Intro: The Cheaper Way to Stretch Your Piercings
If you're like me, you've got a real problem with forking out the $60-plus for the odd sized piercing tapers / stretchers. Especially since, typically, you only use the thing once, and then toss it. This is even more expensive and frustrating when you are looking for unusual, custom lengths. So here you go... Make it your damn self!
CAUTION: This only pertains to the D.I.Y. FABRICATION of piercing impliments. For the correct usage/sterilization ect... There is a very well writen & comprehensive instructable by blasphemouskell.
Step 1: Material Aquisition
I've got an apadravya <(WARNING: EXPLICIT WIKI, look it up if you're brave or curious enough). I've found it to be very difficult to find hardware that works, and what I have found is very pricey.
I think that stretching a piercing, (especialy when it's in your holiest of holies) is the way to go. It is a whole lot easier to put a small hole and stretch it, rather than starting out with a large gauge. Less down time too ;)
So here's the important part. You may get lucky and find some retail hardware store, or arts n' crafts store, that will carry "rod stock". But I didn't find any. So what does one do when the cheesy, retail thugs fail you? You go to "Pro" retail thugs: Grainger! They have semi-retail stores all around the country. I say "semi-retail" because they really only like to sell to businesses or contractors. But it's easy enough to convince them that you are a small business owner or contractor. They also have a great website to look up item #'s. One last thing, if you live near one of their stores, they will ship anything you want from their catalouge to that store for you, free. This is nice because most branches don't stock "rod stock".
Step 2: Now What?
There is one hurdle, which is that, they sell this stuff by fractional inch dimensions 1/8", 1/4" ect... Piercings go by gauges. You just need to find what your gauge is when converted to inches. Then get the appropriate stock. There are several gauge to inch chart-tables out there on the Internet.
Length-wise they sell it by the foot, which ought to be way more than you'll ever need.
Next, we have a couple materials to choose from. Most of the plastics are bio-compatible, but if you're not sure, or if you have allergic reactions, for god sake, be careful & LOOK IT UP! Otherwise you will end up with a swollen, infected mess.
I bought the Poly-Carbonate, Acrylic and the PTFE <also know as Teflon. They are very inexpensive too! For the 1ft lengths they were all around, or under a dollar a piece!
Step 3: Shaping & Sizing
The last step is to actually fabricate the thing. Take your time and take acurate measurements, you'll thank youself later. A set of calipers or a micrometer comes in handy here. Some other tools will be required at this point, a drill, file, and either a pair of vise-grips or an adjustable wrench.
Now, cut a piece of your selected material to your desired finished length + 1/2" to 3/4". < this extra bit will go into the chuck on your drill. Clamp your drill to a workbench/table. You will basicly be using the drill as a mini lathe.
You will use the wrench or vise-grips in conjuntion with the file. Adjust the opening to cut your specified size. Alternately, you can free-hand this operation with just the file (or any other abrasive) and take frequent measurements.
If you're making a taper, obviously you want to start with the larger diameter and then taper to the smaller one.
Step 4: Finishing
Ok, you definetly want to get the surface of the material as smooth as possible. Fine-grit sandpaper or steelwool will work. if you are using acrylic or poly-carb you can flame polish your masterpiece for that "glass smooth" final touch. From my experience flame polishing doesn't work as well on PTFE-teflon.
So there you have it. If you want to wear your taper for awhile, as it stretches, you can get those lil rubber "o-rings" at most any hardware store in the plumbing dept.
One of the best aspects of this project is your ability to create in-between or custom sizes. Anyone who has progressively stretched a piercing knows, it gets much harder and more painful with each gauge increment.
The last thing I have to say is, PTFE-"teflon" kicks ass for this kind of stuff! It's flexible, so it's very comfortable & nothing sticks to it, so it's very clean and easy to take care of. Go ahead! Try and find a teflon taper at any of the piercing stores or sites. Even if you do, %#@!'em you just made one for under a buck!