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 didnt 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.
Here is a video of the the whole process. The written instructions will follow.
Im 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 dont have one so I am using a step drill bit instead.
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.
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.
You work the ring down on the mandrel with the plastic pipe to the size you need.
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.
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 dont have a Dremel, or use a drill with a buffing wheel.
Did you make this project? Share it with us!
Please be positive and constructive.
Very clear explanation. Thanks for sharing!
What did you use to heat the coin up?
Very nice job! You have given me the bug, and I have ordered the necessary specific tools to make my own. I also use Mothers Mag and Aluminum Polish, and love it. One bit of advice about it: you are using way too much polish! I have the same bottle I bought 10 years ago, and I use it regularly! A dab about twice the size of the lead on a sharpened wooden pencil is all you would need to polish that ring for each of the 2 polishing sets. I also use that polish to repair scratches on cds and dvds. Again, very complete and well explained ible.
I believe it is against Federal law to deface or deform currency. You might want to check in on this, before they may be coming knocking on your door, just saying.
It is only illegal to fraudulently deface a coin (or bill, for that matter, but that is under a different statute). The key word that is often missed when citing these statutes isfraudulently.
Theres nothing at all fraudulent about making a quarter into something that cannot be mistaken for valid US currency. Otherwise those people who make the penny smashers that turn a penny into a tourist trinket would be in serious trouble.
Its your money. Turn it into a ring, hit it with a sledgehammer, burn it, smelt it and turn it into a Buddha statue, anything goes as long as you dont try to pass it off as currency afterward.
Thank you…to the first comment to so quickly want to try to point out someone doing something illegally….I guess they never went to a themed park or zoo and put a penny in the machine….man, imagine how many little kids would be arrested…..
If you all are worried using an American coin, use a Canadian coin I doubt, anybody from Canada will come looking,.. but pre 1968 are all silver and the newer ones, are steel cores. Which will probably not work…
Interesting to see all the comments on my Instructable. Im in Canada and I purposely used an American quarter to make the ring because the writing looks cooler and because of this from the Canadian Mint:
TheCurrency ActandThe Canadian Criminal Code
clearly state that no person shall melt down, break up or use otherwise
than as currency any coin that is legal tender in Canada.
My research on American coins is as long as you dont alter one denomination and pass it off as another its ok. But the lawyers and Uncle Sam may interperate otherwise.
Actually – there is a loop hole that allows for artistic uses of coins and currency.
But artistic uses can be in the eye of the beholder. In any case turning a quarter into a ring would fall under the artistic clause. BTW – I dont believe anyone has ever been fined or jailed for melting down tons of silver coins (still legal tender) over the years, and that would definitely fall under the deform part that is clearly against the law, but people do it every day.
The code only applies to Federal Reserve Notes.
Not united states currency, which does not say Federal Reserve Note on it.
Also, the law is in regard to modifying bills for the purpose of committing fraud (such as changing the value of a bill from a 10 and a 5 to cut and paste a 50.)
There is a way to split a bill a part so you have two complete halfs – a front and a back. Do that to a $20 and a $1. Then put the back of the $1 on the front of the $20 and the back of the $20 on the front of the $1. Thus you can turn $21 into $40. That is one reason why cashiers are suppose to have all the bills in the till front facing. Also seem like a like of work for $19 and the risk of going to jail.
Just pop the gold center of a Canadian Toonie and Voil!
Just kidding! I like your instructable!
Thats cool. I think I have all the tools, I might make it. Awesome work!
From experience, the polyurethane doesnt seem to last any longer than clear fingernail polish. I am trying the suggested New York Color Long Wearing Nail Enamel, Extra Shiny Top Coat that I got from Amazon – 3 bottles for $5.24.
The NYC Extra Shiny Top Coat does seem to last longer than the polyurethane, but if I wear the ring everyday, the coating only lasts about 2 weeks. I guess the perspiration attacks the coating. So I strip it, re-polish, and re-coat it. A sliver quarter needs no coating at least on my wifes ring and her hands.
I would question using a silver coin. These coins are not clad copper core but appear to be silver. As silver they are worth about only (around) $22.00 an ounce, so all that work, and the collector value of the coin is gone. How much is it worth as a ring that will turn your finger black with tarnish?
Besides the debatable legality of destroying a coin to make jewelry. Questionable at best.
The work looks great, but Ill avoid doing it myself.
What about using scrap silver, and making a mold, and incorporating the design you want on the rim… Should be easier, legal, and a bit less hand labor.
There is such a thing as Junk silver coins – Old silver (not clad) coins that are so worn they have no collector value and are sold purely for their silver value. These coins would be ideal for making jewelry. Some jewelers actually melt them down for casting jewelry, since the alloy is already made for durability and is 90% silver.
These steps are about what I do also. One hint I would add, since I too use a vise to squeeze the coin in the doming block, to keep it strictly aligned, I use a few drops of hot glue, which easily comes off after the doming.
Oh, I forgot to add, for the composite quarters, I dip the ring in clear polyurethane, spin it to get the excess off, and hang up to dry. This is to protect the skin from reacting with the alloys in the rings. I have made 2-3 silver ones that dont need that. You can also spray them with a clear coat, but the dipping is so much less wasteful.
probably clear nail polish works just as well … lovely idea thanx