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Old 11-27-2007, 02:19 PM   #432 (permalink)
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09-14-2007, 08:49 Am

Quick cable end-making tutorial for lemmiwinks, Bigmouse... I'll add pics when I make my next batch of ends.

Stuff you need:

- roll of non-lead content solder (lead solder has less conductivity and lower melting point = bad); flux
- piece of copper pipe, diameter slightly larger than your wire dia.
- torch (I used oxy-acetylene)
- hammer
- vice, vice grips
- grinder/files
- drill


1) Make a crucible from your piece of copper pipe. You'll fill this with solder and dip the wire into it

a) hammer/crimp one end closed;
b) overall depth should be slightly less than the desired length of your cable ends (solder will wick above neck of crucible)
c) I somewhat flattened the body of the crucible to hold my wire in the desired shape as I pushed it in

2) place crucible in vice; melt in solder, roughly 2/3 full .... EDIT: You don't necessarily have to pre-fill the solder pot/crucible. You can just feed solder into the side of the cable at the neck. It's heavy - it'll run down the strands as well as up.

3) strip cable: cut unsulation & slide down but not off the end (will help keep strands in order as you flatten the end)

4) flatten end of cable with a hammer; slide off piece of insulation

leaving the insulation on while flattening helps keep the strands in order

5) flux cable end

6) crucible may be cool enough to work with now - insert cable end into top 1/3, onto hardened solder

7) heat crucible and cable end while pushing down gently on the cable (to move it into the solder when it liquifies) - don't push too hard, or solder will squirt out the sides when it drops down

You may now need pliers/vice grips to handle the hot cable...

8) once cable drops to bottom of crucible, optionally keep adding heat & solder until it has wicked up as far as you want

9) remove cable from crucible before solder hardens (be quick - but careful when you pull it out - solder may drip/splash from end)

cable end after removing from crucible

10) wait for solder to just solidify, then gently hammer to flatten further if desired - make sure solder is hard first! I rushed one, and molten solder spit out of the cable end when I hit it!

11) wait for cable to cool, then grind/file flat surface, drill hole.

I have only tried this using fine strand cable. Coarser strand cable may not work - I think it'll be more likely the end may split when hammering in step 10, or drilling in 11.
Honda mods: Ecomodding my $800 Honda Fit 5-speed beater
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has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners - electric car conversion on a beer budget
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