Simple pattern for Tube End Caps. The patterns are for various sizes
What Is An End Cap?
End caps allow, via their design, a place to hook a jump ring and, at the other end, a tube to solder or glue some form of cord. End caps are used in the construction of bracelets and necklaces, among other applications.
They are easy and quick to make but, require careful sawing. Make a few of these and you’ll improve your sawing and detail work quickly!
Note: The videos, included in some sections below, are published in Google Drive.
End Cap Pattern
The thickness of the metal changes the interior dimensions. A thicker metal will result in a smaller opening and visa versa. I recommend 26, 24 and 22 gauges. Try making a few samples in different gauges to see what gauge works best.
To see how to adjust the pattern sizes in Photoshop, see this video on Google Drive.
Using The Pattern
Right click, copy and paste into Google Drive, Photoshop or Pixlr Editor, etc. The patterns can be adjusted, depending on how wide or long you want them to be.
After printing, saw out and test size. Adjust the pattern as needed. The image is at 100 dpi. Changing the image resolution will drastically change the size of the end cap.
Tip – from the (Not So Lazy) Jeweler:
To cut down on the amount of work that I must do, I always glue two pieces of metal together, with super glue, and saw and finish both pieces at the same time. Before starting: make sure that your metal is very flat. Then, simply sand (400 grit) both pieces of metal (on the faces that will be glued together), apply a liberal coating of super glue – I use broken saw blades as brushes – and carefully, join them together. Clamp, using 3 – 5 clamps – depending on size.
To remove the super glue: soak off the paper pattern first, then hit the metal with a torch (ventilate well), pickle, neutralize and dry. Now, you have a matching set of clean, annealed end caps. (Well, almost – there’s a little more work to do.)
Tips For Sawing
If your sawing is a bit shaky, saw outside the lines – leaving some room for clean up. These things are tiny so, make some adjustments to save your fingers. Cut a small “V” in your bench pin, to give you ample support when sawing. See the video below for an example.
Keep the top of the end cap, attached to the main piece of metal, until you are done sawing out the sides and bottom. See my little video on this.
Cleaning Up The End Cap
Use a half round needle file – the round side – on the curved, interior edge. To square the sides, drag along a mill file or other large, single cut file. You can also tape a piece of 220 or 320 sandpaper to your work surface and drag along that. Try to keep the metal level, alternately dragging one end and then the other. Do the same for the other side. Level the bottom edges after the shaping and forming processes are completed to save yourself some work.
Forming The End Cap
Shape the end cap in a steel, plastic or wooden swage block. Use a non-marring mallet. Place the end cap blank into the first space on the swage block that fully encompasses it. Next, lay a parallel sided, round steel rod over the centered metal and hammer a few times. Move to the next smallest groove and use a smaller rod. Keep moving down the block, into (about) 5 grooves. The object is to have a 1/2 round shape on each side. Please see this video that demonstrates this technique.
Bend the end cap in the middle with round nose pliers or put a small dapping punch into a vise and use that to bend. Please see this video on bending the end cap.
I recommend that you clean the interior surfaces of glue, paper and grease by annealing the metal with a torch. If using copper, brass or bronze, open the cap and remove any residue from the copper. Use a brass brush or paper towel for this part.
Solder onto chain or glue to cord.
Ways to connect the end cap: