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Dear all

 

I will need many shackles for my 1:10 boat but at £1.5 each, they are incredibly expensive. I would very much like to make them myself.

 

Michael Mott has posted a very elegant way of making shackles in this scale. Today I experimented in my garage and tried to standardised a much simpler version, using tools that I (and probably most modellers) own. So here it goes.

 

Very very important: There will be clouds of flying debris and brass dust so do not attempt unless you have goggles that completely seal the eyes (they cost £1). A few more tools will be needed.

 

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Start with 2 mm brass rod, cut to lengths a bit over 2 cm. 

 

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Mark the edges that will later be hammered flat with permanent marker.

 

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Then, secure the rods to a drill, just at the marked edge. Do not worry, it will be adequately rigid and secure. Set both the drill and the dremel spinning and with a high grit sanding drum, thin the middle of the rod. Then use 240 grit sanding paper to smooth the marks left on the rod.

 

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It should now look something like this.

 

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Now anneal the metal. This needs to be done regularly otherwise the rod will break.

 

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On a flat surface, hammer the edges.

 

20190105_171343.thumb.jpg.bff84a7dae13ec4e661d4b115b963be4.jpg

 

Anneal and hammer again. Use a sanding disk or files to shape and round the flat edges of the rods.

 

20190105_171847.thumb.jpg.05a0b532227babfc089ca224d2129461.jpg

 

Then bend around an appropriate steel rod/pin secured in a vice, carefully so that this is done symmetrically. (One rod broke in the middle). Half bend initially, anneal and then bend all the way, otherwise the rod will break. Do not do any minor adjustments without annealing again, the rods will break very easily, bending puts huge stress on the metal. It should now look like this:

 

20190105_172217.thumb.jpg.48436f6c3d1c1babef4dcaf04bdad87d.jpg

 

20190105_172227.thumb.jpg.f047691de65d94914aa0ea4bdb585720.jpg

 

Drill the flat parts, no need to align the holes.

 

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Then take a length of 0.8 mm brass wire, pass through the holes, then with pliers crush the ends flat and trim the excess. Polish with a steel wire brush.  Shackles are ready. 

 

20190105_174001.thumb.jpg.01672a04ff7469267bf6a98ee3499788.jpg

 

20190105_174017.thumb.jpg.21ac4181aea0d33969fa8f7ac15b6f52.jpg

 

They can actually be made reasonably fast, best to do many at a time. They are not very uniform but I think with practice they should improve.

 

Vaddoc

 

 

 

 

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Hi Vaddoc look like you are well on your way and as you say the more you make the more uniform your shackles will be, and in any case they come in a wide range of sizes so you will be able to group them as they accumulate.

I have noticed that the copper is a little easier to form when it is annealed if you can use the vice to squash the ends flat you might find it a little easier to control just how much flattening you want. you could tape a steel washer to act as a stop so that you don't squash them too much.

 

Just some thought to add to the great job you are doing.

 

Michael

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Thanks Mike and Druxey.

Frankie, solder is really very soft.

Michael, I think you are right, copper would be softer and easier to work, yer stiff enough to hold its shape. It should blacken easier than brass and if left, the patina would resemble phosphorus bronze.

Too bad I have a lot of brass!😀

 

I made a few more today, indeed they fast become much more consistent. Not one broke.

 

Vaddoc

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Posted (edited)
On ‎1‎/‎5‎/‎2019 at 5:11 PM, michael mott said:

Hi Vaddoc look like you are well on your way and as you say the more you make the more uniform your shackles will be, and in any case they come in a wide range of sizes so you will be able to group them as they accumulate.

I have noticed that the copper is a little easier to form when it is annealed if you can use the vice to squash the ends flat you might find it a little easier to control just how much flattening you want. you could tape a steel washer to act as a stop so that you don't squash them too much.

 

Just some thought to add to the great job you are doing.

 

Michael

I've had the same problem getting uniformly sized shackles making them "one off" as Vaddoc describes and suffered through it. Michael's post got me to thinking...

 

It should be easy enough ( famous last words...) to fashion a metal block jig so that the desired length of annealed copper wire can be held between the metal jig block and the smooth face of an anvil so that the ends are positioned directly beneath two holes the size of the shackle "ears" desired.  A suitably-sized groove milled between the two holes would serve to hold the wire in place.  Inserting a properly sized transfer punch into the holes and giving it a good whack should, in theory, at least, produce on each end of the annealed copper wire perfectly shaped round shackle "ears" with an exactly-centered dimple in each, ready to be drilled for the pin.  A similarly fashioned jig could be made to fashion shackle pins, or the same jig used as before to yield a single pin end the same diameter as the shackle "ears." If the faying surfaces of the bottom of the block and the top of the metal block are perfectly parallel and clamped tightly, I expect there would be little or no filing to clean up the flat rounded ends that would be formed.

 

Or so says he who hasn't tried it yet. :D

Edited by Bob Cleek

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Bob A sketch please for those of us who have difficulty visualizing your detailed description.🤨 It does sound interesting.

 

Michael

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Many videos on you tube with robots and huge machines forging shackles. This however is closer to what we need, watch how he bends the ears 25 degrees and then only heats the middle to bend into shape. Maybe we need to bend the metal while red hot so have a candle always burning instead of butane torch. But brass will not behave like steel.

 

 

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Another possibility might be a modification of the approach I used for making swivel gun mountings when building the Sherbourne. I took a brass rod, bent it to a U, flattened the ends with a cutting wheel, then laid a brass tube across the top and finally cut out the middle section of the brass tube. You can see the process if you scroll down to "Swivel Guns" in the section at https://modelshipworld.com/index.php?/topic/335-hmc-sherbourne-1763-by-tkay11-finished-–-caldercraft-–-scale-164-a-novice’s-caldercraft-sherbourne/&page=4&tab=comments#comment-117947. I agree it may be a bit fiddly for shackles, but it may stimulate some inventive thinking by someone!

 

Tony

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19 hours ago, michael mott said:

Bob A sketch please for those of us who have difficulty visualizing your detailed description.🤨 It does sound interesting.

 

Michael

I'm sorry, but time prevents me getting a drawing done, scanned and posted at the moment. I'll try for a simplified version of my description of the jig. I've amended it slightly, as well, as you will see.

 

Imagine a small block of metal, at least a quarter inch thick and two inches square.

 

The following dimensions will vary depending upon the size of shackle you want.

 

It has two holes drilled in it. Their diameters are the same as the ends of the shackle you want to make. The distance between the far edges of the two holes is the same as the length of the piece of wire you want to make the shackle out of.

 

On one side of the metal block is a "U" shaped slot machined in the face of the block, running between the two holes and in line with their centers. The depth of the slot would be the diameter of the wire you are using to make the shackle. Looking at it from the side of the metal block with the groove, the two holes and the slot would look something like a weight-lifting dumbbell.

 

To use it, the piece of wire that is to become the shackle is cut to the length of the distance between the far edges of the two holes and annealed.  it is then laid on a flat anvil (or any other piece of metal.) and the block of metal with the groove facing downward is placed on top of anvil and the piece of wire so that the wire is held in place by the groove between the outer edges of the two holes and at the bottom of the holes. Looking down at the bottoms of the two holes, one would see the wire ends running straight across the bottoms of the holes, in the same line as the groove. The metal block would then be held so the piece of wire was sandwiched between the anvil and the metal block.

 

A drift punch (or any piece of metal with a flat end matching the diameter of the holes) is placed in a hole and struck, flattening the end of the wire at the bottom of the hole to a flat circle the diameter of the hole. This would be repeated on the wire at the bottom of the other hole.  (This is the same process as hand-striking a coin.) This same process would then be repeated with a transfer punch matching the diameter of the holes. Lightly striking the transfer punch  would add a "center punch" dimple in the center of the end of the flattened end of the wire for accurately drilling the hole in the ends of the shackle.   The wire would be removed and holes drilled in the center (marked by the transfer punch) of the round flattened ends of the wire and the wire bent in half to form the shackle. The shackle pin would be made the same way, but only using a length of wire with one flattened circular shape at the end and a hole drilled in it.

 

Note that the pin of a shackle should be the same diameter as the shackle itself, so the same wire should be used for shackles and pins and the hole drilled in the ends of the shackle should be the same diameter as the wire used for both. If you were working in a larger scale and wanted to be really anal about it, the shackle and pin could be threaded using a tap and die, but allowances would have to be made for the threads which would require using a slightly larger size wire for the pin and a slightly larger hole drilled in the non-threaded end of the shackle. Without threads, a touch of CA adhesive on the "threaded" end of the pin will hold the pin in place forever and no one will be the wiser.

 

This is a transfer punch below. They are used to mark the exact center of holes in the base of a piece when you want to fasten it to another piece.  They are sold in progressively sized sets, like drill bits, and are relatively inexpensive.

 

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I've not tried this technique described with the holes used as a sort of die to squash a perfectly round circle at the end of the shackle wire,  In the past, I've simply mashed it with a hammer and then filed to a rounded shape, but that is tedious work when a lot of shackles need to be made and, as most know, if you are working in a scale that permits shackles, there will usually be more of them than there are blocks. Below is a past effort of mine which I hope would be more refined if I'd done it today, but you can see what you get with this shackle-making method. In the below case, a 3/4" to the foot catboat of my own design, I left the shackles to develop their own patina, which has become a good imitation of weathered bronze at this point.

 

1396.jpg

Edited by Bob Cleek

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18 hours ago, vaddoc said:

Many videos on you tube with robots and huge machines forging shackles. This however is closer to what we need, watch how he bends the ears 25 degrees and then only heats the middle to bend into shape. Maybe we need to bend the metal while red hot so have a candle always burning instead of butane torch. But brass will not behave like steel.

 

Forming the "U" shaped bend in the shackle is easily accomplished with an orthodontist's loop-forming pliers. The models with stepped jaws will provide a range of loop diameters.

 

s-l1000.jpg

 

Jeweler's loop-forming pliers will work as well, but more care has to be taken to make sure the diameter of the bend is consistent from piece to piece.

 

3200-14.jpg

Edited by Bob Cleek

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Bob, Thanks for the video link I really enjoyed watching this skilled blacksmith work his magic on the iron bar. Obviously that shackle that he made is quite large and there would not be too many spots on a small vessel for a shackle of this size. There are quite a variety of types that are evident in the following page though and likely many are production forged or cast. 

 

Michael

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Quote
8 hours ago, Bob Cleek said:

This is a transfer punch below....

 

Great description of your shackle technique Bob. As a 'toolaholic' I've had a set of transfer punches sitting around in my workshop for years looking for a use - now I've got one. Thanks!

 

Derek

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Dear all

 

I experimented a bit more but this is a difficult nut to crack. I think however I can suggest another method that seems to work, at least for the 1:10 scale I work at. The shackle made this way is on the left, the one made the previous way on the right.

 

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I used 1.2 mm brass wire, annealed, straightened and cut to 1.8 cm segments. I then used 3 mm brass rod to cut disks around 2 mm in thickness. This was actually very quick and easy to do with the jeweller's saw. The only issue is that when they cut away they tend to fly off. The rod was polished with 600 grit sand paper in advance.

 

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I then soldered the discs to the ends of the rods with soldering paste, one at a time or both in one go. Easy to do but the usual preparation is essential, maybe will help to sand a small flt on the disc.

 

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The end result is this

 

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The second time it came out even better

 

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Then I drilled the ends with 1.3 mm drill. This is difficult to do with the drill press as the tungsten drill broke bending the rod, I think some kind of jig is needed. With the dremel it is even harder and gets very hot.

 

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Then, I bent the ends 20 degrees, just at the joints. If the soldering is not good, at this stage it will fail.

 

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Then, without any jig but only using pliers, I formed the loop alternating ends so that the loop is uniform. No annealing is needed, the wire will happily bend without braking. A short segment of the same 1.2 mm wire, crushed in one end is used as a pin. Because the holes are not perfectly aligned, there is just enough tension to keep the pin in place, no glue needed. If the holes happen to be aligned, a small twist in any direction should fix the pin in place.

 

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The new shackles look much better.

 

This is I think a reasonably easy and quick way to make shackles and it seems to have reproducible results. Certainly cheaper than buying shackles. I ll experiment with 0.8 mm wire and 2 mm rod to see if it still works.

 

 

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