• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

How to straighten 16 gauge wire for control rods

#5
A much easier trick for straightening soft wire is to put one end into a bench vice and pull on the other with a pair of vice grips. Not only will you get the wire perfectly straight, but you will work harden it at the same time.

If you don't have a bench vice and vice grips, you can wrap either end around metal rods, put one under your feet, and pull the other with your hands.

I would be worried about heating galvanized (zinc-coated) metal with a torch. Metal fumes are some truly nasty stuff. if you do this, be absolutely certain to do it outdoors and make sure you are upwind. If there is no wind, run a fan.

Personally, I am not a fan of soft wire to begin with. You can buy spools of music wire on amazon for the same price as soft steel from the local hardware store. I paid about $7 for 275 feet of 0.037 (16 ga) music wire. This is the perfect size for the holes in 9 gram servos. Straightening coiled music wire is certainly not fun, but it is really not all that difficult either with a little bit of practice.
 
#7
There is not so much a trick to straightening music wire as it is more practice than anything else.

Here are a few tips:

- Never, under any circumstances, remove the zip ties holding the coil together.

- Slide the wire out from under one zip tie at a time until you have as much as you need and cut it off.

- Always cinch up the zip ties after pulling some cable out.

- Lay it flat on a table in a big C shape

- Mark the cable every six inches

- Use two pair of pliers to straighten out one six inch section at a time.

- Always make sure to hold the pliers tightly so you only bend the cable in one plane.

- After every bend, you want to make sure that the cable will still lay flat on the table even if it isn't straight.

- With a little bit of practice, you will get a feel for exactly how much you need to over-bend each section to straighten it out.

- Errors from over- or under-bending are relatively easy to correct so long as the wire lays flat on the table.

- Getting the cable super-straight isn't important for short runs.

- Long runs are best done through guides anyways, and you only need to get the cable straight enough to reduce friction.