Lock Wire & Safety Wire | The Best Way to Tighten Nuts & Bolts
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Everything You Need To Know About Lock Wire
Nuts and bolts are involved in the construction of an endless array of different machines in a wide variety of industries. These fasteners need to stay securely in place to ensure vehicles and equipment perform properly. However, nuts and bolts cannot do it alone.
Especially in high-impact applications like aerospace, nuts and bolts will start to loosen without some help. This is where lock wire swoops in to save the day. But what is lock wire, and how does it work? Here’s everything you need to know about lock wire products.
What is Lock Wire?
Lock wire, also known as safety wire, is a crucial tool for ensuring the mechanical stability of aircraft, sports cars, and even weaponry. It is a positive locking safety device, meaning it works by adding tension to the fastener. The tension from the lockwire pushes the nut, bolt, or screw to the right and prevents it from loosening.
What is Lock Wire Made Of?
Typically, lock wire is made of stainless steel. It also can be made from aluminum, Monel (a nickel and copper alloy), Inconel (a nickel, chromium, iron alloy), copper, or brass. It comes in a variety of sizes ranging from .015 to .090 It can most commonly be found in .020, .021, .032, .041 and .062 inches in diameter. Wire manufacturers like Malin Co. can develop the custom lock wire solutions you need.
What Does Lock Wire Do?
Bolts, screws, nuts, and other fasteners can gradually loosen over time. Installing lock wires in machines that produce high vibrations prevents vital engine parts from loosening and causing catastrophic failure.
Braking mechanisms, throttle systems, and even flight controls depend on lockwire to protect against severe mechanical issues and keep people safe. The FAA recommends safety wire to ensure that all mechanisms in aircraft are flight-ready.
How Do You Use Safety Wire?
The purpose of wire locking nuts and bolts is to prevent them from unscrewing. You use safety wire by threading it through two or more fasteners, ensuring they remain as secure as possible.
The most common installation method for safety wire involves twisting two strands of wire together with a “Double Twist” configuration. However, it is essential to avoid using safety tie wire for applications that involve excess chafing, tension, or fatigue outside of the wire’s intended tightening function.
How to Properly Install Safety Lock Wire
There are a few things to consider before installing safety wire: the size of your wire, the distance between the parts, the type of fasteners you are using, and how large the holes in the bolts are. You should consider using pliers; however, you can do this by hand as well. The double-twist is the most often used and most secure of the two safety wire installation methods. There is also the single-wire method, which has specific applications for bolts that are closely spaced and should be used sparingly.
The Double Twist Method
Make sure that your fasteners have holes for the wire to pass through.
Ensure that all your bolts, nuts, and screws are tight enough.
Thread the appropriately sized wire through the holes in bolts. Thread the wire at both ends through both sets of holes.
Twist the wire around and pull it tight until you reach the next bolt.
Repeat step 3, then twist wires in the opposite direction.
Cut your wire and tuck away the sharp ends.
The Single Wire Method
Thread the wire through the bolt.
Bring one end under to the left and the other hand over to the right.
Thread the wire on the right through the neighboring bolt from left to right.
Thread the wire on the left through the neighboring bolt from left to right, pulling it tight.
Where Can I Get Lock Wire?
Malin Co. provides a large selection of ISO-certified, safe, and effective lock wiring products. With color-coded canisters, you can find the perfect lock wire for your project. Also, the canisters are made of plastic, so they will not degrade. That means your wire will be safe from damage from project to project.
Malin Co also offers safety products for bulk ordering. They can even quote you for materials should you want safety wire in a different alloy. If you are ready to take your project to the next level of safety, get in touch with Malin Co. today, and their team can answer any questions you have to ensure you get the best product for the job.