I have been weaving chain mail patterns on and off since age thirteen. At one point I attempted selling chain mail jewelry, and to maximize profit I wanted to be able to cut the jump rings from wire coils on my own. Not knowing how this is normally done by professionals I dreamed up this design as a way to use the metal cut off blades on my Dremel to make jump rings. What I really did was create a Dremel table saw.
The more I worked on this project the more I thought to myself that there has to be a better way to cut jump rings. I never actually researched how this is properly done until after I spent several days putting this jig together. The actual industry way can be seen here. There are other excellent methods such as The Ringinator or saw cutting if you are extremely patient and do not need to make thousands of rings. In essence, never re-create this absurd project; the guides suck (rings get caught every so many) and Dremel does not make blades thin enough to make high quality jump rings. Unless of course you have some absurd need for a Dremel table saw.
It all starts with a rough sketch and then a 3D model. Making a 3D model before building is always a good idea because you will be able to see any sizing errors that you did not catch on paper. It was actually this project which made me realize how beneficial it is to start with a 3D model. My first attempt building this thing had me re-cutting the front pieces several times before I finalized the 3D model and printed out the 2D drafts with dimensions which you can see laid out under my pieces in the last photo above.
All of the parts are wood glued together. The body is made entirely of 1/4″ MDF and 1/2″ plywood. All bolt sizes are 1/4″ The plywood is stained with gunstock stain and the MDF is left natural. The guides for feeding coils are made from 3/4″ MDF. The pictures above were all taken before any pieces were glued together.
Here is the finished product in all its glory. It does actually work reasonably well, even if it is not the best method for cutting rings. The one thing I would do differently is add some iron weights and rubber feet to keep the jig from walking across the table from the Dremel’s vibrations.