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Joined: June 12, 2014
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Location: Dallas, TX

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Posted on Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:56 pm
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Hello!

I'm new to this and have been working with 14 gauge galvanized steel, making rings with an ID of 3/8 inch.

It didn't take long to discover that cutting rings with 8" bolt cutters was a blisteringly slow process. But during my research, I've come to realize that there are many hazards with speeding up the cutting of galvanized steel as it is coated with zinc.

I've found myself quickly leaning towards other, safer materials. I have a dremel and a koil kutter jig, but I'm not using this on the galvanized steel as I'm concerned about health hazards.

I considered buying a ringinator, but they're just so expensive, and I don't want to spend that kind of money at the moment.

The 14 gauge and ID of 3/8" have been working out great so far, but I'd like to start cutting rings more cleanly and more efficiently.

I'm thinking iron would be good, or non-galvanized steel, but I'm having trouble finding these materials in the gauge I want to use, and I'm still not sure what material I should go with.

Any advice is welcome! IE, quick cutting methods, good/non-toxic metals, where to buy spools of these metals, etc.

Thanks!! Smile

Joined: March 27, 2002
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Posted on Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:48 pm
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Zinc dust is not bad. Wear a paper mask, or wet the sawcutting well with cutting fluid or water to lube and cool, and make the zinc dust into metal slurry.

Breathing vaporized zinc will give you a sick headache.

Was a fella named Paw Paw Wilson, a smith and a prolific contributor on the Anvilfire site, who killed himself doing that. He was sixty-five and already had emphysema before he started. He breathed an awful lot of zinc vapor in an enclosed smithy, developed pneumonia, and this carried him off in a couple weeks. This amounts to a thoroughly unusual zinc-vapor incident. Much more usual is "foundry flu." This is a rundown on the kind of hazards heavy exposure to vaporized zinc can present.

In boltieing 14 gauge, switch to 350mm-400mm size boltcutters, the next size up. The jaws won't fit in a 3/8" coil, but they don't have to: feed the coil to the jaw ends at an angle, so the jaws can bear on the wire. Works fine, cuts faster, and doesn't blister you any. In cutting butted links, you can preopen half your links at a stroke by manually stretching half your coils to a bit over twice their original length. Don't go much more or your rings will Pringle on you, going saddle-shaped. Cut the stretched links with your bolties in the same way you cut the unstretched ones.

------------------------

So do you write fiction? Historical fiction? Or are you in some other field?


'The Minstrel Boy to the War is gone...'

Joined: March 27, 2002
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Posted on Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:57 pm
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Where to get spools of nongalvy steel wire: a welders' supply shop. It's wire for using in MIG welders. It's springy, so if you're riveting you will want to anneal or the cruder anneal of normalizing -- it's less complete but it's enough. You can do it inside a Weber with a big charge of charcoal. You want to get the wire red hot, then cool it off. Really slow cooling means it will be completely annealed and feel about as soft as lead compared to its stiff feel before you put it in the coals.

In the welder-supplies store, always ask for mild steel welder wire, and always ask for it by diameter; these people never do gauge, so don't you do it. Go in after memorizing the diameter of whatever gauge you're after. 18ga SWG wire is .048" diameter at the thickest, .005" less than that at the thinnest, but what's five thousandths between friends, hey? Anything close to .048 is fine; you can go skinnier if you want -- or if you're making very small links.

It seems you realize a price break, if eBay is any example, at around 50# of wire. That's enough for two large, knee-length hauberks.


'The Minstrel Boy to the War is gone...'

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