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How to Design Out Wire Form Costs With Drilling

When it comes to cutting costs, most companies don’t consider the problem lying in the little details. Some of your smallest parts could be the most costly due to overlooked alternatives in production, design and tooling.

At Argo Products, we like to consider ourselves the manufacturing problem solvers. Our passion is finding new ways to save you money that you may have overlooked. One cost saving detail that can really add up is drilling vs. snap ring grooves. Let us explain…


Wire forms are often used to link components together. Unless the part is being welded to another component, the wire form must have some feature to join the two parts. These features are varied in cost, complexity and effectiveness. Some of those features are, drilled holes, flattened ends with a pierced hole, threads, snap ring grooves and other features. Many times designers choose a snap ring groove to hold the connection to another part. For instance, a spring is installed next to a
positive stop. The other end of the spring is contained by a washer that is held in place with a snap ring. This is an effective manner of containing the spring. Is it cost effective? Not compared to other methods of securing a spring.

Cutting a snap ring groove is not a fast process. While it can be done in a number of ways, most snap ring grooves are machined into the rod. Machining is slow. Slow equals expensive. Also, the rod is weaker in the area that has been machined. CNC machines can also cut snap ring grooves, but there are two issues with CNC generated snap ring grooves:

  1. The edges are rounded. The groove is not a clean, square cut.
  2. The machine slows appreciably during this process. While the machine is cutting the groove, the forming heads are not forming the part. Throughput is affected.

A more economical method of attachment is a drilled hole. The location and diameter of a drilled hole can be held to exacting tolerances. Also, drilling equipment has progressed to the point that it is as fast as the CNC bender. It is not uncommon to drill a hole for ½ the cost of a snap ring groove.

Both operations are effective, and while neither operation is complex, we have found here at Argo that drilling is much more cost effective than a snap ring groove.




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