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Problem balling wire; heat sink


#1

Basically, I have created a silver frame, drilled four holes (2 each
on opposite sides) and have run 24 ga silver wire (tried 22, broke)
through, supporting a wool piece in the middle. In the end, I want
to ball up all 4 wire ends, can do the first two (already balled when
slipping through), but when I try and ball the other two ends, a
heat sink is created and they will not ball up. I tried butane, and
now MAPP gas (which I think is the hottest, but I cannot ball up
those ends for the life of me. Any ideas? I’ve figured out how to
protect the wool, but just cannot ball THAT wire! Help! I am not
giving up…


#2
 ...a heat sink is created and they will not ball up. I tried
butane, and now MAPP gas (which I think is the hottest, but I
cannot ball up those ends for the life of me. Any ideas? I've
figured out how to protect the wool, but just cannot ball THAT
wire! Help! I am not giving up.... 

First, you likely need a torch that not only uses a fuel gas, but
also compressed oxygen. After than natural gas, propane, mapp, or
acetylene would all work, but it may surprise you just how hot a
flame you actually need for this. Silver, as you’re finding, is a
supurb heat sink. The best of all the metals in fact. You can help a
bit by leaving the extending ends of the wire slightly longer than
you really need. That way, the melting can start a little farther
from the heat sink, and once balling up, might not stop too soon for
your needs. Also, try drilling the holes that those wires exit from,
slightly larger than needed, so the wire fits it slightly less well.
That reduces thermal contact between the wire and frame, reducing the
heat sinking from the frame. Other options might include using a wire
that’s easier to melt. If you’re now using fine silver, try sterling.
If you’re using sterling, try 900 silver, or argentium, which I
think may melt a little easier. Or switch to using a gold wire.
yellow or white golds are not great heat sinking materials like
silver, so balling up the end of a wire is easier by far, if it’s
being heat sinked by the rest of the assembly. Plus, if you use gold
wire, it’s stronger than silver, so you might again be able to use
thinner guage wire, which would also help. But even with this, I’m
guessing that to get a good ball coming reasonably close to your
frame, you’ll need a gas/oxygen torch. With those, you also use
smaller tips, so the smaller and hotter flames make it easier to
isolate and heat only a desired part of an object, making protecting
your wool componant easier.

Hope that helps.
Peter Rowe
Seattle


#3

Hey Amy, sounds like you’ll need an oxygen/gas flame to ball the
wire. What about balling the wire then cold connecting the woolen
piece?

Have a good one,
Jim Doherty