Wondering the best material to make a barbed wire gripper?
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  1. #1
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    Default Wondering the best material to make a barbed wire gripper?

    I'm not a professional machinist, but need the advice of one please.

    I was using a wire grip sometime ago to stretch some barbed wire and the gripper instantly and catastrophically failed. This can be a serious issue. The taut wire, instantly released of it's tension, can slide through flesh like a chain saw. In this instance I was lucky and avoided getting cut.

    The wire grip I was using looks like this:

    wire-gripper.jpg

    It's actually a good design in that it clamps the wire without damaging or kinking it. You insert the wire in the "cut-out" of the ring, then spin the ring so that the wire is between the ring and tapered post.


    Here's another pic of how the grip grabs the wire:

    wire-grip.jpg

    The problem is that these grippers are now all made in China using cheap cast. When the one I was using failed, it never even gave a hint of failure (like bending a little). It just snapped without any warning. It's the ring which goes around the tapered post which broke. This naturally seems like the weakest point to me because the ring is not a solid ring, but has the "cut-out" to allow for insertion of the wire between the ring and post.

    Because the design is what I need, I'd like to make one myself, but want to use a material that will give a little warning before failure (like deforming/bending a little) instead of just snapping. Or alternatively, a material strong enough it won't break.

    I may be over thinking this because just about steel would be stronger than the cheap cast used in the original tool, but I thought I'd run it by you good folks. The cheap cast of the original was "almost" strong enough. The barbed wire was stretched just about tight enough when the gripper broke.

    Would 1018 work? Or, I have some O1 drill rod. Thoughts on using that? Or something else?

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    I'd go with a premium material if you're going to put in all this work, especially with the real price being your safety. 1144 Fatigue-Proof or a 4140ph would be a couple options.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milland View Post
    I'd go with a premium material if you're going to put in all this work, especially with the real price being your safety. 1144 Fatigue-Proof or a 4140ph would be a couple options.
    I'd not only agree, but also suggest "upsizing" some dimensions such as the OD of the split ring. I'd probably start with something like a quality forged eye bolt (for the ring) and turn the shank to the required taper.

    In order to make something like this you'll almost certainly need to make the split ring large enough to slip over the large end (at a red heat) and squeeze it to make the ID smaller.

    I 100% agree about the hazards of made in China crap. I strongly suspect several high-profile vehicle and equipment failures in the news may have involved substandard parts that looked as if they had been made to proper standards.

    On the subject of Chinese "quality", I recently had to return a brand new (China made) air tool from a well known U.S. Tool company and was so disgusted I went out and bought a used one of older U.S. manufacture. The Chinese one had a highly visible machining defect that was so gross it should have been obvious to even the most unseasoned factory worker.

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I've read a little about the 4140 pre-hard. That looks like a good option.

    I too thought it was a good idea to over build the ring by making the O.D. bigger. The I.D. doesn't have to be big enough to slip over the end though. If I'm thinking correctly, the notch out of the split ring just needs to be big enough to slip over the neck of the tapered post.

    It would be nice to compress the split ring a little bit, so it doesn't come back off the neck of tapered post though. Would it be destructive to 4140ph to heat the split ring and compress it a little once it's on the post, so the split ring won't slip back off the neck of the post? Alternatively, I could weld a very small amount on the end of the split ring to keep it from coming back off the neck of the post?

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    I'd turn a tapered shaft, then ID thread the small end 1/2-13. Turn your ring's ID with a matching taper and sufficient OD for strength. Ring needs a nice bevel so as not to pinch the wire, and the slot just narrow enough to not come off the shaft.

    Slip on your ring, then thread in a shouldered lift eye and you're golden. Adding a swivel is possible, it just costs more.

    Shaft and ring would be 4140HT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randalthor View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions. I've read a little about the 4140 pre-hard. That looks like a good option.

    I too thought it was a good idea to over build the ring by making the O.D. bigger. The I.D. doesn't have to be big enough to slip over the end though. If I'm thinking correctly, the notch out of the split ring just needs to be big enough to slip over the neck of the tapered post.

    It would be nice to compress the split ring a little bit, so it doesn't come back off the neck of tapered post though. Would it be destructive to 4140ph to heat the split ring and compress it a little once it's on the post, so the split ring won't slip back off the neck of the post? Alternatively, I could weld a very small amount on the end of the split ring to keep it from coming back off the neck of the post?
    If you don’t overdo the compressing it should be ok.
    You can safely heat 4140 HT to about 1100F without affecting the tensile strenght and tempering. Pressing the heated ring to smaller opening takes only about one third of the force compared to room temperature

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    Try a different design that eliminates the weakness of the one you have, cam lock comes to mind.

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    Get a cable grip like this:
    Tyler Tool 1/32" - 3/8" Wire Rope & Cable Grip, 0.5 Ton Capacity

    If you are anywhere close to Emporia, go to Bluestem Farm and Ranch Supply and see what they have for selection. A truly great hardware store.

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    The cross section of the gripper is so great compared to the wire that material strength will not be an issue. Abrasive wear from the wire might warrant a harder material.
    Don't bother trying to reproduce the ring end. Use an eye nut.

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    I have to ask whAt is the point of that tool? Every barbed wire fence I ever helped put up you simply wrapped the wire around whatever winch hook, trailer ball, or fence puller and tightened it up. That tool looks like it uses the barb to pull which can slip

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    Its an old blacksmith's pattern wire grip, which I guess is the attraction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randalthor View Post
    I'm not a professional machinist, but need the advice of one please.

    I was using a wire grip sometime ago to stretch some barbed wire and the gripper instantly and catastrophically failed. This can be a serious issue. The taut wire, instantly released of it's tension, can slide through flesh like a chain saw. In this instance I was lucky and avoided getting cut.

    The wire grip I was using looks like this:

    wire-gripper.jpg

    It's actually a good design in that it clamps the wire without damaging or kinking it. You insert the wire in the "cut-out" of the ring, then spin the ring so that the wire is between the ring and tapered post.


    Here's another pic of how the grip grabs the wire:

    wire-grip.jpg

    The problem is that these grippers are now all made in China using cheap cast. When the one I was using failed, it never even gave a hint of failure (like bending a little). It just snapped without any warning. It's the ring which goes around the tapered post which broke. This naturally seems like the weakest point to me because the ring is not a solid ring, but has the "cut-out" to allow for insertion of the wire between the ring and post.

    Because the design is what I need, I'd like to make one myself, but want to use a material that will give a little warning before failure (like deforming/bending a little) instead of just snapping. Or alternatively, a material strong enough it won't break.

    I may be over thinking this because just about steel would be stronger than the cheap cast used in the original tool, but I thought I'd run it by you good folks. The cheap cast of the original was "almost" strong enough. The barbed wire was stretched just about tight enough when the gripper broke.

    Would 1018 work? Or, I have some O1 drill rod. Thoughts on using that? Or something else?
    Tractor supply has one very strong

    Tuf-Tug Wire Clamp at Tractor Supply Co.

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    Quote Originally Posted by omcgee View Post
    Tractor supply has one very strong

    Tuf-Tug Wire Clamp at Tractor Supply Co.
    Read the reviews there.

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    Thanks again for all the responses.

    Answers to a few questions mentioned:

    The reason for the wire grip is that when barb wire breaks, or gets cut you can put one grip on each end of the wire, crank them together with a come-a-long, then crimp the fence back together. Very fast and easy and looks neat and tidy. The style of grip I am looking at duplicating doesn't grab the barbs. Due to the taper, it pinches the wire really hard. The harder the pull, the harder the split ring grips the wire.

    I had considered a cable grip like the one suggested: Tyler Tool 1/32" - 3/8" Wire Rope & Cable Grip, 0.5 Ton Capacity

    But I had read some reviews of other grips that style which didn't sound like they worked super great on barb wire. Maybe it's because barbed wire is only two strands which are loosely woven? Still the Tyler tool does look like good quality. Maybe it would work?

    I really like the idea of machining the tapered post on the gripper I am looking at duplicating. Then threading the end and screwing on an eye hook. That solves the problem of getting the split ring over the tapered post and easier to make. Special thanks to those who suggested it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randalthor View Post
    I really like the idea of machining the tapered post on the gripper I am looking at duplicating. Then threading the end and screwing on an eye hook. That solves the problem of getting the split ring over the tapered post and easier to make.
    Don't forget to locktite the screw into the cone, to keep it from slowly unscrewing. Or, cross-pin it.

    But I bet that in the old days, this was made by a blacksmith.

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    Forged not cast too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by garyhlucas View Post
    Forged not cast too.
    Yes, that's implied by "blacksmith", but probably best to be explicit.


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