Pros and cons of delrin or steel sinusoidal stakes

What are the pros and cons of these delrin & steel sinusoidal

Delrin from A2Z corp.: Loading...

Steel & delrin from otto frei:

And on the Otto Frei site both the delrin and steel stakes

Ed Ledner

I have the steel forged stake from Otto Frei and have made a plastic
stakes in a similar shape to the first link. I usually use metal; it
is personal preference. Both get beat up and need filing, sanding,
and clean up. I am perplexed by the plastic stake on Otto Frei’s
page because I have always worked with the stake inside the curve of
the metal, so I would have to see a demo how to use to understand it.
As it is, I can only visualize making speculums with it.


Hi Ed:

I’ve got a variety of both styles. The steel ones are (a) more
expensive, and (B) they vibrate a bit more in the outer curves. The
’swizzle stick’ style of steel stake are perhaps in process of being
replaced with a newer style. There’s been some work done by
Betty-Helen Longhi and Cindy Eid (who I expect to chime in here in a
second) on double ended ‘hook’ stakes. The swizzle stick stakes have
several bays of decreasing size. This is versatile, but leaves the
end unsupported, and thus prone to bouncing around. They’re also not
the easiest thing on earth to make. (I can say this, having made

The hook stakes just have one bay on each end, which gives better
support, and simplifies making them as well. The drawback is that
you need several of them to equal the number of bays in a single
swizzle stake, and you can’t switch bays as quickly as you can on a
swizzle stake. The advantage is that they’re easier to make, and thus
cheaper if you’re buying them, and they don’t vibrate as much.
(Allcraft in NYC has them)

Delrin (and wood) stakes have the ?advantage? of not leaving strike-
marks on your metal. Since there’s no metal-to-metal contact, they
don’t thin the metal as much as steel stakes can. (but if you’re
using them properly, there isn’t much metal-to-metal contact
anyway.) They also won’t take the amount of pounding that the steel
ones will. I do some anticlastic forming with titanium. It’s chewed
the bays out of one of my maple stakes, while the steel ones
show…nothing. You get a lot more motion for given impact energy
with steel stakes than you do with the softer materials, but the
softer ones mark up the metal less, and are much easier to make.
(This will matter if you get serious: you’ll need ‘oddball’ shapes
and stakes that are not always commercially available.)


The delrin stakes won’t mar roll printed sheet…steel will…other
than the price, keeping the steel oiled to protect from humidity and
polished when it mars (the delrin won’t mar but can get slightly
dented with a flat face of a hard machinist or other forming hammers
with some weight, a sharp edge and a lot of force), it is really a
matter of preference. I prefer one of each… Karl Fisher has some
nice options too. (all steel though if i remember correctly)…rer

Oh I forgot to add - I have had great success with wrapping leather
around the steel stake and securing it with spray adhesive which is
removed quickly when done with “goo-off” or denatured alcohol, then
re-oil and protect the steel stake. I get goatskin from Tandy
company for light duty use and oil tanned pieces if a lot of pounding
is necessary. It keeps me from having to refinish the delrin (i use a
drum sander when it gets dented to smooth it back down to shape) as
often. In fact this has made me review the delrin at all- I am sure
I wouldn’t buy it again as the steel is far more serviceable in the
long run and will outlast the delrin many years. In considering the
expense of the delrin, and milling it yourself ( you can buy delrin
rods and sheet on ebay in the industrial materials stores cheap) as
opposed to purchasing them pre-formed ( you can heat form them
easily if you have access to a vacuum forming machine that has a
heated air feature using a wooden or perspex die, or mill them on any
lathe even easier) - you can make two or three stakes for the same
expense… as buying a single delrin stake from a vendor. The delrin
though basically impenetrable is brittle in a vise in cold dry
weather and a single blow of a metal hammer can break it in r cold
ambient environs if struck just right- so i would go with steel as it
is modifiable & will last forever, you can always protect it, with
anything from tool dip/ plasti -shield, to leathers, to thermoplastic
covering (Jett sett* without* ceramic or friendly plastic sheet wraps
nicely around the steel and is removable, reusable and inexpensive
for use with high karat gold or platinum sheet and throwing away a
chewed up piece of plastic is easily rationalized over replacing and
refinishing delrin as frequently as is necessary (that is after each
use of anything with size ! ). Buy the steel!..rer