How to remove plastic from copper wire

Written by jeremiah blanchard
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Wire stripping is the most basic of electrical skills needed to hook up electrical wiring to output devices. Some reasons a person may need to strip a wire can include wiring a connection point for a stereo or amplifier, fixing frayed wires or removing the plastic for splicing wires. Copper wires are almost always coated with a thin layer of plastic for not only your protection, but also for insulation and protection of the wire itself. This plastic coating keeps the wire bound together and free from air, dust, oil or anything else that can cause corrosion on a copper wire.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wire strippers

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  1. 1

    Purchase wire strippers that have size fittings for the thickness or gauge of your copper wire. Wire strippers can be purchased where electronics supplies are sold or at most hardware stores.

  2. 2

    Open the wire strippers and place the copper wire into the appropriate slot that fits the wire. The wire may not fit exactly, but it will be pretty close so choose the slot that fits the wire best.

  3. 3

    Clamp the wire strippers down and twist the wire while holding the strippers in place. This will cut the plastic coating and ensure that the cut circumscribes the wire.

  4. 4

    Hold the wire with one hand and pull the clamped strippers down the length of the wire. The plastic should come off the wire as you pull the strippers.

Tips and warnings

  • Find the gauge size of the wire prior to looking for adequate strippers. This will save you time trying to size the strippers to the wire.
  • Exercise caution while using wire strippers as they are very sharp.
  • Never perform maintenance on a wire that has a running electrical current.

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