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Rolling Mill Basics - Sharp-Cornered Square



I’d first like to thank everyone in the Orchid community, as well as
the rest of the nation, for your warm support and concern for us out
here in San Diego during last weeks devastating fires. My home and
studios were undamaged, but I can’t stop thinking about those who
weren’t as lucky as my family and me. It will take time to heal our
collective scars.

The past few weeks, I have tried to explain how to make basic square
stock with the rolling mill, and then how to taper it, to pull
through a drawplate.

This week, I’ll attempt to explain how to take the basic square
shaped wire stock and make it into a sharp-cornered square wire.

When wire stock emerges out of the grooves of a rolling mill, if it
is done properly, it comes out mostly square, but will have flattened
corners, due to the shape of the mill’s grooves. Sometimes you will
want to have the corners of this square wire very sharp, something
that the mill’s grooves alone cannot achieve.

To square up the corners on the stock, you will need to make your
"basic" square stock slightly fatter than the “true” square stock you
want to have when you are finished. Now, working on the flat rollers,
very close to the edge, you will want to guide the basic square stock
through the rolling mill with an extremely slight pressure on the
rollers. When your wire emerges from the other side of the flat
rollers, you will then want to rotate the stock a quarter turn, then
run it back through the flat rollers (without re-adjusting the mill)
a second time, which will serve to flatten all 4 sides evenly. You
shouldn’t see much change in the wire’s shape, yet. This time,
the rolling mill’s adjusting wheel or T-bar (counterclockwise!) very
slightly, say, an inch or so. Now repeat the process by rolling the
wire carefully through the flat rollers, giving the wire a quarter
turn before rolling it back through the mill again. If you have
steered the wire carefully, and don’t have too much pressure on the
wire, it will come out perfectly straight, and with a harder corner
each time. After 3 or 4 times ( forward, quarter turn, and back)
through the mill, tightening the mill slightly each time, you will
end up with a perfectly square wire, with sharp corners, at the exact
dimension you want.

Don’t forget to anneal!

Next week…“Upsetting”, or narrowing rectangular stock with the
rolling mill.

Jay Whaley