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Finding wire to scale

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  • Member since
    March, 2012
Finding wire to scale
Posted by JimL on Monday, October 17, 2016 8:21 AM

I am always looking for materials for my models.   One of the things I have always had a problem with is scale wiring.   While some aftermarket wire is close to scale, it is very expensive.   I hate to spend two dollars a foot for small gauge wire.

 

Looking around I found several good sources for small scale wire.   There is a seller on the web that goes under the name Inventex2012.   He offers ten feet of ten different colors of 30 gauge wire that goes for $5.80.  Less than 6 cents a foot.  This is the same stuff most aftermarket companies use.

This wire is .5 mm outside diameter.  In 1/24 scale that is a half an inch.  While it is probably a little large for plug wire in scale, I think it looks good.

If you want to go smaller, there are two common sizes of beading wire.  I found rolls of .3 mm and .4 mm beading wire in a variety of colors.   These rolls come in a set of ten rolls each having ten meters of wire.  These cost about 8 dollars for 100 meters of colored wire.   the .3 mm wire is about 3/8 of a scale inch and the .4 mm is just under a half inch in 1/24 scale.   These are coated wire and are shiny.  I couldn't seem to break the shine with sanding without going through the coating but a coat of clear dull paint made them look better.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    March, 2012
Posted by JimL on Monday, October 17, 2016 8:27 AM

If you want to go real small, you can get rolls of .2mm wire from Micron Meters.  They offer several colors but you must buy 50 feet at a time.  That could be pricey to get 6 colors since 50 feet runs about $15.00 plus shipping.   This stuff is small.  In 1/24 scale, it would be about 3/16 inch.   That has been the smallest insulated wire I could find.

  • Member since
    March, 2012
Posted by JimL on Monday, October 17, 2016 8:33 AM

By the way, I got a 50 foot roll of this wire in white thinking I would use colored sharpies to make any color I wanted.  I don't know what they used for insulation, but a sharpie wouldnt touch it.   It seems like teflon for sharpies.

I did find an outstanding buy.   Hobby King sells wire for RC fabrication.   It is the same as the Micron Meter wire above, but only comes in black and red.   One meter costs 44 cents.     Outstanding bargain.   Hobby King calls it Turnigy High Quality 36awg wire.  This stuff is really small.  

If anyone knows of any thing smaller or cheaper, please chime in.

Thanks for looking

  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Monday, October 17, 2016 2:37 PM

Thanks Jim. It's good to note new sources of scale wiring. I like to keep an eye out for this type of stuff too, and have been looking for a source of good scale ignition wiring. I am a stickler for scale fidelity and have been looking for a supplier for small insulated wire that has the right size (OD), colours, and texture, and can be supplied in small bulk quantities. Because as modellers we are concerned with not the technical specification of the wire, but its appearance and ability to work with it, I find ordering online to be a tricky prospect.

I find the 30 ga. (0.5 mm) wire to be a bit large for ignition wire. I think 32 ga. would be a better size, measuring about .013" or 0.33 mm. The 30 ga. wire is very useful for battery cables, hydraulic or oil lines, fuel lines, etc.

Power matters in the straights.
Lightness matters everywhere. - Colin Chapman

Trevor

  • Member since
    March, 2012
Posted by JimL on Monday, October 17, 2016 7:09 PM

I hear you.  I get a little obsessed at times about keeping to scale.    I found something that I have been having a lot of fun with.   I started playing around with shrink tubing for water hoses, roll cage padding, etc.   but I finally found some that measures .61 mm id and shrinks by 50%.  I have been using that to do distributors and plug boots with the half millimeter wire and have been pleased with the results

  • Member since
    March, 2012
Posted by JimL on Monday, October 17, 2016 7:17 PM

I found a different way to get to scale perfectly.  I found that if I inserted a smaller wire like .2 mm into the shrink tubing and carefully stretched the tubing as I heated it the tubing would get down under a half mm. 

Now I use some .2 mm wire for the plug wire and make my boot out of two pieces of the stretched tubing cut at 45 degrees and I have plug wires that are a scale quarter inch with boots under a scale half inch.  This is in scale for everyday plug wires as far as I am concerned

  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 8:28 AM

Wow! Good looking plug boots, Jim. The wiring work on the engine above looks great.

For plug boots I use a material called 'wire lacing cord' or 'wire looming cord', which is a black soft vinyl tube material that I have found very useful. I make my 90 degree boots in a manner similar to yours. Unfortunately I don't have any photos to show.

I am interested in the very small heat shrink material. Is this stuff readily available?

Power matters in the straights.
Lightness matters everywhere. - Colin Chapman

Trevor

  • Member since
    March, 2012
Posted by JimL on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 9:22 AM

Sorry, the heat shrink tube is .8 mm, not .6 mm.   I got it through Marlin Jones Associates (http://www.mpja.com) for $5.95 for 100 feet.   I have had a lot of fun with it.  Like I said you can stretch it over a small core wire as you heat it and it gets as small as you like.   Heat shrink tube shrinks between 200 and 220 degrees.   Styrene melts at 350 degrees.  Find a heat source that is below 250 degrees and you can shrink it over anything.   I actually splurged on a heat gun from Home Depot that had adjustable heat range and the lowest heat works great.   The gun costs $32 (Wagner brand).    I bought silver hex beads for $5.00 for over 1000 beads (#15 size) and use them with both the heat shrink tubing for hose connectors.   I also use coaxial cable that is less than one millimeter in size and use the braid from it for braided lines.    The coax goes for pennies also.    I can add braided lines for like a penny an inch.

  • Member since
    March, 2012
Posted by JimL on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 9:34 AM

The tiny braid and beads are fun to make braided lines that are about 3/4 of an inch in 1:1 scale.   I use a small stiff wire as the inner core so I can bend it and it will stay put.  Without the center core the braid will collapse around bends and not look right.

Tamiya red and blue clear finishes them up.

  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 10:21 AM

Great looking braided hose. Excellent technique.

Power matters in the straights.
Lightness matters everywhere. - Colin Chapman

Trevor

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