Monday 5 June 2017

Wiresaw from Guitar String

A wire saw is piece of wire used for cutting. It's kind of like a band saw blade, except instead of having teeth, it cuts using abrasion - like a Dremel cutting disc does. It's a useful addition to the toolkit - it's one of those tools that might not see everyday use, but those times when you do need it, it more than pays for itself.

Most retail wire-saws tend to be aimed at the military / survivalist market, but I find mine most useful in trimming supports from 3D prints and cutting in hard to reach spots when dismantling electronics.

The great thing about wiresaws, is a lot of people will have one in their home, even without realising it. My wire saw is a string from a guitar.

The wound nickel creates the abrasive surface, being nickel it's quite resistant to the heat from the abrasion, and being a guitar string, is designed to withstand bending and flexing.

the downside to this, is they can be a pain to keep tidy. As they bend, they become more difficult to keep tidy.

So as a weekend project I made a simple case to store the wiresaw, helping to wind it neatly, yet keep it accessible.

As this was an off-the-cuff project, these measurements were not measurement by design, but what they ended up as after the fact, and are just there to give a rough indication of the sizes required.

I started with a 35mm length of dowel (10mm diameter). which i drilled two small holes through.

I grabbed a scrap piece of pine and cut a 20x35x55mm piece. I used a 20mm spade bit to drill partially into the 35mm side, and then used a 10mm drill to cut the rest of the way to the other side.

I used a router to carve out a groove from this hole to the short edge of the wood. There was a bit of tear out, but it doesn't affect it. The staple across the groove it there to act as a guide for the wire. I put the dowel in place, so that one of the drilled holes is on each side.

The guitar string is threaded through the carved channel, threaded through the dowel hole and tied. A piece of hardboard was cut to size, a 10mm hole drilled in line with the dowel and nailed to this side, effectively 'closing' the case. A small drill bit was pushed through the protruding dowel hole on the other side, and turned to wind the string in. A keyring was tied to the other end of the string, as a handle for the saw.

The drill bit was replaced with a loop of copper wire to provide a winding handle.

In an ideal world, this would have auto-retracted, like a tape measure, but some testing that I did showed that wasn't really practical.

Finally everything was trimmed to size and sanded down.

The finished project, closed (left) and open (above)

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