Unusual application for Horn carbide inserts

André Gall, founder of German firm WireStyle, uses in-house developed machines to create works of art based on a photo or graphic using an average of 8,000 nails and a long thread. Twelve nails are hammered into a polystyrene sheet every second to create a canvas for the thread picture. Each nail is cut from a reel of aluminium wire by a pair of indexable carbide inserts from Horn’s S274 tool system.

A picture is created by a single thread measuring around 1,200 metres. To determine the exact path as it is being wound around the nails, the WireStyle team developed complex algorithms to identify and enhance the contrasting edges in the original image and calculate the individual nail pattern. More thread is used in the darker parts of the picture than in the lighter areas and the reproduction is better and less expensive than could ever be achieved by hand.

To make thread paintings affordable for customers, the machines have to operate at high speed. Due to rapid acceleration at up to 5g, Gall favoured lightweight construction and employed a lot of carbon fibre. The machine stretches about 50 centimetres of thread per second around the nails, which are between a few millimetres and a few centimetres apart. During the process, the eye is barely able to follow the thread puller.

Two opposing S274 inserts from Horn, which are normally used for grooving and side turning components in a lathe, are clamped in the nailing head of a WireStyle machine. Precise cutting of the wire is ensured by the sharpness of the inserts, which are ground with a small wedge angle. Accuracy and reliability are very important, as each nail has to be exactly 20 mm long.




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