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Hagerty Employee

Wrenchin' Wednesday: DIY cable crimpers | Hagerty Media

Cable crimpers are an integral part of building any high-amperage battery wiring. By crushing the terminal down and compacting the individual strands of copper, a strong mechanical bond is created that is resistant to heat cycling and vibration, unlike typical soldered terminals.
Intermediate Driver

This is great! I have an old pair of bolt cutters that can only cut bolts made of butter. I will simply rename them cable crimpers and have a new useful tool in my tool box! Thanks!
New Driver

The only thing I can interject is you can buy cable cutters at Harbor Freight (I know they don't make the best tools, but for this purpose you can use them). You can buy a cable cutter much cheaper than you can buy a bolt cutter.

Clever idea, but I always solder the lugs, seems to me it makes a better connection that lasts longer and is easier to prevent the on-set of corrosion due to water ingress.
Intermediate Driver

I used solder only as well but now put a dab of soldering paste on the exposed wires then crimp on the terminal. Finally heat the terminal with a torch (for larger gauge wires) and let the solder pull into the terminal through capillary action.
Reason I do this is I've seen a positive wire overheat due to a loose connection and the solder melted right out of the terminal end. Had the positive wire fallen out free from it's terminal end and fell to a ground such as the engine block or frame, the result could have been catastrophic with an under hood fire.
Pit Crew

Don't waste your time making a Crimper. There are many low-cost Crimpers out there that work really well. As the old saying goes, "use the right tool for the job".
Pit Crew

Crimping a cable is preferable compared to using solder, in the past solder was used but it has been found that it migrates up the cable and creates a brittle spot which will lead to failure. A good crimp will never let loose and will conduct better, using adhesive lined shrink tube over the area will insure a sealed connection. In the photo of the newly crimped cable it shows the inner cable has a gap between the insulation and the lug, this is not acceptable and will lead to corrosion.
Sometimes back yard procedures are less desirable.

You can buy super high quality custom cables online with same day turn around for less than a bolt cutter, why would you bother with something you may never need to make again. I ordered my 00 battery cables for a pos ground classic, the manufacturer shipped them same day, the total was less than bolt cutter at big box store
Intermediate Driver

That last photo shows what I use for big cables, a vise. It works great, no need to buy bolt cutters and mess them up.

This article also doesn't pose the right question: is the cost of a set of bolt cutters (plus labor to modify them) less than the cost of a set of cable crimpers?
Intermediate Driver

Drilling the holes with a end mill and drill press is a much better option and gives a way better all around crimp.
It also keeps you terminals round and not all flat and sloppy looking.
Pit Crew

Last time I checked Amazon you could order a hydraulic cable crimper for under $100. That's in Canuck bucks too. Crimping is better than soldering and I will die on this hill.