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Holding 18 gauge brass wire when cutting thread with a die

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Keith Wyles19/11/2019 16:46:51
24 forum posts

I would welcome suggestions for the best way of holding brass rod when cutting say 12ba thread with a die. The best way I have found to grip the brass is a steel strip drilled and slit with a saw so that it can hold the rod when gripped in a vice. It works well, but does tend to distort the brass visibly.

old mart19/11/2019 16:51:58
1793 forum posts
138 photos

A set of pin vises are handy when something small needs holding.

JasonB19/11/2019 16:55:13
18147 forum posts
1997 photos
1 articles

drill chuck also works for me

Keith Wyles19/11/2019 16:57:06
24 forum posts

Thanks old mart. I have some, tried gripping them in the vice to hold the rod, but found that the rod slipped. They were a cheap set, is that the issue? Or can i modify them to increase their grip? I might be doing something wrong with them.

Keith Wyles19/11/2019 17:05:41
24 forum posts

Thanks Jason not tried a drill chuck, I have a very small one that I mount in my pillar drill chuck when using very small drills. However in some cases the rod will be longer than the depth of the chuck, needs thread at each end. But if it works I guess I could obtain a second one and drill through it. Will have another try with the pin chuck first to see if I can increase its grip.

not done it yet19/11/2019 17:07:13
4662 forum posts
16 photos

I would fall back on the ER collet - either fitted on the lathe (ER16), or in a vise (with a Stevenson collet block) if my collets were small enough.

old mart19/11/2019 17:24:37
1793 forum posts
138 photos

Pin vises sometimes require tightening with two pairs of pliers (and undoing).

Neil Wyatt19/11/2019 19:25:08
17908 forum posts
706 photos
77 articles

Ironically you probably want the hardest brass you can get if trying to cut small threads - and a nice 'fresh' die.


old mart19/11/2019 19:29:18
1793 forum posts
138 photos

If you do a lot of threading with small stock, it would be worth getting a cheap ER11 collet with a selection of collets, or even an ER8, these small ones come with collets in 1/2mm increments, and can be bought cheaply on ebay.

Howard Lewis19/11/2019 19:56:58
3288 forum posts
2 photos

My first thought was an ER collet, although 18 SWG is only 0.048" diameter, just a little over 1mm (1.219 mm if you want be more precise ) So ER 12 or 16 would seem the more obvious choices, rather than ER 20 or Er 25. Unless you envisage the need to hold larger work, in the future.

Jason's suggestion of a small drill chuck is a good, and cheaper alternative to buying a ER collet chuck and collets; although they will always be useful at some time in the future.

Using a drill, or collet, chuck allows the work to be done in the lathe, even if not under power. It should keep the thread on the centreline of the brass rod. This should minimise the chances of ending up with a drunken thread.


Keith Wyles20/11/2019 16:10:40
24 forum posts

Thanks for all of the comments.

Realised, when I checked, that i can use my 0-1/4" jacobs chuck by removing the 3/8 mandrel. Don't know why I didn't check this before as an option, thanks Jason. Will also see if I can apply pressure to get a pin vice to grip better.

Die is pretty new, but a cheap carbon steel one.

Brass rod / wire is a bit soft, but not sure were I can get harder from.



Keith Wyles05/12/2019 12:34:12
24 forum posts

Just to add I used Jason's suggestion of using a chuck. Worked well, big improvement. I now feel stupid. it did occur to me to do this some time ago, but didn't thinking the centre of the chuck wasn't hollow. After Jason's suggestion I looked at my small chuck and realised that removing the arbor solved the issue.

So thanks again.


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