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Make your own metal rod


Smiffy
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This is a really quick and simple tip, that I picked up years and years ago, but one that I use quite regularly.

All you need is a couple of pairs of tweezer type tools (I like using the sprung loaded soldering clamps) and some form of wire. I'll use some fuse wire for this demo, but it works just as well with individual strands from electrical cable, as well. I'm not too sure how well it will work with lead wire though, as that is very brittle.

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Select the appropriate gauge of wire and cut a length off (making sure it's longer than you need for the required job). I'm using the thin 5a stuff here. Clamp the ends of the strand into your tweezers and twist it around the jaws a couple of times, for good measure.

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Taking a pair of tweezers in each hand, take up the slack and then slowly, but firmly pull the wire taught. In essence, all you are doing is stretching the wire straight. You will feel it as it begins to stretch and the trick is to know how far it will go before it snaps. It's not a big issue though, as if it does snap, it will usually be a clean break, so it will still be perfectly usable. After a couple of tries, you should be able to gauge just how far to stretch it, without breaking.

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Then, you simply cut the twisted ends off with some sharp scissors or a hobby knife and there you have it. A nice straight length of metal rod. Just perfect for additional detailing, or to replace overly thick plastic mouldings on things like radial engines or undercarriage parts and much more economical than buying lengths of brass rod.

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The other way to do this is to roll the wire on a flat surface. My modelling table has a glass top which makes a really nice surface for this task. I roll it using a steel rule - makes for nice straight fuse wire in seconds.

Just as an alternative to Smiffy's great idea above...

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I went to a couple of florists shops some years ago & bought bundles of florists wire.

The more shops you ask at, The more variety you will get in terms of diameter/texture.

A small bundle cost about 50p (It's odd as they don't know what to charge).

This stuff is used for wreaths etc and is easy to bend/coil or it can add strength to a tube.

Pete

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Old guitar strings - 1st, 2nd & 3rd are (usually plain wire) 4th, 5th & 6th are wound - excellent for braided wire, hose etc.
Even a new cheapie set for non-guitarists can be had for around £4 - enough for loads of wire.

Some good ideas here - I like the stretched fuse wire.

The pic below shows guitar string braided hose and brake pipes etc on my 1/24 XKSS.

Roy.

P1010098.jpg

Edited by roymattblack
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  • 4 months later...

copper wire has its uses too, i find the earth wire from 2.5 mm twin and earth ( domestic power cable ) is ideal for 1/24th scale roll cages. to use it, first heat it up to red hot on your cooker/hob, then immerse in water to anneal ( soften ) it. to straighten, put one end in a vice, grab the other with pliers, pull sharply. the result is soft and straight wire. don't forget to ask mummy if it's ok to use the cooker. :fuhrer: .

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  • 1 month later...

For braided wiring and pipes you can find 'braided leader' in fishing tackle shops. One end is thick enough for 1/24 scale radiator and oil pipes while the other end steps down thin enough for brake lines. A thinned wash of silver penetrates the braid looking like stainless steel Goodridge/Aeroquip/Hel pipes! :-)

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  • 2 months later...

Old rotor coils and miniature solenoids provide some great aerial wire for ships and aircraft. Obviously if you are tinning/soldering or even gluing them, you'll have to remove the coating.

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  • 7 months later...

years ago I had an eye bolt screwed through the workbench in an isolated location. I'd slip my needle nose pliers through the eye an take hold of one end of a wire. then I could tug and otherwise harangue the wire until it complied with my wishes. harder I pulled the tighter the pliers on the other end held on. of course this only works with serrated jaws.

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  • 5 months later...

In the years i collect an assortment of copper wire with a diameter from 2mm down to 0.10mm; you will found it mainly dismantling old electric appliance and electronic. In old electronics you also found electric coils made from tinned wire in different traslucent colours (red, green, blu and yellow) very useful for internal wiring.

Here in Italy the home telefon cables had inside a 0.5mm copper wire tinned and it have the same appareance of a steel wire, but more easy to use.

To strecht the wires i use two pliers of self-lockig type.

r.

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Good tips there.

In addition, if you want something a little thicker and strong, I have a large stash of old wire coat hangers. They seem to vary a bit in thickness from about 2.2mm to 2.5mm. They come in handy for all sorts of things, spars, stands for holding while spraying etc. and come with bends already incorporated and long straight pieces at the bottom.

Get some while you can because they seem to have been almost completely superseded by the awful plastic jobbies. My Ma-in-law got me loads when she worked in Oxfam.

Nige B

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  • 4 months later...

I do all my rigging using this method for straightening copper wire, but I just use two small pairs of pliers, as I find they are better to give a controlled stretch to the wire.

Bob

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If I was making rigging for ships, I'd want something that had a ropey texture to it rather than smooth like wire. May I suggest a visit to a fishing tackle shop or a word with an angling friend? There are many brands of braided fishing line on the market which would do the job. Braids are made from woven fibres which are soft, limp and very very thin considering their immense tensile strength. Were talking as thin as cotton thread here.... I think the lowest breaking strains are around 4lb and they will go up and up well into double figures. Not only are they textured more like rope, but their limpness means that they will hang naturally if required and won't require bending to shape! You can buy the stuff in 10m lengths for a few quid, or 100m lengths for around 10 quid... or just get some old stuff from an angler. Anglers like to change their braid main lines at least once a year and will let you have their old line for free.

If

Edited by Badder
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  • 1 month later...

I went to a couple of florists shops some years ago & bought bundles of florists wire.

The more shops you ask at, The more variety you will get in terms of diameter/texture.

A small bundle cost about 50p (It's odd as they don't know what to charge).

This stuff is used for wreaths etc and is easy to bend/coil or it can add strength to a tube.

Pete

Following on from Pete's florists idea, Hobbycraft stores in the UK sell florists' wire in a variety of not only diameters but colours too. They also stock rolls of fine wire in their bead-making section and probably some other departments I may have missed.

Phil

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  • 3 months later...

Just to add my penn'orth to this great <ahem> thread...If you have an old VGA cable from a PC and cut it open there are a whole host of very thin wires that can be salvaged, many of them finely-braided and ready to use as cables, ropes etc at different scales. There's also plenty of very fine (thinner that kitchen foil) foil that might well be usable as canvas, fabrics etc. You find a lot of these cables thrown out of office clearances and the like as newer PCs use DVI cables nowadays. (Haven't cut one of these up yet..)

All the best,

Tony

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A simple and effective way to produce fine straight wire is to roll it with a motor tool. Just attach one of its ends to a bench vice (or hold it firmly with pliers) and then chuck the other end into a low-speed Dremel or similar tool. Too much speed or rotation time may break the wire, though.

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  • 4 months later...

If I was making rigging for ships, I'd want something that had a ropey texture to it rather than smooth like wire. May I suggest a visit to a fishing tackle shop or a word with an angling friend? There are many brands of braided fishing line on the market which would do the job. Braids are made from woven fibres which are soft, limp and very very thin considering their immense tensile strength. Were talking as thin as cotton thread here.... I think the lowest breaking strains are around 4lb and they will go up and up well into double figures. Not only are they textured more like rope, but their limpness means that they will hang naturally if required and won't require bending to shape! You can buy the stuff in 10m lengths for a few quid, or 100m lengths for around 10 quid... or just get some old stuff from an angler. Anglers like to change their braid main lines at least once a year and will let you have their old line for free.

If

Fly tying threads are good for this too!

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  • 2 years later...
  • 4 months later...

Maybe you guys can help me out. I just bought wire online for soldering. It's copper wire in 0.1mm. I have no idea if that is a size usable in my scale of 48th and 35th. After I ordered it, I started noticing that guys talk about 0.010 sized plastics and wires, and I thought they were talking about inches, but now I don't know.

 

Did I buy something I can use for conduit and other needs? Or did I just learn a hard lesson in scale modeling?

 

Thanks,

 

Anthony

 

PS. I am unable to view the original photos, not sure if that is a problem with android, or the link is broken.

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On ‎6‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 6:07 AM, Stalker6Recon said:

Maybe you guys can help me out. I just bought wire online for soldering. It's copper wire in 0.1mm. I have no idea if that is a size usable in my scale of 48th and 35th. After I ordered it, I started noticing that guys talk about 0.010 sized plastics and wires, and I thought they were talking about inches, but now I don't know.

Hi Anthony,

Yeh, it's 0.010 of an inch what those guys refer to, which is 0.25mm. Let's say you got copper wire in 0.1mm dia. to replicate a pipe in 1/48th and 1/32nd scale, it would mean having a 4.80mm and 3.20mm pipe in diametre in real life, respectively.

1 metre in 1/48th and 1/32nd scale represent 20.83mm and 31.25mm in the kit, respectively.

Cheers,

 

Unc2

 

:doh:Wrong scale, sorry. A 0.1mm wire represents 3.5mm in the real life in 1/35th scale. And 1 metre represents 28.57mm in the kit.

Edited by Uncle Uncool
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  • 10 months later...

Another useful source of metal rods, although in slightly larger sizes, is old knitting needles. They used to be made from aluminium (maybe some still are) and come in a whole range of sizes. A good location for these is charity shops where you can pick up a few very cheaply. I wouldn't risk taking any from any of our long suffering partners in case domestic harmony is disrupted!!

 

Be aware though that the particularly larger sizes are mostly made of plastic - although they could be useful too.

 

They are particularly good for making things like engine mounts, roll over bars and pylons etc.

 

Cheers, Andy

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  • 1 year later...

See also

 

Sewing needles and pins from haberdashery

Nails and pins from the hardware shop

Broken micro-drill bits (I have many!)

Solder, and silver solder, preferably without the flux core as it's stronger that way.

 

And anything else you can find. Hunting down these little bits and pieces is half the fun.

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