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Tooling up for twists

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Hi I have started to get into twists really heavily lately and I am going to make some twist pendants for necklaces.

my choices of twists that I am going to do are:

rubik twist, pineapple twist, reverse twist, split twist and just a plain old single twist.

anyway I was wondering if I will need to tool up in any way that could makes it faster but the only time consuming part is punching in all the grooves.

I am going to make them in bulk so I will start off making just 5 of each twist as a test run and see how they sell and if they do well then I am going to make another 15 of each one.

Also with the Rubik twist should I cut the grooves in with a cut off wheel on an angle grinder.

feel free to add any suggestions or other twists that I could do but I am only going to make them out of square or hex stock.

Thanks so much I know this is a pretty lengthy post.


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There are factory machines out there that do twists and ones people have made. Most of them are on the  large side for doing architectural and pattern welded work. You said pendants so I would think your working on the smaller side.  I would look at pictures of these machines and see if you couldn't make something similar but on a smaller scale.  Most of the ones I have seen have a chuck and a motor to drive one side and the other side just has to hold the stock so there are many different types of solutions.  The "dead" side is on a sliding track for different lengths of stock. 

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Choose one twist and figure out how many different ways you can make it using tooling you develop.

Do the first twist (style) manually.  Be careful and do not build a box limiting yourself. Get creative. A simple twist in square bar can be done with two hand held holders, one on each end. A quicker way is to clamp one end in a vise and use a crescent wrench instead of tongs. A twisting wrench is another improvement progression.  Develop a jig to hold both ends of the square stock (two twisting wrenches). Heat a double length of square stock plus a bit, cool the center piece of the 2x+ metal and insert into the jig. Put the twisting wrench on the cooled stock at the middle of the bar and twist. Cut them apart when cool and you have made two items for the same effort. 

Small stock can be twisted cold, which eliminates the step of heating the metal.

This is just one example of how to make one twist faster. From there you can develop all manner of jigs to increase production, or cut the labor or steps involved in the process. You will know your getting close when it starts to get fun and you somehow run out of stock to play with. 

Now that you have twist style one in production, move on and repeat the process for twist style two, and so on. 

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In your wanderings of juntique stores, pawn shops and people's junk piles, keep an eye out for the large tap holders from tap and die sets.  Those can make good adjustable handles for twisting square stock...I have one that is almost 3 feet across which cost me 5 bucks at a garage sale and will hold anything from 1" square down to about 3/8" square.  

Anyway..old tap holders don't sell that well in the big sizes so they can often be found cheap if you do some searching and have some patience. 

Otherwise, there are plenty of ways to "roll your own" from scratch for nickels and dimes.  KISS principal generally applies.

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A good adjustable twisting wrench is made from an old fashioned adjustable wrench which has jaws perpendicular to the handle.

Weld a piece of stock similar in dimension to the tool handle and long enough to make a two handed wrench with the jaws in the center.

These wrenchs can be small or large and very large set can be very handy.

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