Cut Wire

Abrasive Products offers several different types of cut wire abrasives.  Cut wire abrasive is made by taking wire of a specific diameter and cutting it into lengths, most always, the same dimension as the diameter.  Cut wire is categorized by the metal make-up of the wire, the size, and also the shape or form.  Stainless Cut Wire and Carbon Cut Cut Wire, in conditioned form, are commonly used in shot peening operations.   

Abrasive Products represents Abrasive Materials and their line of cut wire products.  Abrasive Materials produces cut wire abrasives, occasionally referred to as cut wire shot, in Hillsdale, MI.

Zinc Cut Wire and Aluminum Cut Wire are only sold in as cut form.  They are much softer than carbon cut wire and stainless cut wire.  Therefore, they round off, or condition very quickly, while cycling through the blast system.

Cut wire abrasives are more commonly used in wheel blasting applications, however, they can be used in air blast as well.  The air blast system must be capable of conveying metallic abrasive.  The bulk densities of cut wire abrasives range from around 280 to 300 pounds per cubic foot.  Of course, aluminum cut wire would weigh less and can vary depending on the specific alloy.

Abrasive Products can help you determine if a cut wire abrasive may be the best solution to your blasting application.  We are happy to develop a process for you in our in-house process development lab.

Cut Wire Types:

Stainless Steel Cut Wire

Stainless Steel Cut Wire is often utilized in wheel blasting processes in which ferrous contamination is of concern.  Blasting stainless work pieces or other metals in which a pristine surface is required stainless cut wire may be a good choice.  Stainless Steel Cut Wire in conditioned form is used frequently for shot peening processes on stainless steel or Inconel parts.  Stainless steel cut wire can range in size from .017” up to .080” and possibly larger in special order circumstances.  The hardness of stainless cut wire is typically around 45 Rc.  Stainless cut wire will harden to around 50 to 55 Rc as it continues to cycle through the blast system.

Carbon Cut Wire

Carbon Cut Wire is used in a number of shot peening processes.  Carbon cut wire is mostly sold in conditioned form and is also available in two distinct hardness ranges.  “Regular, or Standard” hardness carbon cut wire is about 45 to 52 Rc. High Hardness carbon cut wire is about 55 to 62 Rc.  This material will work harden as it cycles through the system. Carbon Cut Wire is available in sizes ranging from .011” to .080”.

Zinc Cut Wire

Zinc Cut Wire is soft for a metallic abrasive.  It is most commonly used for cosmetic finishing of aluminum die cast parts and it is also used for removing coatings, or stripping paint.  Zinc cut wire is soft enough that it will remove coatings from items such as paint hooks and jigs. The zinc will not etch the substrate. Zinc Cut Wire will leave a smooth, clean surface. Subsequent paint applications will not adhere to the hooks and jigs as tightly as it would with a rough surface left by a harsh or aggressive abrasive.  Zinc cut wire is available in sizes from .024” up to .057”. A key feature of zinc cut wire is that in systems using this material far less maintenance is required. The attrition rate of zinc cut wire is higher than stainless or carbon or low nickel stainless cut wire products however maintenance costs are far less.

Low Nickel Stainless Cut Wire

Low Nickel Stainless Cut Wire is made from an alloy that has a lower nickel content, hence the name.  This material is softer than the standard, high grade stainless cut wire. It runs at approximately 35 Rc.  This material does not work harden. It will leave a clean surface, compared to carbon cut wire, however if ferrous contamination is critical the better solution would be stainless steel cut wire.   Low Nickel Stainless Cut Wire may be a good choice for general cleaning or to generate a cosmetic finish. Low Nickel Stainless is available in sizes ranging from .023” to .080″.

Aluminum Cut Wire

Aluminum Cut Wire is not typically as common as the other cut wire products however it has gained popularity recently.  This product is usually utilized on forged or die cast aluminum components. Aluminum cut wire blasted in a wheel blast process creates a film on the workpieces preventing corrosion or white bloom on aluminum parts.

Shape / Form (As Cut / Conditioned)

  • As Cut:  Cut wire is also categorized by the shape, or level of conditioning.  When the wire is cut the shape of each particle is that of a cylinder.  As noted above, the length it is cut to is usually equal to the diameter.  A particle of stainless steel cut wire that is .023” will be .023” in length by .023” in diameter.  This particle that has just been cut is “As Cut”. This form has sharp edges and will be fairly aggressive initially.  All cut wire products start off in “As Cut” form. Stainless Cut Wire, Carbon Cut Wire and Low Nickel Stainless are all available for purchase in “As Cut” form.
  • Conditioned:  As noted above, all cut wire starts off in As Cut form.  In some applications, particularly shot peening, the media must be round with no sharp edges.  Shot peening specifications will dictate the level the cut wire must be conditioned. To condition the cut wire particles from “as cut” for to conditioned form the cut wire is processed through a machine in which the particles make a number of impacts and become conditioned.  This process rounds off the sharp edges and produces a rounded off and eventually a spherical particle. There are two levels of conditioning:
  • Double Conditioned – cut wire that has been double conditioned has no sharp edges.  This level of conditioning may not be completely spherical and may look ellipsoid in shape but it will not have any sharp edges.  
  • Spherically Conditioned – occasionally referred to as triple conditioned however spherically conditioned is more widely used.  Spherically conditioned cut wire is just that, cut wire that has been conditioned to the point where it looks more like a sphere, not an elongated ellipsoid.