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  • Piano Wire?

    I've noticed that some builders use "Piano Wire" for scratchbuilt chassis construction and also for some fine detail work (like modeling those spidery F1 suspension arms).

    What is it? Is it really musical strings for pianos, or what?

    Where can I buy it in various thicknesses? I have 3 decent local hobby shops that stock all kinds of brass tubing, rods and plate, but nothing called "piano wire". Am I asking for the wrong thing?

    Is is steel?

    Is it as easy (!?) to solder as brass?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

    Old23

  • #2
    Piano wire is often called "music wire", and is stocked by most hobby stores in a K&S merchandising stand:



    It is steel, and does not solder as easily as brass - you need to make sure it is very clean by polishing it with steel wool or a Scotchbrite pad before soldering, and then using an acid flux to solder. REmember to wash off the flux afterwards otherwise the wire will rust.

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    • #3
      Hi

      It is steel, it is also called "music wire" and any shop carrying brass should have a lot of the wire. Besides slot cars, model airplanes use it. It isn't properly "piano wire" as is used in pianos, but close enough. YOu can go buy piano strings and guitar strings for various things. I often use "E" strings for fine wiring on display models.

      Anyway, normally, chassis work is done with .032, .047, .055, .063 music wire. It is cheap and comes in 3 foot lengths.

      Fate

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      • #4
        Rocky - you need to learn to type faster....

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        • #5
          Thanks guys.

          Being steel, it must be stronger than brass for the equivalent gauge, right? Is that the main advantage?


          Old23

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          • #6
            It's not so much it's actual strebgth, but, the fact that it is hardened and tempered, which gives it far greater bend stiffness than brass.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by BWA View Post
              It's not so much it's actual strength, but, the fact that it is hardened and tempered, which gives it far greater bend stiffness than brass.
              Thanks, Al. That's what I meant to say, but couldn't find le mot juste. (BTW, a PM is on its way to you...)

              I went to one of my local hobby shops this afternoon and asked for "music wire". The manager led me to a well-hidden and somewhat limited selection. Success! I picked up .032 wire to fashion some spindly suspension bits for 60's F1 project cars. Haven't decided yet whether to go for some heavier gauge wire for chassis construction, or stick with the brass rod and tubing I already have to link the fore and aft BWA brackets.

              Old23

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              • #8
                Hi

                Dennis it would be simper if you just weren't online at the same time!

                Anyway, pianowire has several advantages over brass in my opinion. Besides the strength, the simple fact is that it is SPRINGY. My antique surviving rod and tube chassis are junk without serious work. Brass bent stays "kinked". Pianowire bounces back and the vast majority of my survivors from the 60s are pianowire. they just need less attention and repair.

                Fate

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                • #9
                  Assuming one uses the proper flux and solder (I like "TIX"), I find that steel is often easier to solder than brass. It is not a good conductor of heat so the heat stays where you apply the iron and there is much less chance (especially important if one is building spidery suspension bits) of unsoldering a nearby joint while doing up another.

                  EM

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                  • #10
                    My local hardware store has just about everything that K&S makes. The nearest hobby shop's K&S display is usually picked over.

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                    • #11
                      .... if not available locally or through one of this site's sponsors you could always try here: http://www.mcmaster.com/

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                      • #12
                        Music wire

                        I just ordered a bunch from hobbylinc. Grate prices, its www.hobbylinc.com

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