How is AR figured when making my own rings?
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How is AR figured when making my own rings?
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Posted on Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:50 pm
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I have been looking through tutorials and pictures and see a lot of items to make. I made one chain so far and it is nothing like the picture, wrong aspect ratios, just reused rings for practice.

Looking at one tutorial it says 14G 3/8" AR. Now, I am assuming that it is 14 gauge AWG, with 3/8in. aspect ration. I have been rolling my own rings with various dowel rods. (Cutting them by cutting a piece, then overlap the top to cut, and snip off so they go flush.)

Now, do I find the AR by say taking a 3/8" drill bit into some wood to make a hole and if the ring fits it is 3/8" AR or using the 14G 3/8" AR, are they accounting for the mandrel being 3/8" and a 14G wire wrapped around it?

Sorry if I get the terms wrong, or sound confusing. I am new to this and am trying to make some items for myself and family. I understand the concept of putting the rings together, it just takes experience.

Thank you.

PS. I decided to make my own rings because the only place around here that sells them in a store is $6 for 75 of them. And that is the cheap container.


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Posted on Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:03 pm
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Greetings Aorio,

The AR for most patterns is the inner dimension divided by the wire thickness.
When using Inches and Gauges this can be difficult to calculate.
The inner dimension can alter because when releasing the tension, aka springback, from the coil (after winding) it will uncoil somewhat that will increase the inner dimension. How much will change due to the type of metal.
A soft metal (like copper) will have less springback then hard metals (like stainless).
Also using cutters that pinch the metal can increase the size while sawing (which removes material) decreases the size.

Could you tell me/us what weave you are trying to make and have you measured the wire and the size of the mandrel and the rings after cutting?

I have found that the wire gauge can differ from what is sais on the package as well as the size of the mandrel.
Also wooden mandrels tend to get squished by the wire and this also changes it's diameter.

Hope this helps.

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Posted on Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:11 pm
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That does help. I complete forgot about spring back. I have tried to make a whirlybird pendant (Yes, intermediate according to tutorials, I was out of my game), then I realized I made the rings wrong, so tried to reuse them as practice for "inverted round" basically a chain.

At the moment I am using 16G copper wire plated shiny. It is from Michael's. With a set of flush cutters. Since it was practice I do not care about the marks made from the tool on the next rings outside when I overlapped cuts (The outside of the tool would scuff the next ring). So I did not stretch the wire coil more than needed to fit in the cutter, then a second snip to make the circle flush.

So, to find AR, it would be say: 1/2" (mandrel) divided by 16? So for this example .5 / 16 = AR 0.03?


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Posted on Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:37 pm
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If the wire gauge is SWG then the wire is .065 you need to convert into the same unit.

then your ratio should look like .5/.065 gives you an AR of 7.69
Inside diameter/wire diameter
AWG then the wire is .0508
So it's .5/.0508 with an AR just over 10

Coatings like enamel may throw off the wire diameter a little.

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Posted on Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:45 pm
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The wire is AWG. This makes more sense now, thank you. The spool does not say that the wire is .0508, just that it is 16G.

Is there a site or conversion table you can link me by chance? One that shows Wire Gauge to wire diameter.

I understand that coating would affect it, but for what I was trying to do, I did not see it playing a factor, if I made small earrings or something I could see this as a factor but more so in what I think the term is 'micro maile' which I will not do.


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Posted on Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:36 pm
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You need need need calipers. It will make this so much easier on you and will always be money well spent. Knowing the actual inner diameter of a ring is much more useful than what size the mandrel used was. Springback can be anywhere from insignificant to "won't work". Lots of packages on rings from places like Michael's list outer diameter. Also, a gauge number means nothing. There are at least two different gauge systems, and there are tolerances that make something marked 16awg anywhere from 1.27mm to 1.31mms, in my experience. The only way to tell is to actually measure it, especially when making your own rings.

You might find this chart helpful: Unit Conversion Tables


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Posted on Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:49 pm
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I use an app called gauge finder through iTunes as well as charts from ASME and other sources are available in PDF or other printable format.
Calipers can be helpful but quality is exepencive.

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Posted on Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:50 pm
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Thanks for the chart, and the tool suggestion. Since I am new to this I am just using items I can easily get. No expensive wire or $450 on a ring cutting machine. This will give me a great starting off point. The items may not be exact to the tutorials, but it will be a lot closer and closer to the pictures.


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Posted on Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:35 am
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Aoroi wrote:
Thanks for the chart, and the tool suggestion. Since I am new to this I am just using items I can easily get. No expensive wire or $450 on a ring cutting machine. This will give me a great starting off point. The items may not be exact to the tutorials, but it will be a lot closer and closer to the pictures.


A cheap set of calipers will run you $20 maybe at Home Depot/Lowes/Your friendly hardware store... And will save your sanity many, many times over.

Lookup and conversion charts give you a starting point on Wire Diameter (the nominal figure), and knowing how big your mandrel is gives you a starting point on Inner Diameter...

But after you end up throwing out your fourth or fifth batch of rings because "it looks floppy" or "it's too tight..." you've already paid for your calipers in material waste, and time waste. And you'll know instantly what you're dealing with. Removing the guess work goes a long way when sanity is involved Smile

Also, if you decide you hate chainmail in a month, you can use them for measuring all sorts of neat small stuff. Coif LoL



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Posted on Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:23 am
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Perhaps in a few months, but as it stands right now I only see myself slowing down due to lack of materials. I am one of those who keeps obsessing until I finish my projects. Seeing as how I am just learning this, trying to figure out AR and switching gauge sizes, and expanding the projects to larger rings, not to mention a few gauntlets and other pieces I want to make. I will be at this for a while.

It took me 2 months to learn how to make a tree of life pendant, because I could not make the actual circle, about 30 minutes to learn to make the tree.

Besides, this stuff is helping get my hand dexterity and strength back . Coif LoL


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Posted on Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:35 am
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I hear ya Aoroi. But seriously... a pair of calipers is a must have tool. Really, it is. Rings and wire are very rarely exactly as they are labeled. And the variance allowance on gauge numbers renders a gauge number useless. You need an actual measurement of both the diameter of the wire and the inner diameter of the ring. You need calipers. Wink


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Posted on Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:33 am
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Welcome and well come, Aoroi.

Eliminate all thought of gauge when you're figuring link AR. Measurements only. Gauge systems don't enter into that, for all that gauge numbers make a convenient verbal shorthand. Efunda has a gauge conversion table -- you plug in what value you have already and the page calculates for you, and in any of several gauge systems at that if necessary. Gauge to measured diameter, diameter back to gauge, and so on.

The diameter of your mandrel -- metal is the best material, wood won't take it without getting re-sized -- will give you a convenient, but nominal, AR calculation. Calipers for exact finished ID measuring would give you a precise AR calculation, dealing with the expansion caused by springback (which also lets the coil slide off the mandrel). This is only important for such weaves or projects as need an AR near the minimum workable to come out as desired -- otherwise you just let your piece hang loose, as it were.

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Keep the Same Unit
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Posted on Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:51 pm
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No matter what, always make sure to keep the wire diameter and ring's inner diameter in the same unit. This unit can be millimeters, inches, and could even be in meters if you wanted to. Just make sure they are the same units,



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Posted on Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:27 pm
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thanks for all the replies and help, I've actually been working on a wire sculpture so haven't been able to reply. I wish there was one simple measurement system that's universal for people to make tutorials. using different aspects like AR, 1/4" which does not even say if the ring is 1/4 inch or if the mandrel used is 1/4 inch. I think for a lot of this especially just beginning I am over thinking the aspects.I just need to make it look good for what I want and then be able to re-create that later.


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Posted on Tue Feb 11, 2014 12:34 am
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Aoroi, you're going to find you've been overthinking it. Mail is all about the giant tolerances everywhere but the closure.

Nominal AR from the mandrel diameter is sufficient for any project that isn't scraping by the bare minimum possible AR for a weave. That approach to minimum would be primarily for either a dense effect or to make something stiffen. Tightening AR up little by little gradually stiffens the weave. A loose-AR mailpatch of E4-1 folds over pretty tightly and close. It's not like creasing a piece of paper, but it's much tighter than a tight-AR piece of folded E4-1, which bends around in a curve which stays open inside.

Using a minimum possible AR is where Measured AR with inexpensive dial calipers (they're easy to read) comes into play to get an exact ID that's slightly larger than the nominal ID. The difference in diameter isn't great unless you are using springy wire or exotic metal like titanium, which workhardens absurdly fast and you have to use an undersized mandrel to arrive at the ID you want. Stainless wire, depending on the stainless, may spring back a lot if it's a stiff wire, and give a distinct enlargement.

In a sculpture project or a jewelry project, the actual true AR is in some measure or other a real concern. In an armor project, hardly a concern ever at all.


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