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Making a circle with brass wire

Post your favorite modeling 'tips' and 'tricks'

Postby PaulC » Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:45 pm

Guys,

Anyone know any efficient bench "tricks" to bending 1/16" brass wire into a smooth circle, say 3/4" in diameter (without buying some magic wire circle bender tool from Micro-Mark)?




Edited By PaulC on 1110912379
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Paul Crozier
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Postby Sub culture » Tue Mar 15, 2005 3:19 pm

Heat it well with a blow torch. Allow to cool, this will anneal the brass rod, and make it very easy to work.

Find a former (mandrel) of the diameter you wish to replicate. With that diameter of rod, you should be able to bend it round with your fingers. As you work the brass, it will work harden, so just heat it up again if it gets too stiff to work easily.

The ends may want a little persuasion with a plastic mallet (take it easy), then just trim back the rod and solder the ends (I prefer to silver solder thicker brass, although soft solder will be more than adequate).

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Postby PaulC » Tue Mar 15, 2005 5:45 pm

Thanks, Andy!

I appreciate the help (I knew I would find it here).
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Postby JWLaRue » Tue Mar 15, 2005 6:29 pm

I agreee with Andy...but offer this observation: heating to anneal it will leave the brass rod 'soft'....as in it won't be as stiff as it once was. While this makes it easier to bend, it also makes it easier to deform after the fact.

I've done the 'wrap the brass rod around a mandrel' approach without heating it. I usually look for a mandrel that is slightly smaller in diameter than what I want the finished part to be. The brass rod is wrapped around the mandrel (at least) twice and the ends pulled to make the rod tight against the mandrel. The use of an undersized mandrel allows the brass to spring back slightly and still be the right size.

Cut and then solder the ends together to get a perfect circle. Exactly what one needs when building U-boat periscope shears!

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Postby Sub culture » Wed Mar 16, 2005 8:22 am

Jeff,

I do find a lot of the brass stock available, for instance, in model shops is quite low in copper content. In those instances, forming the rod can be quite a chore.

However if it is good stuff, then you can get away with cold forming.

Good point regarding undersizing the former, I should have mentioned that,as the brass does have 'spring' in it.

Not too much of a worry unless you need bang on accuracy.

Andy




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Postby roberthusar » Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:19 pm

I use a solid rod as the foundation. Drill a hole across the diameter (size of target rod). Insert the rod in. While exterting tension on the rod, heat the rod and start to bend it around the foundation. Silver solder the joint and you're done.
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Postby PaulC » Sat Apr 02, 2005 5:15 pm

Tried the tips everyone shared with much success. Pretty neat!

Here's the untrimmed piece (resting on my sub-themed mouse pad made by my 10 year old son).

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Postby boatbuilder1 » Sun May 01, 2005 10:28 pm

check the micro mark catalog
they have several sets of metal forming tools and pliers
I have one of the jewlers pliers and it can form rings from 5/16 down to 1/16. annealing does work for rod larger than 3/32 but for anything smaller I think its a waste of time.
www.micromark.com
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