1. Post #1
    Beanz's Avatar
    April 2011
    846 Posts
    Hello dyi dudes. i was thinking that it wouldn't be that hard to make some chainmail. so i decided i'd give it a shot and got off to a hardware store and bought some 2 mm galvanized (which i know is not the right thing to use) steel wire and some pliers. i bought 100 meters of the steel wire which i think should do me for something at least.

    so when i got home i drilled a small hole at one of the ends of a 35 mm diameter steel pipe. i then stuck the end of the steel wire through the drilled hole and then started wiring the wire around the pipe. it was quite relaxing just sitting there rolling the wire up into a coil spring on the pipe. when i reached the end of the pipe i clipped the piece of wire that i had stuck through the drilled hole off and just slid the spring off. i'm fairly certain you can roll the coil up on a cylinder of wood too, but i imagine it would be hard to get it off once you're done, because even with the metal pipe it took a bit of an effort to get it off.


    here you can see the spring. the whole coil was as tight as it is on the left end before i tried to get it off the metal pipe.




    then i used a dremel to cut along the whole of one side of the coil to create the actual rings. this took some time because the steel wire was a lot harder than i thought (i'm just a skinny nerd, i'm not used to working with metal) so i broke one of the cut blades and it scared the shit out of me because it shattered and the pieces flew everywhere. luckily i was using safety glasses and gloves. i also embarrassingly enough accidentally set fire to some old rags with turpentine on them with the sparks flying everywhere. or well it wasn't really set on fire, i managed to catch it before he situation got heated


    here you can see some of the rings, it's strange because you think you'll get so much more rings from that whole coil. now sure that wasn't the whole coil but still, it seems like you have 35ish cm of coil and you end up with a small amount of rings. i guess it's good that i bought 100m. and what you end up after you've cut it are rings where the edge of one end should sort of meet up with the opposite edge of the other end. that's why it's sort of important to roll the coil as tight to the previous layer as possible.


    here you see what the rings look like after you've cut them.



    then what you have to do is close up 4/5 of the rings. this is because you use one ring that needs to be open, then thread four closed rings on to make a 4:1 pattern. that's what i read at least. and since i know nothing at all about metal working or chainmail linking you can obviously trust me.



    and here you can see the pattern that i am creating. it's really therapeutic to just sit there and link the rings together. i think it's kind of like knitting, only manly, and in the end you might actually get something that you would use.






    the only real problems i've had so far is that i found that while it's easy to just continue the pattern lengthwise it was a bitch when i tried to broaden the weave. i messed it up a couple of times, but i think it will be easier when you have a piece that's a bit longer to work with. i also realise that i'm using the wrong material, that i'm probably using the wrong technique, that the rings should be welded together once they're on there. but the thing is i don't really know what i'm going to do with this (i will attach it to something i can wear, but i don't know just what yet.) and i don't reckon i'll be getting into any swordfights where i'd really have to rely on it to protect me. i just want it to look the part and not fall apart when i move it.

    anyway, the plan as of now is to make some sort of studded leather armor and perhaps work this into it somehow. i'll update this thread with progress on whatever i make.
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  2. Post #2
    Sonydude's Avatar
    August 2007
    689 Posts
    I've made a couple inches of mail but didn't have the patience to make anything.
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  3. Post #3
    Beanz's Avatar
    April 2011
    846 Posts
    sort of silly to update with such a small progress, but i just thought i'd show you what 144 rings will get you. you can also see what the pattern will look like when it's done. i took the pictures earlier today and as of now i've used 237 rings. because i'm just bending the rings in place it's really easy and quite fun to work with it, the boring part so far is cutting the spring to make new rings, mostly because i'm not using proper cutting blades, so i get around 10 rings before a blade shatters and i have replace it. i have about 50 or so of them, so it isn't that big of a deal but i'm going to buy some proper blades to make the cutting less of a fuss.



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  4. Post #4
    Gold Member
    BackwardSpy's Avatar
    May 2008
    6,125 Posts
    That is looking really good, nice job so far!

    Edited:

    I liked your description of it as manly knitting.
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  5. Post #5
    Gold Member
    ryan1271's Avatar
    February 2008
    1,106 Posts
    I've done this with copper wire because that's what I had laying around. Its pretty awesome when you start to get a larger piece going.

  6. Post #6
    Beanz's Avatar
    April 2011
    846 Posts
    Right now i'll take the oportunity to cut some rings up since i've got an angle grinder here. I'll try to make at least 5 or so "ring springs" and i reckon that should give me around a thousand rings or so. I've also found this pretty cool book about different armors and stuff. It's quite detailed in the descriptions of how they worked and where each little part of it goes and so on. I've also decided what to do for some arm protection and stuff. I don't want to say too much as i have no idea how hard or easy this project will be, or if i'll get bored of it quickly. But still, i'd like to make something out of this. Leather will be needed...

    Pics of the ring pattern (i'm calling it this until i know what i'll make of it) coming up tomorrow when i get home to a proper computer.

  7. Post #7
    Kydoes's Avatar
    May 2007
    287 Posts
    lots and, lots and, lots and, lots and, lots and, lots of time ...Tedious time...




    Don't really know where I was going with it though...
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  8. Post #8
    Beanz's Avatar
    April 2011
    846 Posts
    Looks awesome man. I would have made it into a shoulder and head piece. I've also just about used up 50 meters of steel wire. I have like 52 or something left.

  9. Post #9
    Gold Member
    GyroburnerV2's Avatar
    December 2007
    1,030 Posts
    I'd love to make some chainmail gauntlets and attach them to thick leather gloves but I don't know where to start nor do I have the money.

  10. Post #10
    Beanz's Avatar
    April 2011
    846 Posts
    Well the thing is that i got 100m of steel wire (which should certainly be enough for some gauntlets) and two great pliers for like 30 dollars. The leather on the other hand is a subject where i'm totally in the dark. You can probably ask RR_Raptor for some advice on what to use. He seems to be kind of a good go to guy for what kind of leather to use and what it should cost. The where to start part is just... Have a day when you're really bored, like beyond the cure of any game or computering. Then you just think... "Hm, those gloves would be mighty cool to make today." there are probably some videos up on both making gloves and chainmail so you should be covered there too. I can see how this sort of thing can seem fun at first but then get boring for some people. but if you stay motivated, just think of how many chicks you can pick up by wearing your gloves and going up to a girl with the line

    "heeeeey bebeh... You know what's even harder than my chainmail gauntlets...?"
    "no...?"
    "my steel breast plate that i have at home... Wanna see it?"

    and naturally the girl goes home with you.

  11. Post #11
    Gold Member
    GyroburnerV2's Avatar
    December 2007
    1,030 Posts
    I think I get the gist of chainmailing, and I do spend a lot of time bored out of my skull or drinking so I'm not bored. I suppose I could get the wire and see what happens.

  12. Post #12
    Gold Member
    GyroburnerV2's Avatar
    December 2007
    1,030 Posts
    Hey cool, my dad has a box of aluminium rings and said go nuts. They are 5/16".

  13. Post #13
    Mikaru-Yanagida's Avatar
    October 2009
    659 Posts
    Good to see someone make a chainmail topic finally. What gauge wire is it, and what kind of dremel cutter did you use?

    Also I wouldn't recommend using wood to wrap a coil of rings, it'd likely come out smaller because the pressure would likely make the wood compress, giving you badly-shaped or smaller rings than you wanted.

  14. Post #14
    Beanz's Avatar
    April 2011
    846 Posts
    i'm guessing it's 12 guage ish, and i used a dremel multipro and later a regular angle grinder. i wrap the wire around a steel pipe. it's quite hard since i broke 2 drill bits trying to drill through it (yes, they were metal bits). i know i said i was going to throw the pics up yesterday, but i got home really late and it was too dark to take pictures. it's the same story now. i'll try to remember to take the pictures tomorrow as i now have a bit of a piece.

    i also did something really idiotic today. i know that chain mail alone will not protect you from blunt force trauma. i've read up on different armor types and stuff over the last couple of days and i know that chain mail was not really designed to absorb force, but more to protect from wounds and lacerations. but still i strapped the piece to my stomach and asked my friend to punch me really hard. i ended up with stomach cramps and he got cut his knuckles up. that was sort of a "what in the hell were we thinking..."-moments.

    i'm also thinking about making a helmet for this project. the only metal i have available is aluminium though. i don't really care if it won't protect me from a blow, but if it looks wrong i don't want to use it. i'll see what i'll do.

  15. Post #15
    Gold Member
    Buck.'s Avatar
    February 2007
    1,916 Posts
    Surely coiling it and cutting it while it is still on the pipe would be much easier? would be even easier if you had. Would be even easier if you had the pipe cut in the middle so the cross section looks like a "C" then all you have to do is follow the existing notch.

  16. Post #16
    Beanz's Avatar
    April 2011
    846 Posts
    update:

    well i said i'd take pics and so i have. the mail is now about 8 inches wide and 18 inches long while extended.
    when compressed into the protective pattern it's of course smaller. on the pictures you can see the piece
    compared to a teaspoon. if you think it looks a bit odd because of the uneven edges and stuff it's just because
    i couldn't be arsed to straighten it all out before i took the pictures.











    i'll also include this little concept doodle that i made to get myself motivated enough to continue the work on the project.
    what i will try to make is a belt, some gown of sorts and of course the mail. i'll also see if i can't make some other things
    like the helmet i talked about but i'll keep it to this for now and then see how long blind ambition takes me.




    Edited:

    Surely coiling it and cutting it while it is still on the pipe would be much easier? would be even easier if you had. Would be even easier if you had the pipe cut in the middle so the cross section looks like a "C" then all you have to do is follow the existing notch.
    i didn't want to damage the pipe so i coiled everything up on it, then took the coil off and put it on a wooden cylinder of the same diameter for the cutting

  17. Post #17
    Gold Member
    Buck.'s Avatar
    February 2007
    1,916 Posts
    Ah, makes sense.
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  18. Post #18
    JumpinJackFlash's Avatar
    December 2010
    1,759 Posts
    If you're making a piece of armor, remember to make sure the piece is oriented right. As it hangs, it should contract together naturally, which would not happen if you turned it 90 degrees. You'll know exactly what I mean if you lift up and hold the piece by one edge. Oh, and I've found a pair of needle-nose pliers that have an opening spring built in to be the best and most efficient pliers to use. Bigger ones don't have the nimbleness, but needle-nose don't grip the wire as well. Alright for the pre-closing tightening of the ring, though. As for the other side of the ring when I do close it, I use my mighty viking thumb to push it into place.

    I made some using copper electrical wire, a pair of fucking awesome pliers, a metal pole and a bench vise. None of this carefully drilled holes, or fancy saws, or anything. Yes, my rings have little cut marks, but you know what I do there? I overlap them, otherwise the ends would look like: ><

  19. Post #19
    Gold Member
    anklyne's Avatar
    December 2005
    770 Posts
    I did some chainmaille a few years back. I made a gauntlet, which I then amalgamated into what's going to be a hauberk when I get around to finishing it.


    This is the makings of the hauberk


    At the top is a small bit of 6-in-1 I made to see what it was like, an 8-in-2 (also called 'Kings Maille') bracelet I made for myself along with my weapon of choice for cutting rings (great forearm exercise).


    I use galvanised steel wire because it's what's in the shed, but I did once make a copper 4-in-1 bracelet for a lady friend as a birthday present. Chicks like jewellery, but they love jewellery nobody else has ;)
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  20. Post #20
    Gold Member
    ewitwins's Avatar
    December 2009
    13,837 Posts
    I think I'm going to give this a try, but with something more simple and practical, like a belt.

  21. Post #21
    Terminutter's Avatar
    June 2010
    5,825 Posts
    Just ordered 1000 rings of 16g aluminium, 8mm diameter. (aluminium was cheaper shippingwise)
    If I like it (I've been considering it for a year or so, after seeing it on Bay12) I'll probably buy some galvanised steel wire and try making my own rings. If I can do that properly, I might try making myself something with stainless steel, like a chainmail hauberk or something.

  22. Post #22
    JumpinJackFlash's Avatar
    December 2010
    1,759 Posts
    Just ordered 1000 rings of 16g aluminium, 8mm diameter. (aluminium was cheaper shippingwise)
    If I like it (I've been considering it for a year or so, after seeing it on Bay12) I'll probably buy some galvanised steel wire and try making my own rings. If I can do that properly, I might try making myself something with stainless steel, like a chainmail hauberk or something.
    Stainless steel is really goddamn springy, it doesn't like to be bent at all. Just a bit more work, but don't be surprised if you have to put a lot of force into it.

  23. Post #23
    Terminutter's Avatar
    June 2010
    5,825 Posts
    Yeah, and shipping is more due to it weighing 3x as much as aluminium.
    It's still not arrived, I was foolish enough to choose to order from America to save a few quid

  24. Post #24
    Gold Member
    BradB's Avatar
    February 2008
    2,109 Posts
    I've been interested in both this and leatherworking for a long time. I'm haven't really been doing much recently so I might as well see if I can track down some supplies and get started.

  25. Post #25
    What is this's Avatar
    November 2011
    63 Posts
    Fuck this is awesome.

  26. Post #26
    Terminutter's Avatar
    June 2010
    5,825 Posts
    Jesus fuck, how long does it take for a first class packaga to get here from America? I was only saving 1 by ordering from there

  27. Post #27
    Gold Member
    ewitwins's Avatar
    December 2009
    13,837 Posts
    Jesus fuck, how long does it take for a first class packaga to get here from America? I was only saving 1 by ordering from there
    Could be worse.

    You could order several packages of LED's from Singapore only to have them arrive

    TWO MONTHS LATER

    *foam*
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  28. Post #28
    Beanz's Avatar
    April 2011
    846 Posts
    oh by the way, this isn't dead or anything. i just need to focus on work for christmas and everything. the piece has grown some and i've thought some more about the design and i reckon i'll need some leather and some other fabrics to make a pretty cool costume for halloween or something.

  29. Post #29
    Played it for the plot
    Dennab
    October 2008
    14,789 Posts
    I've ordered stuff from hong kong and gotten it next day, I don't understand why everyone else has such terrible experiences with international shipping

  30. Post #30
    Terminutter's Avatar
    June 2010
    5,825 Posts
    Well, it arrived today for some wacky reason (post, on a sunday?) and I have to say, OH FUCK it's so frustrating.
    But it will pay off... once I find a way to keep the rings still when working on them. Could it be me being a dirty, clumsy left hander?

  31. Post #31
    What is this's Avatar
    November 2011
    63 Posts
    Get a wooden board, put the chainmail on top of it and hammer nails through it to keep it in place perhaps? Gotta be careful though, might stretch this and that, but it might just do the trick.
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  32. Post #32
    Gold Member
    BradB's Avatar
    February 2008
    2,109 Posts
    Got my supplies today- 2.5mm gal. steel, and a 16mm alum tube for winding. Also got some cheap wirecutters and got what I paid for- I have the receipt though.

    Edited:

    I feel like I need safety eyewear.

  33. Post #33
    What is this's Avatar
    November 2011
    63 Posts
    3M has some pretty neat, adjustable safety glasses.

    I've had mine for 2 years yo

  34. Post #34
    Terminutter's Avatar
    June 2010
    5,825 Posts
    Get a wooden board, put the chainmail on top of it and hammer nails through it to keep it in place perhaps? Gotta be careful though, might stretch this and that, but it might just do the trick.
    Nice idea, might do. Also considered threading a nice thick bit of yarn through the "top" row, to allow for me to sort of hold the top in place.
    My pliers are bent as fuck though, it's wierd. Will have to get some nice ones, ideally not ones with some fucked up handle designed for right handers

  35. Post #35
    What is this's Avatar
    November 2011
    63 Posts
    If you pull some household string through it, which is fucked up cheap, and then tying it up to nails on the sides of the board, you could avoid hammering nails through the chainmail, and still be able to lean the entire board up against a wall or something whilst working on it.
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  36. Post #36
    xenodrox's Avatar
    February 2010
    311 Posts
    After messing around with weaving maille with some 1/8" diameter jump rings, I decided I really like it. I just ordered three pounds of galvanized steel rings for cheap.