- I’m always
wandering around looking for shapes to use as mandrels - buying one
size of each bolt without any nuts or washers, and assorted small
round shapes is earning me a reputation, I think.
A source for mandrels is a set of machinist’s transfer punches. They
come in many sizes including metric. Most transfer punches are 4
inches long regardless of diameter. A set of 25 from 1- 13 mm by
0.5mm is $18.95 from Enco Mfg. Call 800-873-3626 for a catalog. I
anneal the flat end & cut a slot in it to hold the wire when wrapping
coils. Larger sizes are made from wooden dowel rod and PVC pipe.
A couple of chain making tips I find helpful & teach all my students:
To harden wire clamp one end of the length of wire to be hardened in a
vise. Attach the other end to a cup hook held in the chuck of an
electric drill. Draw the wire taunt with the drill. Start the drill
and run until the wire breaks, usually at one end or the other. Keep
the wire taunt while running the drill. If the wire starts bouncing,
laying a finger on it at arms length will stop the bounce.
Chucking the mandrel in a variable speed drill makes wrapping wire
into coils a lot easier.
The same technique used to harden wire can be used to make twisted
wire. Clamp the ends of the wire to be twisted in a vise. Hook the
middle of the wire over a cup hook held in an electric drill chuck.
Draw the wire taunt and turn on the drill. Let the drill run until the
desired twist is achived. Cut off and save about 1 inch as a pattern,
in case an additional quantity must be twisted. Twisted wire is
If twisting more than 2 wires together, be sure to maintain an even
tension on all wires. Uneven tension results in bumps or knots at
various places along the twisted wire.
I’ve used these techniques to harden & twist wire lengths up to 30 ft
I cut my coils with a cutter and guide I made for a Dremel., have one
for the Foredom also.
FWIW The last chain job I did was a size 44 long, chain mail tunic,
7236 13mm links, 14 ga steel. Those links weren’t cut with the Dremel.