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I've gone through the various posts here and hit the scratch build websites but I'm coming up short every time. What guage wire do you use for building chassis?

Wire sizes are too widely varied for me and then since I use US measure and here you use UK measure it just gets worse. This site has a calculator so you can figure out what the chassis builders are talking about on those rare occasions that they mention what size wire they are using.

I noticed that on every scratch building chassis article I've read and all the 'how-to' articles all point out flux, soldering iron, lead/tin content, brass sheet thickness etc but not one of them says what size wire they are using and by what standard it is gauged
Maybe the above link will help narrow it down a bit for us newbies


He said size 20, was that piano wire, 20 gauge or what? Check out the calculator website and AWG is 0.032", nope, too thin. US Steel, 0.0348", nope, British Standard, 0.036, nope. Piano, 0.045", that sounds right
 

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Russell Sheldon
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2,855 Posts
Hi Bill

"I've gone through the various posts here and hit the scratch build websites but I'm coming up short every time. What guage wire do you use for building chassis?"

As a norm, I think that most chassis builders talk in British Standard (Imperial) Wire Gauge -- even American chassis builders! Here's a link to another conversion chart, specifically for slot car chassis builders.

As for myself, without boring everyone by delving into the theory of chassis design, the gauge or thickness of the piano-wire I use for chassis main rails depends on how flexible or how stiff I want the chassis to be, which in turn depends on a combination of factors. It's really all about getting the power down so that the car can be driven close to the limit in a manageable way; i.e. having the "right" amount of grip or traction.

The combination of motor and tyres (often predetermined by the rules), the length of the chassis -- the critical measurement being from the centreline of the rear axle to the centre of the guide swivel -- and the intended weight of the car, plus of course the track design, are all factors to consider.

I generally use two single pieces of 16 gauge wire (0.047") for chassis in classes that require "hard" bodies, such as injection-moulded plastic or resin bodies, and where no hinges are permitted. I've found that slightly stiff chassis work best when there is a high mass, such as with a "hard" body. Of course, how far apart the rails are spaced also affects the amount of flex.

My preferred wire and brass design -- i.e. the design that I've found works on most tracks, not necessarily the best design for the track -- is the basic 25 year old "flexi-iso" chassis, which dates back to the late 70s or early 80s and was pioneered by North London's Ian Fisher, such as the one pictured below. I generally use 18 gauge wire (0.040") for the outer rails and 16 gauge wire for the central pivot.



I hope that this helps.

With kind regards

Russell
 

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Phil Kalbfell
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3,373 Posts
Bill: Russell is correct,most sizes will work depending on the design. The proxy cars that we have here use wire as thin as 0.023 thou up to 0.062 thou. I prefer to work in measurement of the wire,saves confusion. My proxy cars all use 0.047 thou wire. Chris Briggs has used very thin wire and narrow spacing on his cars. Have a look at Chris's chassis pics on his site.
Chassis's

I will post some more pics of these cars and chassis details in a few weeks on our World Proxy site.

Phil
 

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Brian Ferguson
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3,652 Posts
QUOTE I prefer to work in measurement of the wire,saves confusion.

I agree with Phil. Gauge specification is confusing, specific measurements are not. Here (Canada), piano wire (for hobby use anyway) is sold by measurement, so it's nice and straightforward.

There really is no "right" size of wire for chassis building, as the specific chassis style and design goals will dictate any of a broad range of sizes. Additional things like hinges, movement limiters, etc. will result in a broad array of sizes being used. I typically like to have a rather wide supply of 0.010", 0.015", 0.020", 0.025", 0.032", 0.040", 0.047", 0.055", and 0.062" on hand. For rails, the latter four will see use. For hinges, body stays, wire guides, etc. the smaller sizes get used.

PS @ Russell - that chassis pic could qualify to be used as an art poster!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Gentlemen, your info helps immensely. Besides pointing out that I spelled 'gauge' wrong
Now I can see why some can use pliers, I thought I was a weakling but I was just using too thick a wire. This is all starting to make sense now. I can cancel the order for the hydraulic bender
 
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