. If the objective is to produce a metal ring without using machinery or a drill, there are additional approaches available.

Metal objects can be created using a number of different kinds of processes.

  • Subtractive: The nut ring, for example, starts with a hunk of metal (a big nut), and removes material to leave a ring. This can be done entirely with hand tools if you have a lot of time.
  • Cold reshaping: This includes the suggestions that involve bending and/or hammering solid metal, in the form of a strip or strands of wire, to change the shape into a ring. The coin ring needs a starting hole, then it's reshaped. Reshaping is typically done with just hand tools.
  • Casting molten metal: the metal is melted and then poured into a mold to create the basic shape of the ring. It's probably possible to do this in a microwave oven, although it's normally done in a small furnace. In any event, it requires special equipment, so this wouldn't meet the "no machinery" requirement (unless you make the ring from metal with a very low melting point, like solder, that you could melt right in the mold with a hand torch).
  • Sintered metal: This is a process that starts with metal powder. It's packed into a mold, then put under high compression and heat. The metal particles fuse together into a solid piece. This requires big machinery.

These four approaches start with "pure" metal. However, there are several other ways to produce a metal object, like a ring, from powdered metal, using hand tools. One is a form of sintering that produces a solid, pure metal ring.

The others are "cold sintering" or "faux sintering", where the metal particles are held together with a binder. These processes allow you to use crafting techniques, like working with clay or casting, to produce metal objects. The main drawback is that the result isn't malleable like pure metal; it can't be reshaped to adjust it without breaking it (but you can take material away or add material to it).

  • Precious metal art clay

    This material is a precious metal dust, like silver or gold, in an organic binder that is workable like clay. You form the ring with the clay, pretty much like you would make anything from clay, and let it dry. Then you can fire it with a cheap butane hobby torch. The heat burns off the binder, and the metal particles fuse into a solid metal object. After it cools, you can polish it.

    Here's a video on making an art clay ring using a silicone border mold as a pattern. Here's another video not specific to art clay, but making a ring from clay using a system of molds and guides. And here's a more general link to an article about making jewelry with art clay. These methods also apply to the "Clay" discussion below. If you have some skill with clay, you can make them more "freehand" rather than the simple method of using a pattern mold.

  • Powdered metal in a binder

    These options produce a result similar to sintered metal, but the metal particles are held together by a binder rather than being fused.

    "Clay": You shape the ring from a clay-like material, but it doesn't get fired; the clay cures. Then you can clean up any fine details with hand tools and polish it. The most common material for this is metal-filled epoxy putty.

    The metal choices are a bit limited. Steel or aluminum are common, and there may still be a brass version sold for making brass repairs. I think I've seen stainless steel. Polished "white" metals look pretty similar; polished aluminum looks a lot like silver. Not all metal-filled epoxies are predominantly metal, some don't have enough metal to look like solid metal when they cure, even after polishing. However, I've seen some nice results on the web. I don't know which product was used, so you would have to do some research.

    Casting: This approach uses a metal-filled "liquid" (typically very thick, closer to paste), that you cast in a silicone ring mold (which is cheap to buy, or make your own with "Oogoo" Sugru substitute if you don't have casting silicone). For complex or unusual ring shapes, people often create the ring shape in polymer clay, then create a silicon mold of that for casting.

    There are one-part materials, like Lab Metal, that harden by evaporating a solvent. Lab Metal comes as a putty consistency that can be pushed into a mold, or it can be thinned to a liquid. It uses aluminum as the metal filler and looks like metal. Since it relies on evaporation through one edge of the material in the mold, you would need to allow a long curing time.

    There are also metal-filled epoxy pastes that cure after mixing a resin and hardener. These are available with a range of different filler metals. Again, you would need to research which ones look like metal.

    You can make your own by mixing clear epoxy with fine metal powder (all kinds of metals are available). You want a very high ratio of metal to epoxy so that the result looks like metal rather than epoxy with some metal in it.

    You need to mix the heck out of it to wet all of the metal particles. For thorough mixing of the resin and hardener, they should be mixed first, then that mixed with the metal powder. So use a very slow setting epoxy to have plenty of working time.

    Ideally, it should be more of a crumbly mixture rather than a paste. Then pack it into the mold and compact the mixture to force it all tightly together. Theoretically, epoxy volume as little as 1/4 to 1/3 of the metal powder volume could disappear into the spaces between the particles and produce what is essentially solid metal. But you would need more in practice.

    Epoxy will set up quickly, but you can also do this with resin dissolved in a solvent if you have a lot of time. I did this with a thin polystyrene syrup (Styrofoam dissolved in xylene; essentially the same stuff used to glue plastic models), but you could probably also use something like clear nail polish (typically nitrocellulose in a solvent; might want to thin it a little).

    When the solvent evaporates, the resin occupies a small fraction of the original volume. If you use just enough thin "syrup" to wet all of the powder into a crumbly mix, and then compact it into a mold, most of the syrup will be forced into the spaces between the particles. When the solvent evaporates, the result is a strong molded piece of almost solid metal.

    The main drawback is that you need to allow at least a month, preferably several months, for all of the solvent to evaporate. It needs to migrate through the material to an exposed surface before it can evaporate. You can speed the process to only weeks if you leave the mold in a warm place (up to maybe 100 degrees F; too hot and rapid evaporation will produce internal gas bubbles).

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