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hershey8

Slight Problem Making Elements....twisting Ends.

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I am making my own elements for a Paragon snf24. It's going pretty well, BUT at the ends of all elements there is a 3-inch pigtail.  I'm having difficulty coming up with a method of twisting these pigtails nice and tight and pretty. I coil the element first and leave 6 inches  of uncoiled wire that I can fold in half and twist (this on each end). The problem is, I can't grab the wire and pull and twist without damaging and coil. If the pigtails could be made before the wire is coiled, that might work, but the length of the uncoiled wire would have to be precisely calculated, and I'm not sure my brain is big enough for that. That's probably what I'll end up doing unless someone has a better idea.  I know I should be able to figure the length by the wire resistance, but just because a manufacturer specs the element at  5 ohms or 3 ohms doesn't mean it can't be off a little, and a little variation in resistance can amount to several inches. I may try to calculate length by counting loops.....diameter of loops times number of loops....makes me loopy just thinking about it.  Any thoughts?  Thanks,  john autry (aka  Hershey8)

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Get the resistance right. It's important. I wouldn't try to do it by counting loops. There's a lot of loops, so if you'er a little bit off it'll add up. When we rolled elements in grad school, we unrolled a big length of the element wire laid it out in a big loop, then put one meter probe on the end and slid the other meter probe along until we got the proper resistance reading. Then measure it and write it down. To make the pigtails, fold a loop at the end, and put the wire in a vise so it's holding both parts, with the loop sticking out. Then chuck up an eye bolt into your drill, with the eye opened slightly so you can slide it through the loop end, use the drill to twist the pigtail.

 

Make sure you're using the correct size mandrel for rolling the elements.

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Get the resistance right. It's important. I wouldn't try to do it by counting loops. There's a lot of loops, so if you'er a little bit off it'll add up. When we rolled elements in grad school, we unrolled a big length of the element wire laid it out in a big loop, then put one meter probe on the end and slid the other meter probe along until we got the proper resistance reading. Then measure it and write it down. To make the pigtails, fold a loop at the end, and put the wire in a vise so it's holding both parts, with the loop sticking out. Then chuck up an eye bolt into your drill, with the eye opened slightly so you can slide it through the loop end, use the drill to twist the pigtail.

 

Make sure you're using the correct size mandrel for rolling the element

When did you  make the pigtails? Was it before or after you made the coils? Once the coil is made, I have difficulty clamping the wire into a vise; maybe I should leave a little space between the coiled element and the pigtail. I can make beautiful pigtails by using the method you described, but the vise jaws are about 1/2-3/4" so that leaves me with that much uncoiled wire be tween pigtail and coil. Is that okay? Maybe I should then take that extra wire and try to wind it into a loop to take up the space. I don't know if I'm painting a clear picture here, I could email you a pic if not. Thanks for your help.

 

                                                                                                                    john autry

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I am now copying Paragons elements....3/16 mandrel, 205 loops for a 3 ohm and 352 loops for a 5 ohm. A couple of miscounted loops, if there are any, just won't have any measurable effect. I do count them just to be sure, though. I make elements and then stretch them to 79 inches not including the pigtail. I'm getting pretty good results, some minor variations in loop size, but I think they'll work ok. Funny, when I contacted Paragon re: elements, I was given a resistance  that was not quite 5 ohms, the person I spoke with said they probably just rounded up to 5 ohms. I'm still scratching my head about that one. That was the point that I decided just to copy the elements loop for loop. Also my ohm meter probably won't distinguish  minute variations in resistance, ie., if i was a couple of loops over or under, the variation in resistance would be so small. I don't think my meter would see it.   ja

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You can make the pigtails first if you want to. Doesn't really matter.

I just discovered that I can make/replace jaws on my vise with something narrower, allowing me to get in closer to the coils. That has really been my problem all along. Thanks for your advice. I think I'm on my way, now. This should be a nice kiln when a get finished, a lot bigger than the little Skutt i've been using. The guy who gave it to me was firing 30 yarn bowls at a time....nice! I've been limited to about 8 pieces per firing.  I may have to replace two timer switches at about $100 a pop; the tiny supply lines are in bad shape, maybe able to rig something, though. Hope so. Thanks again,  ja

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Not sure what exactly you are refering to, but I have a tool that is used to twist wire that makes very nice tight wraps.  It is usually refered to as a safety wire pliars.  It clamps on the wire and you pull on a knob that spins the pliars sort of like a yankee screwdriver.  If you clamp on a loop or on two legs of a wire it spins them together.  Is that the sort of thing you are looking to do?  I got mine at a local tool store. 

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Not sure what exactly you are refering to, but I have a tool that is used to twist wire that makes very nice tight wraps.  It is usually refered to as a safety wire pliars.  It clamps on the wire and you pull on a knob that spins the pliars sort of like a yankee screwdriver.  If you clamp on a loop or on two legs of a wire it spins them together.  Is that the sort of thing you are looking to do?  I got mine at a local tool store. 

 

That would work fine for thin gauge or soft wire, but element wire is generally much too thick and stiff for that tool.

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I finally got this thing worked out by leaving a little bit of uncoiled wire before I started to twist. When I finished twisting the pigtail I had this little bit of excess wire left over between the coiled wire and the twisted pigtail. I simply laid it over the 3/16 rod that I used to coil the wire, and carefully coiled it by hand. Nice tight pigtails with no uncoiled wire in between. PERFECT!   Yeah, If you leave a loop at the end of the pigtail, you don't need any thing more than to insert and small rod into that loop and pull and twist the wire at the same time.

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