DIY: Make a Copper Bangle

copper-tube-jewelry-makingCrafting your own metal jewelry can be a satisfying obsession. A great place to get started is with a simple copper bangle. One piece of material and a few household tools are all you need!


  • One piece copper tube - select the diameter equal to the width of the bracelet you want  (for example a 1″ diameter tube will be 1″ across when flattened.)  A thinner wall will also be easier to flatten.)
  • Saw
  • Rolling pin - or a wooden mandrel if you’re fancy
  • Sledge hammer or heavy mallet (hand sized – no cement breaker needed!)
  • Safety goggles
  • Vise – or steel plate
  • Sand paper


  • Measure your wrist and cut the piece of copper tube to the same length
  • Secure your goggles!
  • Place tube on steel plate base and strike it with the sledge/mallet
  • Continue hammering until the tube is flattened
  • Hold flattened piece to rolling pin and roll it around the pin until a “C” shape forms
  • Sand off any rough edges from cut ends. Marks from hammering can also be removed with fine grit sand paper.
  • If you like your bracelet shiny and untarnished you can paint it with decoupage lacquer or special metal polish. Or, you can let nature take it’s course and see how it patinas!


Events: Contests & Fairs Happening Now!

Summer is a great time to get outside and explore some DIY fun!  Whether attending a Maker Faire or spending more time in your shop, here’s some ideas on places to go and contests to enter in the next week.


Image from

1. Maker Faire Detroit

WHEN: July 26-27, 2014. 9:30 am – 6 pm

WHERE: The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Mich.

WHAT: “An award winning, family friendly event celebrating technology, education, science, arts, crafts, engineering, food, sustainability and more.”

You’ll have a chance to meet entrepreneurs, see live demos and performers, watch races and tour the expo!

2. Instructables | SummmerMikeHacks (#mikehacks)


Oil Drum BBQ Smoker – one of many contest entries to-date!

WHEN: Open for entries now through August 25th

WHERE: Online at

WHAT: Show off your best hacks for summer and enter to win prizes! Entries range from delicious recipe short-cuts, to wearbles and handy home-smoker plans.

We’d love to share your inventions too!  Send us a photo of your projects and your story at

Is Metal Sustainable?

Being in the new metal materials industry, I often wonder about environmental sustainability. Where does it come from? Where does all the scrap go? Is it recycled into anything useful?

recycled-aluminum-sculptureI recently reconnected with a guy I grew up with, and it turns out he works for CASS, Inc., a metal recycling company that works to take scrap aluminum, steel, copper, nickel, and zinc and processes them into ingots and usable metal materials for customers. They are ISO 14001 certified, and committed to re-producing environmentally sustainable materials.

Their processes use less energy and create less pollution than the production of new materials. CASS is based out of Oakland, California.

They have several quotes on their website that are worth sharing:

metal-recycling“Recycling one ton of steel conserves 2500 lbs of iron ore, 1400 lbs of coal, and 120 lbs of limestone.”


“Once manufactured, aluminum can be recycled repeatedly, using only 5% of the energy, and generating only 5% of the emissions, associated with primary production.”


Recycling Facts

  • The US annually recycles enough copper to provide the copper content for 26,000 Statues of Liberty.
  • Recycling aluminum creates 97% less water pollution than manufacturing aluminum from virgin ore.
  • On average, the US processes enough ferrousscrap daily, by weight, to build 25 Eiffel Towers every day of the year.
  • Recycling steel requires 60% less energy than producing it from virgin ore.
  • Energy saved using aluminum scrap vs virgin material is up to 92%.
  • Using recycled copper saves up to 90% of the energy needed to make new copper from virgin ores.

That’s food for thought!  More information about metals recycling can be found here, at the CASS website.

Also, learn more about OnlineMetals Sustainability programs and recent Envirostar award!

-Guest Post by OnlineMetals staffer, Whitney Clem

Summer 2014: The 9 Now Picks in Plastics

Just in time to refresh your ideas for summer projects! Here’s the 9 Now Plastics, chosen by our in-house plastics expert as the must-try materials for machining, structural and marine projects.

With small pieces cut-to-size it’s easy to practice working with these materials.  So, get experimenting!plastic-sheet-rod-cut-to-size

  1. HDPE Marine Board: Stocked in 3 colors
  2. UHMW Sheet: Inexpensive, yet durable & slippery too!
  3. Lighting White Acrylic Sheet: 40% light transmission
  4. PVC Sheet: corrosion resistant to the max!
  5. Polypropylene sheet: Available in natural & black
  6. HDPE Cutting Board: Get it in 3 gauges
  7. Polycarbonate Clear Sheets: Nearly unbreakable!
  8. GPO3: UL rated insulating material
  9. Nylatron GSM: Great for wear pads and gears

We currently have 75 different grades of plastic in stock. Any of these plastics can be cut-to-size, with no minimum order at a low…low price!

If you try something new, send us a pic and let us know how your summer projects are going!

DIY: Brass Patina

While the natural gold of brass is known to be bold and sharp, the elegant and mysterious blues, greens and textures of brass with patina is coveted for its unique sense of style and charm.

brass-jewelry-patinaIt may take years of weather exposure and salty conditions to create these lovely brass patinas, but fortunately one does not have to discover sunken treasure to get the look! With a few simple ingredients any brass piece can be customized to reveal the character within.



Here is a quick recipe for mixing up a Blue/Green patina to expriment with DIY Patina for Brass C260 or C360:



Hot Process = Hot solution, Hot metal, Cold rinse water:

Solution hot (180 to 190°F), metal hot (200°F), cold wash water applied after metal has cooled to around 100°F. Wash solution over metal surface, let dry, then wash piece in cool water. Repeat until color develops. For Yellow Green, dip in diluted nitric acid, then wash and dry.

(Always wear proper protective wear for skin and eyes when handling chemicals and follow all manufacturer precautions.)



brass-patina-bracelet-diyWhat Brass Products Can You Experiment With? Here’s a few to get started with:

Brass Balls: Etched “objet decor”?

Brass C360 Rod:Jewelry, sculpture, mobiles?

 Brass Tube: Jewelry, wind chimes, lighting?



Nominate Yourself for American Maker Award!!

made in usaWe know our community is made of the most talented makers in America! Yes, we’ve seen your garage airplanes, amazing jewelry, kinetic sculpture (you know who you are!) And we think you are a winner! So, get out your photos and submit your application to the Martha Stewart American Made Awards today!

Submit an entry for you or someone you think should win. Contest entries will be accepted until August 29th at the Martha Stewart Web site >>

WHO SHOULD APPLY?: Creative entrepreneurs in the areas of crafts, design, food, and style with distinctive, innovative, and beautiful products, proudly made and manufactured in America.

5 Fun Facts for Your 4th!

Happy Fourth Makers!! Take these facts with you and make yourself the smartest gearhead at the BBQ this year!

1. It’s More OK to Eat Hot Dogs Today – So take advantage!

Fourth is the “biggest hot dog holiday of the year,” according to TIME magazine, with Americans reportedly consuming about 155 million of them on an average Independence Day.
The origins of this delicacy, however, remain a mystery.  Not even the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council knows from whence they came.

The Liberty Bell is composed of approximately 70 percent copper, 25 percent tin and traces of lead, zinc, arsenic, gold and silver. The Bell is suspended from what is believed to be its original yoke, made of American elm.

BONUS FACT: The Liberty Bell is composed of approximately 70 percent copper, 25 percent tin and traces of lead, zinc, arsenic, gold and silver. The Bell is suspended from what is believed to be its original yoke, made of American elm.


2. Get the Party Started Already

Americans didn’t wait around for an official governmental OK to start celebrating. Citizens began observing the Fourth of July as early as 1777, when the first-ever major celebration in Philadelphia included a parade, a thirteen-shot cannon salute and fireworks, but Congress didn’t make it official until 1870, when it was part of a bill passed to recognize major state holidays at a federal level — like Independence Day, Christmas and New Year’s Day,” according to TIME magazine.

3. Bleeding Red, White and Blue

Where would you go to be in the country’s most patriotic state on the 4th?

Pennsylvania! According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the so-called “State of Independence,” where the Declaration of Independence was debated and signed, is home to 11 places with the word “liberty” in their name and 33 with the word “union” in them, leading the country for the number of places with such names.

4. Let Freedom Ding

The famed Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846 out of fear that the delicate icon will crack.  Instead, every year, to mark the Fourth of July, the 2,000-pound bell is tapped 13 times to signal for bells across the country to start ringing.

5. About the Size of HoustonAccording to the Census Bureau, there were only 2.5 million citizens in all of the United States in July of 1776.  The fireworks laws were probably way more lax too!
Now you’re armed with a few fun facts to get your own holiday going!  OnlineMetals wishes you a grand, safe, happy Fourth of July!