Wire inlay from instructables


Thought this was really interesting and can see utilizing this to put some accents on projects. I don’t think i could do what he does, right now anyway. But thought id share!

Weekly Highlights for the Week ending April 8th, 2017

Thanks for posting- a great starting point for inlay newbies like me. Can’t wait to try it out!


I had a problem a few years back where I want to CNC wire inlays. I could not find a bit small enough for it. I am now thinking that the laser should be narrow enough.

Thanks for posting!


Good instructable. Thanks. Here is an older topic that collected some good info regarding wire inlay.


Thanks for sharing that.




Beautiful work!!! I can already see all the gunked-up failures piling up as I attempt this technique :laughing:


From personal experience I can say that rectangular wire is an absolute necessity. My attempt at the project without a rolling mill was an absolute non-starter. They’re not cheap though. Maybe someday, although I suspect I’ll have enough project ideas without spending many hundreds of dollars on a tool for only one kind of project.



There are some out there in the $250-300 range. They’re Chinese made. Are they crap that are unfit for even occasional use or could they be used for small volume once in awhile projects? Any idea?


Sadly, I also don’t have the answer to that question. If anyone does, is also be glad to know!


I have a nice Italian Cavalin combination mill. Gear reduction rolling sure beats draw plates!
I was thinking how I might employ it beyond it’s jewelry making days. :+1::sunglasses:


How much did that set you back?


I paid $700 probably 20 years ago. I had thought about selling it since I hardly use it anymore, but it was a tool that I wanted badly for a long time, and I scraped to get it.
Emotional attachment ya know.

You need one for metalwork?


Just looking at options for prepping wire for inlays. The low-end rollers are in the 250ish price range which I would do. But if I’d not be able to flatten the wire with them in reality, I’d be better off skipping trying inlays until after I knew enough to justify a “real” one.

Like a lot of stuff at Harbor Freight, etc., I wouldn’t expect the ones in this class to be up for a pro shop doing a lot of wire work every day but if they would be fine for doing a wire inlay project every couple weeks/months that’s all I would need. But if that price point & those machines wouldn’t even handle my use case, then I’d just be wasting the money and be unsuccessful in trying wire inlay which would likely frustrate me and turn me off to those projects altogether.


I don’t know, I never looked at one of those, but I suspect they aren’t gear reduction at that price. Judging from my experience with reduction and a double grip handle that is like 16 inches long, you would really appreciate gear reduction for Production work.
For occasional use an inexpensive one would probably be just fine. The main criteria is quality hardened rollers.

If one is on display, I would run a few inch piece of something like an 1/8" copper wire through it for an idea of its capability.
The examples in the OP sure are inspiring!
You will learn a lot on your first attempt at wire inlay. Cutting the surface flush, you want to be careful not to overheat the wire or whatever bonding agent you used will be destroyed.
Guess how I know that?


For my purposes (occasional projects every few months) this would all be moot if I could find a source of ‘pre-flattened’ rectangular 14 or so gauge copper wire. I can’t imagine using more than 10 or 15 feet for a project - maybe 100’ a year. I have had no luck; every source I’ve found has a minimum order of 10 pounds or something. Perhaps if someone with a mill would be willing to sell some I wouldn’t have to worry about whether a $300 Chinese tool is a worthwhile investment.




Hmmm…maybe a business opportunity :slight_smile: I’ll buy the mill and sell flattened wire in 12" pieces (that’ll fit USPS Priority Mail nicely)… :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


Well there is also the issue of annealing the processed wire so it is pliable enough to ease shaping it to the path, so there is some work in it.

As long as the rollers are hardened and in a robust frame with good pillow blocks or ball bearings an inexpensive roller should serve your needs.


I already have a small kiln for annealing glass beads so I shouldn’t have a problem with that - I think I can control the temp low enough although I haven’t tried (usually it’s a question of whether the kiln can get hot enough for what I’m messing with). I think I’ve just fallen into a rabbit hole…take my credit card :slight_smile:


How about the surface of ball races - like skate board bearings.
Haven’t thought through the design yet, but that would/will be my starting point.