What kind of tool(s) should I use to cut this thin metal ring?
February 15, 2011 6:51 AM   Subscribe

What kind of tool(s) should I use to cut this thin and flat metal ring?

I bought these Photojojo magnetic lenses for my iPhone 4. The magnetic lenses attach to a magnetic ring that sticks on the iPhone 4 case. But, the ring blocks my flash.

What is the best tool to use to cut a hole in the ring? How can I make sure the edges aren't sharp?

The FAQ says people have used household scissors, but I want to get the cleanest cut and either not have sharp edges or dull the edge so it is not sharp.
posted by hazyspring to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Wrap the ring in cloth and tighten in a jeweler's vise. Then use a jeweler's saw to make the cut.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:19 AM on February 15, 2011

I'd use a high-speed abrasive cutoff wheel. Mine chucks into a pneumatic die grinder, but you can get smaller versions for a Dremel tool. And yes, chuck the ring in a vise or something similar.
posted by jon1270 at 7:44 AM on February 15, 2011

Also, the edges will be sharp initially no matter how you cut it. File / sand / buff them smooth after cutting.
posted by jon1270 at 7:48 AM on February 15, 2011

I would also go with a Dremel and an abrasive cutoff wheel. To smooth the edges, you can use a grinding stone with the Dremel, or one of those tiny files. Follow up with sand paper, from, oh say 200 grit on up till it looks as shinny as you want.
posted by d4nj450n at 8:00 AM on February 15, 2011

I (with limited metalworking experience) would use a jeweller's file. Like these
posted by kmennie at 8:01 AM on February 15, 2011

I cut those exact rings with no difficulty, I used a leatherman knife. I didn't bother with sanding. If I hadn't been impatient I would have probably used a box cutter type knife.
posted by amanda at 8:16 AM on February 15, 2011

Is this ring rigid or flexible? The suggestions to use scissors or a knife suggest it's a fairly soft material. Saws and cutoff wheels are for hard, breakable materials.
posted by jon1270 at 10:30 AM on February 15, 2011

Response by poster: It's a thin magnetic ring, but if I push hard enough I can bend it probably. But it's fairly hard, just thin.
posted by hazyspring at 11:15 AM on February 15, 2011

Dremel with a diamond wheel, using a higher speed. Definitely use a vice to hold it, not too tightly though. Support your wrist on something solid as you cut using mainly your fingers ( holding the Dremel) to go from side to side as you would a pen/pencil. A good magnifying glass would help considerably if you have one that is self supporting. Sounds as though the material might be aluminium in which case the ring may melt some while cutting if attempting to go through too fast. Then file using a very fine file.

Or, take it to a jeweller and tell them exactly what you want done.
posted by Taurid at 11:01 PM on February 15, 2011

Response by poster: Ok, I went to Lowes and one of the salespeople helped me. He used small nippers to cut it and then we used a file on it.
posted by hazyspring at 3:31 PM on February 16, 2011

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