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! 
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rebollo15 years ago
Sorry I speak Spanish. If you go through a roller press can be made bracelets and rings for hands
arpoky rebollo15 years ago
If you speak Spanish, then why are you speaking English? Lulz.
Thanks so much, exactly what I was looking for.
CatsPaw2 years ago
Hi - just found your instructible. I'm looking to make some torques for a play next year and so far I have only played with wire twisting so I am unsure what wire to use. One torque is 4 string (2 plain and 2 of thinner wire twisted together) the others are 3 string (2 plain and 1 thinner twisted wire). I was wondering if you could help me with how much wire I might need to make around 17-20 inches with 18 and 24 guage or 20 and 26 guage?
barefootbohemian (author)  CatsPaw2 years ago

There isn't really an exact number I can give you since it will depend largely on the tightness of the twist you make. I have found from experience that a nice even looking twist requires about 2 1/2 to 3 times the length you want to end up with.

I have only double twisted wire a few times experimentally (twisting together 2 twisted wires). I will say that it will take at least 4-5 times the length and some brute force to hold the end while it is twisted so it comes out smooth and even. It will start to "bunch" up and twist out if shape uncontrollably in the first 1/3 of the twist if you don't put some torque to it!

My suggestion would be experiment with a cheaper similar gauge wire several times. Measure before you twist it the after and you should be able to come up with a formula so you will be slightly past the desired length, then trim is to size with a cut-off blade.

Good luck and I would love to hear how it goes and see the finished product!!
Lizzie02 years ago
Very helpful instructable. Thanks for posting. Especially the reminders about lengths of wire needed etc.
bxridley4 years ago
I just used this for powering LED lights, with two strands of coated magnet wire. It really sped up and improved the process versus hand twisting! Thank you! I'll post an instructable later and link back here for credit on that part of it.
Short One5 years ago
My dad does this for his electrical type wires, to keep them together and neat and prevent tangling. I got to help him a few times. It was fun. :D
 I have tried this with solder. Very beautiful yet totally useless. Also may I suggest taking a long piece and twisting it more than once? It makes a quite nice shape but not quite as nice as the single twist. Anyway, Thanks! Great instructable. Something very satisfactory - I must say!
barefootbohemian (author)  anonymouse1975 years ago
Actually doubling solder can be quite useful. There are many times I could use a thicker solder than what I have, and that does the trick :)
barefootbohemian (author)  anonymouse1975 years ago
 I have tried the doubling of the twist before. Unfortunately I wasn't strong enough to keep mine from kinking back on itself. But it would have been nice I think, if I had been able to. 
I started out playing with solder when I was very very young  I would sit on the floor of the garage while my dad worked on things, and I would take the scrap solder and make rings and other jewelry.  Makes me wonder what I did to my brain cells back then! All that lead, probably some acid core solder? I might have been a true genius had I not done that LOL! Or maybe not. But thanks for the compliment. I have been trying to get back on here to do some more instructables, but my father has been seriously ill so I end up spending more time in the hospital than in the shop.  But I shall return! eventually..... 
Could you not do this by taking the finished twist, folding it in half, putting it back in the drill, and twisting it again?
barefootbohemian (author)  arpoky5 years ago
I tried to do this a couple of times and ended up with it kinking up before the twist was done. I imagine it could be done, but it would take a stronger person than me to keep tension on the wire.
Yes, that is what I mean.
barefootbohemian (author) 5 years ago
I think you have a wonderful idea rebollo1 :) in any language...
barefootbohemian (author) 5 years ago
It doesn't matter what language a person uses, as long as it is understood what he says. So why argue about it? No hace nada cualquier idioma Uds. prefieren , mientras se entienda qué él dice. ¿Tan porqué discuta sobre él? Non ci è differenza che lingua una persona usa, finchè è capito che cosa dice. Così perché discuta a questo proposito? Es gibt keinen Unterschied, welche Sprache eine Person verwendet, solange es verstanden wird, was er sagt. So warum argumentieren Sie über es? And with that said.... have a beautiful day!
rebollo15 years ago
Si lo pasa por una prensa de rodillos . Se aplana y se pueden hacer pulceras o anillos
AEchinoderm5 years ago
 If you have a bench vise, you can flip the whole thing around. Instead of inserting the two ends of the wire into the chuck (and having them come off eventually), get them held by the vise's jaws and put a hook (one of those with a thread, to be screwed into walls) into the drill's chuck (by the straight end).

 The hooks I mentioned:
rickyd!5 years ago
 im thinking guitar strings
 that sounds extremely hard
*that's what she said*...

I don't think it'd actually be possible by hand, at least not with the same accuracy/consistency to have it still usable with a guitar... I may be wrong tho
 lol. The only difficult part of that would be getting the strings to the right gauge.
 I'm thinking I want to know how it comes out if you try it! I would be afraid it would uncoil since most the wires used for guitar strings are pretty stiff, aren't they? 
But extremely awesome, too.
Guitar strings are similar, but they are one co-axial wire (with no twist) wrapped with another thinner wire to add mass/texture.  "How its made" has a good sequence on this.
fkuk5 years ago
what you want to do is

make two piceses of twisted wires same length going in the same direction

put both wires in the drill and spin in oposite direction

it gives a very interesting pattern
submark5 years ago
I use considerable amounts of very fine (.003 -.020) colored copper and brass wire in my fly tying and jewelry . I have twisted anywhere from2 to 5 strands together to achieve a desired effect.  
A small, inexpensive hand operated rolling mill (from Harbor Freight) has allowed me to flatten some of these wires and twists into ribbons or tinsels. Soldering the ends together before twisting can be of great help. In fact soldering the materials along their full lengths can be a help for some effects. Any separation of solder during rolling will quickly repair during annealing. 
You may want to experiment with combinations of  wires (copper/ brass/ silver etc.) if you  want mixed metal twists. Anneal your wire/ribbon OFTEN to avoid metal fatigue and failure.
I also incorporate strands of thread, floss, and feather and fur into some of these twists for decorative purposes. These materials are NOT durable for much milling or any heat, but can add stunning accents and textures to items. submark 

barefootbohemian (author)  submark5 years ago
 You should post an ible of that! It sounds really cool!
I do much more fly tying than jewelry these days, and with such lousy short term mem..... shore time monkey?.......sure takes money?........
Anyhow I am VERY photo challenged. When I sold my SLR to a friend in the '80s it still had film in it from my days in the Navy in the early 70's. Not much of a snaphound.
Check out  makersgallery/goss/rollprint for some kickass techniques.
I can't find my little rollpress and Harbor Freight doesn't carry them anymore. If you're really serious about non ferrous metalwork, try to find a used one. They are necessary for serious and quality work.
Hi fromYuma, you sound a seasoned jewelry maker. Do you have any pics to show of the materials you incorporated in the wires?
BlackCloud5 years ago
My dad made me a toy grappling hook using 3 pieces of wire using this method when i was a child :)
It was so awesome.
barefootbohemian (author)  BlackCloud5 years ago
 That would be cool! Although I am not sure I would have wanted to use it for climbing even if I was a child.  But that is just a cool thing for your dad to have made for you! Did it get your started in that direction? 
jenmcd5 years ago
If you are using a long enough piece, you could also hold the drill near your torso, and use your feet to hold the screwdriver. I've done that when "power twisting" yarns/threads, and have done it with some wire before, too. The tension is provided by pulling up on the power drill.
barefootbohemian (author)  jenmcd5 years ago
 I've done that too :). Except I used an old flag pole, the kind that people put those "cutesy" flags out on their houses with. I kept it from the trash because it was a good long piece of straight metal and I figured I could use it someday, it worked perfect for that! 
redhand rik5 years ago
just for comparison... when i twist i use a hand drill with a button hook in the chuck. i put the 2 loose ends in a vise, and put the button hook in the loop end. then  i lubricate the wire well with beeswax and twist. the wire slides over itself with much less friction and doesn't work harden as quickly. the best things about using a vise is that you are not limited to the length of your arm, and you don't run the risk of getting caught in the twist.
barefootbohemian (author)  redhand rik5 years ago
 Wow, that just sounds like a lot of work, you should make an ible on it! I am more a visual learner myself.  I can see why the beeswax, and get the idea behind it, but I can't put it together in my head good enough to really make one. 
Cool way of doing it though!
crankyjew5 years ago
zat 16 or so gauge wire?
what manner of wire art do you do?
barefootbohemian (author)  crankyjew5 years ago
 I used a 20 ga wire for that demo.  Most of the wire work I do is to use in other project types or to make hangers for my stained glass work.  I also use it to incorporate into kiln fired glass. 
I have used everything from 14 ga to 24 ga wire in a drill to twist it, and they all seem to work well. 
Do you do wire art? I would love to see what you are doing.
myself not so much, at least not with such thin gauge wire..
i've found myself rather into chain maille recently, in fact i'm currently working on a full length shirt. i've also done a number of bracelets and other such jewelery.
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