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The ability to make your own tubing stock is a very important skill to have, especially in the jewellery industry when there are specific wall thickness’ and diameters needed.
Having your own custom made tube offers a lot more flexibility to the workshop.
There is only really one disadvantage of a DIY Tubing Stock which is the solder seam, but if done correctly it is not a big deal at all.
So, let’s get started with the DIY Tubing Stock steps. We will be suing Silver for this example, but the following method can be used for all precious metals used in this industry.
DIY Tubing Stock Steps:
1 – Start off with a piece of metal rolled out to the thickness you are looking to use. Just as a reminder that the metal walls might thicken up once the tubing is done, but not so much that you need to be concerned about it. Make sure that the sides of the flat piece of metal are exactly parallel and cut to a point – this will make the first draws through the drawplate much easier.
2 – Now that the one side of the metal is flat, you can use a divider to scribe the width you are looking for which will then be cut parallel to the flat side. Determining the width you want can be done by multiplying the wanted diameter tubing by 3.14 and then add 1.5 times the metal thickness. What you can also do is to make the diameter a tad bit bigger than the final size as you will be drawing the tubing to the required diameter. Try and always make some extra to have stock in reserve for the future.
3 – Next you will be putting it into a swage block and bend it roughly round using a ring or bezel mandrel.
4 – The process will be continued by using a thinner and thinner mandrel each time until the two sides eventually meet.
5 – Before soldering the tubing closed, get the sides nicely closed by drawing it through your drawplate first. Anneal it and draw it through the same hole again to tighten it properly.
6 – Now it is closed and ready for binding wire and soldering. Using your scriber to score it down the seam gently before you solder it is a good practice to do as it allows for a cleaner solder joint.
7 – Next, you want to bind some binding wire to further prevent it from opening during soldering.
8 – When it comes to the flame you use, just a hint of yellow is good enough to get the job done.
9 – After the soldering is complete, you can use a fine file to get rid of any excess solder before drawing it down further.
10 – Last, but not least, remember to constantly anneal your tube before drawing it thinner, this will help with smooth quick drawing.
Now that we have got the steps to your DIY Tubing Stock covered, get started today and you’ll only get better with time!