Brian et al,
I usually don't point my pin stems until one of the last steps in
the process, after it's been soldered to the piece and the spring has
been bent into place. That's the first point (pardon the pun) where I
can truly measure the length of the wire, determine exactly where I
want the catch to be so it balances correctly, and file the point. As
a result, it's far too late to use your approach, which would require
chucking the entire piece on a dead center. Unfortunately, because
it's an elegant solution.
Right now, I use a belt sander, followed by a finishing file and
hand-sanding, but that's a pain, too -- and too frequently results
in the "hook" you refer to, which has to get trimmed off and
hand-finished. The process is a PITA that takes WAY too long!
I think I'm going to look at those dart-sharpeners that a couple of
folks have mentioned, assuming I can find a source for them. Given
their use, it seems like that could be ideal! I'll let you all know
what I find.
Someone mentioned that the brass bristle balls may be available
through machinists supply houses, but I haven't found any yet. Anyone
have any reference points for suppliers to start with on that one?
Any idea what they might be called in the machinist's trade... I'm
guessing that asking for "brass balls" would just be asking for
Finally - someone mentioned a "brass bristle cone brush" that was
available as a possible answer to my desire for a brass bristle head
for my electric toothbrush. If you're talking about the brass cone
brush heads for the flex-shaft, then my answer would be "kinda." The
cone brushes don't have bristles in toward the center of rotation and
you can't (as far as I'm aware) use the flexshaft under running
water. (Correct me if I'm wrong folks! I have a #30 handpiece and a
Foredom S-series). The attraction of the electric toothbrush, for me,
is that you get both vibration and rotation, a wider surface area of
bristles, and you can use it under water, for example, as I'm working
on a patina or trying to remove stubborn investment or flux.