Abstract Wire arc spray is a process for producing coatings and forming structures through the deposition of metal droplets. Wire arc spray has the advantage of low material coast and low power requirements when compared to other thermal spray technologies. This article elaborates on the assumptions made for using single consumable wire geometry, discusses experiments performed to test these assumptions, presents droplet generation results, and addresses required future work. Experiments revealed a critical relationship between wire polarity, wire position, and droplet beam dispersion. The article identifies a critical relationship between wire polarity, wire position, and spray pattern divergence in a single wire arc spray device.