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

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  #1  
Old 2015-01-21, 10:28am
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Tia Marie Tia Marie is offline
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Default Bicycle spokes as Mandrels?

I was going to go out today and collect bike spokes to use as mandrels and wondering if there is anything I should know about using them...anyone else try this?
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  #2  
Old 2015-01-21, 10:43am
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I use bike spokes to display my beads at shows, with separators cut from aquarium tubing, but haven't tried them as mandrels.

I don't know how the metal would hold up in the flame, and there's the loop at the end and the screw grooves in the other - things that might get in the way of removing beads. If you were going to cut those off and the steel worked in the flame, old bike spokes would be a great resource.

But it might cost the same in time and money to just buy a big mess of stock from a welding supply. The last time I bought spokes from a bike shop they charged me 50cents each and I had to clean off the grease. My best find was a discarded wheel at a recycling place, got tons of spokes from that, BUT had to go to a bike store to buy a special tool to remove the damthings, cause it was a European bike.

If you can make it work, please let us know?

*sharon*
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Last edited by SharonP; 2015-01-21 at 10:46am.
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  #3  
Old 2015-01-21, 10:56am
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Hey thanks and I will let you know. I have been looking for the tig rods locally too, hoping I will find some through friends of friends, due to my very remote location everything I have available is not working for me... for instance, if I went to the only local shop for tig rods I have to buy them in a 10lb box @ $180 (and they are not even a good length at 16") and that's only 1 size.
Next time we travel to the nearest big[ger] city, I will definitely be seeking them!
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Old 2015-01-21, 11:18am
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Wow, that's crazy expensive! I buy a 4 ft tube of (approx 12) steel welding rods from my local weld shop for less than $10. Then I cut them to size with bolt cutters and sandpaper the ends to get rid of burrs.

Don't know how well bike spokes will hold up under heat…. I'd hazard a guess that if you're doing boro you'll melt through a spoke in no time flat?
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Last edited by speedingpullet; 2015-01-21 at 11:20am. Reason: fur spellinge
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  #5  
Old 2015-01-21, 11:34am
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You can buy TIG welding rods on Amazon.com, with prime shipping... let the supplies come to you!

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...ds%2Caps%2C211
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  #6  
Old 2015-01-21, 11:44am
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Are they plated? If so, I would be wary of the fumes.
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Old 2015-01-21, 12:11pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 28676bhe View Post
Are they plated? If so, I would be wary of the fumes.
My thoughts exactly. If you use recycled you would never be 100% certain of what they are made from. There is a possibility of hazardous fumes. Welding rods are a much safer choice. I use food grade stainless and they last a lot longer than the regular stainless.
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Old 2015-01-21, 12:13pm
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cheaper spokes are plated, no bueno for the flame. higher end spokes are titanium, which works great for a TI pen, idk how well it'll work for a mandrel.

i just order something like this, and cut it down to size and deburr the edges. purchasing "bead mandrels" is a sure way to get hosed.

http://www.metalsdepot.com/products/...cc=%20&aident=
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Old 2015-01-21, 12:16pm
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The food grade stainless is 316, I think.
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Old 2015-01-21, 2:12pm
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Check online - in the states I can order one pound of Stainless Tig rods in 1/16, 1/32, or 1/8 for around $6 a pound. Cut into 9 or 12" lengths a pound will give you mandrels galore.
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  #11  
Old 2015-01-21, 3:56pm
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I tried spokes once. They produced a funky greenish flame, stunk to high heavan and did weird things to the bead release so it cracked. I don't recommend it.
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Old 2015-01-21, 5:26pm
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Some bicycle spokes are coated with zinc. Others are stainless steel. I don't know how to tell if they are coated without testing them in the flame. The coated ones will sputter, pop and do weird things to bead release like Chocake said. My dad had a bunch of bicycle spokes (he has a bike shop) that he gave to me when I first started. Some were fine and some weren't. But I recommend getting 308 or 316L SS welding rods and cutting them down yourself and sanding off the burrs. 308 doesn't last as long before it starts to fatigue, but sometimes that's all the welding shops have and it works fine.
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Old 2015-01-21, 5:40pm
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Zinc oxide vapor does bad things to the human body.
so avoid plated spokes.

I sell stainless mandrels on eBay fairly cheap.
The stainless comes from the welding shop 316 tig rod.
I cut them, sand/grind the ends, and pack/ship them fairly cheap.
Beadboxman also makes and sells mandrels.
Divardi and most glass suppliers also sell them.

look at your resources and it may cheaper or more convient to either make them in larger lots or buy them from somone already making mandrels.
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Old 2015-01-21, 6:40pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tia Marie View Post
Hey thanks and I will let you know. I have been looking for the tig rods locally too, hoping I will find some through friends of friends, due to my very remote location everything I have available is not working for me... for instance, if I went to the only local shop for tig rods I have to buy them in a 10lb box @ $180 (and they are not even a good length at 16") and that's only 1 size.
Next time we travel to the nearest big[ger] city, I will definitely be seeking them!
Wow! That's even more expensive than I pay on Kauai: $100 for a 10-lb box. At least that's how much it cost four years ago. I will never need to buy any more again. They are 36 inches long, so its easier to get multiple decent lengths than from only 16-inch ones, especially if the short ones also have the flat tags at each end. Be sure to heat thoroughly and then quench to make them stronger before using; I just do a huge batch at a time in the kiln.

Buying them ready-to-go may be the best way though as they're already cut and the ends are polished smooth. Otherwise you will need to have bolt cutters and sandpaper, or similar equipment. Also, your initial cash outlay will be significantly smaller. Several LE people sell them at good prices.
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Old 2015-01-21, 7:42pm
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You can use spokes, as long as they're stainless. I use them as mandrels when I make ring toppers. (They're 2.5mm threaded. Perfect!) They're not cheap, though. TIG is definitely the way to go. Call around. Some shops will sell by the lb, as little or as much as you want.
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  #16  
Old 2015-01-22, 8:39am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by losthelm View Post
Zinc oxide vapor does bad things to the human body.
so avoid plated spokes.
I sell stainless mandrels on eBay fairly cheap.
The stainless comes from the welding shop 316 tig rod.
I cut them, sand/grind the ends, and pack/ship them fairly cheap.
Beadboxman also makes and sells mandrels.
Divardi and most glass suppliers also sell them.
Hmm, after looking at your prices I think I would buy from you rather than hassle with making my own.
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Old 2015-01-22, 9:07am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by losthelm View Post
Zinc oxide vapor does bad things to the human body.
so avoid plated spokes.

I sell stainless mandrels on eBay fairly cheap.
The stainless comes from the welding shop 316 tig rod.
I cut them, sand/grind the ends, and pack/ship them fairly cheap.
Beadboxman also makes and sells mandrels.
Divardi and most glass suppliers also sell them.

look at your resources and it may cheaper or more convient to either make them in larger lots or buy them from somone already making mandrels.
Your prices are awesome. I just bought a bunch! Thanks!
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