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Plug Wires Revisited


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I have been using 30awg wrapping wire for my plug wires. But it just seemed too large and out of scale especially in photos. It measures out at about .026 inch.  I found some .015 inch beading wire at Michaels and tried it. It seemed to be the right size for scale, but it was so stiff and unmanageable, it looked like hula hoops around the engine. Found some smaller that was workable, but it looked too small for scale measuring out at .008 inch. Now I'm going to try this, it is 34awg and measures out at .016 inch and is very flexible. It is advertised as tone arm wire on ebay and cost 10 bucks for 20 ft.

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Edited by bluestringer
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1 hour ago, bluestringer said:

I have been using 30awg wrapping wire for my plug wires. But it just seemed too large and out of scale especially in photos. It measures out at about .026 inch.  I found some .015 inch beading wire at Michaels and tried it. It seemed to be the right size for scale, but it was so stiff and unmanageable, it looked like hula hoops around the engine. Found some smaller that was workable, but it looked too small for scale measuring out at .008 inch. Now I'm going to try this, it is 34awg and measures out at .016 inch and is very flexible. It is advertised as tone arm wire on ebay and cost 10 bucks for 20 ft.

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I always thought that 30 AWG was too large for plug wires as well, but it's what's readily available to most modelers.

I use 30 for things like vacuum hoses and battery cables.

 

32 or 34 appears to be about right for plug wires, but of course it's a little harder to find.

I found this 36 AWG wire on ebay a while back.

It came from China, so shipping took a while, but it works very nicely for fine wiring detail, although it's size makes it a bit of a trick to handle. :P

Comes in a lot of different colors.

 

The first photo shows it next to a piece of 30 AWG, the second, a little bit of firewall wiring.

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Steve

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The whole plug wire thing appears to be very much in the eye of the beholder, and I'm of the opinion that builders who spend a lot of time under the hoods of real cars are going to be the most critical, with regularly calibrated eyeballs.

To my eye, pretty much scale-correct .011"-.012" looks best for older stock plug wires, and .015"-.016" looks best for late-model or high-performance wires.

I think most average folks aren't going to notice a few thousandths of an inch, but it jumps out at me like a wart on the Mona Lisa's nose.

The really fat wires some seem to be satisfied with look like garden hose to me. Sorry, but that's how I see it.

Funny thing is that I was completely satisfied with sewing thread for plug wires when I was much younger, and I'm sure a lot of other geezers were as well. And it looked like puke.

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A while ago I became obsessed with finding plug wire in scale.   In the end I found that the wire gauge (AWG) was not as important as the Outside Diameter (OD) of the wire overall.   There are many thicknesses of insulation and while the AWG my be the same  the thicker insulations make the diameter vary greatly.    The best source for affordable in scale wire is on EBay and comes from China.   The listing on EBay is  "UL10064 Ultra-Fine Electronic Wire 0.38MM".   In this listing they have different AWGs available and many colors to chose from.   Their 36 AWG wire is .28 mm in diameter which is  almost exactly 1/4 inch in 1:1 scale.   I use this for standard plug wires.   Their 34AWG has a diameter of .32mm.   There is also a 32AWG that is .38 mm in diameter and is almost exactly to 3/8 inch in 1:1.   I use that size for HEI ignition wires.   The available colors are good.   Probably the best thing is the price.   10 meters (32 feet) of the 36WG is $4.79.   Thats a lot of engines for under 5 dollars.   Here are pics of just a small amount of my stash of wire as well as a distributor I am building for a Ford flathead.  The distributor shown is 3 inches in diameter in 1:1 scale which is the right scale for an old style distributor.   So in 1:1 scale this ignition has  3 inch diameter cap that is 3 1/2 inches tall.   The wires are 1/4 inch in diameter in scale so for me this is as close to the real thing as I could get.

IMG_0045.jpg.6fb5bb9d8688a0f539eee688181d68c6.jpg     IMG_0049.jpg.863db387885b1080fb14598a6dfe64e6.jpg

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9 hours ago, Jiml0001 said:

A while ago I became obsessed with finding plug wire in scale.   In the end I found that the wire gauge (AWG) was not as important as the Outside Diameter (OD) of the wire overall. 

Yes, that is very important thing to consider.  If you think about it, insulated wire's purpose is to conduct electricity. As such, the thickens (gauge) of the conductor is important to indicate how much electric current the wire can carry. The thickens of its insulation is not mentioned. But thickness of the insulation and the material it is made from is quite important as far as the maximum voltage it can withstand without breaking down.  But that is specified in Volts (not in thickness).  If you can find complete specifications, then the OD of the insulation will likely be stated, and some (but not all) sellers include that information.

We use that electric wire to represent non-fictional wiring in out models. As such, we really care about the outside diameter of the insulation 

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Yes, that is why I included the inch measurement in my OP. That is the size of the wire including the insulation. 30 awg wire is only 0.10 inch without the insulation. And insulation varies in thickness. For our purpose we need the measurement of the wire with the insulation included. In my eyes anything from 0.11 to 0.16 looks to be close to scale for 1/24, 1/25. Most 30 awg just looks too big IMO, although I have used it in many builds because it is easy to find. I think the tone arm wire I got is going to look much better. The wire James posted coming from China looks like it would work very well also.

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