For this edition of The Wire we thought it was fitting to demystify taper wire both from a manufacturing standpoint and a medical standpoint.
To my knowledge, the best way to taper wire is still though the OD (outside diameter) grinding process. There may by 3d printers which can build tapers through an additive process but for small precision medical wires, the best way to taper is by grinding off material around the radius of the wire. From a cost standpoint, having a guidewire with a taper is going to be more expensive than just having a straight wire since there is an added manufacturing component to the product. Calling out specific dimensions on your taper drawing can be difficult for your manufacturer to achieve. Most often the tapers that we achieve have generalized specifications such as when the taper begins and when it ends. If you are trying to achieve specific taper angles, make sure to talk through these angles with your manufacturer in advance to make sure that there are not extra costs and time constraints to doing so.
Tapers in Medical Devices
The use of mandrel tapers, guidewire tapers and stylet tapers has grown more prevalent as precision manufacturing process has evolved. From a medical maneuverability stand point, doctors may have an easier time using taper wire. Tapering wire enables the wire to have different characteristics such as flexibility and firmness. As an example, we have manufactured wire from from .024″ down to .001″ in diameter. Taper wire can be more atraumatic than the alternative since if you are putting inside of a vessel a smaller tip may be easier to fit in than the full radius of the wire.
If you have questions about tapering your next guidewire, stylet or mandrel don’t hesitate to reach out, we can help. We have manufactured flexible guidewires, superstiff guidewires, stiff guidewires, taper wire, taper coil and any other type of wire you can imagine.