How to Braid Wire Rope

Like other materials which can be braided, wire cables or ropes can also be braided for a wide range of applications. They are widely used for heavy duty tasks and high capacity lifts due to their superior strength and flexibility. They are also easy to handle since they are flexible besides ensuring superior load control due to their wide surface area. Braided wire ropes are available in a wide range of configurations which may include 6, 8 or 9 part braided wire rope slings.


  1. Image titled Braid Wire Rope Step 1
    Know how many strands of wire you'll be braiding.
    • The complexity of the braiding process will depend on the number of strands of the wire. The number of strands to be used will also depend on the nature of the application in question. Generally, wires with more strands which have been braided together will be stronger and thick in diameter.
    • Before you begin this process put on your gloves and separate the strands of wires you would wish to braid. Clamp one end of the wire strands and ensure that they have been secured properly in preparation for the braiding process. Attach a clamp to the top of all the strands and use a screwdriver to tighten the screws in the clamp. This is to ensure that all the strands are secured firmly. The strands of wires will be attached together to one end point. To braid wire rope, you will begin from that end where all the wire strands diverge from.
  2. Image titled Braid Wire Rope Step 2
    Separate the strands of wire.
    • With all the strands of wires separated and the hands fully protected with the gloves you can begin to braid the wire rope.
    • Three strands of wires; assuming that you have started with the left strand, place it in between the other two strands of wires such that the strand of wire which was initially on the left becomes the strand at the middle. Then, place the right strand in between the other two strands such that it becomes the middle strand of wire. Then, pull and return the old middle stand, which will now be on the left side over again to be the middle strand again. Continue with this process as you tighten them each time to make a tight braid.
    • Five strands of wires; this is a more advanced technique of the braiding process. To braid wire rope with five strands, you must be well conversant with the process involved in braiding the three and the four wire strands first. As the number of strands increase, the process becomes more and more complicated. First, you have to separate all the five stands of wires. Take the three middle strands of wires and do only one stitch of a three strand braid. That is, assuming you start with the one on the left; place it to the center to become the middle strand, take the one on the right and put it to the center to be the middle strand and finally, the one which was initially the middle strand and now the left strand should be taken back to be the middle strand.
  3. Image titled Braid Wire Rope Step 3
    Pull the wire strands correctly.
    • With the two outside strands of the previous step’s braid; pull the strand which was on the left and pull it over the outside strand on the left. Again, pull the one which was on the right and pull the strand over one outermost strand on the right side. This process may seem complicated as the number of wire strands increase. As a rule of thumb; begin with the three strands since it is easier to follow before proceeding to the next level. You can begin by practicing with thread which is softer to turn and twist before opting for wires.
    • Similarly, it is advisable to begin the process by doing it for wires with smaller diameters before going for wires with slightly thicker diameters. It is such a simple process though if you master the basic concepts. During this process, other equipment such as pliers also become essential since you use it to tighten the braid by pulling the strands each time.
  4. Image titled Braid Wire Rope Step 4
    Secure loose ends.
    • After you have reached the desired length of the wire rope, you must secure the loose ends. Generally, this is a simple DIY procedure. The process in industrial set up is not different from the DIY procedure. The only difference comes in the kind of machines which are used to accomplish the process. Most braiding machines have been automated with the advancement in technology. The DIY procedure is really tiresome if you have to braid a very long peace of wire.
    • Moreover, different metals have different strength which may make it cumbersome when it comes to braiding stronger wire ropes. In fact, the DIY process is not just suitable for most wires with thicker diameters.


  • The choice of equipment and tools will depend on the size of wire rope you would wish to braid. Wires with thicker diameters will require robust tools and equipment. There are quite a number of wire braiding machines which are available in the market and each braiding machine is recommended for a specific application.
  • A good machine should guarantee high output, come with low maintenance operations, should offer continuous operation and should also be versatile i.e. suitable to braid steel wires, copper wires and aluminum wires just to mention a few.
  • Equal strands of wire rope which can be twisted in the same way. That is, they can be left hand twisted or right hand twisted. The wires should be of the same diameter. That is to say, they should all be ¼ inches or 516 inch (0.8 cm) in diameter. To braid a three strands wire rope, one will require three different strands of wires of equal diameter.
  • Clips - the size will also vary depending on the diameter of the wire rope to be braided. For instance, to braid ¼ inch wire diameter, you will require 2 3⁄4 inch (10.2 cm) clips.
  • Vise - this is where the wires will be clamped. The size of the vise will also depend on the diameter of the wires.
  • Screwdriver - like other requirements, it will also vary with the diameter of the wire. It can be used alongside other equipment such as pliers to twist the wire and to tighten the vise.
  • Gloves - they are safety equipment which protect hands from injuries. Pulling wires without gloves can result to injuries since some wires more so those with thinner diameters tend to sink deep in the skin creating a cut.
  • Every machine has been designed for a specific application. For example, to braid wire ropes with high tensile strength steel wire which are to be used on hose pipes, it is advisable to go for the horizontal types. On the other hand, most vertical wire braiding machines which are available in the market are mostly used to braid soft metals which are also pliable and ductile. Generally, these machines have very many carrier options with some varying between 3 and 128. This far much above the DIY process. Basically, the DIY procedure which involves more than four strands of wire is a very hectic process which is also very slow. This makes the braiding machines the only viable option.
  • Go for those machines with features which are fundamental to the kind of task you are doing. Some of these features may include the existence of both horizontal and vertical axes; alloy hardening steel decks; adjustable speeds through frequency converter; integrated soundproof cabinet; heat treated horn gear and horn plate; induction hardened steel base and carrier etc.
  • Whether you go for the braiding machine for large scale braiding process or DIY for simple process, cleaning and keeping equipment safely after use is imperative. In fact, the braiding machines can only be efficient and effective if they are maintained regularly.

Article Info

Categories: Metalwork and Wire Projects