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How do I cut Stainless boat lift cables?

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Old 08-01-2007, 09:55 PM
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I'm in the elevator business and we cut 1/2 and 5/8 traction steel cable with a good size cable cutter. It cuts clean and easy but tape the section you are going to cut before you cut it... otherwise it will unravel.

Don't bother with Hacksaw or sawzal. If anything use a sharp chizel on a steel surface. Cable cutter will work best.

Last edited by raytart; 08-01-2007 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 08-01-2007, 09:56 PM
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Sorry but you shouldnt use "bolt cutters" Those are for chain and padlocks or fairly thick solid wire/rod. Use the correct cable cutter or wire rope cutter which is a shear, and you will be amazed how well it works .

Last edited by Pantera1; 08-02-2007 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Pantera1 View Post
Sorry but you cant use "bolt cutters"
Gee I must have been imagining the 10 years I spent in the boat lift business cutting all those stainless cables. Get a big pair of bolt cutters and it'll cut like butter.

Naturally the right tool would be perfect, but I don't see him buying cable cutters for 1 or 2 cuts. If he doesn't have the bolt cutters, a cutoff wheel works great as well.


Last edited by mr_velocity; 08-02-2007 at 09:58 AM. Reason: add pic
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:54 AM
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The un-asked question is "how do I terminate the cables after they're cut?"

Cable clamps are not the way to go- have the proper terminations swaged on- either buy or rent the tool or have a pro do it. loaded cables coming loose can not only drop your load, they can release quite a bit of stored energy in a whip-like fashion. I've seen some unbelievable damage done by a breaking cable whipping by.
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_velocity View Post
Gee I must have been imagining the 10 years I spent in the boat lift business cutting all those stainless cables. Get a big pair of bolt cutters and it'll cut like butter.

Naturally the right tool would be perfect, but I don't see him buying cable cutters for 1 or 2 cuts. If he doesn't have the bolt cutters, a cutoff wheel works great as well.
Maybe what he meant is that bolt cutters crush & distort the bundle and don't cut cleanly. I'm sure you could cut cables with a hatchet if you were so disposed. It's just not the "best" way.
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris Sunkin View Post
The un-asked question is "how do I terminate the cables after they're cut?"

Cable clamps are not the way to go- have the proper terminations swaged on- either buy or rent the tool or have a pro do it. loaded cables coming loose can not only drop your load, they can release quite a bit of stored energy in a whip-like fashion. I've seen some unbelievable damage done by a breaking cable whipping by.
Unless you're using something like a plasma cutter that fuses the ends you're gonna need to tape them whether you use a cable cutter or a bolt cutter. See my pic above, not exactly a hatchet job, took less than 3 seconds to make the cut.

No need to buy specialized tools to make 4 cuts.
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:16 AM
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No doubt you have to wrap the ends. I wasn't suggesting that bolt cutters provided the same results as a hatchet, just that the cut isn't as clean. We use crimp ferrules on all the terminations and when you cut the cable with anything other than a good, sharp cutter or an abrasive disc, the stray ends are tough to get into the ferrule.
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:23 AM
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you can use a cable cutter that you hit with a hammer or a set of felco cutters. c-7 felco are pretty small. Are you going to put all new cab;e on? or are you going to just put on dif ends? In order to get a 100% load rating, you neeed to use a nicopress sleeve and calibrated crimping tool. if your not going to sleeve it and crimp it. use a crosby clamp. call the rigging shop and they sell soem to you. you can get tthem a home depot but you need to know HOW MANY Clamps to put on for the size cable your using. The clamps need to be torqued to a spec and spaced according to you wire rope size. ALSO, croosby clamps are only rated to 80 % compared to 100% on the crimped sleeve. let me know what cable your using and I'll look it up for you
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:26 AM
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Grinder with a cut off wheel.

Just wrap the cable with tape where you are going to cut it.
Bingo,
That's how I do it, using a vise to hold the cable.
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:48 AM
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Lots of great suggestions about the termination of the cable. Being a lift I would make the following assumptions, Strip correct me if I'm wrong. I think you have an old Hi-Tide lift too if I remember correctly.
1) You're buying a cable from a lift manufacturer. These cables come with a nicopress sleeve that was put on by a calibrated crimping tool. This is the end that if fed through the top carrier beam and bears full load.
2) you just need to cut the excess off the other end. This is the end that if fed through the roll pipe and is clamped. You'll have 3 cable turns around the roll pipe when the lift is in its lowest point so the clamp you put on this end does not have any load on it. The purpose of the clamp is to keep the cable from coming back out of the roll pipe hole.
3)You're doing it yourself and you don't have the proper tool and since it a one time thing you probably don't want to spend a buck fifty on a cable cutter.

They only advise I can give you, unless you use a plasma cutter that will fuse the end, feed your cable through the lift, clamp it and make sure the cable length is correct (lift is adjusted). If you got the cables from Hi-Tide they were plasma cut and already fused. Do not pull the clamp ends back out, wrap tape around the cable about 4" from the end of the roll pipe. Cut it there. Then just feed the end of the cable back in the pipe so when you look down the pipe you see the end of the loop. When its time to change the cables again after you unroll all the cable off the roll pipe you can grab the loop with a pair of plyers and pull the cable from the lift. Trying to push the cable back through that little hole can be a nightmare, especially if your cable has fish hooks.

To cut the old ones off, biggest pia removing old cables. Take the boat off, support your lift by ropes. Release the tension on the cables, use a cutoff wheel and cut the cables scross the roll pipe. Leave the last few turns on the roll pipe so you can push the cable back up the pipe. Or get 4 friends, gloves and have them stand at the 4 corners of the lift pulling down on the cables to keep tension on them.

When you install the new cables, take 8 2x4s about 8" long. In pairs, put them face to face, run the cable between them, screw them together just below your top carrier beams under the roll pipe. This will keep the cable tensioned as you roll them back up. When the cables support the weight of the lifter beams remove the 2x4. Or you can have 4 friends at each corner of the lift keeping tension on the cables.

Its not that hard but if you haven't done it a few times it can be a real hassle. Do a few dozen and you start perfecting the tricks.

If you're unsure I can snap a few pics.

Last edited by mr_velocity; 08-02-2007 at 10:56 AM.
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