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Wire Strippers

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Faeflora, Aug 28, 2001.

  1. Faeflora

    Faeflora Guest

    Yes I know this is a menial little question. I really hope someone answers it though :( .

    I'm teaching myself how to build cable. I bought 1500 feet of Canare L-4E5AT foil shield mini star-quad. My current pair of wire strippers severs the wire strands or hacks the wire in two.

    Do you guys reccomend any brand and type of wire strippers for tiny gauge cable like star quad?
  2. Faeflora

    Faeflora Guest

    Oh, if there's one available, a mechanical or motorized stripper with a few presets would be great. I don't know of any that work with stranded tiny gauge wire though.
  3. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Razor blade and a lot of practice is best :)
  4. DanKennedy

    DanKennedy Guest

    About every six months I get one of the regular
    $5 pair of strippers from Radio Shack and drill
    the mechanical stop cam off.

    You need to learn the "feel" of stripping, but
    it is very versatile. From the outer jacket
    of Mogami down to the tiny inside wires in
    just a couple of moves.
  5. Faeflora

    Faeflora Guest

    Thanks for the replies. I'll try the rad shack strippers de-cammed and also exacto knives. I was using razors already actually.

    Here's another question-

    Am I doomed if I sever a few of the wire strands? Should I just hack off that part of the wire and start on a new piece? Right now, I consistently sever 2-8 strands on each small star-quad wire. :(
  6. atlasproaudio

    atlasproaudio Active Member

    Sounds like you are on the short path to some serious cold solder joints...
  7. Aaron-Carey

    Aaron-Carey Active Member

    hehehe I like atlas' comment... :)

    I have gotten every music industry job I had by showing up with a soldering iron, instead of a mic pre, or fx, or a demo tape. I always write my title as " solder jockey extrordinaire". Hey its a noble calling ( right? errrrrr....)


    there are some killer strippers out there, edisyn being one of my favorites, but for any job where Im doing multipair, i get two of the radio shack ones that have the screw for setting size.

    With mogami, first you gotta slice the big outer shell, then I set one wire stripper for the first inner shell guage, then set the other stripper for the size of the three individual wires.

    piant one of the strippers so you know which is which at any time. having 23 multicore sets done and of the right size, its a real bummer if you accidentally grab the wrong stripper and you get one runt!

    This is a time for your very best Huckleberry Finning or mark twaining or whatever....you gotta make it look to your friends as if its the funnest thing in the world, so they will help you with this tedious monotony!

    have fun :)
  8. Faeflora

    Faeflora Guest

    Hey, I'm an ignorant pre-newbie, I gotta learn how to do this!

    I guess I'm taking the challenging path by choosing to cable my whole studio with star quad and making all my cables on my own. It can't be -that- ^#$%ing hard though can it?

    I've read all the rules about heating the work, not the solder, heat the work just enough to flow, that you want smooth and shiny joints not dull matte, tin the iron, twist and tin the cable ends before joining, hold the work still, don't have air blowing directly on the work, use a damp sponge, don't breathe the fumes etc.

    Regarding the Mark Twainesque co-op cable manufacturing plant, I've recruited my girlfriend :) :) :)
  9. Aaron-Carey

    Aaron-Carey Active Member

    Originally posted by Faeflora:
    a damp sponge, don't breathe the fumes etc.

    :) :) :)

    uh oh...NOW I know whats wrong with me!!!!

    first couple hundred may not be so good, but towards the end youll get it most likely.
    It truly is an ART and can be very difficult.
    When I finish a cable, I twist it spin it around, smack the whole loom on the ground, with the idea that a good mechanical connection is a good electrical connection as well.
    SOunds harsh, but better to test them now then to stick it into a patchbay and spend the rest of your life trying to find/fix one bad joint!
  10. gtrmac

    gtrmac Guest

    I think you would be better off using a multipair cable for the built in wiring. We use MR202-xxAT. The L-4E6S makes a nice mic cable. I don't trust a foil shielded cable as a mic cable. I used to use the Xcelite strippers like they sell in Radio Shack for years but I got turned on to these Ideal T-Stripper tools a few years ago. You don't have to adjust the screw for different wires, it has notches for different gauges and the cutter blade can cut through a snake without any trouble. I also found that Olfa knives with replaceable snap off blades are great for cutting the outside jacket. Get a good soldering gun with a holder with a sponge tray and also a work vise to hold the connector. Weller for soldering iron, Panavise for work vise. Having a convenient workvise makes a big difference. Good light and ventilation will make it a less unpleasant job too of course. :)
  11. Faeflora

    Faeflora Guest

    Oooh, I bought a panavise with a suction cup base. I also bought a weller :) . I even bought a little desk/chair/light combo from Rite-Aide for 30 bucks!

    I have a lot of time available. I'd rather save money and do it myself than buy snakes.

    The first 100 cables will likely be crappy??? ;) .

    I'll let you all know what happens. Mostly, I'm worried about hurting my body with the lead. I read that I can use lead-free solder if I solder at a higher temperature. I wonder how lead-free solder affects the sound of the cable?
  12. gtrmac

    gtrmac Guest

    Ventilation is the key. Also you might want to talk to someone about using heat shrink tubing. This is an important ingredient in good cables. You'll be needing a heat gun for this operation.
  13. Faeflora

    Faeflora Guest

    Any reccomendations for ventilation systems?
  14. NYC Drew

    NYC Drew Guest


    Multi pin connections should be crimped, whenever possible, not soldered...

    NYC Drew
  15. Originally posted by Faeflora:
    Any reccomendations for ventilation systems?

    Open a window :)
  16. recordista

    recordista Active Member

    Originally posted by Faeflora:
    Any reccomendations for ventilation systems?

    4" muffin fan on the bench, sucking air (and fumes) away from you and the work. Put a variac on it (for an AC fan) or use a variable DC supply (for a DC computer fan) to quiet it down by running slower. Pointing it it out the door or window is usually good enough but I've seen guys hook them up to dryer hose for use in tight spaces.
  17. Faeflora

    Faeflora Guest

    Here's a little update on my cable project:

    Well it's been about 30 days and I've made about 30 cables. I'm now averaging 1/2 hour to strip the outer rubber and foil shield, 4 inner wires, twist the ground, tin the tips, and to solder the joints. TRS 1/4" Neutrik are a pain compared to the XLR Neutrik.

    It's not that bad. I rigged up a bathroom exhaust fan and duct taped a dryer hose to the output pipe. I then stuffed the dryer hose with filter paper from a 3M heater/AC ventilation screen. This 3M filter is supposed to filter out viruses. I don't know if it'll catch formaldehyde and lead but the room smells fine when I'm using it. Oh, and the dryer hose kinda ends up nestled in my carpet so I have a "carpet filter". Haha :) but it works. I just have to avoid licking that spot on the rug.

    I tried using a filter mask from home depot but I think it ^#$%ed me up as more than when I didn't have it. I think that the vapors got trapped inside the mask, that the filters didn't work well enough.

    I bought a bunch of wire strippers but returned most of them. I now just use the artist razor blades- the triangular type on that metal stick. They work nicely :) .

    I had problems for a while learning how to make a good joint. I had the iron temperature too high and was soldering too slowly and all the rosin would seperate from the solder and float to the top. Argh!

    I'm doing allright now though. I think I like it. It feels good to be building my studio like this.

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