Does anyone know where I can buy an electric draw bench for drawing down wire or plans to build one.?
Unless you are drawing a lot of wire as a business, you don’t need it to be motorized. Buy a smaller manual boat winch, attach it to one end of 6’ +/- 2X6 and something to support the die on the other end. The board can be any practical length. You should get a proper pair of draw tongs, but you can make them from a pair of vise grips and an eye bolt. There is a way to do a continuous draw longer than the board by adding a pulley near the end where the die is secured. Total cost in the $150 range. Pictures if you want them or look at the Shop Shots page of my website…Rob
Please send pics
Pictures of my draw bench…Rob
…and! …i suggest getting a boat winch with a detachable handle…for maybe $20+ more…
i got mine from Dutton-Lainson…
Hi Rob and Julie and All,
I have a question related to this thread…I don’t have a draw bench, but I do have ingot molds, a rolling mill and draw plates for small gauges…I like to keep things simple and don’t have a lot of space, so I’m thinking I would melt sterling ingots and scrap in my little Chinese electric furnace with the graphite crucible and pour into a thin ingot mold (I have the vertical adjustable kind) and end up with an ingot about 6mm square. From there I’d forge with a hammer and anvil, shape and anneal as necessary and roll down from about 5mm or less to 1mm (17 gauge). From there I’d use a draw plate to get smaller gauges down to about 26 gauge. Would I really need a draw bench with a winch to draw wire smaller than 17 gauge if I took it slow as is recommended and did my annealing as needed? Or could I just put my draw plate in a vise or similar and draw with tongs by hand?
Also, I looked at winches on Ebay and their capacities vary from 3500 lbs to 1600 lbs down to 600 lbs. Would 600 lbs of force be enough for drawing small wire gauges, or does one need the heavier duty ones? I tried looking for the formula for the force required for drawing wire, but Google did not provide one specific to wire drawing with a plate. -royjohn
royjohn…I bought the smallest winch I could find. Space is not a problem. You store it up right until you need it. You could also build it into the studs of a wall either horizontal or vertical. You do need to secure it when in use to keep it from moving around as you crank. I have stops on the bottom of the 2X6. You can also screw a piece of wood into the bottom and secure the whole thing in a machine vise. This is just physics. Yes, theoretically you could put the die in a vise and try to draw wire. I have almost pulled my bench over on top of me doing it. I can easily pull 20 - 28+ this way, but anything thicker than 18 will be a chore. I had a piece of 22 gauge break on me doing this last summer and went sailing into a stationary bike trainer. I ran my arm through the teeth of the chain wheel and impaled my back on the end of the axle. I will have the scars for the rest of my life. Being able to recycle scrap into ingots that can be rolled or drawn is a real game changer. Just remember to remove what solder you can. Hope this helps…Rob
Yes, you can draw wire by hand and smaller gauges are pretty easy. When I draw heaver wire (12ga - 16ga) by hand I put the drawplate in my bench vice and then one foot on the edge of the bench and pull with my whole body. Being able to get a foot/leg into it really helps.
I have a draw bench similar to Rob’s. It works very well. I remove the handle and store it vertically when not in use. I think that it’s about 6 feet long. I use the ViceGrip/eyebolt drawtong method with it. My winch came from Harbor Freight.
If you build a drawbench be sure to get a winch with a strap. Cable winches don’t work very well in this application. (cable gets very tangled up when there is no tension on it.)
PS: Hans Meevis has plans to build a lightweight bench from square tubular steel (requires light welding.) I think that they are free to download from his website.
Look here: Wire Draw Bench DIY Jewelry Making
i bought the Ditton-Lainson DL1602ADD
primarily for the quick attach (detachable handle)
its longer 9-1/2” handle for leverage
and to draw larger wire and tubing…
I could draw thinner wire in shorter lengths using a mounted bench vice to hold the drawplate, and vice grips…but i struggled with wire greater than say…um…14gg…?…1.60mm…?…if i recal correctly…
it is rated 1600lbs
and is 2 speed…either direct drive, or geared 5.4:1 ratio
there are many models with higher gear ratios…
the geared drive takes the labor out of the cranking
i ended up using a verrrry dense plank of hardwood and it is so heavy that i do not need to clamp it down…it was leftover from a custom order and the lumber guy gave me a good price…i had gotten a piece of douglas fir from home depot but it was sooo green…it kept weeping sap!!
it is not currently sold on the Dutton-Lainson website, but i found it below
the price seems to have gone up a bit…
My winch is a Harbor Freight item. I bought it six or seven years ago for under $40.00. I use it vertically when I use it. I can still draw round wire from 10 ga. down to 22 ga. for short pulls when I need to by hand.
Lots of good ideas here royjohn. Pick what works for you and your shop or come up with something new and tell us about it. I do know that, after my accident this past summer, I will only be free pulling very thin wire. I just pulled about 25 feet of 22 gauge fine wire for filigree. If your pull is longer than the distance from the die to the winch, add a pulley that you can wrap the wire around and then just keep pulling. There is a finite amount of wire that the pulley can hold before it gets bound up, but it works well…Rob
I just looked at my winch. It is a no name winch with 1500 pound pull capacity. That is probably way more than you need. I bought it online for around $30 (I think). I never have trouble turning the crank. Actually, my 13 year old grandson likes to do it. As alonzo pointed out, get one with a strap. You only use the last 3-6 feet of it and it will get worn. I took mine to a shoe repair shop last year and had the worn parts cut out and the snap hook sewn back in. I would suggest investing in a good pair of draw tongs ($70 maybe)…Rob
I keep remembering things to pass on. My tongs required a heavy steel wire circle to engage the ends of the tongs and tighten them as they are pulled by the strap. I tried making one once I figured out the size, but it just wasn’t strong enough and deformed the first time that I used it. I eventually found one at a Tandy leather shop. I have since found them at other places that set horse tack like Tractor Supply. Many people use a pair of vise grips with the adjustment screw replaced by a threaded eye bolt. I find that vise grips tend to cut the wire unless you make changes to the shape of the teeth. Draw tongs have a very fine cross hatch texture that grabs a hold of more of the wire without cutting it. The final suggestion (for the moment), is to figure out how to taper wire. I can get it down to a useful taper in square rollers of my mill so that I can easily draw down to 20 gauge. After that it takes a lot of fine forging, filing, sanding or whatever works to form a smaller taper. If anyone has ideas how to do this, please pass them on…Rob
I thought I’d throw out a different idea as an option. I’m not suggesting that you do this as it’s an expensive way to go, but it’s good to know about it. The Durston draw bench.
I was able to score one of these Durston draw benches at a substantial discount on the last day of a jewelry trade show. I’m very surprised by how much I love it. It’s built like a tank with the same quality that Durston applies to their tools. It has a similar reduction gear as what’s used in Durston rolling mills. I’ve got it C- clamped to a workbench, so I can move it out of the way when I want to.
This Durston draw bench replaced the handmade draw bench that I built that’s similar to what Rob and others are taking about.
There was nothing wrong with the handmade draw bench that I built and I probably wouldn’t have purchased the Durston draw bench, if it wasn’t at a discount. But now that we have it, I don’t have any regrets about buying it.
Side note, if you are ever in the market for a jewelry tool (especially a heavy one) and can drive to a jewelry trade show, jewelry tool companies are usually willing to bargain for anything that they shipped to the show, so they don’t have to pay to ship it back.
Again, nothing wrong with the handmade draw benches at all and I used one for many years, but if you’re not a do-it-yourselfer, it’s good to know that you can buy one.
Also going back to your original question about an electric draw bench, the only one that I can find is also made by Durston. I don’t know if it’s available outside of the UK? I only see it listed on the Durston site. If that’s something that you want, you’d have to reach out to your favorite jewelry tool company and see if they can order it for you.
Hello Wire-Drawers All and thanks so much for all the very good suggestions. I was about to thank y’all last night but I got too tired to post and went to bed…and this morning I see even more details about the draw bench! Since I am being run out of my 25x15 craft room by craft stuff of all kinds and things stored there I have a rule that nothing can go in until space is made for it by something(s) going out. Last night it was a box of papers from 1991. The other rule is that the paying crafts like jewelry have to pay for their tool additions up front. So I’ll either be making some jewelry or cutting some stones before doing much about a draw bench just yet. I wanted to pull wire manually because I’m into increasing my strength and the amount of exercise I get, but I will be aware of needing to watch what might happen if wire snaps. I guess that is why you see pictures of seated craftsmen holding a draw plate between their feet and drawing wire using their back muscles. You’re more likely to minimize injury if wire breaks.
All that said, I think there is some lumber around here to use, an extra pair of vise grips and maybe even an extra hook with strap from an old HF come-along. So the $25-$30 winch and one of those chain links that open up (or a ring, Rob) are all I will need. I’ll be looking for a pulley for the day that I need to draw twelve feet of wire, but that day isn’t here yet! -royjohn
Sounds like a plan. Keep us posted…Rob
If you haven’t yet heard Contenti has a photo of the tongs Rob and I use with a forged ring in their catalog just now. Excellent price as well.
For short pulls on heavy wire (transforming round to hex) I’ve used a car scissor jack with eye bolts through top and bottom. These will pull as well as push, and the mechanical advantage is huge. A cordless drill electrifies it quite nicely.