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beau
12-01-2011, 11:48 AM
I have some .025, .055, and .075 mm steel rods, more like wires, that I can easily bend by hand, but these bends are always uneven and it's nearly impossible to make a smoothly curved bend, or a circular bend, like this:


Is it possible to just use the flame of a gas stovetop for heating to a point where the wires will retain the bend? And if this is possible, are there toxic fumes to take into consideration? It's carbon steel, not stainless.

Or, is this a foolish idea? If so, can someone direct me to some good instructions on how to do this? Are there tools specifically designed for bending such thin wires (with heat or not)?

Thanks!

~ beau

dubby
12-01-2011, 12:28 PM
I have a tad bit of experience in this very area :D

There are wire benders out there that'll do the job just fine and almost automate the process. Most times though, a pair of jewelry pliers will work. They can be found at Hobby Lobby or whatever craft store you have around. As far as heating it, it's not a very good idea. I use a stainless wire, and once it's heated it might as well be worthless. It doesn't hold shape well and can bend easily with your fingers, even after cooling. I've tried various re-hardening methods with limited success.

If you Google 'wire bender tool' you can come up with plenty of ideas, some store bought and some home made. I currently have about 10 different little benders and each has it's place. The 'universal' type seem to never be able to do anything well.

Scrapper Greg
12-01-2011, 11:15 PM
Hi Beau, First welcome aboard!! Second is an idea that I use for a variety of things. I use a pair of vise grips and an appropriate size socket. I mostly use it for brake lines, but works as well with wire. I would bend cold and over bend with a smaller mandrel (socket) that would allow springback to your size. You could heat it, but I don't know if a stove would heat enough. Keep us posted and pictures too!!!!

allessence
12-02-2011, 05:45 AM
I have some .025, .055, and .075 mm steel rods, more like wires, that I can easily bend by hand, but these bends are always uneven and it's nearly impossible to make a smoothly curved bend, or a circular bend, like this:
http://www.beaujohnson.com/misc/WIRE_LOOP.jpg

Is it possible to just use the flame of a gas stovetop for heating to a point where the wires will retain the bend? And if this is possible, are there toxic fumes to take into consideration? It's carbon steel, not stainless.

Or, is this a foolish idea? If so, can someone direct me to some good instructions on how to do this? Are there tools specifically designed for bending such thin wires (with heat or not)?

Thanks!

~ beau

Welcome.

#1, its easier and the rings come out better if you use a long piece of wire, wrap it around the mandrel that is a little smaller then cut the rings to the correct length. This makes it so the ends which are the hardest part to match up are fully formed and at the same tension as the rest of the material.

#2. A ring roller can make this kind of job dramatically easier if you are making a ton of them.

#3. What are you using the rings for? Chain mail rings are actually cheaper to buy by the bag.

dubby
12-02-2011, 12:36 PM
Now, for chain mail rings... we used to take a rod of a slightly oversized diameter and drill a hole through one end. We'd insert the wire through the hole, and then chuck the rod up into a drill motor. Spin the rod, you'd end up making a big spring coil more or less.

Then, take a dremel or thin cutting disc and run it down the length of the rod to cut the rings off. When you squeeze them together, they'll be about the right size you needed to begin with.

tattoomike68
12-02-2011, 02:06 PM
You can make a jig with some bolts on a plate.

I used to make a bunch of hangers from 1/8" SS rod with just hand tools.

beau
12-03-2011, 10:43 AM
Thanks everyone for the super-helpful replies!
Sorry to be so long getting back, I had forgotten to set up instant email notifications of replies, but now I've set it up.

Didn't mean to be secretive :o) ~ I'm making wire sculptures inspired by Calder's mobiles:


<<"I currently have about 10 different little benders and each has it's place. The 'universal' type seem to never be able to do anything well.>>
. . . do the pictures of the Calders maybe suggest a particular kind of bender?

I've been using pliers, but I'm unable to get a even, smoothly curved bend, and I need something very precise. I've googled 'wire bender tool' and I'll spend some time with the likely-looking returns.

<< "I would bend cold and over bend with a smaller mandrel (socket) that would allow springback to your size. >>

OK, I haven't worked with a mandrel but I've just checked mandrels out online and this might be the ticket.

Found a YouTube of the E/Z Twist Pro metal rod bender (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-j27Kv5Azs) (for making fishing leader!). Alas, Firefox's WOT rates the dubro.com site as untrustworthy, but I'll keep looking.

Micro-Mark metal rod bender on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QzrwPx9fNs), looks like a possibility.

I don't have a real shop, or any experience making tools, so I'm reluctant to try to build a bender myself . . I'll continue to check out what's available online and report back.

Thanks again! :D

Bender
12-03-2011, 10:50 AM
I don't have a real shop, or any experience making tools,
Too late buddy. You're addicted and you don't even know it yet:( Soon you'll have a shop full.

:DPost some pics when you finish building them. They look cool!

beau
12-03-2011, 11:04 AM
<< Too late buddy. You're addicted and you don't even know it yet Soon you'll have a shop full. >>
Yah!

USMCPOP
12-03-2011, 11:26 AM
Do you have some round nose pliers?

cutter
12-03-2011, 12:15 PM
beau, old pal, please read our FAQ (http://www.shopfloortalk.com/forums/faq.php). Just the first item. :)

dubby
12-03-2011, 12:41 PM
Well, I'd go with the round nose pliers like Pop is suggesting.

I might even consider finding any hard, round, object, locating where you want the bend, and then pulling the wire around by hand. Practice will get you in the zone for creating repeatable bends.

For making repeatable, graceful arcs like in that sculpture, draw them out on a piece of paper and you'll have something consistent to match up with.

beau
12-03-2011, 02:15 PM
These are all I have in pliers

dubby
12-03-2011, 03:58 PM
Go to Hobby Lobby and grab you a pair of round noses off their jewelry aisle. Take a 40% off one item coupon and it's a hard to beat deal...

USMCPOP
12-03-2011, 04:45 PM
Beau, those Knipex pliers are keepers. Good stuff. You should be able to get an inexpensive pair of round nose pliers at a crafts store or Harbor Freight or a similar place.

I would be tempted to form the large arc of the mobile wire simply by grabbing each end of a wire and pulling back and forth at a slight downward angle over a somewhat rounded object. Something like polishing shoes with a rag, or sawing with a wire. That would get you a gentle radius. Then try to make the loop in the center with the round pliers by grasping up close with a fingernail and twisting around. It's all a matter of practice and learned skill.

LeonS
12-06-2011, 12:25 PM
I purchased a set of each of the reference attached from these guys, seem
to be good quality but I would do as Dubby suggested, check Hobby Lobby
for something equal.
L*S

http://www.micromark.com/6-piece-Miniature-Plier-Set,7615.html

http://www.micromark.com/6-piece-Miniature-Plier-Set,7615.html

beau
12-06-2011, 04:52 PM
Thanks everyone for the input. Pliers don't work with the .055 mm and .042 mm wires I'm usinq ~ it's impossible to make anything but a crude eye. I made a homemade version of Micro-Mark's 60346 Wire Bender and it worked well enough that I've gone ahead and ordered the real thing (it's only $14.50) ~ glad to hear, LeaonS, that Micro-Mark is good quality.

USMCPOP
>> form the large arc of the mobile wire simply by grabbing each end of a wire and pulling back and forth at a slight downward angle over a somewhat rounded object . . .<< etc
OK, I'll give that a try for the larger arcs. It's going to be a challenge because I want to begin a spiral on one axis then continue the spiral on a shifted axis - very hard to get the wire to sit still for this:devil:

USMCPOP
12-06-2011, 06:37 PM
Beau,

For .055 mm wire, I think you could just look at it hard and bend it. I haven't done it, but forming a wire of a diameter of two thousandths of an inch shouldn't be hard. I would "use the force".

beau
12-06-2011, 10:24 PM
Hi USMCPOP ~
The problem isn't bending the wire, that's easy ~ the problem is making a perfect eye, which is super-difficile, as the French say:rolleyes:

beau
12-09-2011, 07:44 AM
OK everybody, turns out this is a harder problem than it looks at first.
• Pliers are useless, they make loops so uneven they can't justifiably be called
loops; and they deform the wire at their grasping-points.
• I got the Micro-Mark 60346, it won't do the trick, can only bend the wire
180° or a little more.
• Bending around a shaft produces uneven loops and plier-point deformations.

Here's the problem:
-bend a .055 (or thereabouts) steel wire into a smooth loop, about ¼"
diameter (see picture)
-so that both strands of the wire come out of the loop at 90° from the
vertical axis of the loop
-with the strands touching at the base of the loop.

Let's hear your solutions! :devil:

dubby
12-09-2011, 09:41 AM
So let's back up the train a little...

You're building these mobile/sculpture things outta thin wire, right? Maybe we don't need to worry about how the little loopies look, maybe we should try and figure out a way to raise the ceiling so they'll hang where folks won't notice them so much?

For artsy-fartsy stuff, I think 'pefect' is a hard word to give to a project. Sometimes their imperfection gives them more character than being right. I can sit here and do bends like those all day long, but I learned through practice, over and over.

Bender
12-09-2011, 10:35 AM
Are you pulling on the wire as you wrap it?

Could the loop be a little larger, like 3/8?

beau
12-09-2011, 01:36 PM
Are you pulling on the wire as you wrap it?Yes

Could the loop be a little larger, like 3/8?Sure

allessence
12-09-2011, 08:16 PM
I've bent many things both hot and cold. for the size wire you are asking about a propane torch will work great.

You will need a mandrel to bend it around.

the biggest problem you are faced with is how to get the ends exactly even with the mandrel.

there are 2 methods I use. You can use the mandrel. Heat up a length of wire greater then the length needed for the ring. Grab the very end of the wire with one pair of pliers now bend it around while hot. Orange heat is plenty. Now just go slightly past the bent part. Now get out the dremel and cut the extra length off and blend into eye.

if you have done it right the eye will be perfectly round with the ends tight.

Have fun.

beau
12-10-2011, 11:58 AM
. . . You will need a mandrel to bend it around . . the biggest problem you are faced with is how to get the ends exactly even with the mandrel . . grab the very end of the wire with one pair of pliers now bend it around while hot. Orange heat is plenty.
Thanks allessence. As chance would have it just yesterday I came across a good propane torch in the back of a closet . . one of these days I'll fire it up ;)

beau
12-10-2011, 05:19 PM
UPDATE: :D I spoke too soon about the Micro-Mark 60346 Wire Bender: using the adjustable screw pin to clamp down the wire, which I had failed to do at first, you can easily make a very neat and very smoothly round eye.:):)
No heat necessary;)
Micro-Mark shipped the unit so quickly that it arrived within 48 hours.:p

cutter
12-10-2011, 07:50 PM
Well damn, just as I was ready to show you how to use your Roto-trim edger. :rolleyes:

milomilo
12-10-2011, 07:53 PM
Nice loop. Now you can make some things to hang from the ceiling to keep Wison occupied.