Wire cutting and stripping tools

Thread Starter

PJB

Joined Oct 24, 2019
26
Hello

What sort of wire stripper and wire cutter do I need to cut resistor and capacitor wires and strip cables for breadboard circuit building work ?

Thanks

PJ
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
5,659
Cutting leads is best done with flush cutters or semi-flush cutters. The difference is the bevel on the cutting edge or lack of it. The former have completely flat ground edges without a bevel on the flat side that cut completely flat, while the latter include a small bevel to slightly pinch the wire as cutting and leave a small stub rather than a flat end.

The advantage of the fish cutter is the ability to trim a wire down to the surface if needed. The advantage of the semi-flush cutter is preventing over-cutting when completely flat to the surface is not intended (most, though not all of the time) and a longer cutting edge life because the apex of the sharpened edge is less acute.

There are many manufacturers, but in my opinion the best value is Xuron. They are well made cutters that last and don’t cost a fortune. The Xuron Microshear is a good option. Another option which I like nearly as much and is about half the price is the Hakko Micro Cutter.

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Xuron Hakko
Concerning wire strippers, that’s a controversial topic. People have their favorite type, and there are so many. I think a very good start is one like the Klein 1011 which is a kind of standard. It works pretty well and has a good range.

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[EDIT: Added semi-flush cutters to the first paragraph due to a cogent objection to flush cutters raised by @Ian0]
 
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Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
5,659
As to quality cutters and strippers I would only add the following. Buy once and cry once meaning buy quality.

Ron
I really love some of the very expensive cutters that I have but they aren’t really necessary in a hobbyist context. Xcelite, Lindstrom, and Erem (now Weller Erem) make beautiful tools.

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I do also like the about half-the-cost Knipex which are more like the lower cost cutters but better made and twice the price.

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dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
14,458
Erem (now Weller Erem) make beautiful tools
I wish I could get a replacement spring for my first pair of Erem wire cutters. I have a couple other pairs, but I like the style of my first pair. I was thinking about kludging something from a spring, but noticed that I had abused them and it's not worth the bother.

@PBJ, if you have weak fingers, you might find this stripper useful:
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The only thing you need to adjust is the strip length.

Of the "automatic" wire strippers I've bought, this one the best.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,194
I went through sharpening a couple pairs of microcutters before I learned not to use them for anything but trimming PCBs and bought a good pair just for that. They are not high carbon steel diagonal cutters for cutting steel piano wire.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,194
Yes, I also have some "automatic" wire strippers but unless you are stripping a LOT of wires, and want them all cut the same, they are too much trouble to use.
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
5,659
I went through sharpening a couple pairs of microcutters before I learned not to use them for anything but trimming PCBs and bought a good pair just for that. They are not high carbon steel diagonal cutters for cutting steel piano wire.
I have a pair of these Xuron cutters, which can handle up to 12 gauge hardened wire. They make a nice flat cut.

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dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
14,458
unless you are stripping a LOT of wires
I was going to be stripping hundreds of jumper wires. But the insulation is so "loose" on the wire I'm using that it isn't much of a chore to use a stripper like the one in your first post.
 

Rich2

Joined Mar 3, 2014
241
These are mine, only £4 on ebay but they work well.

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Got some electricians big croppers like these for bigger mains and armoured cable.
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SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
4,194
They make 2 models of the wire strippers I use. One is for 20-30AWG and the other for 22-10AWG. I keep the 20-30AWG ones in the carousel on my bench and the others in the toolbox for when needed.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
1,762
They make 2 models of the wire strippers I use. One is for 20-30AWG and the other for 22-10AWG. I keep the 20-30AWG ones in the carousel on my bench and the others in the toolbox for when needed.
Those Klein wire strippers are so sharp they take no force to strip and they cut the full circumference of insulation with one squeeze.
 

PGB1

Joined Jan 15, 2013
127
I'm miles from one who knows electronics, but when repairing control centers & similar in my career (industrial electrician) to flush cut component leads (such as resistors) off the back side of a repaired circuit board or control center, I'd use one of the tools physicians use to cut blood vessels, nerves & things during surgery. They are also used to install & remove sutures. My tool is 300 series stainless and still going strong decades later. I've even cut stainless wire with the snip.

They are sometimes called Micindoe Scissors and also Metzenbaum Scissors. (Photo attached) The ones I use cut like the Knipex that Yaakov showed in post #5. The jaws' cutting edges collide. They don't pass each other as they do in traditional scissors. There's a notch that could be used for some handy purpose, but I've not found it.

Have fun tool testing -My 2nd favorite hobby! (Napping is 1st.)

Paul

Metzenbaum Snips.JPG
 

Ian0

Joined Aug 7, 2020
5,117
Cutting leads is best done with flush cutters.
I would disagree - I much prefer semi flush. Flush cutters tend To dig into the solder joint and sometimes cut some of it away.Semi flush don’t.
in the past I would have recommended Lindström, but they are nowhere near as good as they used to be.
When mine failed after only a couple of years, I bought some from Tsunoda an so far I’ve been very pleased with them.
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
5,659
I would disagree - I much prefer semi flush. Flush cutters tend To dig into the solder joint and sometimes cut some of it away.Semi flush don’t.
in the past I would have recommended Lindström, but they are nowhere near as good as they used to be.
When mine failed after only a couple of years, I bought some from Tsunoda an so far I’ve been very pleased with them.
While it's true that flush cutters can be used in such a way that they overcoat the lead, properly used they leave as much or as little of the lead as you need. I prefer the option of being able to trim things flat where needed.

I have seen leads literally cut flush to the PCB which I don't normally* do but I can't say I have ever seen a failure because of it. Have you?

*I have, on occasion, need to trim leads completely flush in order to insulate the back of the board and fit some other component up against it in a case of some sort. But that was always in adding something to an existing device.
 
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