Introduction: Straightening Wire and Beyond

Often you need straight wire for a project, but all you have is either coiled up or bent. There are different ways too straighten wires, for instance pulling (see this and this example) or "S-bending" (see this one). These methods are cumbersome, the first one can be dangerous, and the end result can be disappointing. A third method is both easy, safe and requires only two tools:

  • pliers or a vice;
  • an electrical hand drill/screwdriver

The method works for wire up to at least 3 millimeter diameter.

  • Put one end of the wire in your pliers. If the length is more than 50 centimeters or so, you better use a vice, or let a helper hold that end.
  • Secure the other end in the drill.
  • Pull hard and twist the wire using the drill at the same time.

You will want to aim at no more than roughly one full twist per centimeter. If needed, you can repeat twisting in the other direction, always pulling while doing so.

That's all there is to it. I used it successfully on thick copper installation wire, thin copper wire and thin steel wire. The end result is not only a perfect straight wire, but it can have a subtle extra texture to it, showing a bit of the spiraling, as you can see in the attached picture, top wire.

If you want to go more advanced you can straighten and spiral two or more wires. The bottom wire in the picture shows a piece of wire I used in a project symbolizing a planet revolving around a star: both spiral around each other, the light small planet rotating more than the heavier star. I straightened both the thick copper wire and the thin steel wire taken from a ballpoint spring just a bit, cut them to length and then soldered them together at both ends. I then straightened them further together with the result shown.

And that is how to easily straighten wire!