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Making half-round wire

Actually I did trouble to write and and warn her not to use the rolling mill on that stand and to move the buffer far away from the rolling mill so as not to destroy it.
Diplomacy and kindness is never out of style. Browbeating is unnecessary and unappreciated.

Being an ‘industry old timer’ is no excuse. Bad manners and unkind words are not required to get the safety message out; the rest of us managed quite well.

A recently deceased member here was a genius, a quarrelsome, arrogant, antagonistic and at times harsh individual so much so that many a heated debate ensued, which in turn caused many of us to sit back and not DARE to ask any questions for many, many years. Important information is suppressed because those needing it are intimidated and won’t speak up and ask. In the end it has little to do with being sensitive, it has more to do with being respectful of fellow members.


Quite the contrary, he was simply opinionated.

Safety issues are serious. Regardless of delivery, offering the message is being respectful of fellow members.

How many inexperienced folks neglect to research these issues when they buy a machine? How many of them have to be reminded repeatedly? How many never understand? When does the experienced person give up out of frustration?

If being berated regarding a safety issue bothers you, then don’t ever take sailing lessons. :skull_crossbones: come about

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Perhaps you had a lousy instructor? At sailing lessons I was never berated!
Nor do I berate students in my many classes over the past 14 years. People tend to stop listening when an instructor yells and belittles.

We have beleaguered the subject more than enough, time to end it. I will never agree that bullying is acceptable nor is excusable for ANY member of this forum.


It’s an amazing feat to tack through a busy harbor without making mistakes. Kudos to any instructor who can calmly navigate that lesson.

We all want to understand instructions immediately, put them into practice and always remember to perform correctly. But we are neither perfect nor calm.

It is unacceptable to apply the word “Bullying” to any conveyance of safety information.

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I have a Durston stand for sale from south coast UK. It’s about 5 years old and I had it bolted into a concrete floor at my previous workshop. My mill is bolted to a heavy table now, as I don’t have spare floor space for the stand. I don’t know where you are, but let me know if you are interested!

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p.s. I’ts the cabinet stand. Lorraine.

im confined to my bed with an illness

Hi Ted. I hope you are feeling better!

Neil A

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Hello, Lorraine @l.gibby
I am the original poster who was looking for a simple economical solution for my RM. How nice of you to offer… it would definitely be the perfect solution :slight_smile: , unfortunately I am in the US (Iowa).
Thank you,

Hi Sharon,

I thought you were probably in the US!

Never mind.I am sure a solution will present itself soon.

Good Luck!

Lorraine Gibby inspired Jewellery

Mettle Studios

Roundstone Bypass


West Sussex

BN16 4BD

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With safety an important issue, I’m confused about the appropriate amount of force to use when rolling. This ? ties in with the reasons given why one should have the RM properly mounted.

My reading on the subject tells that if the RM is pushed too far, damage could be done to the rollers and/or the internal gears. So, how does one know b4hand if/when they are pushing too far?

I followed a purchased instructional video that said to tighten down on your metal to pretty snug. Remove the metal (by rolling through) and give the wheel a 1/4 turn tighter. Then roll the metal through. When I do this, it feels like I’m using too much muscle and scares me off, so I loosen the rollers b4 continuing. Would I break the mill if I were to follow through w/o loosening the rollers or is using this much force OK? FWIW I’m a reasonably strong woman…

My experiments with texturing have not been overly satisfactory for 2 reasons: 1. I don’t think I’m annealing the metal enough (copper/brass) and 2. I’m afraid to use too much force. These two probably cancel each other out… If I annealed the metal properly, then I wouldn’t need so much muscle to roll it through.

Aside from annealing though, the original ? still seems to be valid when so many comments have been made about how much force is used when rolling metal.

As always, thank you for your comments.

Hi Sharon,

Don’t sweat the force. The rolls themselves will survive more force than you’re capable of putting out, the gears as well.

There are some issues with older mills being marginal in terms of strength on the gears that mesh the two rolls together, if the rolls are far apart, but modern mills aren’t as fragile. (The issue is that gears are designed to mesh at one, known, diameter. The meshing gears on a RM are on the ends of the rolls, which can move, which means that those gears have weird teeth, and they can mesh at any random diameter, which means that they’re weak when only meshing at the very tips, as they would do when the rolls are fully open. Modern rolls have a couple of ways to get around this, so it’s not such an issue.)

The other issue is pounds per square inch. The rolls themselves are usually what’s called ‘case hardened’. Which means you’ve got a thin skin of hard steel over a softer core. Works well for a variety of reasons, except, it’s vulnerable to cracking if you get a point load that’s strong enough to crush through to the softer core. Then the skin cracks, sort of like the chocolate shell on a cake roll. That’s the origin of the ‘don’t roll wire’ rules. You can roll wire, especially once it’s flattened a bit, if you take light bites, but the idea is to keep the PSI down if you can. So wider sheet is better, etc. (and if you’re going to roll flatten wire, do it at the very edge of the roll. That way if there’s a problem, it’s at the edge, where (A) the roll’s stronger, and (B) it’s on the edge, and can be avoided.))

Any decent mill should be able to take everything you can put out, and more. Don’t tighten the rolls to the point where you can’t crank the handle, but you’re good anywhere up to there, at least with the mill you’ve got. One of the cheapo imports from god-knows-where? Baby those. I got one cheap once because the handle had snapped in half, under the brutal treatment of a woman who might have weighed 100 pounds dripping wet.
The only time I can think of where you want to push hard is roll printing, since you’ve only got one shot. Otherwise, take a couple of lighter passes, it’ll be easier cranking. Metallurgically speaking, you should take heavier passes, but we’re not normally pushing the metal nearly as hard as we could (or should) so it’s not such an issue. (Short form: Yes, light bites are suboptimal, but so’s the whole procedure, so it doesn’t end up being any worse, and it’s easier work.)


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Hello Sharon again!,
Im glad you and your husband get a laugh out of my replies, so it prompts me to do so again.
Now our first and formost fellow engineer here Brian has beat me to it and said more than i would, on this continuing saga.
However, im going to upset Aurora again by bullying you some more. If youve never felt the full wrath of a regimental sergeant major im treating you with kid gloves on…
Now, the amount of force you can give into the handle of your mill, which is the same as mine, depends on how you have bolted it down, you dont say how you finally did this? why not? We need to know as we cant reply properly without this essential info.
If you build a house you put in proper foundations, so it is with a mill.
you MUST secure it properly . If for example you bolt it down with 4 3/4in dia rag bolts into a 1cub yard block of concrete, then put a length of 2in water pipe on the handle, you might just break something.
However if its fixed by now, (I hope so), to a proper table ,not just clamped temporarily to a light coffee table, you wont be able to turn the handle if you take a too big a bite on the metal.
Your trying to replicate another technology ie minting in 2 or 3D relief for which you need other kit to do this with.
Search my posts to Janet in Jerusalem, for pictures of my minting machine i built to take my work to the customers. also pictures to her of my expo unit. Much travelled all over Europe.

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A good rule of thumb for securing the mill might be about the same as for a draw plate. If you can yank 14 gauge wire down one size through a draw plate secured in a vise bolted down to where the mill will be mounted without moving or tipping the bench, it’ll probably be OK for a mill. If you have to have someone sit on it or use a foot or something to keep it from tipping or sliding, it’s not going to be secure enough for a mill.


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Kid gloves appreciated, Ted :slight_smile: I didn’t mention how the mill is bolted down because it hasn’t been moved yet. Since I have to wait until the weather improves to build a new worktable, I will leave it where it is… tightly clamped to my reasonably sturdy library table. The level of muscle I’ve used so far is as far as I’m going to go until I have the new worktable.

Thanks Brian, I’m comforted that I won’t be able to destroy the mill. That said, I also understand I should take care not to hurt myself in the process…

Also, I appreciate the how to roll wire info. Even though I was aware not to roll steel wire for obvious reasons, I didn’t know the proper way to roll softer wire.

In a month or so, I’ll build the worktable following the earlier one pictured. It will be screwed and lag bolted together, So, it should be very solid. That said, I’m wondering if there would be any value in attaching it to a 3/4" piece of plywood (lily pad :slight_smile: ) to add my weight to the equation. I would attach with large 2-3 screw “L” brackets.

Thanks much,

So, drywall screws and fender washers may not be adequate?

Hi Sharon,

Errr…probably not worth the bother of bolting the new table to a lillypad. Tables like that, especially if you build under-table storage shelves, get loaded up with enough crap that they’re plenty heavy.

Remember: don’t obsess. You made it, you can fix it if it turns out not to be quite what you needed.

From what I remember from the pictures that started this whole mess, the mill wasn’t a particularly large one. You don’t need to build something that can take the stress of a semi-truck yanking on it. A basic 2x4 table like the picture I remember from further on will be more than plenty. Just make sure it sits square and doesn’t rock, then get back to making jewelry. There are plenty of loons (like me, cough) who spend their time making tools. Make jewelry. It’s prettier.


:+1: Perfect! Glad to hear it. I can always add it later if needed. This old Durston weighs about 95-100lbs. Seems pretty big to me, but personal experience is limited to this one model :slight_smile:

Thanks again.

Everyone have a great weekend,

8 posts were split to a new topic: Building a better worktable?

have you tried using the side rollers with Square wire? I have the C150 “D” grooves sizes 4mm, 3mm, 2mm, 1.5mm Durston tech emailed me and advised that you can start with a square and in regards to the size, it will be trial and error and may be different for each user not much help :slight_smile:
I tried with square didn’t come out too great. I edges needed to be filed off. Worked better starting from round