What are centering pags, and what size do I need? top
The centering peg is what holds your tubing centered on the bottom forming post, and helps keep your tubing straight while flaring so it doesn't go wonky. The first thing you should do is decide what tubing size you want to use, and then select the matching centering peg from the list on the tools page.
Although the peg sizes reference tubing OD and ID for the most common tubes, the only thing you really need to worry about is your tubing ID. If your tubing ID matches one of the sizes listed, then that peg will work, regardless of the OD.
What do I need for coring Pandora - style beads? top
The Impress comes with a peg for 1/4 inch tubing pre-installed.
1/4 inch OD .218 inch ID tubing:
part # 100-907/14
The 1/4 inch is larger than necessary for Pandora, etc.
For a closer match to the look of official Pandora beads, use this tubing:http://www.etsy.com/people/ginkodesigns
The exact same tubing is also available here:
Indian Jewelers Supply, Inc.
Part number STTB27x5mm
That one (from either source) is thinner walled and smaller so it is also cheaper.
If you use the IJS or Ginko tubing, you will need the "Special Peg for 4.37 mm ID tubing."
You'll find that peg in the drop-down list under centering pegs on the Silver tools page.
3/16 mandrels will work for the IJS / Ginko tubing, and 1/4 inch mandrels for
the 1/4 inch of course. However... Do not try to use Rio Grande's 3/16
OD tubing for Pandora type beads. The ID of that tube is too small for
Pandora even though the OD is correct. (Because it has a thicker wall.)
I suggest you get my debur tool, as it makes quick work of dressing the ends and also makes a shiny, chamfered professional looking edge on your rivets.
The Impress, 4.37 mm peg, and Debur tool will be all you need from me for Pandora-style beads. If you want to make beads that are longer than about 5/8 inches, you'll need the riser kit or something you rig up yourself to raise the tool off the base. My riser kit comes with two 1/4 inch blocks, and two 3/4 inch blocks, and all screws needed for any combination or individual usage of the blocks.
What are risers for and do I need them? top
If you want to make beads that are longer than about 5/8 inches, you'll
need the riser kit or something you rig up yourself to raise the tool
off the base. My riser kit comes with two 1/4 inch blocks, and two 3/4
inch blocks, and all screws needed for any combination or individual
usage of the blocks.
Besides the Impress and accessories, what other tools might I need? top
I suggest you also get:
(1) A _digital_ caliper (Harbor Freight 4 inch or 6 inch - get the steel jaw type, not the composite type) Usually about 16 to 20 dollars, but sometimes on sale for $9.99 (rarely)
(2) An Empire brand mini-tubing cutter from Sears, model #2812 or the slightly smaller one that looks the same. This brand is cheap, but of excellent quality for this job. About $7.00.
(3) A small steel chasing or planishing hammer (Rio Grande part # 112-225, 3-OZ head, $13.95) and/or
(4) A small rawhide or plastic mallet (Rio Grande part # 112-209, 1-inch diameter X 2 inch head $13.75) or similar)
What do I need for coring 3/32-, 1/8-, or 5/32-inch-hole size beads? top
This is just like doing the larger sizes, with a couple minor changes:
You'll need the type of centering pegs (called flaring dies) made for the size of tubing you are using, and if you choose to use copper tubing in these small sizes, it will need to be annealed, to soften the tubing.
What do I need for attaching bead caps to my beads? top
No special equipment is needed to attach bead caps using the Impress.
You simply put the tubing through all three pieces, (A Cap, A Bead, and another Cap,) and proceed as usual. The rivet will then sandwich all three together as a finished piece.
How do I anneal copper tubing? top
Annealing copper is quite easy. I suggest you first cut the tubing to length. Then slide your small length of tubing onto the end of bead mandrel, and hold it in a gentle torch flame for just 2 or three seconds, until it glows dull red. Then just let it air cool. You can clean it up with a red Scotch-Brite pad available in hardware stores, fine steel wool, or whatever, if desired. But the outer surface of the tubing won't show anyway except in transparent beads, so that is not really necessary. You can opt for just wiping off any loose oxide with a cloth instead.
Where can I buy copper tubing? top
Copper tubing in all three sizes above is available in Ace Hardware stores, craft stores, and hobby shops.
Online suppliers include metaliferous.com, Monsterslayer.com, and many others.