Introduction: A Perfect Twist
I use a LOT of twisted wire in my art. So looking about for good ideas on different things I could do, I noticed there was no instructable (at least that I could find) for twisting wire. Even with all the really great instructables available on the site, I still couldn't find one. Of course this doesn't mean there isn't one, but I thought I might share this little secret on how to twist wire easily, and get the perfect twist. I have seen a lot of people trying to twist wire by hand, and having a hard time just to get inferior results, and I have seen "manual wire twisting" gadgets that cost a fortune. But why spend anymore than what you absolutely have to, especially when the easiest way to twist a perfect wire is by using things you probably already have around the house.
For this instructable you will need:
Wire cutters to cut the wire
Wire - any pretty much any guage can be used determined on what you need the twisted wire for
A phillips head screw driver, the longer the better so you can hold onto it while twisting
A power drill ( I personally prefer to use my hubby's cordless, just because there is no cord to deal with and I don't have to find a place to plug it in)
And even though I didn't mention it, or put them in the photo, you really should protect your eyes!
Step 1: Cut the Wire and Fold It in Half
Remember you will need more than twice the length of wire you would require for a single wire peice. You will be doubling the wire over, and you will lose a certain amount of wire in the process of twisting. I don't recommend twisting more than the length you can stretch your arm to hold (see the photo as an illustation). You can twist a longer amount if you have someone or something to hold the opposite end, but since I generally have no volunteers when it comes to working around me and power tools, I stick to the shorter lengths and make do as I can.
I cut a 20 inch piece of wire for this project, and after twisting and trimming I had a 5 inch piece left. This will vary for the guage of wire and the amount of twisting applied.
Step 2: Secure the Wire in the Drill Chuck
You will need to carefully insert the two cut ends of the wire into the drill chuck. It needs to be placed in the center, and be certain not to have the sides get caught as the chuck is closing. The wire will pull from the chuck unless it is firmly secured dead center.
Step 3: Secure the Wire So You Can Begin Twisting
Once you have closed the chuck around the wire, you might want to give it a good tug to see if it will pull out. Mine come out about 20% of the time, even when I have checked and double checked the placement.
Insert the phillip head screw driver between the two wire and move it down to the looped end (where the wire was doubled over). Pull the wire taut so that it will twist evenly when the drill is started.
Step 4: Twist the Wire....
Start the drill while continuing to hold the screwdriver end taut (be careful as the force from the drill can pull the screw driver from your hand and possiby injure you)
This might be a good time to mention again that anytime you are working with power tools you should wear appropriate eye protection.
Step 5: The Twisted Wire Is Done!
You can twist the wire as fast as you are comfortable with, but don't go so slow that the wire begins to twist on itself. Remember you MUST hold the wire as taut as you drill so that it will twist evenly.
When the wire is completely twisted, it will break on it's own. You can release the chuck and remove the two small peices of wire that are left in the chuck.
Slide the looped end from the phillips head and you have a nice, evenly and tightly twisted piece of wire to use for whatever the purpose is you planned. You also have a nice loop with a strong twisted wire on it if you want to use it that way. It makes a great hanger for objects it can be soldered onto.
Step 6: Now What to Do With the Wire.....
Someone asked me to post something I use the wire for. I have been really busy with family matters lately, but I did get a chance to get out into the shop and put together a few things. For a couple of them, I used some twisted wire. This is just one of the ways I used some of it.
I bent the wire to form a treble clef, and the letter S to make a glass heart for my niece who loves music. I added the pieces to a "pickle" in order to clean them and help stop any oxidation of the metal during the firing process of the kiln.
I collected a large number of various pieces of COE 96 glass, and put them in a porcelain heart mold. I added the wire pieces and covered it with clear COE 96 glass. I fused it (and there will be an instructable to come on glass fusing when I get things caught up here). The result was the piece you see.