Monday, August 18, 2014

How To Make Coin Rings: Centering and Die Punch Use

Clarke, my 18 year old KK pal, having a nap in my lap. Miss him.  

This Tutorial video, shows you how you can make a center guide for your coin's center hole for folding using nothing but calipers. I was a bit distracted by the storm outside as it kicked thunder around. So forgive my distraction and poor narration. Get your calipers. And follow along. Lets give it a go. 
   Basically, the idea is, as shown in the video above. Is to create a center guide that you can use for cutting your center hole. If you are using a jewelers saw like myself. You'll need these tools. 
A. Calipers
B. Fine Point, sharpie pen. 
C. Drill, with small drill bit to drill the hole for your jewelers saw.
D. Bench pin.

     And or, Die punch, drill bit, or whatever you use to make a hole in the center of your coin. Most of you are using the clear top die punch sets. So, I will get to a very helpful tip in a moment on that. Before I do. Go and anneal your coin. Remember, anytime you are striking your coin. You want it annealed first. If you don't yet know how to anneal the coins. See the video at the bottom under bloggers notes

The nice thing about Calipers, is they have loads of uses in making these double sided coin rings. And once you've got your center hole in the coin. You can then perfect the center by use of the same tool. Go around the coin, and make sure its as close to even as you can get by checking from the reeded edge, to the non factory side (thats the hole you cut, punched, or drilled) to make sure the numbers are as even as you can get. If its off a hair. Don't worry about it. If you've made the hole uneven. Don't stress out. There is a very simple way to fix it. Here is how. 
   First, clean the coin of the ink. Go around the coin and find the smallest width from the outside rim, to your inner rim. Use that to set your calipers, lock them to that number + 1, then repeat the same method to adjust the center hole. Making sense? 
   What you will see, like you see in the video of the holed coins, is the same pattern. However, you'll see, in the case of silver, a bit of white metal showing in between the new inked center pattern, and the center hole. Here is a photo to help you see what I am talking about just incase I am not making sense.
The white inside the lines is the part you want to file away with your round file to even out the hole if off center.
   This is a variation of one way I have done my center holes for years if I am not using math. So. Give it a try. This method, is actually quite effective. And I have found it is nearly equal to using a center finder tool. Which, I now use in combination with the mathematical method of this to this day. When making these rings by hand, you are never going to get perfect results. But you have to remember, that is what makes each piece unique, and what gives each piece its character. No two are ever the same. Only machines make perfect rings and can guarantee uniformity. And as coin artisans, don't want each piece to be exactly the same. So allow for slight variances in your pieces. 
  Now that you have checked your coin and marked your second center hole guide. Get your round file, and start to file away that section in the center that is uneven. If you have used a die punch. You are going to need to file away the burs left behind anyway. So, go a head and do the same. Make sure you remove burs, tails and slivers. They can cause loads of problems. So while you make your rings, be sure they are gone.
   If you are using a clear top punch set. This next poorly narrated video, will show you an extremely useful trick I came up with long ago when I was having trouble lining up my coins in those things. watch the video. And then follow along in the text after you've watched it. 

As you can see from the video. That was a demonstration only. I had removed the clear top of the die punch, and put two of the bases together. My logic at the time was, I can draw on one side the guide marks, and as I explain the method, flip it over to reveal the guides. It didn't quite go as planned as I ended up drawing crop circles anyway. 
So, here is what you do. And what you will need, not including the obvious. 
A. Your coins with your centered holes, same size as the holes in your punch. 
B. Fine tip Sharpie. 
C. Scribe, or Scriber. Tungsten is preferred. 
D. Gun blue pen. Or just some gun blue. 
E. Fine grit steel wool. 
   Remove the clear acrylic top to the die punch. Take your centered and holed coin. And place it over the selected die hole. Use your die to hold it into place if necessary. Trace your coin around the the selected holes with your fine tip sharpie a couple times to make sure its lined up correctly. Check it, measure it with your calipers if need be. Then. When you are ready, take your scribe and etch the final mark into your punch. Once you have completed that. Run over the etched marking(s) with a gun blue pen, or just some gun blue on a Q-Tip. This will blacken the metal. Let it set for a minute. Then take your fine mesh steel wool. And remove the gun blue from the steel block of your punch, leaving only the darkened etched circle. Put your top back on. And next time you place a coin into your die punch. Fit it inside that circle, and you are set to go. Naturally, this isn't a one time thing. If you make a coin down the road with a nearly perfect centered hole. Do the same thing. Make a template guide directly on your die punch. When the day comes that acrylic top breaks - and it will. Replace it with a new one. And swap out the bottom. Unless, of course. Those guides were doing you no good. 

Finally. We have the mathematical why to get a centered hole. 

So the steps, as shown in the video are actually quite simple. Using the same tools. Your calipers, and your die punch. We are going to do some math to find our center.
First, before we set out to punch the coins center out. We want to anneal our coin. So always do that first.
Step 1. Using our calipers, we want to measure the diameter of your punch die. In this video, the die I selected was a half inch. So using the inch setting with my calipers. I measured the die which is, duh, 0.5".
Next, we want to measure our coin diameter using the same setting. With this 1919 Half Crown, we get 1.274".
Now. We take the diameter of our coin, 1.274" and subtract the diameter of the punch 0.5" which gives us 0.77". We take that number and simply divide it by 2. Leaving us with 0.387".
Since using a pen to mark our coins, we want to account for the fact the pen is going to take up a little space. So we round that number up a hair. I rounded up to 0.4" to bring the circle I am drawing using my calipers slightly smaller. So. Lock in your final number. In my case here, 0.4", and as I explained in this video and others, go around the coin and draw straight lines locked in at your final number until you create a circle.
What we are left with. Is a circle that is dead center. And will align with our die punch. And can also be used as a guide for using a jewelers saw, or drill bit. Just make sure you don't go outside the black lines. And you will remain dead center.
I hope this method helps. This method has been my way of centering holes for many years. Even though I suck at math, they invented calculators for dummies like me. So I am able to use the mathematical way of centering to alleviate headaches correcting the center hole.
Just remember, as always. If you mess up a little. It is correctible by redoing a slighly larger hole. OR as we will get into next time. By flat filing. So stay tuned. I have more to share. And it will be up shortly. Thanks for watching my poorly narrated videos. And reading the blog. You now have several options of how to make a center guide for your coin for transformation. Its up to you. Combined, the methods shown here, are all effective and work together great.

One last note: Effectiveness. This method of mathematically matching the die to the coin also has one other trick that is very effective. Here is what you do. Grab a couple copper cents. Anneal them. Then use the very die punch size you plan to use for your coin. Stamp out a disc from the cent. And remove any burs or metal that might be left around the edges. Take this piece. And glue it dead center of the coin's guide circle. You can easily adjust this piece with the needle that comes out of your calipers using your final number to push it dead center by going all the way around the coin. Remove the top to your die punch. And once the glue is dried. Place the coin inside the die and put the top back on. Now. Your coin is locked in place. Won't be moving. Strike. Done.

Next time, we will cover creating a ring start to finish. Using a large coin. The coin I will be sharing the tutorial will be a piece I will be selling to raise money for my Cat's ridiculously high vet bill. Its a beauty. So. Be sure to check back in the next couple days.
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Well. Thats it. I have rings to make. And a Cat to save. So I am signing off.


O'Shea Hallmark. 


Bloggers Notes: 


There is a difference in annealing silver, copper and other metals such as brass and Copper Nickel.
First, let me make it clear, that Copper Nickel, is an alloy. And it is not the same thing as Copper Clad American coins such as Dimes, Quarters and half dollars in modern day circulation. Those coins are primarily copper. Copper nickel is an alloy that is extremely tough. A good example of these kinds of coins are the coins Britain produced after it dumped the use of silver. Its found in many coins after 1946 UK and Commonwealth. These coins are somewhat like our nickel, only, they have about a 50/50 mix of the two alloys with other alloys such as iron or other metals like manganese. 
Annealing Silver, you want to anneal in a dark space. As you want only a light glow to appear on the coin. Nothing more. Make sure your flame moves about the coin evenly to anneal all of it. 
Copper is different. You can bring it up to a cherry red glow. Each of these coins should be quenched into a warm bath of pickle solution to remove fire stain and scale. However, Brass, needs to be let cooled on a piece of steel. Otherwise, the brass won't set correctly. And it will crack. With brass, a coating of water and borax, or flux is best when you anneal. After its cooled. Dump it in the pickle solution to remove the flux.
You will need to repeat the annealing process many times making a ring. Each time it starts to work harden. Anneal it. Repeat until the ring is finally formed and finished.  Be sure you have the tools necessary for annealing. If you don't, and you need those tools. Write me an email and I will tell you what to get. Or you can buy it directly from me for a small sourcing fee. I don't mind helping ring makers for free, but gas isn't cheap. That being said. If you are still struggling with annealing. My email is always open.  

Thank you
I would like to thank everyone who bought and ordered rings from me this last month. It was an honor as always. I get to meet some really interesting people. And the wonderful letters I get is what keeps me going. Thank you!

Clarke. My Best Pal in an Animal since 1996.

All images and work is ©2014 O'Shea Coin Rings. No image is registered in the public domain.