I need to twist nicely a 6-foot pair of insulated solid electrical wire. It can be 14 gauge or slightly thinner. The insulation can be nylon or PVC. Two wires must be at 90 degrees to each other while being twisted. I’ve tried this by hand, but the result is inconsistent. Is there a tool or technique I could use?
Try an electric drill. Put the two ends of the wire into the drill chuck; fasten the other ends of the wires to something; step back until the wires are taut, then turn on the drill. As the wires twist and the cable shortens, you'll have to walk forward to where the wires are anchored.
But I'm not sure if this would work with your "90 degrees to each other" requirement.
Expanding on @ecnerwal 's answer
This sounds like a rope-making jig, that uses one winder per strand. Navies use to make their own mooring and rigging ropes using machines like this
sometimes with a "pingpong bat" paddle to help set the tension in the layup.
I think you could achieve your goal using two lengths of wire, perhaps 50% longer than the final length you think you require. Onecordless drill per wire for twisting, a helper to press both triggers, and a clamp for the far end. You would use some form of paddle to keep the twists apart until sufficient tension is reached, where you slowly move the paddle towards the drills.
This twist will lessen the twist in the remaining sections of wire, so the drills have to add more twists.
Perhaps practice with anything you have around the home already - even long strips of plastic would work as test ropes.
- Have you considered winding an earth wire into your "power-rope" ?
- What about cooling? twisted wires will get hotter than the same wire untwisted.
- Stranded vs Solid core wire - the solid will take the twist better but will be much harder to work with.
The 90 degree requirement would be most easily achieved by cutting two slots in a board at 90 degrees that allow a slip-fit of the wire, with the intersection point being just off the edge of the board, then screwing another board to it to hold the wires in place.
Given your budget, you'd then be attaching a drill (or a brace/hand crank/speed wrench) and walking away from the board, maintaining tension while twisting.
For precision, you might mount it on a wire wrapping lathe carriage to ensure even feed, but not on your budget.