Square wire. Why AR does not work

As you know we love our square wire here.  If you have looked around enough, you also know we don’t give inside diameter (ID) measurements for these rings.  As we have outlined in our FAQ, using ID to determine AR (Aspect Ratio) simply doesn’t work.  Even if you think you have an AR figured out for a particular weave, don’t count on it always working.  I know, you think we are insane.  How can the same AR give different results.  Well, we are here to explain.

In round wire, you have a constant measurement for the wire in all directions.  Not true for square.  You have a side measurement, and a corner to corner measurement.  It’s this corner to corner measurement that keeps messing things up, and why you need a larger ID/AR for any given pattern.  But not all corners are created equal.

Take these rings for example. (Click for larger image)

While not as obvious in this picture, in real life the one on the right looks to have been made from a larger diameter wire.  It also appears to have a smaller ID.  Not so.  These rings measure IDENTICAL.  Wire diameter and ID are exactly the same.  Yeah, now you really think we are crazy.  It’s true.  (not that we are crazy, it’s true the rings measure the same.)

But how can this be you ask.  Not all corners are created equal.

Rounded corners give the appearance of smaller sides, while sharper corners show more side.


Because rounded corners also get you closer to round wire, the AR needed is reduced (closer to round)

Not only can you see the difference, it has a large effect on what you can do with rings.  Don’t believe me?  These two sample JPL pieces were made with rings that have the EXACT same AR.  Same wire diameter, same ID.  One set of rings has mildly rounded corners, while the other has sharp corners.

The sample on the left (rounded corners) bends much more, and in fact the rings are in danger of popping out of place.  The sample with the sharp corners holds it’s shape much better.  Same AR, very different results.

So, we have designed our rings to work with patterns, and thus our naming system.  Every time we make rings from a new batch of wire, we double check sizing, and actually put a piece together to make sure the pattern works.  This is something that ID or AR simply can’t do and partly why we don’t give those numbers.

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