Here’s a reader submission that I wish I’d thought to include long ago: “Basically, if you’re flying around in, say, an airplane — or a race car — you REALLY dont want the bolts holding the thing together coming lose, no matter how much vibration you get at high speeds. This is a method for keeping nuts from loosening out, while still being more removeable than Locktite — or the little bit of weld that I’ve seen some of my friends try to use rather than going out and buying some Locktite. It’s popular with aircraft/racing mechanics, and useful for anybody who has something that really can’t be allowed to fail.”
Safety wire’s great, both for mission critical apps and for hooking things together around the shop — and there’s no better way to deal with it than with safety wire pliers.
For the uninitiated: To use these, you feed the wire through the hole drilled in the nut and bolt, then grab it with the pliers, locking them down. Finally, you pull on the knob in between the pliers’ handles which pulls out in a spiral, spinning the pliers around their central axis and twisting the wire. You can then use the pliers’ cutter to clip the remaining wire off and twist it around the nut.
The pictured pair comes from Klein and is currently listed on eBay for around $80. A quick Froogle search’ll return dozens starting at around $20 — and these are easy to find at the flea market; people often don’t know what they are.
Street Pricing (Safety Wire Pliers) [Froogle]