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Straightening thin brass wire

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Hi, I have a length of very thin brass wire I need to straighten out. It came in the kit in a round form and needs to be nice a straight when cut into lengths to use as railings. Problem is, when I unwind the wire it bends and kinks and hence looks terrible. Any tips on straightening bent or kinked fine brass wire?






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Chris, hold one end of wire in vise and the other in jaw of pliers bent 90 degrees and give a slow pull and “feel” for the slight give and should be straight. It has just been work hardened. This can also be b

done for brass strip as well.

Hope this helps. Ken


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Future builds:  Mamoli HMS Victory 1:90
Completed builds: US Brig Niagara, Dirty Dozen, USS Constitution, 18th Century Armed Longboat


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Chris. If it is normal round wire, then put a short length between two metal rulers. Hold the rulers together tightly, and move them back and forth against each other. The movement will roll the wire piece and straighten in out for you.

Edited by CaptainSteve

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Thanks Ken, Steve. Here are a few pics to further show my problem. No way can I pull the wire straight using a vice and pliers, and the 2 metal ruler method does zip as well. Reckon I may need some sort of heat source perhaps?


So what I am trying to do is make the horizontal brass rails as shown in the last picture. What I currently have is this. I have tried pulling, clamping, rolling, stretching etc. to no avail. The wire remains warped and frankly unusable. The picture here is the offending item under a stock standard grey lead pencil for some sort of scale.DSCN0415.jpg.7783c750f67e2e5e456b88e6c66e420b.jpg

Nice straight rails. 


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I use one of these to straighten wire. Just center the wire in the middle of the three rollers close rollers on wire than pull wire though. I believe I got this from a bead store.P1013790.thumb.JPG.a1a167044ed5903e0bfe05eb2aa53107.JPGP1013792.thumb.JPG.7d63c418be3680e07366884dc0c980b3.JPG


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The wire in kits is often too soft to hold a straight shape very long, even if you can get it so.  I found a good source of nice straight fairly well-tempered wire is wire brushes, the kind used for scrubbing.  They come in different sizes and the wire can be bent easily with pliers to fairly sharp angles. The biggest problem is the wires are fairly short pieces, at least in reasonably priced (for this use) brushes.

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Most hobby shops carry brass wire rods and tubes for the RC folks.  Probably pricier than a roll but they usually are straight.

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You can get those kinks out by running it between your fingernail/finger and the back edge of a knife. This will also impart a consistent curve, but it won't be waving around. Flip it around and do the same thing, only more gently, if you do it right you can get it pretty straight. If it's running through those stanchions it just has to not be wavy, it doesn't have to be perfectly straight- the stanchions will straighten any remaining gentle curve out.

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The bead roller is perfect, but if you don't have one there is a simple method that works on small and large gauges: get it as straight as you can with your fingers and then roll the wire between two pieces of glass. The ruler trick works but the larger surface area of the glass makes it easier to control. You may need to 'feed' the wire in from one end to start but once you get that first part straight it gets easier.  A FLAT piece of tile or the kitchen worktop will also work.

Wires come in standard diameters called gauges and any electrical supply shop can provide additional lengths.  If it is to be used as, for example, a handrail on a stairwell, a nice effect is to pinch the end slightly to produce a flared handhold.


I used to do this often but for a work-related reason. 







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Another source for brass wire is a company called Detail Associates. They make a number of sizes or brass wire. Another one is Tichy Train Group. They make phosphor bronze wire in small sizes. The pb wire is a little stiffer than the brass. Check hobby shops with model railroad parts.


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I roll short lengths of (soft) wire between to pieces of really flat hard wood, e.g. a piece of beech and my beech work-top.


I recently also discovered molybdenum wire that comes in various diametres and is much more 'springy' than brass. It has become readily available from Chinese sources due to the fact that it is used to separate the glass from the LCD-screen in mobile-phone repair. Beware, it is very tough and can only be cut with very hard tools.



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You have lots of responses, but I am wondering why stretching does not work... As suggested by xken, put it between 2 pliers, or a vice and pliers and pull on it until you feel it stretch a bit. This is called the yield-point. If you release it carefully it will be perfectly straight. I much prefer this method to any of the others, but do whatever works for you.

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Thanks for the response everyone. Unfortunately nothing I have tried works to my satisfaction. This brass wire is way too thick and non-pliable to stretch or roll etc. Once the temperature drops below 40c here, if it ever does, I think I will take Mark's tip and go to the local hobby shop to source some straight rods. My other thought was maybe a very thin chain through the stanchions instead? The constant heat here will doubtless give me plenty of time to mull over the choice.






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Vossy, Hobby Tools Australia in Melbourne stocks K&S wire and posts out very quickly





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Thin brass rod from 1mm and upward in diameter is available on EBay. I’ve found it to be useful for a variety of applications. Usually comes in a pack of 5 & lengths of 300mm 



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Let me add one one thing to try. I have found that gluing a couple of sheets very fine wet and dry paper to flat surface, then taking the wire and getting it red hot and quickly quenching it it will anneal the wire then rolling it between the two sheets. I have found this to work every time no matter how thick or thin the wire is.

Also the brass rod that are sold for the hobby industry are great as well.


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Indeed, this is how I straighten brass wire. I first anneal the wire and then roll it between two thick pieces of very flat MDF. Works perfectly every time but only if the wire is annealed first.

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Hi vossy.....further to my previous post......the railings in this pic started out initially as you described, but using my method they ended up pretty straight. Cut the length of wire about a cm longer than you need and press firmly down on it against the flat surface leaving the other end of the wire free to flap about as you roll the dowel back and forth quite briskly at right angles to the wire, moving over the entire length of the wire until you achieve the desired straightness. 


Edited by harlequin
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  • 2 weeks later...

Set up some pulley's like the small ones to the left of this machine. I once had a job cutting wire for a electronics fabrication shop using a machine set up like this one except the chain making addition and it was much smaller, the wire I was cutting with the insulation trimmed was caught in a tray. The machine I used had 7 straightening rollers, and only one set of feed rollers where this machine has 2 sets. 2 that are easy to adjust and 3 adjustable only occasionally, it worked well straitening copper wire. Might be worth the fabrication time, don't need to be complicated, you could pull your wire through the rollers by hand.  


Edited by jud
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