Is there an easy way to take wire off a spool and get it straight?
I'm working with 12ga galvinized steel here, in lengths of about
I know the jewelry people use nylon tipped pliers (squeeze tight
and pull through, repeat as needed), which seems fine for very small
soft wire, but I don't think that's going to work on this heavy stuff.
has been trying to bend it straight by hand
I straighten MIG wire for TIG welding using lock wire pliers to twist
the wire, one end held in a vice and the other in the lock wire pliers,
works very well. Not sure about 12g but then you can always do the same
thing with an electric drill. Hopefully the galvanising won't have issue
with the twist but easy enough to try and find out.
My trick is to put it between two 2x4's and roll the wire between them.
This gets them pretty straight. If you have a lot of this to do, you
can build a wire straightener with pegs or rollers made from cheap
ball bearings. You bend it first against the original curve, then
back the other way, but less bend, then back the first way, again
less bend. You can pull many feet through the straightener at one time,
then cut to she shorter lengths. I think they actually make commercial
machines that do this, so you may be able to see photos of how they
That's my understanding of how they work. A friend of my dad's owned a
freelance tool and die shop (Pofco, in Clackamas): I remember once when
he was building just such a tool, as part of a larger production line for
something built out of wire.
I suspect they need to be fiddled with to get the wire perfectly straight.
As an alternative, if you take a piece of bent up wire and you pull on it
hard enough that it yields a bit all along its length, it'll be straight
when you're done. I've used this in the past to straighten copper wire
and I can attest to it working like a charm. I haven't had occasion to
try it on anything harder.
Take a heavy slide hammer, lock the wire in it and the other end in a
vice. Pull it tight then hit the weight hard a couple times. The shock
will stretch the wire just enough to straighten it. If you don't have a
slide hammer use a chunk of weight with a hole in the middle, slide the
wire into the hole, clamp a pair of vice grips on the end and hit the
weight against the vice grips.
Some time back, an RCMer from the golden years wrote this about this very
We routinely straighten music wire of all diameters at work. We use it
for hinge pins on aircraft. Our music wire comes in large rolls. The
way we do it, is to take a piece of tubing and bend it in sort of a
relaxed z shape as below.
Clamp this in a vise. Cut the wire to length, and insert one end into
an air or electric drill. Insert the other end into the opening of
the bent tube, and turn on drill, and force wire through the bent
tube. Once its through a bit on the other end, then place the ch=uck
on this end, and then just run drill and pull the wire through the
bent tube.. Push it back and forth a few times, and when it comes out
it will be straight. A little oil may make it easier. We have
straightened music wire up to .185 this way.
It works pretty well.
Paul K. Dickman
I just pull wire between clamped down or stepped on wooden blocks.
Sometimes pulling the wire out from between them at an angle helps, even
though you can then get a gentle curl in the wire.
Basically it's easier to work with long pieces of wire instead of little
chopped up pieces. You can even string up some of the wire between posts
or trees and walk back and forth a couple times with the wooden blocks.
I've done this too.
Assuming there's a decent amount on the spool, this kind of thing
I've used this kind of thing to straighten AWG 8 (about 1/8" diameter)
base-metal alloy wires.
You could probably whip something like that up with cheap skateboard
Most Oil tempered or High Tensile wire has a "memory" of being
straightened at the mill even though it has sat in open coil form for
years. Stainless Steel has to be re-straightened in less than a year if
kept in open coil form.