Stainless Steel Hooks & Rings

A while back I posted some pictures of a balance beam I made in the shop out of 6061 bar stock aluminum. I was thinking I might like to give some away
to my fishing club if I could make them cheap enough. The aluminum is certainly cheap enough if I buy it from a metal distributor, but there are a few things that add up.
To attach the handle to the beam requires some form of ring so that the beam can swing freely. I used key rings on my first three, but they are all of unknown quality and materials. Some are chrome over brass which is not strong, but will never corrode out. Others are cheap chrome over some ferrous alloy which are strong, but will most certainly rust. I need to find a cheap decent quality ring for this. I even considered making my own out of stainless wire, and mage a small jig to stamp it into shape. This brings me to my second item.
Hooks. I need a moderately large snap hook to actually hang off each end of the beam. In my first practice runs I used some stainless steel hooks removed from a high quality fish stringer. They work very well, but that quality of stringer is hard to find, and relatively speaking they are expensive. Yes, with these I can make a a balance beam cheaper than I can buy one, but not much. I was thinking if I could find the right stainless steel wire I could make my own snap hooks on a duo-lock type design except just keep the bottom part (large end) straight.
http://www.uk-hooks.com/prodimage/ThumbPic/1197563185-duolock.jpg
I was thinking I could set some pins in a board or weld pins to a plate to make a quick and easy bending jig. TIG wire does come in sizes that would be suitable, but I would need to know what alloy will be bendable with some manageable force, and yet have good strength and decent springyness after being bent to shape. Each hook would need to be able to hold 10+ pounds without distorting. I am thinking a 1/16" or 3/32" wire would be pretty close to what I am looking for. I figured when I got a little closer I'ld throw a caliper on the hooks I have for size.
So what alloy wire should I try for this, or can you suggest a source that is different entirely?
Bob La Londe www.YumaBassMan.com
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Consider an annealed wire which you could harden after forming.
LLoyd
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"Lloyd E. Sponenburgh" <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> wrote in message

Like rod stock? Where would I find rod stock that small?
Bob La Londe www.YumaBassMan.com
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From: http://home.earthlink.net/~bazillion/matls.html
Springs are usually made from alloys of steel. The most common spring steels are music wire, oil tempered wire, chrome silicon, chrome vanadium, and 302 and 17-7 stainless. Other materials can also be formed into springs, depending on the characteristics needed. Some of the more common of these exotic metals include beryllium copper, phosphor bronze, Inconel, Monel, and titanium. The following table summarizes the more important properties of each material:
Stainless steels will not rust, making them ideal for the food industry and other environments containing water or steam. 302 series stainless will expand slightly under heat: 17-7 will usually not change. Cannot be plated.
Bob La Londe www.YumaBasssMan.com
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Hardware store? Both the local Aces and True Values carry onesies of stainless rod/wire from 1/16" to about 3/8". Ditto hobby shops. Brass wire/rod and music wire from the same sources. The borgs probably won't have it that small. Otherwise Enco/MSC/Grainger.
Stan
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Bob, if I were doing it, I'd make the pivot rod from some high-chromium drill rod (virtually corrosion proof), and mount that in a clevis, rather than forming the entire assembly from a single piece of wire.
But that's just me...
OTOH, if you're VERY careful, use heat-sinks around the area, and use a tiny pencil flame, you can partially anneal just the sections of the drill rod that require bending, and leave the working length full-hard.
LLoyd
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"Lloyd E. Sponenburgh" <lloydspinsidemindspring.com> wrote in message

I like that idea. I just ordered some 17-7 .093 wire to play with for this. Its a little heavy, but the commercial beam I have uses wire this thick. Actually closer to .098. The hooks on my home made beams are only .079. If I can't handle the thicker wire I may search for some a little smaller.
Would you oil quench it when finished for moderately quick cooling and hardening?
Bob La Londe www.YumaBassMan.com
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If I wanted to re-harden the rod, I would use an air-hardening alloy, and not fuss with liquid quenching. Ultimate hardness isn't much of an issue in this application. As-shipped temper is probably enough, so long as you don't buy fully-annealed rod.
LLoyd
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wrote:

17-7 is a precipitation hardening alloy - forget everything you know about annealing and heat treating simple steels. The heat treat is dead easy if you've got a furnace, but you're not going to be able to do much for 17-7 with a torch.
Personally, I'd get hold of some 302 spring wire and put the effort into figuring out how to make the forms you need with that. 302 and the other austenitic stainless steels (304 and 316 are the most common) are hardened by cold working, not heat treating. If you anneal them the only way to get the strength back is by more cold work.
You should be able to bend 302, 304, or 316 into the shapes you need with little fear of cracking. The austenitic stainless steels have very high elongation properties, i.e., they'll yield and stretch without breaking.
--
Ned Simmons

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I have made a set of prototype snap hooks out of the 17-7 .093 wire, and I think I have a bending jig (three attempts) and a final wire design that will work. I'm not sure what the life of the hook will be, but probably indefinite if the end user does not try to over flex and reshape it. I can grab both loop ends of the hook and pull it apart, but it takes nearly full strength to do so. With one more tiny bend I can probably totally eliminate that even. Since most folks will be hanging a 1-3 pound fish off of it, I doubt they will ever even see a distortion to the hook. I'll post pictures of my prototypes when I finish my coffee and walk out to the shop later.
I think I will make one more bending jig. My first three attempts were made out of 1/8" steel plate, 3/8 rod, and 3/4 rod. I would get a neater looking final jig with straighter rod alignment if I used 1/4 or 3/8 plate for the base. I could also then drill one edge of the plate to make a tip hook bending jig instead of the pliers I am using now to put the starting hook bend in the wire.
I do have some lighter 302 .080 spring wire ordered to try, but they 17-7 .093 does a pretty good job so far. It is pretty hard on my forearm to bend and form. (I've got a sore arm from to much flipping and pitching. (fishing))
I have a couple ring ideas to try, but have not figured it out fully yet.
Bob La Londe www.YumaBassMan.com
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Enco has 0.063" type 302 SS tempered music wire, part # 325-4440, $16.77 for a 1 Lb roll. It's listed as 26 gage, probably a typo for 16.
Jim Wilkins
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wrote:

Enco has 0.063" type 302 SS tempered music wire, part # 325-4440, $16.77 for a 1 Lb roll. It's listed as 26 gage, probably a typo for 16.
I'll look and see what their bigger spools price out at. I just got 1 10 lb roll of .080 302 ($90apx) full hard (spring wire) shipped from Bits of Wire. I guess I was the very last guy to place an order before they shut down that website. They called me today to let me know they werre shipping it this afternoon. I guess Bits of Wire was a web subsidiary of another company and the found they were competing with themselves. The main company will only be selling 25lb rolls, so a source for 1-10 lb rolls is appreciated. Thank you.
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10 lbs is a LOT of loops. My chain mail shirt doesn't weigh that much.
Jim Wilkins
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wrote:

Yeah, I think 10lbs of .080 is about 800'. Hmmm... You know I've got an old .31 caliber pocket pistol kit in my desk that I never finished because of a broken hand spring. I tried a variety of things in the past. Maybe I can hammer some of this spring wire into a flat spring for it, and finally finish it... if I have all the parts still. LOL.
Bob La Londe www.YumaBassMan.com
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These are cheap and hold up quite well outdoors, especially if you put a drop of oil in the gate spring hole. There is an oval or pear-shaped version that fits a finger more comfortably than the D ones. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=47658
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wrote:

These are cheap and hold up quite well outdoors, especially if you put a drop of oil in the gate spring hole. There is an oval or pear-shaped version that fits a finger more comfortably than the D ones. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?ItemnumberG658
Yeah, I looked at those. I have actually found what I really wanted for attaching the handles. A stainless steel key ring 1.25" dia. They range from .29 to .75 each by the hundred. It actually looks like my holdup may be finding sources for decent quality stainless spring wire in small quantities to make my hooks. Bits of wire had 10lb spools of 302 for around $90, but they shut down their website on July 31st. For .080 that was about 800 feet I think. The guys I got the 17-7 from have limited inventory of salvage and scrap only.
This is my bending jig.
http://img187.imageshack.us/img187/5986/dscf1191jb5.jpg
I actually made three of them, four if you count a major modification to this one. This one still needs a little refinement, but I am holding off until I decide on my final wire before making another one. The varying height of the various pegs is so I can make the first couple of bends and swing over the back bending pegs. Then I slide the wire down and make the next bend. If you notice my pins are nopt all straight. It does not really have any negative affect on my bending process, but I used 1/8 plate for protyping this jig. When I do the final jig I'll use 1/4 or 3/8 which will help me to hold all the pins straight during the welding process.
These are my experimental stainless snap hooks made from .093 spring wire.
Open
http://img174.imageshack.us/img174/1441/dscf1192il6.jpg
Closed
http://img82.imageshack.us/img82/230/dscf1193me5.jpg
Left to Right 1. Hand bent and used to layout first failed bending jig. 2. Bent on bending jig shown before latest modification
I decided I needed the point to stick out further when open. By making a wider radius bend at the bottom and then back bending the point I was able to do this with enough springyness to the final form.
3. Hand bent modification to number 2 per comments above.
I removed a 3/8 bending pin as used to make number 2, and welded in a 3/4 bending pin in its place.
4. Jig bent on jig as in picture. Oops. Cut the pokey end a little short. 5. Nearly perfect final of protyping process. Slight adjustment made to circumfernence of final peg bend, and back bend.
The final design in number 5 also allows me to cut to length and sharpen the end more easily after the entire bending process is completed.
I think I am going to set this project aside for now until I get a few more wire samples in to experiment on and decide on my final wire.
Bob La Londe www.YumaBassMan.com
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