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The word wire usually describes a flexible strand of metal used to conduct electricity. However, there is a kind of non-flexible wire which can be used to transfer mechanical motion. I guess "rod" wouldn't accentuate how thin it is, especially if a device has a rod providing one type of motion, and a very thin, but very rigid "wire" providing a different one.

"Solid wire" just means that instead of many thin strands there is just one thicker piece of wire in the core.

The wire which I'm talking about doesn't have any insulator around, and it is rigid and elastic like a rod, just very, very thin.

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    In Rod We Trust. youtube.com/watch?v=cfTgxrxL9ug – Ronan Dec 10 '14 at 9:28
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    I'm not a native speaker, but can you explain how can a thing be "non-flexible" yet "elastic"? You also said it's used to "transfer mechanical motion". I'm imagining the motion is transferred by pulling. Does it able to transfer motion by pushing also? – justhalf Dec 10 '14 at 9:37
  • @justhalf : yes, by pushing also. A "conventional" wire, if you held one end in your hand, will just freely hang like a strand of hair. The wire I'm talking about, is straight (therefore "non-flexible"), and if you lightly try to bend it, it will snap back into place, therefore "elastic". – vsz Dec 10 '14 at 9:41
  • How about "very very thin rod" like you mentioned, or just "thin rod"? – justhalf Dec 10 '14 at 9:49
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    I (being an electrical engineer by training) would use "stiff wire" for something that was non-structural, but "thin rod" or "thin shaft" for what you describe. – Hot Licks Dec 10 '14 at 12:58
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The OED asserts that a rod is:

A thin straight bar, especially of wood or metal.

I think you answered your own question there..!

In terms of ways to accentuate the thin-ness of the rod, adjectives like one of the following might help (depending on the impression you're looking for) if you're averse to using thin:

I looked into spindle as a result of this search, as I thought that could be used in place of rod, but it seems to refer to a very specific type of rod.

The delicate mechanism was a harmony of cogs and gears, with tiny rods connecting the wheels.

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