(Close Window)
Topic: Thin, flexible but strong wire or cable
Message: Posted by: haywire (Jul 29, 2005 01:18PM)
I am building a floating illusion that will use a black art principal.

I need some metal wire that is very very thin, flexible but will still be strong
and support the weight of say a tennis ball at one end.

The devices will be kinda like the magic "floating lightbulb" or
"Dancing rose" using a thumb hookup, but will be floating plastic hollow balls which
look like metal (chrome paint)

Something like coat hanger but thinner. Any ideas guys?

Message: Posted by: tabman (Jul 29, 2005 01:27PM)
There's a spool of very thin wire in my shop. I mean it is extremely thin but would handle a tennis ball. Only problem with it is that its shiney. I used it for something years ago and dusted it with flat black. I'll look and see if I still have it. Also check a hobby shop for piano wire. This is what you're really needing and you can buy it as landing gear wire for RC airplanes.
Message: Posted by: haywire (Jul 29, 2005 02:47PM)
Great idea tabman,

I'll check the local hobby shop when I get the chance but the wires need it to be about 18 inches long each. (I am building two)

I guess I could paint it flat black that would work fine. I'll be performing the effect not only in total darkness on stage with a black backdrop, but also I'll have a big dual tube florescant black light going, so there is some room there
I think... The audience will be about 10 feet from me I beleive.
Much room for magic under those conditions...

Thanks for the help,

Message: Posted by: Dave Dorsett (Jul 29, 2005 06:50PM)
Tabman is absolutely correct on piano wire. Check in the Yellow Pages for a piano tuner in your area and contact them about your needs. They shouldn't cost you very much. The wire is incredibly strong and available in a wide variety of diameters. It can be a little difficult to work with but you get the knack fairly uickly.
Message: Posted by: tabman (Jul 29, 2005 09:27PM)
Great!! Keep us posted. Sounds like a fun project. I once made a similar arrangement to float a large fishing cork off my finger tips using my thumb and it looked great against my black shirt.

Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Jul 29, 2005 09:33PM)
The old timers (Blackstone Sr., etc.) used to dye the piano wires with tincture of liver. It stunk but dyed the wires dark and flat finish.

There is a material of nylon covered stainless steel trolling line. It is a a little shiney but could be blacked. Sevenstrad is the trade name.

Message: Posted by: Dave Fiscus (Jul 30, 2005 08:22PM)
Yes, Piano wire is what you need. My boxes of this wire are labeled "Music Wire" (Precision brand) and are sold in many hardware stores. The wire is actually spring tempered wire so it is stiff and springy but a real bear to bend. I usually use mine to make springs. It is sold in diameters, not gauges. Fow example, I used .020 yesterday. A 1/4 lb coil costs $3-5 depending on the diameter. You can buy similar at a music store, sold as arm-length metal guitar strings but you'll pay much, much more.
Message: Posted by: haywire (Aug 3, 2005 10:12PM)
I looked around hardware stores, still haven't found something right...

I will look for a piano store near me I guess.

I play guitar and guitar strings are too floppy, not rigid enough...

The wire needs to hold aloft an item, but be flexible enough to bend, pivot and have a springy reaction to my subtle thumb movements.

Message: Posted by: RiserMagic (Aug 4, 2005 07:37AM)
Music wire comes in both coils and as 36" long straight lengths. The latter is better for your needs. Local ACE hardwares often stock the straight type - also remote control aircraft type shops.
Message: Posted by: Dave Dorsett (Aug 4, 2005 09:32AM)
Not all home improvement stores have this sort of thing. Where I live there wasn't a single store that carried the stuff when we needed it. There are always online sites but as I said before, a piano tuner (most areas have at least a hobbyist tuner) will usually have an amount of piano wire of various gauges on hand. It's true the coiled wire is a little difficult to work with but it can be done.