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Author Topic: Joining sections of coathangers  (Read 12018 times)
rovingjack
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« on: April 02, 2010, 06:35:02 am »

I'm experimenting with and idea and I'd really like to take some wire coathangers and build a simple wire structure that will be sturdy and can can be covered with other materials. So not glueing would be preferrable.

I've read that solder is unlikely to work well, and thus I may end up tinkering with a car battery welding idea but before I fool with that I'd like to know if there is something simpler. Butane torch, propane maybe?
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lilibat
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2010, 07:32:45 am »

Go to the hardware store and get bailing wire. It's more stiff than most hangers even if it is thinner. That way you have whatever length you need. It's cheap too.
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twilightbanana
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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2010, 11:17:53 am »

Are these hangers zinc-coated? Then you'll want to be very careful when heating them. The fumes that come from heating zinc oxyde can cause serious health problems.

That said, if you clean the wire beforehand and use flux, soldering shouldn't be too much of a problem.
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rovingjack
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2010, 11:32:03 am »

I was thinking of coat hangers because I can get the for free at the thrift shops where people donate clothes on wire hangers but the store just uses the plastic ones they take out when you buy the clothes.

I thought solder normal solder wouldn't take on ferrous metals. would joints be strong enough.

What I'm looking to do is build large geometric shapes over will be stretched materials of one sort or another with some tention to them. I'd like them to be able to hold shapes like cubes and prisms without folding in on themselves. The structures could be twisted in some locations and so I'd thought of wire as an option, especially if they could ofrm hoops of sufficient strength for the task, but the idea of connecting multiple polygons aor hoops in layers requires struts and a method for attatching them to each other. And I'd like for it to be economical and small scale light work, not oxyacetalyne or anything like that.

they don't really have to support weight, just their own weight and the surface tension of the object and it's membrain/netting. Thanks for the suggestions so far.
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Mr. Boltneck
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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2010, 07:27:13 pm »

At least for some initial versions, you could try wrapping some hardware-store wire tightly around edges and vertices of adjacent coathanger-based elements to connect them. All you need is pliers and sidecutters, or even pliers with a cutter built in. And a small spool of wire.
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JingleJoe
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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2010, 10:23:30 pm »

Soldering with a good heat source (like fire) should work alright, I've soldered steel before but you will have to experiment, it won't be super strong but if you get a good joint it will hold up to some rough treatment.
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oldskoolpunk
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2010, 05:39:23 pm »



One option is a Western Union splice.

Done properly, this is stronger than single wire.  It's normally soldered after splicing. On copper wire up to 12 gauge, one does this without tools, but for coat hangers, you'll probably need pliers.
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rovingjack
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« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2010, 04:15:56 am »

splap me silly but it just occured to me:

lemon juice + scrap copper= copper citrate solution (CCS)
CCS + cleaned and roughed ferrous metal hanger ends= copper plated hanger ends
copper plated hangers take to soldering fairly well I would imagine, yes?

this way a simple butain torch, or even a soldering iron, lemon juice, scrap copper and coat hangers from the thrift stores may give me an economical, kitchen table safe, beginner freindly means of trying this out. I might try some of thailing wire Lilibat suggested too just for comparisons sake on the first trials. If all goes well I will think seriously about making some of these ideas finished projects for etsy, and maybe post up the process I go through as a tutorial for folks on here.
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JingleJoe
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2010, 01:47:28 am »

splap me silly but it just occured to me:

lemon juice + scrap copper= copper citrate solution (CCS)
CCS + cleaned and roughed ferrous metal hanger ends= copper plated hanger ends
copper plated hangers take to soldering fairly well I would imagine, yes?

this way a simple butain torch, or even a soldering iron, lemon juice, scrap copper and coat hangers from the thrift stores may give me an economical, kitchen table safe, beginner freindly means of trying this out. I might try some of thailing wire Lilibat suggested too just for comparisons sake on the first trials. If all goes well I will think seriously about making some of these ideas finished projects for etsy, and maybe post up the process I go through as a tutorial for folks on here.
You fucking genius, you just solved my unsolderable motor shaft problem!
How exactly does one copper plate something like that though? via electrolysis or just dunk it into the solution?
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rovingjack
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2010, 04:48:11 am »

I remembered this from when I was younger, but it took entirely too long to find it online. Everybody else uses vinegar and batteries, or copper sulfate solution.

http://www.learnerscience.com/documents/easysciencefairprojectsblog.php?title=easy-elementary-science-projects%3A-making-a-copper-plated-nail&entry_id=1213817349&comments=comments

It looks like as long as you have a ferrous metal it should work, I don't know if galvanized changes anything but since that is usually a coating I'd imagine a good sanding or or salt and vinegar stripping bath for zinc removal.

No currant should be needed and the copper plated ferrous metal should have a layer that is fairly impossable to remove without chemical, high temperature or heavy abrasion.
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JingleJoe
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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2010, 04:38:27 pm »

Yeah, before adhering anything to anything I allways sand the surface Wink

That looks so easy! I will try it later today Grin Thankyou very much!
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rovingjack
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« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2010, 04:53:26 am »

let me know how it works. I won't get time to try it myself of a bit. Fixing apartment for future renter, showing the place off, work, scriptfrenzy, and preparing for my artist table at connecticon are gonna hardcore eat time for a bit.
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JingleJoe
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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2010, 09:01:53 pm »

let me know how it works.
From my observations I found that it works pretty damn good!
Different metals take the copper better (as you say, ferrous seems to work best) the motor shafts I was trying to plate didn't take it brilliantly but still did!
If you leave it for too long it just corrodes your metal Tongue
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kaffemustasj
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2010, 10:20:49 pm »

@ JingleJoe: How well does the copper stay onto the metal compared with the electrolysis process?
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JingleJoe
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2010, 11:42:22 pm »

@ JingleJoe: How well does the copper stay onto the metal compared with the electrolysis process?
No idea, I've never plated with electrolysis!
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johnny99
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« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2010, 04:27:35 am »

@ JingleJoe: How well does the copper stay onto the metal compared with the electrolysis process?
Umm...  It is The electolysis proccess. You will note that what you have, are two disimilar metals in an acidic solution. Otherwise known as a battery. The main problem is that it's only possible to get a very  Thin coating this way. Since assoon as the steel is fully coated you no longer have two different metals in the acid. Hence no current.

BTW, I seriously doubt it will work to plate coathangers like this then solder them. Since you are exposing a very thin copper plate to both corrosive chemicals (flux) and high heat (soldering iron).
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JingleJoe
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« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2010, 05:22:54 pm »

@ JingleJoe: How well does the copper stay onto the metal compared with the electrolysis process?
Umm...  It is The electolysis proccess. You will note that what you have, are two disimilar metals in an acidic solution. Otherwise known as a battery. The main problem is that it's only possible to get a very  Thin coating this way. Since assoon as the steel is fully coated you no longer have two different metals in the acid. Hence no current.

BTW, I seriously doubt it will work to plate coathangers like this then solder them. Since you are exposing a very thin copper plate to both corrosive chemicals (flux) and high heat (soldering iron).
Nope, it takes solder better than the steel does Tongue I thought the electrolytic plating process involved electricity, like electrolytic etching.

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kaffemustasj
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« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2010, 07:47:49 pm »

I think I understand now Wink
The electrolytic plating process is the process you have used here, and it does involve electricity. The electric energy is created by the two dissimilar metals in the acidic solution, right?

But wouldn't it be more effective to use a low voltage battery in addition to the solution? By using a battery the copper will still be drawn towards the steel even when the steel is lightly coated with copper. This gives you a thicker copper plating which in turn should be more resistant against heat and flux.
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johnny99
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« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2010, 07:54:41 am »

I think I understand now Wink
The electrolytic plating process is the process you have used here, and it does involve electricity. The electric energy is created by the two dissimilar metals in the acidic solution, right?

But wouldn't it be more effective to use a low voltage battery in addition to the solution? By using a battery the copper will still be drawn towards the steel even when the steel is lightly coated with copper. This gives you a thicker copper plating which in turn should be more resistant against heat and flux.

Yes, exactly.
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WillRockwell
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« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2010, 08:06:43 am »

You can braze coathangers together with a torch powered by MAPP gas and oxygen, using  bronze flux
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rovingjack
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« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2010, 07:06:43 pm »

sooo, might I be so bold as to suggest that we all run a series of experiments. We go to a thrift store and ask if we might releive them of their surplus wire coathangers at no charge to them.

we get small peices of copper whereever we can, try the basic experiment, try it with batteries, try it with copper sulfate solution, braze it (if you have the skill set and equiptment available), weld it and solder. Maybe JB weld, and epoxy too, twisted wire ect.

We can all make basic shapes that then can be tested for stability and strength of bond.

Will a cube support a hard back book? can we make a shoe tree out of coat hangers that will hold up to use?

It might be kinda fun to have multiple projects that use a coathanger wire frame as the base and see what people make with it and what kind of successes and lessons are learned from attempts.
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JingleJoe
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« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2010, 12:51:10 am »

That sounds fun but all the coat hangers in this country are plastic Sad
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oldskoolpunk
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« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2010, 06:47:14 pm »

If you just want long pieces of mild steel wire, buy a coil of the stuff.  It's not expensive.  Diameter is about 0.08" or 2mm. "Mild steel" wire can be worked with pliers.  Avoid stainless, spring, high-carbon, ultralow-carbon, and exotic steels for this application. They'll be too hard or too springy to work. Galvanized steel resists rust, but is harder to paint or solder.
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rovingjack
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« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2010, 10:20:17 am »

what I want is to make a cube, pyramid or potentially irregular decahedronal prisms with cheap wire and not requiring a welder or investment in anymore work space or equiptment than I have access to now.

Perhaps I might be able to find a local shop that can help me out with acess to a welding setup for an hour or so a day, provided the idea I have proves worth while on other fronts.
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Mechanic
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« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2010, 11:01:35 am »

I remembered this from when I was younger, but it took entirely too long to find it online. Everybody else uses vinegar and batteries, or copper sulfate solution.

<snip>

Brilliantly simple - thank you
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