Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Tips on working with a ring stretcher


#1

Was: Bootstrapping a tiny but effective rolling mill

Peter,

I followed your suggestion about getting a ring stretcher on Ebay
for use as a nano-size rolling mill, the type where the handle
revolves around the base, came with 17 rollers.

I got it for $25 with $15 USPS shipping, so the price was exactly as
you predicted, and it should arrive in about 10 business days.

This should hopefully bootstrap my ability to produce small saleable
items as I build up my skill level, while not risking a whole lot of
money in the process.

If it doesn’t work out for making thick earring posts from a sliver
off of a fine silver ingot, at least I still have an asset for
making rings and/or chains. And possibly I can either modify an
existing roller or make a new roller for special functions.

The advertisement says that the stretching works as a function of
burnishing. Will this mean that I will not need to anneal the metal
periodically as I work the machine over it?

Any other tricks or tips you would recommend for this little
beastie?

Thanks,
Andrew Jonathan Fine


#2

you will absolutely have to anneal it and planish it down from an
ingot size to a wire or otherwise reduce to a strip no larger than
the 22 gauge sizing wire it is intended for. A jig to stabilize the
material in the rollers is another thing to consider since you will
be holding it by hand otherwise and if you wnat level strip you’ll
have to either cut off or planish the result of using the ring
stretcher.


#3
The advertisement says that the stretching works as a function of
burnishing. Will this mean that I will not need to anneal the
metal periodically as I work the machine over it?

Sadly, no. The burnishing statement maybe refers to the fact that
you may not need to re-polish a ring after stretching, but if you
stretch a ring it will certainly get harder.

Any other tricks or tips you would recommend for this little
beastie? 

I use mine as a miniature rolling mill for thin wire too, but found
it difficult to judge how much I had tightened the roller. So drew
some graduations on a strip of paper and wrapped and glued it around
the handle that is used to tighten the roller. Voila; repeatability.

Regards, Gary Wooding


#4
If it doesn't work out for making thick earring posts from a
sliver off of a fine silver ingot, at least I still have an asset
for making rings and/or chains. 

Earposts are normally round wire. You’ll have trouble making that
with this thing. If your sliver of starting stock is the right width,
you can reduce it and make it more uniform as a triangle wire shape,
or a D profile, both similar to some ring shanks. But unlike wire
rolling mills, the center roll is fixed, and flat. So the usual wire
rolling method of turning a wire 90 degrees between passes in order
to reduce all dimensions, doesn’t work. This only makes it thinner,
not narrower, at least not unless you make a new center roller for
it. What you COULD do, if you want to make fine silver wire, if you
can manage to get a reasonably uniform (in both thickness and width)
D shape or triangle shape wire with the roller, then you could anneal
and proceed with a drawplate to turn that into round wire.

And possibly I can either modify an existing roller or make a new
roller for special functions. 

If you have a lathe, and a drill, new rolls would not be hard to do.

The advertisement says that the stretching works as a function of
burnishing. Will this mean that I will not need to anneal the
metal periodically as I work the machine over it? 

burnishing? Nope. It’s rolling, same as a rolling mill. Sounds like
the ad copy simply translated something incorrectly from another
language. Perhaps the seller is only a seller (big surprise) and not
a tool user. The metal is being thinned. Whether that were from
burnishing (not easy to move that much metal with a burnisher) or
from rolling, it still work hardens, and periodically will need
annealing. But you did say fine silver, right? That might need
annealing at the start of the whole process, if even that.

Any other tricks or tips you would recommend for this little
beastie? 

While intended for stretching the shanks of rings to make them
larger, be careful if you actually use it for this. Unlike other
methods of enlarging rings, these rollers can seriously distort the
round shape of a ring, and can also quickly make a ring a lot larger
than you intended. Also,be aware that if you roll a ring shank that
has a tapered shoulder, and you go up onto that shoulder, you’ll
create an unfortunate step in the shoulder. In short, these can be
useful tools, but need practice. And remember that many times,
rolling a shank thinner to make the ring larger is not doing the
customer any favors. Thicker shanks will need a more obvious
reduction in thickness, and for those, it’s often best to size a ring
by cutting and adding a piece, so the original thickness can be
maintained. When you can’t do that, then these rolls are useful. And
since elongation is a function not of how many millimeters or
fractions thereof you reduce the thickness, but rather, a percentage
reduction, if you roll the shank of an already thin shanked ring, you
can size it larger with sometimes only barely perceptable change in
thickness. And then with those, because you didn’t solder in a piece,
the shank is not then annealed (which can make very thin shanks just
too floppy and soft), so sometimes this tool is better for the ring
than cutting and sizing. Like I said, practice and caution.

Hope that helps.
Peter