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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

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  #1  
Old 2013-03-13, 12:56pm
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Default Making your own mandrels?

I know I've seen a thread on this info, but a search did not find it, so I'd appreciate any help.

I visited an AirGas store where they had TIG rods, but I wasn't sure which ones to buy. I wanted the 1/16" inch size but it came in 316 or 308, which is the 'tencil' strength or something...Does it make a difference which ones I get?

So once I buy them, I assume I just cut to length, then grind off the nubs caused by the clippers? Anything else?

Thanks in advance!!

Judy
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  #2  
Old 2013-03-13, 1:02pm
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308 is cheaper. For our purposes, it works fine. (It's what I buy unless 316 is super cheap, which it never is any more.)
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  #3  
Old 2013-03-13, 1:07pm
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Yay! Thanks for your quick response, Shawnette! I'm taking a class at our local community college and have access to a cold shop with a grinder, so I thought take advantage of that.

Judy
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  #4  
Old 2013-03-13, 1:09pm
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308 is fine unless you work really hot, in which case you may have more trouble with it warping. I tried it once & ended up giving a lot of 1/16" mandrels away!
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  #5  
Old 2013-03-13, 1:13pm
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That's good to know Kalera! Thanks. So, the 316 better for hotter? I usually don't work 'hot', but sometimes it happens. I don't know the price difference yet, so I'll take that into consideration.

Thanks again!

Judy
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  #6  
Old 2013-03-13, 1:36pm
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Good information on the melting temperatures of various grades of stainless steel.

http://www.bssa.org.uk/topics.php?article=103
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  #7  
Old 2013-03-13, 3:06pm
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I got 1/16" 316 off Amazon. DH cut it with wire cutters (a bit hard), I cut some with my dremel diamond cut off wheel.

For my self I just rubbed the ends on concrete to remove burrs, bur for trade or sale I used the dremel with a diamond bit to round the ends off a little neater.
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  #8  
Old 2013-03-13, 3:31pm
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A grinder may not be the best option depending on how coarse the wheel is, a lot of the 3/32 I grind on a medium 80 grit wheel bench grinder. Over time it groves the wheel and reshapeing the wheel can be a pain.
The thinner 1/16 works better for me just to use a disk sander.
Your welding shop probibly has a better price per ten lbs box then buying it repackaged in smaller lots or by the piece.
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  #9  
Old 2013-03-13, 3:43pm
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Thanks, Alaska for the melting temp info, and Elizabeth for the Amazon price. I wouldn't have thought to look there! I'll have to compare it to our AirGas store.

Judy
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  #10  
Old 2013-03-13, 3:51pm
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Get a cheap set of bolt cutters from Harbor Freight to cut your mandrels, then smooth the ends with either a grinding bit on a Dremel or use a shop grinder. I find that 316 lasts a little longer in the 1/16 size, especially at boro temps.

Robert
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  #11  
Old 2013-03-13, 4:14pm
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I have the 12" bolt cutters from Harbor Freight and they cut the 2.4 mm mandrels just fine. I guess I never got the memo about smoothing the ends but the mandrels work just fine as long. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm lazy and if I don't have to do something, I won't.
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  #12  
Old 2013-03-13, 4:18pm
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I think I have to re-evaluate my grinding options...the tools in the cold shop are, I believe, more for glass....I don't want to wreck anything by using metal on them. Maybe concrete is my better option since that would be hard to ruin and these aren't for resale.

Losthelm, you're right, I looked online and the 10 lbs was a lot less than 1lb. Amazon is the cheapest, but I'd be paying shipping.

Judy
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  #13  
Old 2013-03-13, 6:49pm
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Often glass grinding wheels are diamond or carbide both are very hard materials.
I would ask who ever supervises the shop. The worst they say is no.

You really only need the ends finished enought to be safe and not bind when you remove the beads.
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Last edited by losthelm; 2013-03-13 at 6:53pm.
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  #14  
Old 2013-03-13, 6:52pm
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I got a cheap grinder with 3" wheels from harbor freight. I use it to smooth the ends of my mandrels. I by mine at my local oxygen supplier. They carry a variety of sizes in 316 ans 308. I even special ordered 10 lbs of 5/64" ones to use with my Zoozi presses since this is the size she recommends. I shared these with friends.
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  #15  
Old 2013-03-13, 7:19pm
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Uh oh...you're giving me an excuse to visit Harbor Freight! I did find the rods locally at our AirGas...

Thanks everyone!

Judy
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  #16  
Old 2013-03-13, 11:40pm
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I just scrape the ends a bit with coarse sandpaper at the same time I'm scuffing them up for first use, for 1/16th anyways. 3/32 I buy from losthelm lol!
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  #17  
Old 2013-03-14, 6:32am
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Wow...I checked your mandrel link, losthelm....great price and quantity!!!

Judy
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  #18  
Old 2013-03-14, 7:43am
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Running sales though PM or Email makes things a bit easier, Ebay can be a pain if people want more than one size.
I have a few hours set aside saterday to setup and Etsy shop. hopefuly I can get some decent pictures outside.
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  #19  
Old 2013-03-14, 11:37am
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I use a metal file on the burrs. Cleans them up just fine. Almost like using a nail file
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  #20  
Old 2013-03-14, 1:58pm
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The best way to cut them is with a pair of fence pliers aka fencing pliers. It makes a big difference. The cut is clean and slightly diagonal, so the ends are easier to file smooth. These pliers "snap" rather than cut, and even with my weak grip (muscle and nerve damage rt forearm), I can manage it.

Ebay has them. Here's an example of what they look like: http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-1-2-FENCE...item337fc21dd9
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  #21  
Old 2013-03-27, 10:09am
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Just a quick question........
Why stainless? Is there a reason why regular steel doesn't work?
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  #22  
Old 2013-03-27, 11:23am
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I use a chop saw with metal blade wheel used for cutting metal . I can cut lots(bundle) that way.I measure and mark and chop. Just watch out for the fingers,don't get them in the way. Then grind on a wheel.Be sure and wear apron so nothing flies and hits you. use safety glasses also.
Janet
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  #23  
Old 2013-03-27, 3:52pm
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You can use steel temporarily but it rusts and your beads will stick.
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  #24  
Old 2013-03-27, 4:01pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tammydownunder View Post
I have the 12" bolt cutters from Harbor Freight and they cut the 2.4 mm mandrels just fine. I guess I never got the memo about smoothing the ends but the mandrels work just fine as long. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm lazy and if I don't have to do something, I won't.
same, i just cut mine with a big pair of bolt cutters - you'll find you get a better cut with no sharp edge (or not much) if you use really big bolt cutters, the smaller ones tend to bend the end slightly
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  #25  
Old 2013-03-28, 2:57am
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I have found the easiest way for me to cut and debur my mandrels is using the corner of my grinding wheel. I mark the 308 or 316 welding rods with a sharpie. Turn on my bench grinder and use the corner or the wheel. I slowly turn the mandrel until it cuts through, takes maybe 15 seconds or so, depending on thickness. No burs, no hand strain from using cutters, no broken dremel wheels.
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  #26  
Old 2013-03-28, 7:18am
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I use a (fishing) hook sharpener to get rid of mandrel burrs, similar to this one: http://www.orvis.com/store/product.aspx?pf_id=2T5T
They're portable and inexpensive and work well.

Mimi
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  #27  
Old 2013-03-28, 3:49pm
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I've been wondering how many 12" mandrels you can get from a pound of 1/16" rods and/or a pound of 3/32" rods. Does anyone have a ballpark figure?
Thanks!
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  #28  
Old 2013-03-28, 4:09pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brendah View Post
I've been wondering how many 12" mandrels you can get from a pound of 1/16" rods and/or a pound of 3/32" rods. Does anyone have a ballpark figure?
Thanks!
A lot! Approx 96 1/16" and 42 3/32". (Just a guesstimation, based on TIG stock I have on hand.)
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Old 2013-03-28, 4:26pm
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Thanks Shawnette! Guess I don't need to order 10 pounds to make it worthwhile, lol.
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Old 2013-03-28, 6:44pm
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If the ends are stamped you either endup with short mandrels or about a third less.

Some people don't mind the ends, but they can be a little bent on smaller diamiter.
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