Top 4 DIY and Industrial Uses for Lock Wire

Top 4 At-Home and Industrial Uses for Lock Wire

When the speed and safety of an aircraft, the difference between first and second place in the big race or the outcome of a tactical mission are at stake, safety lock wire can often be the deciding factor.

What is safety lock wire? Lock wire prevents fasteners and bolts on planes and cars from losing torque and becoming loose in response to vibration or other factors. The tension of tightly twisted lock wire cancels out the loose positioning of bolts and the resulting loss of torque to keep parts in place. However, it is not a catch-all solution. Technicians should take care to not place lock wire under circumstances in which vehicles could undergo significant additional stress, chafing or tension.

When components stay in place, vehicles can function properly, passengers can stay safe and professionals and hobbyists of all kinds can accomplish their goals.

The Safety Lock Wiring Process

To secure two or more pieces, a technician will commonly first pass a section of lock wire through holes in the sides of one bolt to leave sections of wire on either side of the bolt. Next, he or she will twist the exposed portions of the wire tightly either with pliers or by hand to a specific length.

Then, the technician will move the wire portion so the end of the twist just reaches the next tie point. He or she will pass one portion of the untwisted wire through the holes in this tie point and wrap the other portion around the point. Next, the technician will repeat the twisting process and cut and turn the remaining end to secure the connection. To prevent snagging, injury and machinery damage, a technician will cut the wire to leave a ¼” to ½” tail to bend under. While this is the typical process, different sequences, numbers of passes and other practices are standard in different industries.

Safety lock wire comes in multiple thicknesses and materials to suit multiple applications. Thicknesses can range from .015” and .091” and professionals and hobbyists can choose from stainless steel, copper, aluminum, and Monel safety lock wire. Different wire materials will react to different forces in different ways.

Along with securing bolts, lock wire is useful for a variety of household and outdoor tasks. See below to learn about some of the most common uses for stainless steel safety lock wire and the benefits of proper lock wiring.

1. Aerospace, Aviation and Defense Applications

Loose positioning of aircraft components places not only powerplant and control systems and cargo at critical risk but also endangers the safety and lives of all crew members and passengers. For this reason, accurate lock wiring is critical when it comes to the setup of engines and other aircraft components. Proper lock wiring on aircraft ensures proper function of actuation arms, aviation cables and more and standards for aviation lock wiring are particularly high. The practice plays a critical role both in commercial air travel and military aviation.

aircraft uses for lock wire

While safety wire provides reliable support for fasteners, it is no substitute for placing aircraft fasteners accurately the first time. Safety wire functions in combination with other solutions to keep aircraft components secure. Namely, cotter pins aid in keeping tailwheel setups, landing gear, engine controls and other aircraft components secure. In addition, self-locking nuts are ideal for tasks that do not require technicians to remove nuts frequently.

Aircraft lock wire must not be so tight as to come undone with simple handling or under conditions of vibration. Typically, a technician will make six to eight turns per inch for even wiring. It is also important for technicians to replace safety wire with each use as it work hardens upon manipulation.

2. Professional and Amateur Auto Racing

Whether drivers are amateurs or professionals, there is no time for auto components to come out of place and slow a team down in the pursuit of victory. Lock wiring allows teams to make fast and easy visual inspections before a race; if a wire is present between two fasteners, then a crew member has tightened the bolts. In most cases, teams will wire all auto components that do not require fast removal during pit stops.

Automotive Uses for Lock Wire

Pit crews will typically apply safety lock wire to differential bolts, suspension bolts, driveline bolts, steering hardware and drain plugs, for example. When parts stay in place, teams can more effectively ensure driver safety. Keeping consistent with safety lock wiring can also be especially helpful for amateur racers to keep cars in top shape when resources may be limited.

3. Motorcycle Racing and Restoration

Lock wiring provides the same performance benefits for motorcycle riders and racers. In many cases, motorcycle enthusiasts can secure components with snubber nuts, chemical thread locking compounds or different kinds of washers. However, lock wiring fasteners can often be more helpful than using these other pieces when an enthusiast must store his or her motorcycle in particularly hot or cold environments. Safety lock wiring can be an easy way for motorcycle enthusiasts to protect their investments in performance parts and other additions.

motorcycle uses of lock wire

4. A Wide Variety of At-Home and Outdoor Projects

Just as some hobbyists swear by duct tape as the fix-all solution, stainless steel safety lock wire can provide just as much versatility. Industrial safety lock wire is useful for a variety of DIY projects. Outdoor and DIY enthusiasts often use lock wire for making wire hose clamps, hanging items from ceilings, securing crampons for climbing, steadying ski bindings, and various other tasks. Keep a supply of stainless steel lock wire handy in your garage toolbox or set of camping or fishing supplies so you can make repairs quickly and easily and focus on enjoying your home and your favorite hobbies.

Do You and Your Team Need Reliable Safety Lock Wire for Your Next Project? Count on Malin

Whether your application requires wire products resistant to heat, vibration or water, you can count on Malin for the right solution. No matter the task at hand, Malin has the right wire solution for the job. Since 1884, Cleveland, Ohio’s own Malin has been a force for excellence and innovation in the manufacturing of high-quality wire products. You and your team can count on Malin for stainless steel safety lock wire, fishing and marine wire, medical wire, industrial wire, twisted-in wire brushes, military trip wire, snare trap wire and camping wire.

Teams and hobbyists from across a wide range of industries and niches look to Malin Wire Co for quality products and reliable customer service. Malin serves catalog houses, hardware supply businesses, aerospace companies, medical teams and more.

Customers also depend on the Malin team for an extensive selection of top-quality wire packaging options. Choose from bulk spools, custom spools, coils, canisters, handi-pack bobbins, boxed spools and more. Upon request, the professionals from Malin can also provide private labeling.

While Malin is most notable for its selection of premier stainless steel wire products, the company is also a go-to resource for wire consisting of multiple alloys. The company can provide quality tin-coated wire, copper wire, brass wire, nickel-titanium wire, phosphate-coated wire and more.

industrial uses for lock wire Malin logo

Malin is an ISO 9001:2015 without design-certified company. The Malin team’s certification lets customers know they are partnering with a manufacturer committed to maintaining a premier quality management system.

Malin distinguishes itself even further from competing wire manufacturers by offering leading material testing capabilities. Customers count on the Malin team for non-destructive X-ray fluorescence (XRF) testing services to determine the composition of certain alloys.

When your application requires easy wire storage and identification, exclusive wire canisters from Malin could help you get organized easily. These color-coded wire canisters correspond with different wire materials and consist of grease and corrosion-resistant high-density polyethylene. Unlike paper wire canisters, these pieces do not degrade. Customers can choose from Monel aerospace lock wire in a red canister, oxidized Inconel aerospace lock wire in an orange canister, Inconel aerospace lock wire in a yellow canister and stainless steel aerospace lock wire in a blue canister.

Have you and your colleagues been trying to find the right wire drawing or wire forming services for your next project? Malin is the right choice. The Malin team can draw aluminum, stainless steel, nickel, copper and brass alloys. Available diameters range from .0016” to .250”. You can also count on Malin for top-quality wire for core wires, process mandrels and stylets. The Malin team can manipulate all grades and tempers of 300 and 400 series nickel and nickel-based alloys along with aluminum, brass, copper, nitinol, steel and plated steel wire.

To find out how the dedicated team of manufacturers from Malin could add to your next project, just visit today. Connect with the Malin team today to get your next project going.