by Karl van Rosmalen
HOW TO STRAIGHTEN WIRE
The easiest method to straighten wire is to clamp one end in a vice or tie it to something solid.
Put the other end into the chuck of a hand drill and slowly turn the handle while walking away from the vice.
The result is a perfectly straight length of wire up to six foot long (or more). Soft annealed wire works best as does tinned copper wire which can then be used in modelling.
SMH Responds Thanks for you idea, it is very timely. This is one of the articles in the July issue of Scale Modelers Tips and Techniques, our monthly newsletter:
Uncovering Fine Wire Sources
During a recent Internet foray I came across a source for fine ligatures I could use for scale railings, TV antennas, even 1-inch water pipe and it doesn’t involve melting plastic.
A modeler who signed himself “Richard in Nevada” suggested the wiring harness for a set of iPod earbuds. I was about to throw out a non-working set of ear buds I had for a cell phone. Instead, as he recommended, I peeled away the insulation and there they were: two sets of super fine stranded copper wire for each earpiece.
The stranded wire easily unrolls by twisting it between finger and thumb while holding onto the strand.
By the way...mine comes in copper, red, blue, and green (all separate, of course). The strands are very strong and are finer than paintbrush hair.
Richard also experimented in making them straight and rigid and found this is what worked: Using a wooden clothespin he strung one end from the top of his workbench and put a heavier metal clip on the other end. He reported that the wire gets VERY straight but you aren't likely to break it.
To maintain its rigidity, Richard dribbled Cyanoacrylate adhesive on a piece of a plastic bag and ran it down the length of the wire. He then lightly went over it quickly with a piece of cloth.
The result is railing and tubing material (not to mention wire for scratchbuilding buildings and telephone poles) “that's more to scale than anything I've ever used...thanks to the Japanese (or Chinese) manufacturer,”.
Another source for fine insulated, stranded wire is your old computer mouse. There are usually seven or eight different colored wires about three feet long.