Horn carbide inserts in an unusual application

by Anna

André Gall, the visionary founder of German firm WireStyle, has pioneered a remarkable fusion of technology and artistry, using in-house developed machines to craft stunning works of art. These intricate creations, based on photos or graphics, are brought to life using an average of 8,000 nails and a single long thread.


The process begins with the rapid hammering of twelve nails per second into a polystyrene sheet, creating a canvas for the thread picture. Each nail, meticulously cut from a reel of aluminum wire, is precisely shaped by indexable carbide inserts from Horn’s S274 tool system.


The magic unfolds as a single thread, spanning approximately 1,200 meters, is intricately wound around the nails. To ensure precision, the WireStyle team has developed sophisticated algorithms that analyze the original image, enhancing contrasting edges and calculating the optimal nail pattern. By varying the amount of thread used in darker versus lighter areas, the reproduction achieves a level of detail and affordability unparalleled by manual methods.

Gall’s journey into this innovative realm stems from his background in physics and a lifelong passion for mechanical and production engineering. Personally building the first prototypes of the nail and thread machines, Gall established WireStyle, showcasing his creations on the renowned German TV start-up show, Die Höhle der Löwen (The Lions’ Den).

To deliver affordable thread paintings, WireStyle machines operate at high speeds, with rapid acceleration reaching up to 5g. Gall’s emphasis on lightweight construction, employing carbon fiber extensively, ensures the machines’ agility and efficiency. As the machine swiftly stretches approximately 50 centimeters of thread per second around nails spaced between a few millimeters and centimeters apart, the process is a mesmerizing blur to the human eye.

At the heart of WireStyle’s precision lies the use of two opposing S274 inserts from Horn, typically employed for grooving and side turning components in a lathe. The sharpness of these inserts, ground with a small wedge angle, guarantees precise cutting of the wire. Crucially, each nail must be precisely 20mm long, demanding accuracy and reliability at every step.

Thanks to the stable seating of each insert, indexed with changeover accuracy better than 0.003mm, WireStyle ensures optimal positioning of the cutting edges. This meticulous approach prevents compromising wire cutting or chipping the sharp insert edges, ensuring flawless execution of each intricate thread painting.

WireStyle’s innovative blend of art and engineering stands as a testament to André Gall’s ingenuity and commitment to pushing the boundaries of creativity. As these mesmerizing thread paintings continue to captivate audiences, Gall’s vision promises to redefine the very canvas of artistic expression.


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