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How Do You Strip Insulation off 32 Gauge Wire.....

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How Do You Strip Insulation off 32 Gauge Wire.....
Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, August 12, 2017 8:09 AM

.....without destroying the wire?

Rich

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Posted by Attuvian on Saturday, August 12, 2017 8:52 AM

Rich,

A few questions: 1) How would you describe or define the material used for the insulation?  2) Is the wire copper, steel, bronze or something else? 3) Is the wire a single strand or stranded? 4) Are you dealing with a single wire or something bundled or ganged in a flat-pack? 5) Do you intend to remove it at the end or expose a short (or longer) length in the middle?

There are a couple of techniques, but only four basic means: cutting it with a blade (I'd suggest length-wise if it's single-strand: lay it in a pre-cut slot so that it doesn't roll); softening it and then pulling it off with something not so soft (pinched fingernails?); burning it off; or dissolving it with something that doesn't also attack the wire.

Hopefully it's not a discrete length already attached to something and you've got a little stock to practice on.  Experimentation will be your friend on this one.

Good luck - and share your results, please.

John

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Saturday, August 12, 2017 9:05 AM

Rich, can you be specific about the wire in question? 

I've had two cases. 1) Thin magnet wire used in N-scale signal masts. I stripped that with the back of a #11 Xacto blade. 2) Flat ribbon cable with 10 thin conductors. I tried separating the wires and stripping the insulation as above. No luck. Thicker, softer PVC insulation. I gave up and bought special breakout boards. Attach normal 10-pin connector to ribbon, plug connector into board, attach wires to screw terminals on the outboard side. Wimp out, I know. But it saved a lot of headaches.

Robert 

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, August 12, 2017 9:16 AM

Specifically, this is Teflon insulated 32 AWG silver plated copper stranded wire consisting of 7 strands of 40 AWG per conductor.  I will just be stripping off the ends. I will have some extra length to play with. 

Rich

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Posted by bearman on Saturday, August 12, 2017 9:29 AM

I feel your pain.  I have a pair of wire strippers that start at 25 and will go to 80 gauge.  Got it at my LHS.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by Attuvian on Saturday, August 12, 2017 9:36 AM

richhotrain

Specifically, this is Teflon insulated 32 AWG silver plated copper stranded wire consisting of 7 strands of 40 AWG per conductor.  I will just be stripping off the ends. I will have some extra length to play with. 

Rich

 

Teflon and stranded makes it a tougher job (no pun intended).  But with the stranded you can lose one or even two and not be torpedoed.  Soldering it later?

Here's an idea: cut a groove in a flat piece of wood (the harder, the better), depth about 3/4 the diameter of the insulated wire.  Scrape off the teflon with a new #11 blade or plane it off with a #17 chisel, held upside down, bevel flush with the wood surface.

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Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, August 12, 2017 10:04 AM

This might sound crazy but for striping wires from #28 and smaller I just use my thumb nail.  I pinch the end of the wire using my thumb nail as the cutter and bingo it works.
 

 

This is #30 TFE Teflon.

 
 
The lighting is bad but the wire in the picture above is 7 strand #30 copper.
 
Mel
 
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Posted by gregc on Saturday, August 12, 2017 10:12 AM

wirewrap wire is 30 gauge.  the tool has an opening with a slit to strip the insulation.

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by Attuvian on Saturday, August 12, 2017 10:12 AM

Certainly can't beat high-tech, Mel!

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Posted by RR_Mel on Saturday, August 12, 2017 10:24 AM

Attuvian

Certainly can't beat high-tech, Mel!

 

The best part of my way is I don’t have to search for the wire strippers.  My stripper is always on hand.Whistling
 
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
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I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, August 12, 2017 10:38 AM

 I do it the same way as Mel. Always works, no tool to misplace.

                        --Randy

 


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Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, August 12, 2017 11:31 AM

I've used a Jonard ST-450 for "small" wire.  Range is 26 to 36.

 

Ed

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Posted by mfm37 on Saturday, August 12, 2017 11:45 AM

Thumbnail method for me too.

Martin Myers

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Posted by Attuvian on Saturday, August 12, 2017 12:49 PM

Thumbnail strippers are great.  Generally come packaged together in both right- and left-handed models.  Washable, no lubrication necessary (though some operators have been know to get "lubricated").  Price per set is variable, consult experienced parents regarding probable cost.  Not available on-line.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, August 12, 2017 12:49 PM

When I was in high school we built electronics projects using "wire wrap sockets" for fragile ICs that could be easily damaged by heat. I believe the wire used in "wire wrap" assembly was 30 gauge. We had a special tool to strip this wire that worked great. It looked a little like a vegetable peeler.

.

If you search for wire wrap tools you might find something that will work.

.

That is my best idea.

.

-Kevin

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Saturday, August 12, 2017 12:52 PM

I have Klein strippers that go down to 30 and that is pretty close but sometimes I use my thumbnail since it can strip away the insulation but can't really cut the wire.

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Posted by BATMAN on Saturday, August 12, 2017 1:27 PM

I got a small wire stripper, in my Christmas stocking last year, however, before that I would turn it ever so lightly with surgeons touch on a blade just to score it, and that made for a nice clean break when I put my thumb nail into it.

Brent

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Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, August 12, 2017 2:15 PM

BATMAN

I got a small wire stripper, in my Christmas stocking last year, however, before that I would turn it ever so lightly with surgeons touch on a blade just to score it, and that made for a nice clean break when I put my thumb nail into it.

 

 

When rotated, a stripper (wow, that sounds sorta naughty) can score the wire.  Which can allow it to break at that point, either now or later.  Not sayin' it will, but be careful.  The vibration in a locomotive MIGHT be enough.

 

Ed

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 13, 2017 5:19 AM

I appreciate all of the suggestions.

The fingernail solution certainly has appeal.

I found a Klein wire stripper on the Home Depot web site that will handle 32 AWG wire, but a few of the customer reviews cast doubt on its effective with such small wire.

I will let you all know what solution I settle on. Thank you, everyone.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 13, 2017 11:12 AM

I found a YouTube video where a guy used his cigarette lighter to strip the insulation off a thin stranded wire. No way. Way.

He held the flame under the end of the wire for a split second, then used his thumb and index finger to remove the insulation. A perfectly clean "cut". 

I'm not a smoker, so I used a butane fireplace lighter. Voila!

Rich

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Sunday, August 13, 2017 11:41 AM

Be careful because wire does burn. Remember the old Boy Scout trick for starting a fire using an old SOS pad and a battery?

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 13, 2017 11:46 AM

I can assure you, nothing like that happened. It is a split second touch of the flame to the end of the wire and then you pull off the insulation on the end of the wire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5o2drU65UM

Rich

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, August 13, 2017 12:36 PM

 You MIGHT potentially set the insulation on fire if you're really stupid about it, but even that is unlikely as it will MELT from the temperature of something designed to ignite paper or wood, but it needs a much higher temperature to burn. ANd copper, you're not even going to soften that with a lighter. The steel wool trick works because you are passing enough current through a fine enough piece of wire that you are eceeding the current carrying capacity of the wire. That would be like taking a piece of that #30 wire and sticking it in a light socket (DO NOT DO THAT!!!), it will pretty much vaporize. Or say you had a piece of said wire running between the front and rear pickups of a loco, and the loco derailed so that that wire was no across the rails, and you had a 5 amp DCC system with no circuit protection at all - 15V 5A passing through that wire would make the copper heat up to glowing, melting the insulation and anything around it and easily getting hot enough to ignight some paper or fine wood shavings before finally melting and breaking the circuit. Same as the steel wool trick.

 Who had slot cars? I know I'm not the only one who would put pieces of steel wool across the track and squeeze the controller and watch the steel wool burn..

                                     --Randy

 


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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, August 13, 2017 12:50 PM

rrinker

That would be like taking a piece of that #30 wire and sticking it in a light socket (DO NOT DO THAT!!!), it will pretty much vaporize. 

 

 

How about forgetting that you had a clip lead hot-to-ground downstream of a 70 amp breaker you turned on?

Turns out it only vaporizes a little section of the wire.  Right where there's a new hole through the insulation.  Hey, a wire nut and it's as good as new, right?

Oh, yeah.  The breaker didn't trip.  Guess the fault was cleared pretty darn quickly.

 

 

Ed

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, August 13, 2017 1:12 PM

 Well there was the time my friend was demonstrating using his digital multimeter at school in physics class, forgetting he had two small pieces of phone wire wrapped around the probes to plug in to a breadboard. He sticks the probes in a nearby outlet, after making sure the meter was set to a proper range, and the two little bits of wire contacted each other - POOF!. 

                     --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Sunday, August 13, 2017 1:29 PM

We used to launch solid fuel model rockets using a short piece of nichrome wire between two small aligator clips as the igniter.

Robert 

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Posted by richg1998 on Sunday, August 13, 2017 6:33 PM

Thumbnail seems fine.

In the 1960's when I wired US Navy submarine periscopes, we stripped Teflon coated wire with a thermal device that plugged into a resistance solder iron controller. We had to use a vent hood also.

I just Googled the issue. Many types of wire strippers out there for Teflon wire..

Rich

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Posted by jjdamnit on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 3:21 PM

Hello all,

If you are going to solder the wire, one method I learned as a bench technician was to "tin" the wire without stripping the insulation.

The heat from the soldering iron will melt the insulation back while tinning the wire simultaneously.

Practice this a few times to see how the insulation reacts to the heat. 

The now tinned and "stripped" wire can be trimmed to length as close to the insulation as needed.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 4:36 PM

jjdamnit

Hello all,

If you are going to solder the wire, one method I learned as a bench technician was to "tin" the wire without stripping the insulation.

The heat from the soldering iron will melt the insulation back while tinning the wire simultaneously.

Practice this a few times to see how the insulation reacts to the heat. 

The now tinned and "stripped" wire can be trimmed to length as close to the insulation as needed.

Hope this helps.

 

Thanks. jj, that does help.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, August 18, 2017 7:37 PM

I wound up using the open flame approach, and it worked just fine.

We keep a butane lighter around for lighting the fireplace, and that became my tool of choice.

Thanks to everyone for your comments and suggestions.

Rich

Alton Junction

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