Wire rope clamps secure your wire rope in place with the twist of a wrench. Installing them is a simple process, with the right tools and knowledge.
What are Wire Rope and Wire Rope Clamps?
Wire rope clamps are used to clamp down the loose end of a wire rope. They're also called u-bolt clamps or u-bolt clips, simply because of their "u" shape. Wire rope is made of metal "threads" that are woven together and used to secure something in place, like a load of heavy cargo. It's also used for rigging purposes. When the rope is looped to hold something in place, the wire rope clamps secure the ends. The clamps also allow two lengths of wire rope to be spliced together. Round metal ferrules are an alternative to clamps and are used to clamp down and cover the end of the rope. Extra tools are needed for ferrules, but some may prefer the complete coverage as opposed to multiple clamps.
The wire rope clamps are comprised of a saddle, a u-bolt and two hex nuts the tighten around the wire. The saddle should always be facing up when securing the clamps. There's a saying to help remember this – never saddle a dead horse. A bit morbid, but a reminder that the saddle sits on top, not below.
Looping Rope and Thimble
When the wire rope has been looped or bent to attach to a hanging point, it creates an eyelet that needs to be reinforced. A thimble is a curved metal tool (much like the shape of a teardrop) that's placed within the eyelet of the rope, keeping the rope curved and adding extra protection from wear. The end of the rope is referred to as a "dead end." A stomp or a sleeve is added to the end of the rope to protect it from fraying.
Prepare the Wire Rope
When you thread the wire rope through its holding place, hold the end tightly against the rest of the rope. Your loop has been made, and your rope now contains an eyelet. You can use duct tape to hold the loop in place at this stage. If you're splicing together two ropes, hold the two strands against each other and wrap with duct tape to keep them in place.
Prepare and Attach the Wire Rope Clamps
Turn the hex nuts attached to the wire rope clamps counterclockwise to remove the u-bolt from the saddle of the clamp. The u-bolt will slide over the dead end of the wire rope. This part should be underneath the rope. The saddle goes on top of the rope (remember the dead-horse saying) and attaches to the u-bolt. Tighten the two hex nuts on the thread section of the u-bolt to secure the saddle.
Additional Wire Rope Clamps
Once the first clamp is attached, measure out an appropriate amount of space for the next one. Space will be determined by your project, the size of the clamps and the rope. Most clamps come with suggested placement on the packaging. Repeat the process of preparing and attaching the wire rope clamp for the second and third clamps. Your project may need more, so repeat as needed.
Tighten All Clamps
Never overtighten your clamps, since this can damage the rope. The clamps should be evenly spaced with the saddle facing up. Starting from the clamp closest to the dead end, use a torque wrench to tighten each hex nut until you hear a click from the wrench. Tighten all the hex nuts down the line until the clamps are flush. If the packaging recommends a torque setting for the clamps, tighten until it's reached.