Can you solder wire rope?

Thread Starter

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,128
I want to cross-connect 1/8" stainless steel wire rope. There's a perfect piece of hardware for this, see photo, but they're several dollars each and I need ~70 of them. I'm looking for a cheap alternative.

I've looked at a number of things but so far haven't come up with a clever solution. I've considered hot glue or J.B.Weld. Both might work but it's for an outdoor application (a trellis) and I don't think an adhesive will stand up to the elements.

A drop of solder - if it would tin and actually connect to the stainless, would probably be fine for my application. I imagine using my torch just like for sweating copper pipe, but is there a flux/solder combination that would work?

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 3.28.00 PM.png
 

Kermit2

Joined Feb 5, 2010
4,163
stainless can be soldered with "some" difficulty.

I suggest the use of the dreaded acid flux and a very hot torch. afterwards you can scrub with a strong base like diluted sodium hydroxide to kill the acid. It you can get the flux out you will not have any problems.
 

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
7,245
I have used this liquid flux for both stainless and regular wire rope and it works great. Found it when a friend had a Ford Mustang restoration shop. The automatic transmission floor shifters have a cable going thru the center of them that ends in the push button in the shifter knob. The end of the cable was/is known to break off, and you had to buy a whole new shifter to repair them. He had a bunch of broken ones and asked if I could repair them. I got some of this flux and soldered the end back on, it was originally crimped on from the factory. This was ~20 years ago and none of them ever came back as broken. https://www.castolin.com/en-CA/product/eutector-flux-157 All of the Eutectic brand soldering and welding stuff is top notch good stuff.
 

tracecom

Joined Apr 16, 2010
3,944
I want to cross-connect 1/8" stainless steel wire rope. There's a perfect piece of hardware for this, see photo, but they're several dollars each and I need ~70 of them. I'm looking for a cheap alternative.

I've looked at a number of things but so far haven't come up with a clever solution. I've considered hot glue or J.B.Weld. Both might work but it's for an outdoor application (a trellis) and I don't think an adhesive will stand up to the elements.

A drop of solder - if it would tin and actually connect to the stainless, would probably be fine for my application. I imagine using my torch just like for sweating copper pipe, but is there a flux/solder combination that would work?

View attachment 103559
I would think you could make fittings similar to the photo without too much trouble: drill and tap bar stock, cut notches with a band saw, screw in two bolts.
 

Lestraveled

Joined May 19, 2014
1,946
For stainless steel you might consider a "hog ring". It is a piece of s.s. wire bent in a semi circle. You would crimp it at the cable crossings.
 

Thread Starter

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,128
I have used this liquid flux for both stainless and regular wire rope and it works great. Found it when a friend had a Ford Mustang restoration shop. The automatic transmission floor shifters have a cable going thru the center of them that ends in the push button in the shifter knob. The end of the cable was/is known to break off, and you had to buy a whole new shifter to repair them. He had a bunch of broken ones and asked if I could repair them. I got some of this flux and soldered the end back on, it was originally crimped on from the factory. This was ~20 years ago and none of them ever came back as broken. https://www.castolin.com/en-CA/product/eutector-flux-157 All of the Eutectic brand soldering and welding stuff is top notch good stuff.
What kind of solder did you use?
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
8,346
It will be quite hard to get the manufacturing oils out of the rope for a clean solder joint, and the heat of brazing will affect its strength.

The usual way is some sort of screw fitting or swaged fitting. You might consider swaging a tube of easily soldered metal on each piece at the intersection and then soldering the tubes (flattened) together. That is a variation on Lestraveled's suggestion. Alternatively, if you need more strength, I would braze a cross together, insert the wire rope and then crimp it.

You can use regular tin/lead solder on stainless. I would use an aggressive acid cleaner.

John
 

paulktreg

Joined Jun 2, 2008
775
Could you slot some heavy bolts with an angle grinder and just use a standard nut and washers to fix?

Is the wire splittable? If you could get a pop rivet through with a washer either side that may do it?
 

SLK001

Joined Nov 29, 2011
1,541
You could use these. $3 for a pair at HF. Probably even cheaper on eBay. Depending on what you are using the wire rope for, heating will damage the temper.

clamps.jpg
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
24,974
The big concern I would have about soldering it is that the wires are crossing at 90° angles and so they are touching at a point. The solder cross-section would therefore be very small compared to the size of the wire. I think that would make it very weak and easy to break.

But what if you were to use copper wire (small diameter in comparison) and cross wrap it (the same way you might use string to join two sticks in a cross) and then solder up the whole thing?
 

Thread Starter

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,128
Some good ideas here. I've considered the wire-tie approach, perhaps in combination with JBWeld or solder. I can remember my dad repairing axe handles by gluing and wrapping the break with a layer or two of tight fishing line.

Nobody has mentioned lead yet, but there must be some sort of lead fishing sinker I could smash onto each intersection. But this is going to be near my garden, so that's a no go.

Anyway, bottom line, I'm considering just biting the bullet and buying the clips. For one thing, I think they're going to be more attractive than anything else. I found them at $2 each in a lot of 100 at Alibaba. I could possibly sell my extra 30 for $3-5 each and my net cost would be low enough that it's not worth agonizing over this much more.
 

tcmtech

Joined Nov 4, 2013
2,868
Nobody has mentioned lead yet, but there must be some sort of lead fishing sinker I could smash onto each intersection. But this is going to be near my garden, so that's a no go.
Why? You have a bad habit of chewing on cables when you're in the garden? :rolleyes:
 

Thread Starter

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,128
Apparently one of the main sources of kids ingesting lead is contact with (eating?) the dirt under widow sills painted with lead paint.

It's not a big concern and I might use it if it was a really good solution otherwise. I've never worked with it.
 
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