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Armature wire is popular with so many businesses. Anyone who works in model craft, will enjoy the soft and malleable properties of this thin and flexible aluminium wire.
In many clay modelling projects, this crafting wire is often the metal centre and framework of a sculpture. It provides structure and stability. But aluminium wire is not only the foundation and support for soft modelling. It also serves as an internal measuring system and helps to ensure all the proportions of your sculpture are in place. This is critical when modelling anatomical structures.
Aluminium wire is often the modelling wire of choice because it is both lightweight and easy to bend. In the process of armature building and creating the skeleton, there is a lot of twisting involved. The aim is to get a uniform spiral throughout the structure, as this strengthens the metal wire and also gives the clay something to hold to. It is essential to have wire soft as it allows you to pose the sculpture how you wish, as well as make adjustments if needed.
Armature building can take on many forms and mediums. There are a whole spectrum of different materials that have been tried and tested with wired armature. Some more popular choices include polymer clays, fast cast resins and polyurethane foam. Other experimental mediums such as chavant nsp clay, newplast plasticine, addition cure silicone, epoxy resin, paper cache and even simple foil.
What wire size for armature?
As a rule of thumb, the larger the sculpture, the thicker the armature wire needs to be. At Alloy Sales you can buy modelling wire from 3mm aluminium wire up to 10mm.
Does aluminium wire tarnish?
Unlike silver, aluminium doesn't tarnish. Compared to other metals, aluminium is unique. When it comes into contact with oxygen, an oxide layer forms. This is actually a protective layer, some even call it 'self healing'. It's hard, thin and fairly un-noticeable. The aluminium oxidation is hard to prevent but generally doesn't have an adverse effect on the material. Corrosion, which is not the same as rust or tarnishing, can occur in some grades of aluminium. This doesn't happen quickly and can be prevented or slowed if the aluminium wire is stored away from moisture. It's the moisture that triggers this chemical reaction.
Can you solder aluminium wire?
You can solder aluminium wire. Apply a flux to the area being soldered. This is to remove any oxides from the metal surface. If using a soldering iron, lightly cover the tip of it with solder. This 'tinning' process protects the iron from damage. Heat it up to the recommended temperature (melting point) of the aluminium wire. Wrap the area to be soldered with the soldering wire. Run the iron along the wire, making sure to touch both the aluminium wire and the joint. Ensure it is melted evenly along the joint. The flux should bubble, but not burn. Be sure to apply the right about of solder. Let the joint cool. When finished, the soldered joint will appear cohesive and smooth.