Wire Modeling and Soldering Basics for Designers Architects hobbyists & crafters

Before you can make a wire model like
this or even this you're gonna need to know some basics about brass tubing
copper wire and how to solder it all together most of the supplies you can
get at your local hardware store my name is Eric Strebel I'm an industrial
designer welcome to my channel about product design and making I hope that
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alright here's some basic tools that you're gonna need some good pliers
needle nose pliers these are bent ones and then some Clippers so you can cut
the wires off these even have a pair of built in but a special pair of you
electronic Clippers are good sandpaper is good for cleaning the oxidation off
the copper a file and then of course some sort of a soldering iron
mine's probably a 30 or a 40 watt unit the more the better and then that piece
of sponge to clean the soldering iron with and then rosin core solder which is
the key to the whole thing two of the other pretty important tools that I use
are these jewelers cross lock tweezers you can buy these super cheap at a local
jewelry store or on Amazon or Ebay but they come in super handy and you'll see
me use them very often in this video just to hold the
metal because it does get very hot so I don't burn my fingers all right let's
talk about materials the majority of what I do I use brass and copper the
brass I buy from a company called kns it comes in packages like this and up to 36
inches long it even comes in square sizes and all the pieces telescope so
you can put them inside of each other which comes in very handy all the way up
to thicknesses like this or even square like this this is the copper that I use
it's about one millimeter thick I've had this for a long time but most hardware
stores will sell packages like this of different thicknesses and gauges now the
brass tubing comes straight already the copper is coiled up on a spool and we
need to make that straight so we can use it because when it's curved or bent like
that it doesn't work so good for modeling and you can't get any good
tension out of the part so we need to straighten it out and we're going to use
a classic manufacturing technique that they use for straightening all kinds of
metals that are extruded just like this copper and we're going to anchor it down
with a clamp and the other end my pliers I'm just gonna pull basically I'm
stretching this copper and stretching it out it's gonna get me a nice straight
piece and you can do this with just about any kind of copper wire that you
buy it's gonna be a little tougher for steel or something like that but that's
the key to making your copper straight so that you can cut it to the size you
want and work with it let's plug in the soldering iron
now the copper will usually be oxidized and you will need to sand it nice and
smooth so that you can solder it you need to heat up the copper and I find
that putting a little bit of solder on your soldering iron so that you get a
little more surface area to heat up that copper or whatever metal that you're
soldering works well so I pretend the ends and then this
is what you want you want a butt connection like this so it's just like a
line drawing this is what you do not want you do not want the copper
overlapping like this so that you get a big fat hairy connection right there
that's not ideal you want everything to be nice and straight just like a drawing
so let's make this little hexagon right here two inch I'm going to sand down my
copper first I'm using a piece of 400 grit sandpaper I find that this works
really well and I print out a little template for me to follow and this works
really really well and then I just used the pliers and I bent it up and here I'm
using a pair of flush cut cutters to cut through both pieces at the same time so
I can get a nice clean cut you get a little bit of a gap there but we're
gonna heat up the copper and we're gonna fill that in with the rosin core solder
the rosin core has basically the flux built into it and that allows the solder
to flow so we're gonna tin up the corners of this hexagon because we're
gonna add little legs to connect the two pieces I'm gonna cut some to my desired
length and then I'm gonna sand those down to remove the oxidation and I'm
gonna tin the ends of all of the little legs so that I can solder them in the
corners of the hexagon to make my shape let's add the other hexagon to make the
other side and I've actually trimmed them down because I didn't like the
proportions of that and then I'm gonna re tin the ends of each of these legs
remember you need to remove the oxidation with some sandpaper to get
your solder to stick well this can be a little tricky right here that's our
first weld where you're putting two pieces together and you're soldering
those pieces sometimes the wire needs to be readjusted so it's sort of like
erasing and redrawing the line almost like in digital so you basically
unsolder it and then re solder it the way you want so that you get a good nice
connection you also see me draw the soldering iron off the connection point
and this is so that I get a nice smooth solder without getting a big old blob at
the connection so you get a nice smooth part and here's this finished hexagon
part let's make a circle or a cylinder excuse me with a couple circles and
we'll use some brass for this so the brass it's a little thicker and one way
to roll it or curve it is to bend it around a cylindrical object in this case
I'm bending it around a little paint can now the problem with this method is that
you get some spring back and so you have to basically find the right size tube to
bend it around or you need a little roll bender this is a guitar fret
tool and this allows me to roll the circle in exactly the correct diameter
that is a special tool that I bought on eBay and then I take the dremel with a
cut-off wheel and I slice through the part that I've bent now the problem with
this is that you basically get a gap and you have to bend the circle a little bit
more let's cut off a little piece of welding rod right here and this is going
to become our stud that goes inside the circle so that we get a nice transition
from one end to the other yeah look at that that way we get a nice clean smooth
circle that's sort of the beauty of the brass tubing is that it's tubing and you
can just get a little piece of metal to get that wonderful transition now this
is pretty thick metal you need to give it a little bit of time to heat up and
let the solder flow so that you can soldering together correctly I'm going
to use a file and I'm going to clean up a little bit of that solder just so you
get a nice smooth transition of visual from one to the other let's cut the
supporting legs I'm going to use some brass for this as well and I'm gonna
file the ends to get that nice and smooth you could drop them on to a belt
sander too if you needed I'm gonna tin up the ends here as well don't forget to
sand them and remove the oxidation from the brass as well it will oxidize just
like the copper will over time so solder these in with the cross lock tweezers
because it's brass it does take a little bit more heat
to heat it up and get it soldered correct I'm even wearing a pair of
gloves here so that I can hold the metal so I don't burn myself we'll add another
set of vertices here to give it a little bit more strength and stability and give
it that 3d look you get this nice cylinder boom done
let's make a cube we're gonna use a slightly different technique for making
this cube so we can get some sharper corners and we're gonna cut a V groove
into the brass so that we can bend the round tube in a more square shape this
works really nice you have to of course cut a 45 in the end pieces so that you
can solder it together and get that nice square and I'm going to come back and solder
each of the corners to give it a little bit of strength and so that we can fill
in any gaps as well and we're gonna need that because we're going to solder on
some corner posts in the next step remember the brass sucks up the heat
from the soldering iron so you need to heat it up a little bit longer and let
that solder flow so that you can get a good connection we're using a file here
just to sort of clean up a little bit of the solder blobs and we're gonna make
another square for the top in this case I think I'm using like sixteenth inch
tubing here and I'm gonna tin up the corners and tin up the legs that are
gonna connect the top to the bottom as well
it's so much easier if you tin up all the pieces ahead of time before you
solder it it's gonna make things so much easier for when you solder two pieces of
metal together if they're pretend so all you have to do is let that solder flow
from one piece to the other instead of heating up the entire part because it
has that solder on it already much much easier in this case there's enough
tension on the part where I can just put the brass tube in and it's held in place
with the wire model itself and it just takes a tiny little bit of solder and a
little bit of heat to get that to all flow together and be
nice again I'm using a rosin core solder if your solder does not have a flux or
the rosin core which has that flux in it you're gonna have a tough time soldering
any metal together using that flux to get the solder to flow is absolutely key
I see so many people fail at this point because they are not using any flux with
their solder and I'm going to use a little dremel wheel here to clean up
some of the little solder blobs on this cube just to get it really nice this is
a little bit easier and you'll get those solder blobs on the end of your
soldering iron trough ting you have to smack them off so that you get just the
right amount of solder so wire modeling and soldering basics we're gonna use
this to build a vehicle in the next video hope you enjoyed and you learn
something go solder something have a good time and don't burn yourself make
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