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Russell C

How to create tiny silver rings

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As in something that brings life to otherwise featureless knobs on dashboards. At the upper left is the non-painted dashboard for my Ranchero gluebomb restoration. At the very least, I figured it needed something to make the radio and other knobs stand out, and I don't have the painting skill to make the metal rings at the bases of such knobs all a consistent size.

So, I created the rings out of thin scrap aluminum wire from who knows what dead electrical device I used to have. The basic procedure is to loop the wire around something cylindrical -- a drill bit in this case -- to form a perfect circle ring, then mash it flat, and use a razor blade to cut through (I used a stainless steel drill size guide as a "cutting board" here) where the wire overlaps itself. Mash it flatter if necessary, and it should fit snugly around radio knobs, antenna bases, etc. I glued these down with Tenax liquid cement applied with a very fine brush.

Here, the 5 knobs were too close together to simply place the whole rings over them realistically, so I placed full circle rings on the two outer knobs and the one central knob, and then cut other rings into thirds and located them as needed. Eyeball them from a half inch away and you can see how they aren't perfect, but from regular viewing distance, you wouldn't know they aren't all full circles, and they do all appear to have a consistent size, and that was the entire objective.

Tiny_rings.thumb.JPG.010774644a5905f2028

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As in something that brings life to otherwise featureless knobs on dashboards. At the upper left is the non-painted dashboard for my Ranchero gluebomb restoration. At the very least, I figured it needed something to make the radio and other knobs stand out, and I don't have the painting skill to make the metal rings at the bases of such knobs all a consistent size.

So, I created the rings out of thin scrap aluminum wire from who knows what dead electrical device I used to have. The basic procedure is to loop the wire around something cylindrical -- a drill bit in this case -- to form a perfect circle ring, then mash it flat, and use a razor blade to cut through (I used a stainless steel drill size guide as a "cutting board" here) where the wire overlaps itself. Mash it flatter if necessary, and it should fit snugly around radio knobs, antenna bases, etc. I glued these down with Tenax liquid cement applied with a very fine brush.

Here, the 5 knobs were too close together to simply place the whole rings over them realistically, so I placed full circle rings on the two outer knobs and the one central knob, and then cut other rings into thirds and located them as needed. Eyeball them from a half inch away and you can see how they aren't perfect, but from regular viewing distance, you wouldn't know they aren't all full circles, and they do all appear to have a consistent size, and that was the entire objective.

Tiny_rings.thumb.JPG.010774644a5905f2028

May want to check out the jewelry aisle at hobby lobby I have seen some small rings for used for jewelry, may not be small enough but I have seen them before...

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May want to check out the jewelry aisle at hobby lobby I have seen some small rings for used for jewelry, may not be small enough but I have seen them before...

Not sure about rings there, but they have small gauge beading wire that's silver ( gold as well ) and is relatively soft so would be pretty easy to mash it flat

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Not sure about rings there, but they have small gauge beading wire that's silver ( gold as well ) and is relatively soft so would be pretty easy to mash it flat

Silver wire can be soldered. Wrap the silver wire around the drill bit etc. (as described before), then solder, using a high tin-to-lead-ratio solder, from Rodeo Shock...sorry, Radio Shack...they have become that poor as well as overpriced.

An alternative to using "common" solder is the use of silver solder. A much stronger connection, but requiring higher heat.

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 IMG_4748.JPG.opt570x427o0%2C0s570x427.JP

I found three rings that were bought at hobby lobby from the jewelry isle. They are large for 1/24th 1/25th scale maybe for 1/16th scale. They may have smaller have not been back there looking for them. The rings are the three in the middle, they are not soldered, but they are completely round and flat.

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I like the idea!

I have used a similar technique for making things like heater hose clamps, but I had never thought of this.

I just might give it a shot sometime.

 

Steve

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The "who knows what dead electrical device" must have been very old to be using aluminum wire. ...

Beats me, actually, I've been collecting bits of wire since the early '80s, and I've ended up with lots of varieties such as the more or less black steel wire that I use for spark plug wire, copper that I mostly use to pin parts together, and various diameters of aluminum wire.

The advantage over pre-made store-bought rings is that I can create a ring of any diameter using wire of any diameter.

wire_collection.thumb.JPG.e5cd9f72df1e5f

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Take a piece of soft wire and wrap it around a piece of tubing or stiff wire of the diameter you want.  Wrap it several times.  Slide it off the tubing or stiff wire and it will look a bit like a spring.  Cut into it with a pair of sharp small cutters more than one turn of the "spring" at a time.  Several individual rings will fall out all at once.  You  just have to straighten them a bit and close them up by trimming the crimped end.  Make 'em all the time for all sorts of things.

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On ‎3‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 11:15 PM, Russell C said:

As in something that brings life to otherwise featureless knobs on dashboards. At the upper left is the non-painted dashboard for my Ranchero gluebomb restoration. "The basic procedure is to loop the wire around something cylindrical -- a drill bit in this case -- to form a perfect circle ring, then mash it flat, and use a razor blade to cut through (I used a stainless steel drill size guide as a "cutting board" here) where the wire overlaps itself."

You gave me an idea... could you use a drill bit and the drill gage as a "punch and die" to cut circles out of heavy kitchen foil or thin styrene sheet? I am going to try it next project that needs it!

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That is a great tip and I have tried it before and it works.

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9 hours ago, vintagercr said:

That is a great tip and I have tried it before and it works.

What exactly is a great tip? There have been a few on this thread.

Edited by NOBLNG
sp

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On ‎5‎/‎24‎/‎2018 at 10:48 AM, NOBLNG said:

You gave me an idea... could you use a drill bit and the drill gage as a "punch and die" to cut circles out of heavy kitchen foil or thin styrene sheet? I am going to try it next project that needs it!

You mean as a ring or a solid circle?  I made some punches out of brass tubing by beveling the outside edge so that it was sharp at the inside.  A couple of taps with a hobby hammer and I had some nice wafers.  No sure how it would work to create a wafer with a hole in the middle.  I think I would rather go the photoetch route than try to make thin circles in plastic.

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I think either one could be done with a little practice.

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Awesome tip, very nicely done..... Thank you for sharing..

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On 5/24/2018 at 10:48 AM, NOBLNG said:

You gave me an idea... could you use a drill bit and the drill gage as a "punch and die" to cut circles out of heavy kitchen foil or thin styrene sheet? I am going to try it next project that needs it!

You need to be very careful in centering the bit within the gauge template, and you'll be doing it blind because of the material you're attempting to cut. You'll have to do this twice, with differing sizes of drills/gauges in order to get rings; if you only use one size, you end up with a disc, not a ring.

Also, would you be using the shank end of the bit or the cutting end? The shank end doesn't have a really crisp edge for cutting, and the cutting end is very irregular, causing misalignment.

Hope it works for you

Edited by BigTallDad

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