# Swaging Cables

Discussion in 'Workshop Tips and Secrets / Tools' started by Chris In Marshfield, Jun 19, 2018.

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1. Jun 19, 2018

### Chris In Marshfield

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Hi all,

Recently, we put up wire railing around our deck. It's beautiful stuff. The set that we bought came with all the tools needed, including a swaging tool for crimping the tightening fittings onto the wire.

On airplanes (talking Bearhawk here, but there are others), it's popular to buy and install expensive flying wires on the tail. But someone on a budget can have a hard time swallowing the $for flying wires from popular vendors. The Bob also recommends that one can purchase regular cable from places like ACS, already cut to length with fittings swaged on. These typically cost somewhere around$20 or so (unverified, just locker-room talk). I haven't seen a prefabbed wire from ACS in person, so not sure if there's some sort of full-length tool that they use to prepare them, or if it's done more like a nicopress in sections.

The swager that came with my railing kit is pretty darned nice. When preparing the wire for a railing, you squeeze it once, move it up 1/4", squeeze it again, move it 1/4" up, and then squeeze it again, three times in total. Seems pretty similar to the way one would nicopress a fitting onto an aircraft wire. Is the tool that ACS uses similar to this or something different?

https://stainlesscablerailing.com/c...ies--for-stainless-cable-railing-systems.html

This manual gives you a quick run-down on how it's used and what the finished product looks like (four pages, so not a time waster).

https://sep.yimg.com/ty/cdn/yhst-47913670625546/Swaging-Instructions.pdf

If I have the tool, no need not to use it instead of having to wait for wires to be fabbed by a third party.

~Chris

2. Jun 19, 2018

### narfi

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https://youtu.be/QuRkzwYZvE4

This is the only tool I've used(borrowed) for sledging ball ends and turnbuckle ends.

It seems much more secure rolled the entire length on multiple faces than just 3 crimps to me.

I have also used nicopress fittings for cables on smaller planes and float cables(rudder staring and retract) but that's not as 'critical' to staying in the air.

Your tool seems to be somewhere between the two options and I dont know much about it to say yay or nay.

Just woke up so I cant remember where, maybe ac43.13 that discusses pull testing cables once made. If you find a method that is repeatable and can be pull tested to satisfaction I would think you should be good to go.

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3. Jun 19, 2018

### Chris In Marshfield

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That seems like a much more secure tool than the one I have. The difference between safety of flight and safety of falling off of your deck

4. Jun 19, 2018

### narfi

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Something to consider however you do it.
You cant see the cable inside the turnbuckle end.
This means you dont know if it partially slipped out while swedging and you dont know if it has slipped any during use.

Before you swedge, push the cable in all the way and paint a red line (fingernail polish)around the cable right against where it goes into the buckle.

Then when inspecting your swedge (both during its life as well as when first checking if it's a good swedge) you can easily check if it has slipped any. You shouldn't be able to see any unpainted cable against the buckle.

I think that is written somewhere as well, cant remember if an ac or just the instructions for the tool. It's been a few years since I've done it.

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5. Jun 19, 2018

### narfi

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Yes. However, I just want to share options, not make your decisions.......
Nicopress is used on lots of cub sized planes for main controls..... but no easy way to adjust them like you can a turnbuckle.

6. Jun 19, 2018

### TFF

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A new Kearney is more than \$5,000. Cable is ok for low end airplanes. There is a lot of drag there. If you really don't want wires, use struts on the bottom of the stab. It's what Bellanca did when they went from the cardboard Constellation to the Viking. Illusion of no wires.

7. Jun 19, 2018

### Pops

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The Bearhawk has a lower forward streamline strut on the stab and then 4 wires at the tailing edge of the stab. I used 5/32 cables made to length with adj forked ends from AS.
For control cables I have https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/topages/63vxmp.php with go and no-go gauges. I'm happy with it, no problems. Like narfi , I also use red paint mark to check for any slippage. Paint marks on all nuts. I didn't mark the nuts until the final torque, so if you see a nut without a paint mark, you know its never had the final torque.

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8. Jun 19, 2018

### Dana

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Nothing wrong with Nicopress, when installed correctly and within its rated strength. I used Nicopress ends for the tail wires on my Fisher. It's simple and easy to use with known strength and reliability. But the stainless end terminals are another matter, requiring an expensive roller swaging machine. I wouldn't want to trust my life to a product made for deck railings, where the manufacture states, "Note: STAINLESS CABLE & RAILING™ assemblies, fittings, and wire rope should only be used for their intended purpose within the cables safe workload limit and never be used in lifting or other high load applications."

9. Jun 20, 2018

### cdlwingnut

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Don't forget the go no go gauge

10. Jun 20, 2018

### Aesquire

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The tool the OP shows is for that purpose was only, to put proprietary fittings on cables for the stated purpose. And the instructions call for marking the cable to be sure it's all the way in. ( if you do your job at least moderately well ) The three swage method works fine and while you'd think a full length swage would be better, you might be wrong. The material of the fitting has to flow around & into the cable to properly clamp it. A full length swage might try and extrude the cable, in or out of the fitting, and put unneeded load on the cable & fitting. There has to be some room to flow at the ends of the swage.

I've used Nicopress & Locoloc tools to make both control cables and main flying structural cables with thimble fittings to attach to tangs and turnbuckles. I farmed out ball end swages to shops with the right hydraulic tools. ( needed to so seldom, not worth investing in the tool ) ( I should add, I'll take any excuse to buy a new tool, so that's a pretty high cost to use ratio for me )

I must add that this is a real serious case of RTFM! Different tools and sizes use different numbers and techniques to safely swage cable. The plated copper swage fittings MUST have the correct plating for the cable they are used on, or invisible corrosion can result. ( It may take years if not in a wet or salt water environment, but why gamble? ) Zinc plated for galvinized. Tin plated for stainless. ( there are also stainless swage fittings, but I don't think that has much aircraft application, unless you make Airships )

So. RTFM & segregate fittings by type. ( the lazy way is only use stainless cable & tin plated fittings. I love when the lazy way is also the safest )

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11. Jun 20, 2018

### Aesquire

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I've also used a tool similar to this.

https://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/topages/swagingtool.php?recfer=13518

Quality can be good or poor, I don't recall ..... But I think it's this brand.

Poor tools make unsafe swages. And they don't come with go no go gauges, so purchase one separately. I verified mine was good by measuring the finished oval sleeves. Then it lived in my toolbox for field repairs.

It's slow, more work, and a bit more fiddly to use, but if it's all you have, it will do the job. I built my second glider with one.... And it was incentive to buy a Locoloc tool with gauges.

12. Jun 20, 2018

### Dana

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That's the tool I have, a bit tedious to use but it gets the job done.

The nice thing about Nicopress is that it's not rocket science, it can be a cheap tool but if the jaws are the proper size and they're closed completely and it passes the go/no go gauge, it will be a good swage.

If you don't have an actual Nico gauge you can use a caliper.

13. Jun 20, 2018

### Chris In Marshfield

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I have the big honkin' nicopress tool that looks like it was carved out of bolt cutters. So no worries there. I do like the compactness of the swaged fitting, though, if it's possible to use it. Especially in place of flying wires, since a turnbuckle and hoop would look silly out there :shock:

14. Jun 20, 2018

### Hot Wings

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For the type of fittings the OP's tool was designed for the Kearney/Locolock is the standard tool. There just happens to be one on eBay right now for a pretty "reasonable" price. There are cheaper offers at times but this one is in very good shape and looks complete. If I didn't already have one - and more importantly really needed one - I'd make an offer.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/153067491432?ul_noapp=true

The seller doesn't mention if the dies have certification papers or not.

15. Jun 20, 2018

### Chris In Marshfield

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Spend little guy, ain't it?

16. Jun 20, 2018

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