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Making small rings


bonni.b

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I need small brass rings for the teapot basket I'm teaching next month at the Guild Study Program at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, NH next month. I wasn't happy with the photo etched ones I made, they're too flat. They're functional, so making them from wire works, but I needed to go twice around to eliminate a gap the 32 ga wire that attaches them could slip through.

 

Bill Studebaker suggested I cut them from brass tubing, with a rod held inside the tube in the tailstock so I wouldn't have to search the shop floor for them.

 

I've just tried it and I'm very pleased with the results. In the photo is 3/32" brass tube, chucked into the headstock, and 1/16" brass rod chucked into the tailstock. Mine is a very low end lathe, so I found it easier to put the rod into the tube and then bring the tailstock up to receive it. (I have a Jacobs chuck in both the headstock and tailstock.)

 

I tried several of the cutters I own but settled on my smallest pointiest graver to do most of the cutting, then at the end I slice it off with an exacto knife. 

 

I got an assortment of brass tubes from K&S, I guess I'll use 28 ga. brass wire inside the 1/16" tube. 

post-11-0-16722600-1407263589_thumb.jpg

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Update: the brass rod worked for those 2 rings, then the heat made it seize inside the tube. Changing to a smaller stiff wire was better. When I tried the 1/16" tube, I put a length of 28 ga. wire in the tailstock, but when I cut off the first ring the wire bent and the ring flew off. Amazingly, I found it amidst the sawdust on my bench! Next time I'll try a drill bit - what Bill suggested in the first place, but I was afraid I'd break the bit when I cut through. I'll look for a stiffer thin wire.

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Bill Hudson

Chuck the drill into the chuck backwards. Try a little lube on the drill. Rub a little on your finger and thumb, rub them together and then a fine film on the drill.

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Peter Jensen

You are building up too much heat because the rod is not revolving with the tube.  You need to make your tailstock jacobs chuck into a sort of live center by buying a miniature ball bearing.  McMaster Carr has them with a 3/16 inch outside diameter and an .055" inside diameter.  Turn the rod that fits inside your tube so that it is a press fit to the inside of the bearing.  Cut a short slit in the tubing and cut the other end to length so that the slit will be in the headstock jacobs chuck and the tubing will stop just short of the tailstock chuck.  Chuck the tubing with the rod inside into the headstock chuck and and the bearing on the rod into the tailstock chuck.  It wouldn't hurt to lightly sand the rod before installing the tubing to provide extra clearance for the rings and lubricate as Bill suggests.  I would also recommend using a tool rest that fits between the two jacobs chucks so that it can be moved closer to the tube and your graver would have less unsupported overhang.  An open bearing costs less than ten dollars, but if you are going to be doing a lot of these I would recommend buying the shielded bearing with a flang.  It is still less than 15 dollars and the shielding will keep out any pieces of grit and the flang will make it easy to locate in the jacobs chuck.  Good luck.     .   

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  • 1 month later...

I ended up using a much lower tech solution than either Bill or Peter suggested. In an "aha" moment, I realized I'd been using the jewelers saw with the blade oriented the same as when using it as a saw, that is, with the teeth pointed downward, so it cuts on the downstroke. But my lathe spins the tubing toward me, so by putting the blade upside down in the saw, it cut much more efficiently. My second solution was to chuck a cocktail pick into the tailstock. It could be sharpened to fit nicely into the 1/16" tubing, didn't expand when heated by friction and didn't hurt the saw blade when I cut through the tubing. It didn't have to extend very far into the tubing, and the taper of the cocktail pick held the cut off ring nicely until I could pick it off. A toothpick would have worked, but the longer length of the cocktail pick meant more room to work. 

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Bill Hudson

This is the way I handle cutting off small parts. You can plug the bottom to keep them in the tube. Keep the tube chucked close to the chuck. Jeweler saw blades break easy. I have an old very fine tooth X-Acto saw blade I use for sawing off.

 

 

ballcap2.jpg

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Pete Boorum

I use a very inexpensive cutoff saw that has a vise to make ferrules and the like in quantity.  The challenge is collecting the rings.  I just let them fall into a plastic cup.  You loose a few but it is a very quick process.  The secret to this is very fast feed to keep the heat down.  Use the finest blade but when the blade gets dull you can get a bur. A stop is helpful. Have made hundreds of ferrrules for trowles, scratchers and weeders this way.

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Bill Hudson

This is a method that I use quite often.  For tubing I hold a wire or drill in the drill chuck as discussed above.  The saw blade does not turn I just use one tooth to do the cutting. Note the blade is mounted so the teeth point up.  The cut is made on the back side of the piece; this eliminates grabbing. for equal length I just use the dial increments on the lead screw.

 

cutofblade.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

In the end I used a jewelers saw with the blade reversed, after I realized the tube was turning toward me. I had no problem with breakage. And in the tailstock, to catch the tiny ring, I chucked a sharpened toothpick. It extended just far enough into the tube to be effective and didn't hurt the saw if I didn't stop in time.

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