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How to cut steel cable cleanly?

xxPaulCPxx's picture

I've go a project where I'm cutting lengths of 1/8"steel cable an crimpingthem in ferulles.


My problem is cutting them.  I got a set of 24" bolt cutters, but that just seems to fray the ends as thy are crushed, rather than cut.  What is the secret to a clean cut?


Rebuilding my home in Cypress, CA
Also a CRX fanatic!


I don't feel it's healthy to keep your faults bottled up inside me.

YAY!  I love WYSISYG editing!  And Spellcheck!

____________________________________________________

(post #84194, reply #1 of 25)

Cable cutter. Scissor action, with hook-shaped jaws.


Corporation: n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility. --Ambrose Bierce


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #84194, reply #2 of 25)

Check Harbor freight if this is going to be a one time thing and there is not a lot to cut. The yellow bolt cutter one has two other cutting areas aft of the pivot.


http://www.harborfreightusa.com/usa/itemdisplay/displayItemList.do?search.keyword=cable+cutter


Otherwise look below.


Take a look at these:


http://www.kleintools.com/


Heavy-Duty Cable Shears

    Product Index  > Cable and Bolt Cutters  > Cable Cutters  > Heavy-Duty Cable Shears  > 63016

Heavy-Duty Cable Shears


  • Heavy-duty, tempered steel blades.
  • Blades grip cable and cut easily at center of jaws.
  • Lock keeps handles closed for easy storage.
  • Comfortable, plastic-coated handles for steady grip.
  • Hardened steel, precision cutting blades for long service life.
  • Unique triangular jaws cleanly cut cable without compression or frayed ends.
  • Lightweight tool perfect for overhead cutting.
 

Pictured:
63016 
 

Line Art:
63016 
 

Cat. No.
Handle Color
Maximum Cable Cutting Capacity
Overall Length
Weight (lbs.)

63016
Blue 
up to 1/4" copper and mild steel strands, up to 3/16" aircraft cable, wire rope, aluminum and copper rods, up to 5/32" for steel & iron rods 
7-1/2"
(191) 
.65 

All dimensions are in inches and (millimeters) except where indicated.


For those who have fought for it Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

Edited 10/8/2008 12:57 pm ET by rasconc

Edited 10/8/2008 1:00 pm ET by rasconc


Edited 10/8/2008 1:14 pm ET by rasconc

For those who have fought for it Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

(post #84194, reply #7 of 25)

Thanks to everyone who replied.


HF had exactly what I wanted.  I even stopped by Lowes first as I had a discount coupon... no joy there.


I was thinking abbout the angle grinder too.  The only thing I would worry about is the potential for a loose bit of cable to bind in the hub and start winding at 10,000 RPM!


Rebuilding my home in Cypress, CA
Also a CRX fanatic!


I don't feel it's healthy to keep your faults bottled up inside me.

YAY!  I love WYSISYG editing!  And Spellcheck!

____________________________________________________

(post #84194, reply #8 of 25)

Out of curiosity which HF one did you get?  And did you go there after or before reading my post.


Bob


For those who have fought for it Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
For those who have fought for it Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

(post #84194, reply #3 of 25)

small, thin cut off wheel in an angle grinder.  Wrapping with tape sometimes helps. 

(post #84194, reply #4 of 25)

How long before the MM crowd shows up? :-)


I agree that an angle grinder with a metal cut-off wheel will work.  Make sure you wear glasses at a minimum(but a face shield would be better).  The cable will shoot little needles out as you cut.

(post #84194, reply #5 of 25)

And if all else fails (or you don't have anything else) use a pair of sharp dikes and cut one strand at a time -- will be much cleaner than the bolt cutter.


Corporation: n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility. --Ambrose Bierce


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #84194, reply #6 of 25)

Second vote for the angle grinder.

(post #84194, reply #9 of 25)

A cutoff wheel is quick and easy.

 


Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.

 

Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.

(post #84194, reply #15 of 25)

While the cut may be easy, digging out my eye and ear protection repeatedly is a PITA.

Rebuilding my home in Cypress, CA
Also a CRX fanatic!


I don't feel it's healthy to keep your faults bottled up inside me.

YAY!  I love WYSISYG editing!  And Spellcheck!

____________________________________________________

(post #84194, reply #16 of 25)

I hate to admit to having such a tool, but on sale for $30 was a bare 18v dewalt angle grinder.  I keep a cutoff wheel in it for just such things (in addition to cutting nails, sharpening pry bars, sharpening carbide drill bits with diamond blade, cutting misc things that are normally hard to cut but too small to get a 15 amp grinder and large cutoff wheel.) 


Anyway, I was going to say that since it's cordless it doesn't wind up as fast and is much quieter.  Feathering the trigger it's possible to cut small things slowly.


For cutting screws to length nothing works better.  :-)


 


Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.

 

Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.

(post #84194, reply #17 of 25)

you need to run it so the cutting part of the wheel is runing away from you.  I've got lot's of hours driving angle grinders w/cutoff wheels working aircraft structures and never got things in my eyes. 

(post #84194, reply #20 of 25)

Same here...tape and cutoff wheel.


It's alot less hassle than you think, and it'll make you wonder why you ever used another method. 

(post #84194, reply #10 of 25)

     I have had good success cutting small cable with a sharp cold chisel.  Touch


up, if neccessary with a grinder. Oh yeah, cut on a chunk of steel, like a sledge


sideways.


 


larry b

(post #84194, reply #11 of 25)

I was going to mention that as well, but the grinder is by far my favorite.  I am amazed at how a sharp cold chisel can cleanly cut 5/16" cable with one good hit with a 2lb hammer.  It makes me uneasy locking anything up with a cable and lock.

 


Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.

 

Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.

(post #84194, reply #12 of 25)

Just 1/8"?


Have an old CCC axe/hatchet for that, end grain chopping block, one hit and clean cut, no strays.


Anything bigger use the chop saw.  I going to splice the cable, use a welder and cut one strand bundle at a time.

(post #84194, reply #13 of 25)

See that set of oxy/acet bottles? Seals the cable too. Of course I started making furniture ala Norm, took a few decades for another interest, got into remodel and after experiencing a few up/down cycles I went to a Community College where I took welding. Die grider is good but not as flashy. Heh,heh Tyr

Edited 10/8/2008 9:00 pm by Tyr


Edited 10/8/2008 9:01 pm by Tyr

Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.... Roman Poet Phaedrus 15BC–50AD

(post #84194, reply #14 of 25)

Obviously, shaped charges are the only way to go!!


Corporation: n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility. --Ambrose Bierce


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #84194, reply #18 of 25)

Tape.  Bolt cutters.  The tape is the trick.

(post #84194, reply #19 of 25)

I've had good results with taping it real tight (electrician's tape stretched tight works great) and a fine tooth hacksaw. Secure the cable in a vise near where it's taped, pull it taut, a few swipes with the hacksaw and you get a clean cut.

(post #84194, reply #21 of 25)

1KW C02 laser.

Or a little cutoff wheel in a dremel tool.

(post #84194, reply #22 of 25)

I still say shaped charges!


Corporation: n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility. --Ambrose Bierce


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #84194, reply #23 of 25)

OOH, I like that idea.

(post #84194, reply #24 of 25)

Menards has a knock off of the swiss Felco cutter thats not half


bad for the $6 or so it costs, esp. if you only use it once in a while.


 

(post #84194, reply #25 of 25)

Use Vice Grips.  That's what the small cutter is for.

How can you understand God if you can't understand people?  How can you understand people if you can't understand yourself?