PVC Maille
Making chainmaille out of PVC pipe was quite a bit of fun. The rings are cut from the pipe using a miter saw and box. Once cut I deburred them a bit by hand with a large file, tumbling was not as effective as I had hoped. I then clipped about a third of them open using aviation shears. You can see the marks on the rings quite easily. The white and grey PVC was impressively strong even after having been clipped. The pipes used are as follows.
  • White PVC, used for potable water, rated for 120psi. The densest pipe used.
  • Grey PVC, outdoor electrical conduit, no psi rating. This pipe is a bit softer and lighter than the white.
  • Blue PVC, indoor ribbed electrical conduit, the shape makes it strong otherwise quite thin. Light weight and flexible, it's not EPMD but the rings will deform under tension then return to a circular shape there after. All the blue rings are solid.
I've managed to fuse the white and grey rings back into a solid using a custom made tip for my 25W soldering iron. The tip itself is just a bolt that matched the threading for my irons tip. One end of the bolt was flattened out to the thickness of a typical butter knife then the bolt was cut to length so the whole tip is around an inch long.

Once the iron is hot, I can just slide the tip between the sheared edges of the ring for a second or two, remove the iron and press the edges together for a few more seconds and the ring is solid again. This creates an outwards buckle at the seam but because it's PVC I was able to smooth the ring edges easily using my rotary tool.

Overall, PVC surprised me. It's very light, quite strong, easy to weave no pliers required, can be fused, won't rust, it's quiet, looks better from afar, cheap and readily available at hardware stores.

Here are bunch of photos, a bit messy but you can move them around by clicking and dragging them, click on one for a larger view, you can then move from image to image by clicking on the sides of the image. If you can't click to the side, you may be at the begining or end of the gallery, try clicking the otherside of the image. If you can't drag an image around, it probably means you're still using an old version of Internet Explorer... get a new browser such as Chrome or Firefox and come back when you're done. Also of note, sadly this gallery does not currently work properly with touch devices, I'm working on it.