Thin Coins

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theidlemind

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Everybody that has been here for more than a few months has seen the pens with coins in them, both whole coins and scroll sawed coins. Cool stuff.

So where do the thin coins come from? Not coins shops and not Ebay, you gotta do it yourself.
Here is how I do it, any ideas on how to make it easier are ALWAYS appreciated........

Simply put, I grind them on a 12" disc grinder. A 10" or an 8" would be fine too.
Holding the coin against the disc is the problem because the coins get HOT.:eek:
Enter a Vacuum Chuck.
Don't make it out of wood, it will catch on fire.
Don't make it out of plastic, it will melt.
I made one from Corian, it seems to work very well.
Aluminum would probably be better.

I threaded one end for a nipple for the vacuum hose, I drilled the other to make a "vacuum chamber" and used a forstner bit to make a recess for the coin. You'll have to experiment to see which bit works for each coin. This one is for a nickle.
IMG_0479.jpgIMG_0480.jpg
Then I used a "whistler", a vacuum pump that uses a venturi to create vacuum using an air compessor. Harbor Freight sells them cheap. I took the plastic off mine and this is all it is......
IMG_0478.jpg
So now you can place a coin on the chuck, make sure you put the side you want to save TOWARDS the vacuum, and apply vacuum. If you have a good seal the coin will stick to the chuck and allow you to grind it down to the thickness you want. If you do not have a good seal the coin will be torn from the chuck, travel down with the dust, and be thrown out the exhaust chute. If you don't have a dust collector mounted the coin will embed itself in the drywall. DAMHIK.
IMG_0485.JPGIMG_0486.JPG
So now you are grinding the coin (wearing eye protection), some of the more talented members out there will probably make a jig to keep the chuck straight on the wheel, I just eyeball it. You can watch the gap from the chuck to the disc get smaller as you grind, just keep it even.
After you have ground it to the thickness you want,
IMG_0489.jpg
you will have a very heat blackened coin. Ugly.
IMG_0487.JPG
Now just polish it. The polish that comes with the "Stick Fast" CA system works very well, so does an automotive type buffing compound.
IMG_0488.JPG
Now you have a thin polished coin, now what?
Bend it. Measure the tube you are going to wrap it around and use a similar sized punch to push it into a bending jig. The jig is a piece of wood with a hole drilled in it a little larger than the tube diameter. Bandsaw it in half lengthways and you have a bending jig.
IMG_0490.JPG
I put the marks on the back to align the face of the coin. This is kinda important, you might want the design vertical, you might want the design horizontal. You will not want the design crooked. Again, DAMHIK.
There you go, Thin, bent coins to wrap around your favorite pen tubes, ready to cast.
IMG_0491.JPG
So go get grinding and casting and post up some results........
Be safe:peace:
 
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Bowl Slinger

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Thank you for taking the time to present this tutorial. I have plans on attempting it soon and this will surely come in handy.
 

Smitty37

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As an alternative call Seamus and have him send you a blank with coin in place.....
Everybody that has been here for more than a few months has seen the pens with coins in them, both whole coins and scroll sawed coins. Cool stuff.

So where do the thin coins come from? Not coins shops and not Ebay, you gotta do it yourself.
Here is how I do it, any ideas on how to make it easier are ALWAYS appreciated........

Simply put, I grind them on a 12" disc grinder. A 10" or an 8" would be fine too.
Holding the coin against the disc is the problem because the coins get HOT.:eek:
Enter a Vacuum Chuck.
Don't make it out of wood, it will catch on fire.
Don't make it out of plastic, it will melt.
I made one from Corian, it seems to work very well.
Aluminum would probably be better.

I threaded one end for a nipple for the vacuum hose, I drilled the other to make a "vacuum chamber" and used a forstner bit to make a recess for the coin. You'll have to experiment to see which bit works for each coin. This one is for a nickle.
View attachment 81406View attachment 81407
Then I used a "whistler", a vacuum pump that uses a venturi to create vacuum using an air compessor. Harbor Freight sells them cheap. I took the plastic off mine and this is all it is......
View attachment 81408
So now you can place a coin on the chuck, make sure you put the side you want to save TOWARDS the vacuum, and apply vacuum. If you have a good seal the coin will stick to the chuck and allow you to grind it down to the thickness you want. If you do not have a good seal the coin will be torn from the chuck, travel down with the dust, and be thrown out the exhaust chute. If you don't have a dust collector mounted the coin will embed itself in the drywall. DAMHIK.
View attachment 81410View attachment 81409
So now you are grinding the coin (wearing eye protection), some of the more talented members out there will probably make a jig to keep the chuck straight on the wheel, I just eyeball it. You can watch the gap from the chuck to the disc get smaller as you grind, just keep it even.
After you have ground it to the thickness you want,
View attachment 81414
you will have a very heat blackened coin. Ugly.
View attachment 81412
Now just polish it. The polish that comes with the "Stick Fast" CA system works very well, so does an automotive type buffing compound.
View attachment 81413
Now you have a thin polished coin, now what?
Bend it. Measure the tube you are going to wrap it around and use a similar sized punch to push it into a bending jig. The jig is a piece of wood with a hole drilled in it a little larger than the tube diameter. Bandsaw it in half lengthways and you have a bending jig.
View attachment 81415
I put the marks on the back to align the face of the coin. This is kinda important, you might want the design vertical, you might want the design horizontal. You will not want the design crooked. Again, DAMHIK.
There you go, Thin, bent coins to wrap around your favorite pen tubes, ready to cast.
View attachment 81416
So go get grinding and casting and post up some results........
Be safe:peace:
 

Wood Butcher

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Much appreciated information, thanks for sharing. I tried to "grinding one down" on the belt sander using a wood block with a properly sized hole in it and set the wood on fire, burnt my fingers and ended up with a black quarter that was, in my mind and the pop machine's, useless. I have tons of Corian so I'll have to try that again......with gloves on.
WB
 

theidlemind

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Why did you take the plastic cover off the Vaccum pump?:confused:
I just wanted to see what was inside!
Did that to a wrist watch when I was younger, that was a can of worms/gears...


As an alternative call Seamus and have him send you a blank with coin in place.....
Pretty much anyone can whip out a credit card and buy in to a game, I like to learn/earn my way in.
And then share the knowledge......:yin-yang:
 

seamus7227

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How do you thin out your coins?
I dont typically discuss my method of thinning my coins, mainly because i want others to have to figure it out on their own, the way I had to. If we all give away everything we know, then others are not encouraged to think about new and innovative things. Where is the challenge in that? With all of that being said, I will say your method is far from the way i do it, been there done that. However, very ingenious with a vacuum set up!
 

Smitty37

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Why did you take the plastic cover off the Vaccum pump?:confused:
I just wanted to see what was inside!
Did that to a wrist watch when I was younger, that was a can of worms/gears...


As an alternative call Seamus and have him send you a blank with coin in place.....
Pretty much anyone can whip out a credit card and buy in to a game, I like to learn/earn my way in.
And then share the knowledge......:yin-yang:
Just jerkin' your chain a tad:biggrin:
 

Tom T

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Good stuff, thank you very much. I will work up to that and let you know how it goes in five years or so. Very cool, thanks some more.
 

Timbo

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North Wales, Pennsylvania, USA.
I make my tube sleeves from Corian. I turn them close, then use 120 grit Abranet to sand to the final size. If I'm not careful, the sanding generates enough heat to make the Corian rubbery. So it surprised when you said Corian worked for you in this application. I took a close look at your photos, and based on the coloring and thickness, I believe it might be EOS (EOS Solid Surfaces | The only SOLID solid surface countertop) your using, not Corian. Heck...what do I know...I would not have guessed that EOS could have taken the heat either.
 

hunter-27

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Why did you take the plastic cover off the Vaccum pump?:confused:
I just wanted to see what was inside!
Did that to a wrist watch when I was younger, that was a can of worms/gears...


As an alternative call Seamus and have him send you a blank with coin in place.....
Pretty much anyone can whip out a credit card and buy in to a game, I like to learn/earn my way in.
And then share the knowledge......:yin-yang:
:eek:
 

sbell111

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Franklin, TN
How do you thin out your coins?
I dont typically discuss my method of thinning my coins, mainly because i want others to have to figure it out on their own, the way I had to. If we all give away everything we know, then others are not encouraged to think about new and innovative things. Where is the challenge in that? With all of that being said, I will say your method is far from the way i do it, been there done that. However, very ingenious with a vacuum set up!
Two thoughts:

First, didn't you do a thread a while back that walked through how you use a scroll saw to sliver your coins? I guess not.

The other thought is that the OP made a very nice tutorial and it's good that not too many people decided to pop in just to advertise their stuff.
 

Kenny Durrant

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Thanks for sharing. I saw the other pens on IAP and thought I had to try it. I started with a dremel tool and ground a Texas Quarter down with it and it was thin but not thin enough. I have a couple of friends that work in a machine shop and he ground it down to 17 thousands of an inch. I worked great but they are so busy with work they don't have time for my stuff imagine that. I guess we all have to make a living.
 

shull

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Richardson Texas
This is why I love this forum, You can learn and get inspired. Great tutorial. Gave me an idea on how to attack a non turning problem I had.
 

Haynie

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My wood coin holder did not catch fire. I was using a belt sander, the holder failed and the coin imbedded it self into the dry wall.

Your method seems so much safer. Thank you.
 

ianjwebster

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Just an FYI - In England it is illegal to 'Deface a Coin of the Realm" and considered High Treason. Up until 1998 High Treason was punishable by death!!!!

I'm sure just one of those ancient laws that has never been changed..... but be careful!!!! :cool:
 

Smitty37

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Just an FYI - In England it is illegal to 'Deface a Coin of the Realm" and considered High Treason. Up until 1998 High Treason was punishable by death!!!!

I'm sure just one of those ancient laws that has never been changed..... but be careful!!!! :cool:
That is not the case in the USA. In the 1800's it was common to grind off the back's of new silver coins and have the coin engraved with your initials, drill a hole in it, put it on a silver chain and give it to your sweetheart as a gift. They were called "love tokens". They were given mostly by men as a pre-engagement gift, but also by women.
 

theidlemind

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Just an FYI - In England it is illegal to 'Deface a Coin of the Realm" and considered High Treason. Up until 1998 High Treason was punishable by death!!!!

I'm sure just one of those ancient laws that has never been changed..... but be careful!!!! :cool:
You have Kings and Queens, we have career politicians. They have bigger concerns.......
But, here we can do whatever we want with the coins, the value is in the coin. If you deface the coin then you lose the value, government doesn't care. However folding money is different because is "represents" value and if you destroy it then another has to be printed. That's the way the law reads here anyway......
Want me to send you a Nickle?:cool:
 

theidlemind

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That is not the case in the USA. In the 1800's it was common to grind off the back's of new silver coins and have the coin engraved with your initials, drill a hole in it, put it on a silver chain and give it to your sweetheart as a gift. They were called "love tokens". They were given mostly by men as a pre-engagement gift, but also by women.
How many of those did you give out in your time Smitty?:biggrin:
 

theidlemind

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My wood coin holder did not catch fire. I was using a belt sander, the holder failed and the coin imbedded it self into the dry wall.

Your method seems so much safer. Thank you.
We should video tape everything we do in the shop as lessons for others.
Been there, done that, still have the scars and memories.........
 

Haynie

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Just an FYI - In England it is illegal to 'Deface a Coin of the Realm" and considered High Treason. Up until 1998 High Treason was punishable by death!!!!

I'm sure just one of those ancient laws that has never been changed..... but be careful!!!! :cool:
Cool, I have a few old coins of the realm. I could make a pen then send it to some English relatives I am not overly fond of. :biggrin:

I actually was planning to make a coin pen from some very old coins as presents. Don't worry Seamus has defaced far more valuable coins. I am sure his defacing is much prettier than mine will be, but I am not going to let that stop me.:cool:
 

Smitty37

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That is not the case in the USA. In the 1800's it was common to grind off the back's of new silver coins and have the coin engraved with your initials, drill a hole in it, put it on a silver chain and give it to your sweetheart as a gift. They were called "love tokens". They were given mostly by men as a pre-engagement gift, but also by women.
How many of those did you give out in your time Smitty?:biggrin:
I'd tell you but my bride, who's only been associated with me for the last 52 years (fifty years married and two years courtship) might read it.:wink:
 

Smitty37

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Yep

Coins no longer have absolute value either, however, so they're representative as well...

However, I'm pretty sure we've had this conversation in the past with the scroll sawed coins! :)
United States coins intended for general circulation have not been made with precious metal since the 1964 Kennedy half dollar. The mint does make Silver and Gold Eagles intended for the precious metals market and they do make some silver coins to be included in proof sets for collectors.
 

Smitty37

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One could always use a Pot Chuck like here: Pot Chuck.

I am sure that defacing any currency is punishable by law, including US dollar: Defacing US currency
I believe that if you look at the coin thing the operative word becomes "fraudulently". Unless one was doing it on a massive scale there is nothing, to speak of, lost when a coin is defaced so the government doesn't use law enforcement resources going after people who do it. People offered painted statehood quarters almost as soon as the quarters became available never heard of anyone even getting a cease and desist letter.

People have altered USA coins since long before I was born and when they were made of precious metal there might have been some prosecutions for it. But, not all that long ago, the value of the silver in silver dollars exceeded a dollar by a great deal and millions were melted down - no one that I ever heard of was prosecuted for doing it.
 

plantman

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:eek::eek: Speaking of thin coins, did anyone happen to catch the program "Mysterys at the Museum" last night? They were showing a display at the FBI Museum of a nickle that the Russians were using during the Cold War. It was cut in half, hollowed out like a film canaster, and used by agents to pass coded micro film stored inside. Now that's squeezing the crap out of the Buffalo on a nickle !!! Very good info on how to thin coins. Jim S
 
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Skie_M

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Just an FYI - In England it is illegal to 'Deface a Coin of the Realm" and considered High Treason. Up until 1998 High Treason was punishable by death!!!!

I'm sure just one of those ancient laws that has never been changed..... but be careful!!!! :cool:
In that case .... make an imprint of the coin you wish to depict out of copper.... (take a thin sheet of copper and use a soft wooden tool to emboss the coin's features into the metal).

Then, take some flux and solder, and tin the surface so that it's a nice shiny silver color. Use a wire braid to remove any excess solder, so that you have a nice image. You can also fill or partially fill the back of the copper foil to give it a bit more durability for your bending.

Cut the coin shape out of your sheet of copper, and make it the thickness you desire, shape it to fit round your pen barrel, and finish as you wish.

Just make sure to include a printed disclaimer that "this is a partial image of a coin, not the real thing".
 

Pen Zen

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An old thread I know, but I was wondering if anybody had anything new to add on how to make a coin thin for use in a pen blank. Thanks.
 
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jttheclockman

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An old thread I know, but I was wondering if anybody had anything new to add on how to make a coin thin for use in a pen blank. Thanks.

New??? There are many threads on this here if doing a search for cutting coins. I have cut them using a jig to hold quarter on my wood lathe (just turned down to thickness I wanted) , others have used a metal lathe and I have also cut a quarter in half using a scrollsaw.Was challenged by the resident coin cutter here Seamus and proved it is possible. Boy this is an old thread.
 
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