Building a Mandrel for Coiling Wire. (Chainmail)

Introduction: Building a Mandrel for Coiling Wire. (Chainmail)

This is my first instructable, and I've decided to document me building a Mandrel.  This project took me roughly an hour to build while taking pictures. It's a little different than other Mandrels I've seen on this site, so I figured it would give people more options.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

First you'll need your Materials and Tools.

- 32 inch 5/8" Metal Dowel
- 32 inch 3/8" Metal Dowel - This determines the inner diameter of your rings
- (6) 2 1/2" Screws
- 4ft piece of 1x5

- Power Drill
- 5/64" Drill Bit
- 3/8" Drill Bit
- 5/8" Drill Bit
- Screwdriver Bit
- Saw
- Measuring Device

Step 2: Finding the Right Holes.

Start by cutting your 4 ft piece of wood into  two 1 foot sections and one 2ft section.  This step I had done when I bought the wood at Home Depot.

Next, mark the locations of your holes on the 1ft sections.  My first hole I marked was for the larger 5/8" dowel.  I marked that in the center of the wood and roughly 6 inches from the bottm.  I say roughly because my tape measure is missing and I really just eyeballed the hole.   This hole is placed high enough that when the spool of wire is on the dowel, the spool will be clear of the bottom of the Mandrel.

The next hole to mark is the hole for the 3/8" dowel.  I marked that about an inch diagonally from one of the top corners.

Next, mark the pilot holes on the bottom of the 2ft section of wood to attach the other two pieces.  I did this by placing the pieces about 1 inch in from the edge and marking 3 holes in a strait line.  The reason I placed them in from the edge was so I did not risk spliting the edge of the wood with use.

Step 3: Drill That Wood!

Now stuff finally starts happening.

Start by placing your two 1ft sections on top of each other, lined up, and drill the 3/8" and 5/8" holes through both pieces of wood at the same time.  This will help them line up later; you'll also need to do less boring of the holes to make the rods fit smoothly.

Next, drill pilot holes through the bottom of the 2ft sections using a 5/64 inch bit.  Don't forget to drill the pilot holes into the bottom of the 1ft sections too, or you'll increase the chance of spliting those when you put the screws in!

Step 4: Screw It!

Now, place the screws in the bottom of the 2ft piece to attach the two 1ft pieces.  Be careful not to go too fast!

Now you've got something that's starting to look good.  Only one more step to go!

Step 5: Stick Your Rod in It!

Now, place your 5/8" and 3/8" rods in the appropriate holes.

You're done!

Step 6: Work It!

To use, place a roll of electric fence wire (from the hardware store) on the bottom rod.

Then, attach the end of the wire to the smaller rod with a tiny little vice grip.

After that, attach your drill that you used for the project to the end of the 3/8" rod.

Slowly power the drill while guiding the wire into a nice and neat coil with your hand. I highly suggest you wear leather gloves becaue galvanized wire rubs off on your hand, and it starts to heat up too.

Always wear safety glasses and gloves when using this.  The coiled wire can build up tension and snap back.  Eyes are VERY hard to replace!  Trust me, I'm a Paramedic.

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    10 years ago on Introduction

    Interesting and very reliable design. Have you thought of putting a guide onto this rather then use your hand?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I did consider placing a second bar very close to the first, but it would have messed with the vice grip. If I did that I would have needed to drill a hole into the first metal dowel to hold the wire. Since I don't have a reliable way to do that, and this was a lot easier, I just went with this.


    Reply 4 years ago

    If you use a table vice to hold the rod, you can drill the hole. Alternatively, a pair of vice grips holding the rod to the table of a drill press works even better.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Yeah, I just didn't have the tool setup in my apartment at the time. My friend built an improved version that did have a guide rod and it was SO nice.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    be careful with galvanized wire. prolonged contact with your skin can cause some serious problems. I use aluminium fence wire for jump rings.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Good to know about that. I actually always wore leather gloves when using this thing because of the tension on the wire being so high and it burning my hand after a short time. I couldn't find non-galvinized wire so I just assumed they didn't make it.