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Wiring Fundamentals: Cutting and Stripping

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Cutting and Stripping

02.10

00:00 - Cutting wires might seem like it's reasonable self explanatory, but it does bear some discussion particularly revolving around the tools that we use.
00:08 I find I have three go to tools for this application.
00:10 For wires eight AWG and larger, I use a set of cable shears, which have long 250 mil handles to give you a lot of mechanical advantage, and they have curved jaws to make sure that the cable stays in place as you're cutting it.
00:24 For wires in the 10 to 16 AWG range, I use a set of standard 165 millimeter side cutters.
00:32 And for wires smaller than this I use a set of electronic flush cutters.
00:36 For the small wires you don't need the mechanical advantage of the larger tools and the parallel cut they give you at the end of the wires becomes exceptionally important when we're inserting those wires into a terminal and then crimping them.
00:48 The flush cutters can also be particularly handy for trimming the end of cable ties as they can be cut close to the locking section which prevents there being a jagged end sticking out.
00:56 Those jagged ends can be a real hazard as anyone that's reached into an engine bay and struck one will be painfully aware of.
01:02 To make cutting all your wires to the right length a little bit easier, it's best to set up a semi permanent scale on the surface you're working on.
01:08 A sewing tape measure does a really good job of this.
01:11 You can pin it in place and keep it nice and flat.
01:14 Or if you don't wanna leave any marks on the surface you're working on, you can use blu-tack to hold it down temporarily.
01:19 When it comes time to crimp the electrical connector terminals onto the wires of your harness, or splice multiple wires together, you're going to have to strip back a section of the insulation to bare the copper conductor strands underneath.
01:30 We use a specific set of tools for this, called wire strippers.
01:33 And they see a lot of use during wiring harness construction and they have some particular requirements they need to satisfy.
01:39 When you're selecting wire strippers, it's best to go with an automatic set, that will grip the insulation, cut it, and remove it all in one hand action.
01:48 The units we've got here are the Ideal Stripmaster range and I particularly like them 'cause they're very robust and relatively inexpensive.