View Full Version : How to Round & Smooth Cut Ends of Wire?

john hobdeclipe
04-29-2007, 06:34 PM
I need a quick way to smooth off and round the ends of pieces of wire after they have been cut with ordinary wire cutters. The cutters leave a pointed sort of end, and I need a nice smooth end on the wires.

This is for stainless steel and 6-4 titanium wire, about .025 to .035 diameter.

Some of these wires are for Christmas ornaments, and some of this is for earwires for jewelry. In either case, the ends need to be smooth and free of sharp edges, points or burrs.

In both cases, I need to preserve the shiny finsh on the wire itself...so any kind of tumbling is out.

And I need to do about a hundred or so, to start with, so I don't want to laboriously file each one.

Any ideas? Anyone know how this is done in a production environment?


04-29-2007, 07:17 PM
I find a belt sander and variations of that (drum sander and abrasive discs) to be invaluable for just that sort of thing. For stainless it might be a good idea to try one of the zirconia belts- I have yet to do so but there is a place near me now that stocks them so I will be replacing the belt on my 12 inch drum with one. This drum sander has a foam layer on its perimeter, so I have to wrap some string around it to compress it prior to slipping the belt on. Then I pull the string out. The flex helps prevent the scratches from going too deep. This is probably the most used machine in my shop.

04-29-2007, 07:17 PM
You want flush cutting cutters here is one type and the site has bunches of tools.
The flush cutter are what jewelry makeres preffer.These will probably work on the Titanium wire. Flush cutters for any wire tend to cost a lot more than regular. the only other way is to wack up a fixture and use a hand piece/dremel type with cut ouff wheels. thecutter will minimise ant damage to the wire. plus this version will hold and cut both side of the cut. I would call and ask the about the usage life cutting titanium

Frank Ford
04-29-2007, 07:18 PM
This is the kind of thing I do by hand on my little Rockwell 1 x 42" belt sander. A hundred of those things would go by in flash with a 320 grit belt and a bit of finesse in technique. No power tool I've ever owned has paid for itself as many times over than that little sander!

J Tiers
04-29-2007, 10:45 PM
Yep..... I have a little 1" belt-disc Delta sander, and it will do them quickly with the right grit for the wire size.

I use it to knock off sharp edges on things, and to rough HSS cutters, etc. etc. etc.

For the thin wire, the 320 sounds right. A little care in holding will be advisable.

04-29-2007, 11:27 PM
Belt sander, in agreement with the others. I have also done similar wire "ending".

What I found worked best for me was to sand the point off, hold the wire directly to the belt at a 90 degree angle to knock off the sharp point, making the end flat. Then chamfer the 90 degree edge by holding the wire at a 45 degree to the belt while rotating the wire. If the wire is small enough a 45 will make a nice point. You can make the point as blunt or as sharp as you need by grinding less or more into the 90 degree corner. JRouche

Duct Taper
04-29-2007, 11:36 PM
You didn't say how long the wire will be when you are trying to fix up the cut end. However, if you need something to keep it from flexing while applying it to the sanding disc, try pushing it through a small diameter tube. You can easily hold the tube with one hand and rotate the wire with the other hand.

Frank Ford
04-29-2007, 11:58 PM
DT - What a schmarty! I'll remember that little trick next time my fingers get screaming hot. . .


Bob Ford
04-30-2007, 12:25 AM
I chuck them in a battery drill set on high. Then use the belt sander to smooth the end.

04-30-2007, 12:36 AM
Don't know if it would work on the 6-4 but I've touched the ends of SS wire into a torch flame. It puts a small partial ball on the end if you leave it in otherwise, it just melts a rounded tip. Be quick and DO NOT hold the wire with your bare fingers. :eek: (only took me one try to learn that.) :D

04-30-2007, 08:49 AM
There is a tool made just for that purpose, it is called a cup burr.
Sold for a couple bucks by www.riogrande.com.
They are the opposite of a ball end mill, they have a concave end and little concave cutting teeth inside, when used in a flex shaft,or Dremel,they take seconds to put a nice end on wire. Just buy one that is a little bigger than your wire.

Rich Carlstedt
04-30-2007, 07:31 PM
I just made 180 steel studs ( 0-80 thread x .312) and had to crown both ends before /after threading. (used 1/16 gas welding rod for material)
The best/fastest/easiest way is with a Scotch Brite wheel (fine)
Take some stainless steel sheet and form a little groove in the middle of the wheel. maybe .020 to .060 deep by letting the wheel hit the SS edgewise.
When you stick the wire into the wheel, come at it at with 45 degree vertical angle and place the end into the groove and turn 90 degrees and you are done. you get a beautiful 'acorn' end on the shaft.

I used flush cut cutters to get length and square cuts. If you use old nippers, you may need to hit the end square on a sanding belt, OR just hold it a little longer in the wheel.

Weston Bye
04-30-2007, 07:46 PM
I remember seeing an animation about toothbrush manufacturing. The ends of the bristles were polished in a group after installing in the handle. the face of the brush was brought up to the face of an abrasive disk and while the brush was held in one place, the disk orbited once or twice around, bending the bristles slightly as the rotation of the disk exerted sideways pressure on the bristles.

Perhaps you could bundle your wires and do a bunch at a time, if they are flexible enough.

john hobdeclipe
05-06-2007, 03:53 PM
Just a word of thanks for all these suggestions...I'll be trying these out shortly.

I did get a pair of flush cutters from a lapidary/jewelry/bead type store, but the first try at cutting the titanium left a nice little hole in the cutting edges!

05-06-2007, 06:01 PM
My son aged 10 kept cutting piano wire with my pliers etc, puts a notch in every one, even the best. I bought him a 10 bench grinder from B&Q. He can use the fine wheel to both cut the wire and smooth the ends. Wearing safety glasses always, of course.