Does anyone know where to find braided wire in a suitable size for 1/35 models? I’m looking for fine for a winch line and medium-ish for tow ropes/securing lines…thanks in advance
For winch cable, I go to the beading section of craft stores, they have superfine braided wire.
*even if it doesn’t show in the photo
For tow cable, go to the craft store or dollar store and get the lightweight picture hanging wire. It’s perfectly in scale, very inexpensive, and holds the shape you bend it to.
I would suggest go for copper wire, if you can, as it is easier to form around curves on winch drums, etc, than steel or brass, but can be more expensive. There are several good quality types that have even and tight twists, whereas picture hanging cable often is loose and not tight enough, even if you twist it more yourself. See Matthews pic (Sorry Matt !!!).
Brands like Eureka XXL and Karaya do excellent fine copper ‘wire rope’. Here are just some examples of the range available.
This is an Aussie supplier so the AUD $ prices are higher than the USD $ equivalent
Aber and KA Models do soft steel cable.
0.6 mm diameter
I have found with the soft steel cable it is very ‘springy’ but if you form it to shape then heat it to cherry red in a candle flame it will retain the basic form shape - I use metal rods to wrap it around and heat it for winch drum line.
Then there is always the option of fishing wire line, although I do not know much about that:
You don’t want “braided” wire, you want “wire rope”. If you look online you will get better results with the correct term.
This is wire rope:
There are vendors on ebay selling stainless Steel rigging cable by the metre. The nice thing is the wide range of sizes (below) so that you probably can work out the correct scale gauge for your application. I bought some 0.4mm, which was only £1.30 /metre.
Ooh cool. Can you post a link to them? Ive been meaning to get some myself.
Isn’t stainless steel too stiff and springy, and really difficult to bend, and to hold it’s shape? I had some lengths of surgical stainless steel cable comparable to Tiger ll towing cable, but couldn’t use it because it was too stiff (even with annealing), and kept popping off the PE retainer clamps.
I’ve tried this and it worked pretty well
An inexpensive drop cord can provide strands of thin fine copper wire. Layer half dozen strands together and twist.
The copper is soft and easy to position.
@KurtLaughlin Yes, the problems of the language barrier. I used the term ‘wire rope’ in my reply as I thought this is what you guys call it ( and thanks for the confirmation of the term ). Here in Oz, we call ‘wire rope’ steel cable… a generic term that can mean anything similarly related here really…
One other thing Chris, be careful you don’t buy ‘wire’ from modelling suppliers - it is just that, a strand of straight wire - the expectation is you will twist your own rope…
An example from eBay.com (rather than co.uk where I got mine from). This is actually cheaper because it’s for 50ft, not just a metre! More than you could ever use on models, I guess.
304 Stainless Steel Cable Wire Rope 0.3mm 0.4mm 0.5mm 0.6mm 1X7 | eBay
I guess the thicker gauges might be. I managed to get 0.4mm to behave on a 1/72 Tiger, so the bends here are quite tight. I didn’t heat it, just bent it a bit more than needed as it did spring back a bit, but eventually it got there.
I also tightened up the twist by grabbing the end in a pin vise / hand drill and twisted it a few times as it had quite a loose appearance, that was quite easy and stayed put once twisted.
It is deliberately out of the clip on the left, it didn’t pop out… I was noticing how they didn’t always seem to put them back exactly as intended.
Stainless ropes can be stiff, even in small diameters. It depends on the rope construction you choose. To match the real rope’s construction you are often forced to use a stiffer type. Bear in mind that the Modulus of Elasticity does not scale . . .
McMaster-Carr in the US has a large number of wire rope types available and will sell it by the foot. I bought 3 feet of a number of sizes some years back and it was cheap compared to typical model products.
If I could, I would buy copper rope in bulk but I simply cannot find a supplier who makes a product like Eureka XXL sells, so I’ve bought from them.
Yes, when I went searching I was half expecting to find a source for that, but didn’t. I wonder where it is obtained from. Sort of hard to believe it’s custom made for them, but it could be.
So I found a company on Alibaba that can do twisted bare copper cable in diameters from 0.3mm up to 200mm. Minimum order 500m. Another Co has minimum order of one tonne. Not sure which is the smaller…
For years, I have used pushbike gearshift steel cable, see attached pic. You just have to anneal it before use: I like to hold the whole thing into a gas stove’s flame, which also gives a convincing color, but an evening in the fireplace would have the same results. For tow cables in 1/35 scale, the 0.8 mm diameter is just right, with corresponding brake cables being 1 mm. And the best thing: around the end of the week, you can get broken ones (which will still yield sufficient lengths for lots of models) for the asking at your friendly bike repair shop.