When the job calls for low-impact solutions for surface finishing, wire brushes fit the bill. Available in a variety of shapes and wire configurations for most every application, brushes offer the flexibility to clean hard-to-reach places and conform to irregular surfaces, which more rigid abrasive products are unble to do.
A key benefit of wire brushes over their coated abrasive counterparts is they can remove unwanted surface contaminants without removing any base material. This makes them usable for a range of applications, such as metal removal, deburring, surface preparation, blending, cleaning and light coatings removal.
Recognizing the need for an economical wire brush line with a full scope of options, Norton | Saint-Gobain offers a new range of industrial wire brushes for surface processing with a comprehensive selection of brush types. Wire brushes come in a variety of shapes, including cup, wheel, end and tube, while wire configurations are also varied, including crimped, standard twist knot and stringer bead twist knot. Filaments come in carbon steel, stainless steel, brass and nylon.
“This is another step in ensuring we provide our customers with a single-stop shopping experience when it comes to metal removal, surface preparation, blending or cleaning,” says Mike Radaelli, director of product management, thin wheels and construction, Norton | Saint-Gobain.
Obtaining maximum results with wire brushes means finding a balance between the workpiece penetration, work speed and RPMs to allow for optimal brush life and cut rates. Here are some tips to keep in mind when working with wire brushes.
Most importantly, operate the brush with the lightest pressure possible, allowing the tips of the wire brush to do the work. Lower speeds and lighter pressure generate less heat and require less power. If heavy pressure is applied, wires become overstressed, resulting in a wiping action, which, if continued, creates wire fatigue and possible breakage, shortening brush life.
Therefore, instead of increasing the pressure applied, consider a more aggressive brush. There are a few ways to make a brush more aggresive.
Increase the wire diameter. Although using the finest diameter wire available is recommended, all things being equal, a thicker filament is typically more aggressive (see Table 1).
Use a shorter trim length – trim length being the amount of usable filament. Longer trim lengths allow for a more flexible brush, making them the choice for maximum conformity on irregular surfaces. Shorter trim lengths create a stiffer brush with faster cut rates, shorter cycle times, increased performance consistency and longer life. They are recommended for applications that do not require a high degree of brush conformability.
Use a different brush configuration. In crimped wire brushes, individual filaments are supported only by each other, which creates a lot of flexibility. These brushes are for work on irregular surfaces, finer surface finishing and light- to medium-duty contaminant removal applications.
Standard twist knot wire brushes ensure longer life, making them the choice for more aggressive applications requiring higher impact action and a rougher surface finish. Standard twist knot brushes are made with straight wire filaments that are twisted together to make more rigid rope- or cable-like pieces.
Stringer bead twist knot wire brushes are more tightly twisted to the end of the knot than standard twist knots. This configuration creates a narrower face and the highest impact action possible.
“These brushes are the choice for tough weld scale cleaning, removing the bead scale that occurs at the initial joining of two sections of pipe, root and hot weld pass cleaning, and the most aggressive brushing applications,” Radaelli says.
For Every App
The new Norton wire brush line covers every application. For use with right-angle cup grinders, wire cup brushes are for deburring and roughing; cleaning rust, scale, paint and oxidation; cleaning corners, recesses and other hard-to-reach areas; and removing concrete and large surfaces. They are available in twist knot or crimped configurations.
Wire wheel brushes are for the toughest, most aggressive surface cleaning applications, including removing weld scale, spatter, extra-heavy rust and corrosion. They’re also good for cleaning pipe joints, surface roughening, light- to medium-duty surface cleaning and contaminant removal. For use with die grinders, drill presses and angle grinders, the wheels are configured in standard twist knot, stringer bead twist knot and crimped in multiple sizes and trim lengths.
End brushes are for cleaning and deburring recessed areas or inside diameters of tubes and pipes to the proper surface finish, rubber and plastic flash removal, paint and rust removal, and mold and tool polishing. The brushes are used on CNC machines, robotic systems, die grinders and drill presses.
Tube brushes are for cleaning, polishing, reaming, finishing and removing debris, burrs, rust, residues and surface contaminants inside cylindrical items, including tubes, pipes, bottles, smooth-sided and threaded holes, and other industrial components. They are used manually or fastened to portable or fixed machines, including drills, drill presses and CNC machines.
In addition, hand wire brushes are available with ergonomic handles for added user comfort with a curved face and narrow brush shape for access into tight areas and slots.
No matter the brush style, there are four Norton filament types: carbon steel, stainless steel, brass and nylon. Table 2 shows the four types and when to use each.
Specific to Norton, the Blaze nylon filaments are self-sharpening ceramic alumina abrasives that feature elongated-shaped ceramic grains that possess extreme point endurance and micro-fracturing properties. Cutting points are increased as the grain is exposed and cut equally when pressure is applied to the side or tip of the filament. Uniform distribution of grain throughout the filaments allows cutting and finishing performance levels to remain consistent throughout the life of the brush.
The heat- and stress-resistant filaments prolong brush life and allow for superior conformability to irregular surface shapes. The filaments act as a flexible file to deburr radius edge profiles with precision without gouging or affecting the overall geometry of a part. The filaments bend at various angles to fit contours, creating a less prominent, more uniform surface finish in comparison to wire wheels or coated abrasive products. Brush conformability allows usage on a variety of complex part shapes without the need for ultra-precise programming and fixturing that is required with other deburring and finishing tools.
Part of the new Norton line is the new packaging for the brushes that prevents nicks to the products. Along with protecting its products, Norton wants to protect its product users. So it’s always safety first. Norton reminds operators to always wear personal protective equipment when using abrasive brushes, including goggles and gloves.
In addition to using the appropriate tool safety guards and the proper mounting technique, operators should also read and comply with ANSI B165 “Power-Driven Brushing Tools: Safety Requirement for Design, Care, and Use.” The standard establishes the rules and specifications for safety that apply in the design, use and care of power-driven brushing tools. And, finally, check out the safety documents that come in the product packages.