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Hagerty Employee

Wrenchin' Wendesday: Don't overpay on copper terminal ends!

Everyone who's gone down this path knows how expensive copper products can be, especially piecemeal parts like terminal ends. I found them at my local hardware store for $2.60 a piece, which is not that much if you need only a couple—but I'm building around a half-dozen cables on this Suburban project, so cost adds up quickly. I'll need at least 12 terminal ends, depending on how the cables surrounding the diesel engine's twin-battery setup, which adds up to $30+ after tax. Today's project involves a cheaper alternative: A $15–$20, a 1/2-in x 10-ft stick of copper pipe is enough to make 30 terminal ends in your own garage. Let's walk through the process.


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Advanced Driver

Now that's a great idea Phillip!  Very cool.  I'll put that one in the memory bank.


That just brought back some memories. As an maint. apprentice in a glass factory 40-whatever years ago, I first saw that at around 3 in the morning when a journeyman and former tin can sailor made one up for a battery cable on a floor scrubber. I got the "important" task of finding the correct size bolt from the tool crib that just slid into the tubing. I had to find one with an inch or more of shoulder and cut off the threads. Then the maestro ground a one-sided taper on the bolt end so that it looked a badly-made soldering iron tip. Then my job was to shut up, stay out of the way, and watch.


Great idea but you might get a more precise and flatter smash of the lug end with a hydraulic press.