Introduction: How to Make a Mandrel for Chainmail (maille)

Picture of How to Make a Mandrel for Chainmail (maille)

I wanted to make chainmail and i needed a Mandrel and there were no instructables for a mandrel. The overall cost should be about 10.00$(I already had everything I needed except the dowel)

Disclaimer: use at a very slow speed or else serious injuy could happen.( I am not liable for your injuries )

Step 1: Getting Materials

Picture of Getting Materials

1) You need a 2*4 and two smaller peices of wood equal size (I used a piece of batton from when we sided our house with board and batton)

2) A metal or wooden dowel (3/8 diameter) I used metal but if i were to redo this i would use wood cause the metal bends.(cost 2.49)

3) And a Few nails not very many about 5 or more

3/8 diameter drill bit
a vice came in handy but was not needed

Step 2: Time Too Build

Picture of Time Too Build

Ok now connect your two pieces of wood to the 2*4 by nailing them space them. Space them aproxamently 1 foot apart depending on your prefrence mine are about 1 foot

Step 3: Drilling the Whole

Picture of Drilling the Whole

Drill a Hole in both pieces of wood were the dowel will go through and make shure the rod will spin nicely in the whole

Step 4: Inserting the Dowel

Picture of Inserting the Dowel

Insert the dowel in the whole and make maker shure every thing is running smoothley and efficient. I would drill a hole in the dowel to insert the wire so you dont have to tape it on. (sorry I dont have a picture of this I have lost my camera and cant find it)

Step 5: Add the Drill

Picture of Add the Drill

Add the drill so you can spin wire faster you dont need it but i find in faster

Step 6: Now Spin Baby Spin

Picture of Now Spin Baby Spin

atach wire and weave


Woody4life237 (author)2012-12-01

I'm more interested why you have a lightbulb on a rod in the background also ty for guide!

LilithAvalon (author)2010-08-18

My advice from experience: Don't use wooden rods. Metal may bend, but wood shrinks/expands. It will be impossible to get a consistent size. Can someone please tell me, what's the best way to bend the rod for hand winding?

darknessfalls (author)2010-08-03

lol thanks for clearing up the size of the steel rod in this i'ble! i was looking at ones for making maille and none had size listings... thanks!

Ward_Nox (author)2010-06-17

i'm starting to get into making jewery and this will definatly help so thx

gokartninja (author)2010-03-05

I was making maille, but some fat kid stole my leatherman that I used to cut the rings :'(

ChaseyWasey11 (author)2008-01-14

I am currently working on some chainmail that I am making from trampoline springs. The spring metal is so tough that I have to cut it with a dremel. I was sort of wanting it to be stronger than usual and be able to with stand allot of damage probably more so than the average coil of wire. I hear that electric fence wire is good to use as well and plan on making my next project be of the electric fence wire. I also work with a leather and plate combo where I buy plates from the hardware store with precut holes and just rivet it to leather. I made a mandrel similar to the one pictured above so hopefully this next project will prove to be a good one

Speedmite (author)ChaseyWasey112009-03-20

Must be a pain to weave....I use a large gauge copper wire. :-)

ChaseyWasey11 (author)Speedmite2009-09-20

coat hanger is hard to weave but worth the time you spend on it because the wire is strong enough its almost never going to bend out of shape. I'm not saying it won't bend out of shape but it is some really tough and thick wire to work with. I like me some good challenges XD

Speedmite (author)ChaseyWasey112009-09-20

I also use 1 subject note book spiral and 3 and 5. I use a mandrel for the 1 sub that is about the same diameter as a ink cartride inside a pen.

ChaseyWasey11 (author)Speedmite2009-09-20

I seen those gloves that they use in meat packer plants made from wire sorta like that. Those gloves are suppose to be some tough stuff and knives cant cut them or any thing so I assume that might work to some degree.

Speedmite (author)ChaseyWasey112009-09-21

Thats chain mail in general. they also make shark suits out of it. Chainmail is very strong stuff.

ChaseyWasey11 (author)Speedmite2009-09-21

That shark suit stuff when you just glance at it looks like regular cloth until the light hits it just right. I like the stuff a lot. Its amazing how small a person can get their rings but for now I like my rings to look like medieval style chainmail weaves. I do alot of different armor making but chainmail seems to be a lot more easier than forging plate armor. I like the way soda tab chainmail looks because it almost gives off a scale looking look at first glance.

Speedmite (author)ChaseyWasey112009-09-24

Cloth with lots of holes in a pattern. Mine are small but they are medieval weaves. And you dont forge plate armour now, you just bend metal plates from home depo and drill a few holes, connecting it with some mail. Soda tab mail looks like trash, and its spiky, unless you do a lot of work to it. But thats just my opinion.

ChaseyWasey11 (author)Speedmite2009-09-24

Nope, I buy my sheet metal from a welding shop, use a torch to heat the metal and dome my peaces out with hammer and anvil. Its true a lot of the metal working with sheet metal can be bent but I go through a lot of steps to make my armor look good. I grind the sharp edges with a grinder and like I said I use a torch to further temper the steel while allowing the metal to be shaped around a rounded anvil I made from a trailer knob. I am currently working on raising a helmet from a 17 by 17 inch peace of 14 gauge sheet metal. I have an entire shop that I do my metal working in heh....

Speedmite (author)ChaseyWasey112009-09-25

Sounds cool. but Ive seen plate armour here that looks pretty good that doesnt take much work. The helmet does sound beast. Like to see how that turns out.

ChaseyWasey11 (author)Speedmite2009-09-24

I kinda agree with the soda tab opinion but you have to admit its creative. experimented with some of that tab stuff myself and found it to be kinda neat but nothing like my chainmail. I like how the coat hanger and galvanized fencing wire rings look together. The galvanized are shiny while the coat hanger wire is slightly dull so you can make patterns and if you want a slightly old and aged look. Rust is no problem with me because if the rings get a lil rusty I just polish them on my electric wire brush.

Speedmite (author)ChaseyWasey112009-09-25

Whatever floats your boat.

ChaseyWasey11 (author)Speedmite2009-09-20

I use to use that stuff to fix mah necklaces when the lil ring at the top broke off. I would just wrap that note book wire around it and it never broke again after that. I have one that is made of puter that I have had for over 12 years and it still has not broken or came unwound. Good stuff I can see making very very small rings from it but as far as using it for armor I cant see that working out too well.

Speedmite (author)ChaseyWasey112009-09-21

3 and 5 subject are quite a bit bigger, and they are stronger than a lot of rings. it just takes a little more time to make a finer mail. It looks better, and its more comfy to wear since it can flex more.

coathanger wire is VERY hard to bend/cut and is probably stronger than regular wire....

Just use a dremel tool to cut the coat hanger wire coils. The toughness of the rings is what makes my chainmail not fall apart. The coat hanger may be harder to cut with nippers. I normaly cut halfway through the coil and then crimp the ring. The crimping of the ring makes a cleaner and more butted together ring. I mix galvanized electric fencing wire with my coat hanger using the one coat hanger ring for every four galvinized rings.

electric fence wire..... hmm.... it is galvanized.... im thinking of getting into making maille.... i have a buttload of wire lol

Grey_Wolfe (author)Loveofchaos2008-03-29

Electric chainmail? A new form of capital punishment? Sounds interesting, post a pic when you're done. lol Seriourly, though, if it turns out nice.

ChaseyWasey11 (author)2009-09-19

this is my hand crank mandrel. I bent the metal rod into a crank and the rest of the set up is pretty much easy to see for urself how to do it. I like me some hand crankin XD

ChaseyWasey11 (author)2009-09-19

This is what the galvanized and coat hanger mixture sorta looks like when you mix the two types together

ChaseyWasey11 (author)2009-09-19

the larger the gauge of ring the better because if the ring is thicker and smaller then it will be harder for them to be busted apart. Thicker stuff is harder to work with but to me its worth the extra labor seeing how none of my chainmail ever falls apart. I make my rings smaller than dime size and plan on making them even smaller because the smaller the ring the more harder it is to bend out of place.

Shadowfoot666 (author)2009-09-11

OMG thats so wierd i have those same tiles......

sdbigguy (author)2009-04-18

I made a smaller version that clamps to my counter top and works very well. You mentioned using a wood dowel as opposed to metal rod. I have tried both and the wire tend to dig into the wood a bit and is harder to remove the SPRING. With metal it just slides off. I did find that putting a washer on the dowel/rod would protect the frame when I was spinning my wire. good job.

JCorrie (author)sdbigguy2009-05-19

Wooden dowels also have the issue of compression, over time the rings will dig into the wood making each successive set of rings smaller and smaller.

Speedmite (author)2009-03-20

I need a $4.50 drill....But isnt this method sloppy?

golddigger1559 (author)2009-03-13

I disected a old sewing machine for its motor and did this its works like a dream and the speed is adjustable for greater ease may your armer be shiny

WolfWoof (author)2008-09-01

Good instructable. I've not used a mandrel before but I've heard that you can use a small section of steel to ensure you use as much of the wire as possible without tearing up your hands. I've tried to attach a crude picture of the needed metal. From what I understand, you'd take a small L shaped piece of metal with one side standing up. The small double line indicates the standing side. Next drill a hole in the flat side of the steel for the dowel to pass through. Making sure to position the hole near enough to the standing side for the wire to pass through with little extra space. The tighter to space for the wire the tighter the last coils of wire will be. Be sure to position your new wire guard on the dowel so that the standing metal covers the wire as it is wound. I'm not sure how well this would work for the main body of the coil but at the very least it will provide a bit more leverage when the unwound wire gets shorter and thus harder to coil. If anyone isn't sure what I mean or if my picture doesn't make sense to you just send me a message. I'll try to explain better if needed. Again, this is a really helpful instructable and I find it especially useful as I am beginning to work my own mail.

matthewbeckler (author)2008-08-23

If anyone is having trouble winding rings at high speeds, check out my new instructable, which includes details on how to build a winding tool, that has allowed me to wind rings with an electric drill at very high speeds, with perfect quality too.

JellyWoo (author)2008-03-29

what is a mandrel?

a ring maker

jshroomy (author)2008-03-22

Take my advice. Be very careful if you wear gloves while using something like this. I was making coils about 5 years ago, and my glove got caught in the coil... it wrapped my finger up in the coil, and tore ligaments in my finger. My finger is still crooked, but oh well...

awatson2006 (author)2008-03-18

hey bro lmao nice foot 0.0 lol... just checking out yur stuffs finally made myslef an account

Bongmaster (author)2007-11-15

i donut get how this works

and its a hole not a whole ;) just thought id mention the typo there :)

Thank you I would have never noticed :)

FrenchCrawler (author)Bongmaster2007-11-15

You start the wire around the mandrel for the first few turns by hand (you could also drill a hole through one end and thread the wire into that to start the wire wrapping). Then once you've got the wire secured, you turn the drill on and let it turn the rod, which wraps the wire while you keep the wire tight as you feed it in.

Once you've wrapped the entire (or as much as you want) rod with a layer of wire, you pull it off and use wire cutters to snip little open rings out of the wire (you can also use a Dremel to cut the rings).

A warning should be added that you should use the drill on a low speed cause if the wire breaks (and it can), it can cut quite deeply and even kill. Think of it as a String Trimmer which can easily cut off your fingers.

Bongmaster (author)FrenchCrawler2007-11-16

that makes sense now :) thnx :)

RetardedGenius (author)2007-12-02

hey, I just made one of these today, only I'm an idot and didn't drill pilot holes in the oak that I used so the bas is pretty splintered...otherwise it works great, better if you crank it by hand though

rollingstoner357 (author)2007-11-17

go to youtube and type edthebassplayer and i have a video of me coiling.

hay_jumper (author)2007-11-16

Generally, powering a jump ring mandril with a drill is ill-advised. In order to get tight coils, it is necessary to guide the wire with your hand onto the dowel. If it is being rolled by a drill your hand can get pulled onto the dowel. I know from experience that it hurts and you could get injured badly. It would be easy enough (and safer) to bend a handle on one side of the rod and crank it by hand.

Wolf Seril (author)2007-11-15

Sure seems like it would just be easier to use pvc pipe to me :) Check out my PVC chainmail instructable. Nice 'ible though, although you should think about looking over your spelling. There are some people who will bite your head off for saying "shure" and "whole"

FrenchCrawler (author)Wolf Seril2007-11-15

PVC is fine if you just want something light-weight, but if you want to make some chainmaille in which you could use in combat such as a stage fight (also some police still wear chainmaille shirts to protect against knives). You can make gloves which are used in butcher shops among other various places to protect your hands from the machines (fast blades + slippery hands = disaster).

T3h_Muffinator (author)2007-11-15

Thank you! I need to get started on my chainmailles again, I just need to find some wire, and some time.....

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