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Twisting Wire Woes!

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Rileyesi, May 8, 2004.

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  1. Rileyesi

    Rileyesi Guest

    I need to make a bunch of lengths of multi-conductor cables with soldered wire
    ends. To be specific, the cable is 3 conductor of 18 gage multi-strand wires.
    I started with a spool of cable, chopped the 4 feet I needed, cut the outer
    jacket back and stripped the individual conductors back. Now, I need to
    solder/tin the exposed ends of the wires. This is a "hand" process and my
    fingers are getting raw twisting the wire strands together before I tin them.

    I have about 100 cables to do (i.e. 600 wires to twist!). Other than twisting
    them in my fingers before soldering them, are there any alternatives?!? I
    tried using gloves (both latex and cotton) and the "touch" just is not there.
    The wire ends just frayed.

    One last thing, I intend to use a solder pot to tin the wire ends. The wires
    in the multistrand wires are silver in color. Do I need to dip them in flux
    before dipping them into the solder pot??

  2. Can't help with the fingers but IMHO it would be best to use just a tad of
    flux, in another lifetime powdered rosin was available :). Another tip is
    to dip the wire in the pot and withdraw it straight away then back in again
    until you see the coating thus added start to flow. It seemed to me to give
    a better result when I used that method.
  3. Gordon Youd

    Gordon Youd Guest

    If you use a wire stripper you can strip the outer casing back but don't
    take it right off, leave it just on the end and solder the part of the wire

    Then cut off the end, "voila" nice neat soldered ends.

    Regards, Gordon.
  4. CFoley1064

    CFoley1064 Guest

    Subject: Twisting Wire Woes!
    Hi. It looks like the second part of your question has been answered pretty
    adequately. For the first part, when I had to twist up several wires of the
    same length, I used a 1/4" variable speed hand drill. Clamp one end of the
    wire bundle in a bench vise, chuck up the other end of the bundle in the hand
    drill, and go for it (slowly!). Remember that the ends of the wire in the
    drill chuck are going to be under a lot of stress, and you might get wire
    breakage under the insulation there. I just cut off the last inch in the
    chuck. A small price to pay for increased reliability. And don't go overboard
    -- excessive twisting will torque out the wires. Since most wire has internal
    splicing, you can cause separation of the spliced segments by

    I hope you've gotten the answer in time to save you blisters.

    Good luck
  5. It is much easier to twist long lengths of cable and then cut it into
    shorter lengths. The problem with twisting wires ( or rope) is that
    it just untwists if you try to just rotate the ends while holding the
    other end still (as in a vise). The trick to this is to rotate the
    ends while letting the twisted end rotate the other way, so that the
    individual strands end up with no twist at all, but the strands are
    wrapped around each other.

    So you need a bearing that will anchor one end while letting it turn,
    and a ganged crank to twist each of the far ends in synchronism. A
    couple pieces of wood drilled to pass three cranks made of coat hanger
    wire works pretty well. A spreader with a hole for each strand to
    pass through is handy to set the tightness of the twist as you crank.
    You start with the spreader near the bearing, and as the wire
    accumulates twist, pull the spreader back slowly toward the cranks.

    Here is a page that shows the idea of the ganged cranks:

    I used a set like that to make some big trifilar toroidal chokes with
    12 gauge stranded (THHN) wire.
  6. Louis Bybee

    Louis Bybee Guest

    Unless I'm misreading the OPs request he is asking for recommendations
    regarding twisting the exposed/stripped ends of the wire before dipping them
    into the soldering pot. I don't believe he's looking to twist the length of
    the conductors. They are probably already twisted inside the cable jacket?

  7. Oops. Never mind.
  8. You weren't the only one. I saw the subject header, and was about to
    suggest that he simply chuck his wires in a drill and let it run slowly.

    Then I read more carefully, and realzie that wasn't at all what he wanted.

  9. It starts with the cutting; make sure your tool is sharp

    More important still, the stripping method can mess up the nicest bundle
    of wires.
    I have a thermal stripper that is basically a v-shaped blade whose inside
    edge gets hot... you insert the wire and work it against those edges and
    pull the insulation off. THe wire stays nicely bundled.
    Was made by Patco Service Inc in Baltimore - now seemingly defunct. They
    used to advertise in Nuts and Volts Magazine.
    YOu could probably make something like it using nichrome wire, a
    transformer and resistor.
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