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Speeding up ear wires production


#1

Trying to make earring hooks/wires but having trouble doing it
quickly. I have a cup bur on the dremel to smooth out the end of the
wire, but it’s taking me far too long.

Any suggestions?


#2

A fine flat piece emory cloth (black sandpaper) should speed up
finishing the cut end-then touch up and smooth on a buffing wheel.
Make a jig of dowels or whatever to bend the hooks to get a standard
shape.

Good luck!


#3

Hello Trish,

other than making a jig ( which i’m betting you have done - if not a
universal holder/hand vise with pegs works beautifully for repeated
forming. or a block of wood with nails that you have polished to
remove any flaws in the iron/steel makes a decent cheap jig as well).

Finishing the ends though can be done by balling then flattening in a
rolling mill,a few taps on a bench block, the cup burs OR Chucking a
beading tool of the gauge most appropriate for your wire in the
dremel and letting it rotate, without pressure (rotation is what the
rotary tools or flexshafts work with, not pushing harder to make work
go quicker). lubricate it periodically to keep the beading tool cool
and highly polished inside the cup, or at the tip. Some things just
take time!..

rer


#4

Personally, I try not to do anything that is done better by a
machine.

Of course, if you are making special earwires you cannot buy, that is
different. I believe you said you have cup burs, so I can’t see how
to speed that part of the process. And it they’re non-standard, the
manufactured jigs won’t help (and the ones I’ve seen are not very
good anyway). The only way to speed it up would seem to be to
engineer a jig that allows you to bend several simultaneously.

I’d just buy 'em.

Noel


#5

experienced makers suggest performing one step on all pieces before
going on to the next step. this helps you perform a step the same
way on all pieces, giving your multiples consistency. of course, you
have to pick up each piece many more times, but you don’t have to
switch tools so often.

jean adkins


#6

Hi Trish,

If you make a lot of ear wires, you may be interested in the little
tool that Kingsley North sells (kingsleynorth.com). You put the
appropriate length wire in it & push a lever & the result is a
perfectly formed ear wire.

Usual disclaimers, just a happy customer.

Dave


#7

Actually, another group had this same question. They recommended the
Lansky Fish Hook Sharpener. It has 3 V-shaped slots for dragging your
fish hook to sharpen it. Don’t drag your wire as many times and you
get a nice rounded end. I found it online for under $4. It works
wonderfully and save me a lot of time!

Michele
MikiCat Designs
www.mikicatdesigns.com


#8

Dave

If you make a lot of ear wires, you may be interested in the
little tool that Kingsley North sells (kingsleynorth.com). 

Dave, what is the name of the tool? I went to Kingsley North and
couldn’t find anything of this nature. Does it have a special name?
Or do you have the item number?

Thanks.
K.


#9

I was also curious, I saw a small plastic tool in India and it was
from Alpha Supply in Seattle. Anyway I searched the Kingsley site for
ear wires and the tool popped up. These things work quite well. If
you cut your wire with very sharp scissors and burnish in stainless
shot after you make your earwires you will not have to worry about
polishing, buffing, of cup burring the ends of the wires. The shot
softens the edges so they are not to sharp.

Scissors can work wonderful for cutting soft wire, they leave both
ends almost flush and for small jump ring coils a sharp pair of
surgical scissors works great.

Cheers,
James


#10

Unfortunately, while good for consistency, it’s also good for RSI
(repetitive stress injuries).

Kim


#11

K,

I looked it up as well, it was hard to find because it is under
beading tools, Easy Ear Wire.

Hope that helps.
Debbie


#12
what is the name of the tool? I went to Kingsley North and couldn't
find anything of this nature. Does it have a special name? Or do
you have the item number? 

In the 2008 Kingsley North catalog it’s listed as: 'Easy Ear Wire"
item # 6-0920. It’s item 3 on page 147 of the 2008 catalog.

Dave


#13

I have been reading along on this thread for a couple days, but I’m
not sure what the real problem seemed to be with the production of
the wires. The cup bur was mentioned, is it that it was taking too
long to round the wire ends? Whatever the issue is, I agree with the
suggestion of the production line method, do one step at a time to
each wire and it will be much more efficient, as is the case with any
repetitive work. If it’s the rounding of the ends, if you have all of
your wires sitting there ready to be rounded, tool with cup bur in
hand, you should be able to move through them very quickly. As for
the creation of the wires, several folks have suggested getting one
of the jigs. Well, sure you can do that, but why? If it’s so that you
can know you made it yourself, why make them to look exactly like
ones you bought in the catalog? It’s not like it’s that pricey to
buy them if you want them to look like all the others. If you want
them to look handmade (because they’re different, not because they
look like a monkey made them), then come up with your own way of
"mass producing" them in an efficent way. Create a jig for yourself,
or use the same pliers in the same way everytime. For instance, I
like to make wires with a square top. I used to make that first bend
above the bead or whatever “freehand” and then work to make the
second one the same as the first (earrings should match, ya know!).
Eventually I found a relatively wide pair of flat pliers that I can
use to make that bend at the same place everytime without even
thinking about it. Another skinny pair did the same job for making
the second bend. Sometimes I make a pair for which I want slightly
different wires, and then I either find some other tool to make the
two in the pair the same very easily or I spend a little more time
making them the same by a more “manual” process. I have a line, so to
speak, of simple little wire earrings with beads on them. I don’t
want to spend all week making wires for 85 pairs of earrings, I need
the process to be simple & efficient or else they aren’t in the price
range I want them to be (nor in my sanity range where I would
actually make them!), so as I have been working on these the last
couple years I’ve worked hard to find an easy & effective way to do
it. Production line processes, and easily repeated steps with tools
that take the thinking & measuring out of each individual one.

Lisa
Designs by Lisa Gallagher
www.lisagallagher.com


#14

Hi all:

Thanks for all the input. I have no problems w/ speed & accuracy
making the earwires. In fact, I do use the production line method
when making more than one pair at a time. The problem I am having is
only with rounding out the ends. I’ve tried filing, tumbling,
sandpaper and the cup bur on the dremel. The cup bur seems like it
would be the quickest and most logical way, however, it is taking me
quite a while to get that end rounded.

I’ve talked to Rio to make sure I’m using the right size cup bur for
20 g. wire. How long does everyone else spend with the wire end in
your bur?


#15

I agree with you Lisa, find a process that works for you. I usually
cut my wires the same length, file both ends flush, make my desired
shape, slightly hammer and flatten the round part and throw them in
a tumbler for a few hours. I don’t have to do anything to the ends
since the burnishing in the tumbler does it for me. I usually make
about 20 - 25 pairs while I watch tv since I just use regular round
nose pliers and a pair of step pliers to make the big loop. I try to
make them as equal as possible but let’s not forget these are hand
made and no one is going to compare them side by side for exact
measurement. I would just as soon make my earwires than buy them
unless I want something a little fancy or need a leverback.


#16
The cup bur seems like it would be the quickest and most logical
way, however, it is taking me quite a while to get that end
rounded.

Tilt the cup burr so it is not going straight down on the wire, do
not go too far so you cut the side of the wire with the edge of the
cup. With the cup at an angle, go 360 degrees around the wire at a
low speed. Use burr life.

Richard Hart G.G.
Jewelers Gallery
Denver, Co. 80210


#17

How long does everyone else spend with the wire end in your bur?

I use a flush cutter for the ends of the ear wire; having it flush
speeds the operation for me. I use the cup bur while the wire is
still straight, holding it between thumb and index finger, I slowly
rotate the wire while holding the bur/handpiece steady and vertical.
I takes me about 6 seconds for a pair of ear wires.

Donna in VA


#18

I do the same thing. Production make earwires. Trust me, using the
Lansky Fish Hook Sharpener, I spend a fraction of the time rounding
the ends. Usually one pass, at the right pressure and with a slight
spin, does it. Sometimes two (zip-zip) but rarely more. Since I use
the Xuron double flush cutter I only have to get the edged smoothed
without having to worry about fixing an unflush cut. Yay Xuron.

Michele
MikiCat Designs
www.mikicatdesigns.com


#19
...The problem I am having is only with rounding out the ends. 

Trish, maybe this’ll help. I round off wire ends using a Cratex
4-inch rubber abrasive wheel (fine or extra-fine grit) mounted in an
inverted drill on my bench. For each wire end, I touch the flat end
to the wheel briefly. Then, holding the wire between my thumb and
forefinger, I rotate the “edges” of the flat end against the wheel,
at a 45-degree angle. Sometimes I then rub the wire end against the
skin of my left forefinger, just to see that it has no ragged edges.

This process should take less than 4 seconds per wire (= 8 seconds
per pair; in one minute you should be able to do at least 7 pairs). I
think you would get faster with practice. I assume you are using a
double flush-cutter (one of my favorite tools, now that I have one!)
to cut your wire.

Peace,
Judy Bjorkman


#20
I've talked to Rio to make sure I'm using the right size cup bur
for 20g. wire. How long does everyone else spend with the wire end
in your bur? 

Sorry, I wasn’t sure that it was really just with the wire end
rounding that you were having trouble. Perhaps you’re trying too hard
to get it totally round. That’s not necessary. If you make the end
nice & flat (using good flush cutters and/or filing it flat) then
just touching it a bit with a spinning bur to take the “edge” off the
flat end is all you need. Or as others have said perhaps just a good
tumble will take care of it well enough, and it’s a good idea to
tumble them anyway just to make sure they well hardened.

Lisa
Designs by Lisa Gallagher
www.lisagallagher.com