In spite of my dubious claim on geekiness, I'm one of the network guys who work with the cable installers. Sometimes, well, most of the time, they leave scraps laying around after the job is done. Tiny snips of copper phone (solid) wire with striped insulation, half of a plastic data jack, and the odd toner. Once in awhile, they leave larger scraps. In this case, really large.
Naturally, I had to have this thick, heavy coil of colors and stripes of phone wire, as big around as my index finger, and about thirty feet (10+ metres) long.
"I really like that! I could make something with it.", the Packrat Litany echoed in my head as I considered hauling home the colorful mess. Eric W. has described the pattern exactly in his intro to the "Use It Again contest.
Yes. it's been in my shed for at least a year, patiently awaiting a mission. Thanks to Instructables, the time has come, to Make Wire Things. As with most of my instructables, the photo notes contain extra information that's not necessarily in the written instructions.
(See Wire Thing #2 here)
This is indeed a functional brush, intended to be fun, "functional art." In my house, it's more art than function.
Step 1: Gathering
- The aforementioned wire, all 100 pairs of it. For this brush you'll need at least 17 inches of wire. 18 inches or so will give you enough for what I think are good proportions, and some room to trim the ends if you want.
- 12" or so of wire for binding. Here I'll use a few strands of the same wire.
- Dikes (Diagonal Cutters), tin snips, or something else to cut the wire.
- A measuring tape.
That's it, unless you want to get fancy with twisting the wire, but that's another Instructable.
Step 2: Cut the Wire
Technically, it's cable, since it's made up of a bundle of wires.
Clean up any wild ends like those below, and save for Wire Thing #2, coming soon.
Then cut an 18" piece.
I used (abused?) my trusty combo tin snips, and snipped 5 or 6 times to get through the bundle.
If someone knows how to make a clean cut through the whole thing with common tools, please let us know. This is one place where hacking probably isn't desirable.
Step 3: It's All in the Twist
Strip off the grey insulation. I used a razor knife, holding one end, and cutting away from myself.
Be careful, it's very tough, as it's made to withstand being pulled by brute force through long, dark tunnels, and still be able to carry your phone calls clearly.
Then grip one end firmly, and with your other hand, begin twisting. Gently but firmly, starting at next to your gripping hand, twist the entire bundle, about 1/4 turn at a time, moving down the length of the bundle as you feel the resisitance of the wire increase.
Twist the full length of the bundle, smoothing in any wandering wire.
This photo is of the raw material. Watch the moviefor the intermediate steps. I decided that there are too many small movements to document effectively with still shots.
Step 4: Around the Bend
Either eyeball or measure the center of the wire.
Grab each end and slowly bend them toward each other.
If you twist the bundle while you are bending, it will start to make the loop on it's own.
Again, see the video for specifics. This photo is of the untrimmed brush. Leave it this way if you like the way it looks. Depending on what you intend to brush, this may do the trick. Maybe you're not concerned about brushing anything, and will call it Art .
I trimmed mine for even lengths. It works for brushing smooth surfaces, and on small sections of carpet. See the photo note for more info about the tie-off. It's a little different than the video.