Dissolving Enamel from Magnet Wire?

xanatosxanatos Posts: 1,120
I have a project that requires as many as 60 custom-wound electromagnets each time. The construction and winding is a breeze... the thing that is a HUGE PITA? Scraping the enamel off of the magnet wires with an exacto knife to make the connections!

Does anyone have a preferred method / product for dissolving enamel from magnet wire? Acetone and toluene don't touch it.

Thanks for your ideas,

Dave
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Comments

  • 23 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • doggiedocdoggiedoc Posts: 2,008
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I usually burn it off, then polish with scotch brite pad.
    Some times my mind seems to wander..... these days I just tag along.
  • xanatosxanatos Posts: 1,120
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    That's an option, but I have to be careful there as well - I'm using 26 gauge wire. I might cook the wire with even a cigarette lighter.

    I think in this case I'm looking more for a "process solution" where I can just dip & wipe. There's 60 of them... that's 120 wires.

    Thanks,

    Dave
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  • Bobb FwedBobb Fwed Posts: 1,115
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I too have wondered if there is a tried and true or "professional" method to stripping magnet wire. In the past I used the burn and polish method. I think I did it on 26 or 28 gauge wire, and it worked fine.
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  • PublisonPublison Posts: 10,331
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Lighter and steel wool has worked well for 20+ years. (We used a Zippo back then :) )
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  • WBA ConsultingWBA Consulting Posts: 2,820
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Heat and abrasion are the magic that remove the enamel. Some tools take advantage of both, such as the Eraser RT2S "Magnet Wire Stripper". One of the most common solutions is just heat, in the form of a solder pot. Flux the enamel coated wire and dip into a pot. It removes the enamel and tins the wire. However, it creates a lot of dross in the pot obviously. I have heard of people dipping the ends in paint thinner, letting it sit for a moment, then lighting it with a match. Not very safe or OSHA friendly, but I have heard of success with that method.
  • davejamesdavejames Posts: 3,918
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    ...regular old JASCO paint stripper?

    That stuff ate just about anything IIRC.
    Well-written documentation requires no explanation.
  • $WMc%$WMc% Posts: 1,884
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    DOT 4 or 5 brake fluid works too.
    '
    If you have ever spilled some on your fender or gas tank...You'll know what I mean.
    '
    The brake fluid doesn't smell near as bad as the paint stripper and an 8oz. bottle should last for years.Its cheap too!
    '
    I know it sounds weird, But it works
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  • LeonLeon Posts: 7,619
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I use self-fluxing wire.
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  • PJAllenPJAllen Banned Posts: 5,065
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I use the rotary bristle brush attachment for my Dremel.
    I got the idea at the one company I worked where they wound their own magnetics (no chemicals.) Their "stripping machine" was like a grinding wheel but outfit with large bristle brushes instead.

    (Jasco, brake fluid, MEK, that's toxic stuff.)
  • xanatosxanatos Posts: 1,120
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    These are some cool ideas, at least I can have some fun trying a few to see what works the fastest and most efficiently.

    Thanks... any more?

    Dave
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  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 22,030
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    PJ,

    The rotary bristle brush method intrigues me. Can you elaborate on your technique? Do you use the "disc" shaped brush, or the "cone" shaped brush? How do you immobilize the end of the wire while you're stripping it?

    Thanks,
    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • davejamesdavejames Posts: 3,918
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    PJ Allen wrote: »
    (Jasco, brake fluid, MEK, that's toxic stuff.)

    ...and your point is???

    :smile:
    Well-written documentation requires no explanation.
  • doggiedocdoggiedoc Posts: 2,008
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Perhaps, Phil, with two disc shaped brushes on two Dremels positioned to counter rotate one could carefully feed the enameled wire into the "input" side of the counter rotating bristles and strip them that way. How steady are your hands?
    Some times my mind seems to wander..... these days I just tag along.
  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 22,030
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I tried it with one brush but couldn't keep the wire end in the path of the rotating bristles; it kept getting knocked away. So I'm wondering if some sort of groove to confine it is the way to go.
    doggiedoc wrote:
    How steady are your hands?
    Steady enough to place 0603 resistors on a PCB, but not steady enough to perform surgery on someone's pet ferret. :)

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • LoopyBytelooseLoopyByteloose Posts: 12,537
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    220 grit or finer (maybe 440) sandpaper - the kind that is used for wet sanding as well as dry.

    The primary reason for using wet process sandpaper is that the stuff can be stored forever in a high humidity environment (like where I live) while the other stuff falls apart after a year or so.

    Actually emery cloth is also good, but a bit more expensive.

    I suppose that JASCO paint stripper will work, but that stuff is nasty with lots of chlorinated hydrocarbons. It eats through rubber gloves and other protective barriers and should only be used outdoors.

    You don't really need to use power tools, do you?
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  • xanatosxanatos Posts: 1,120
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Oddly enough no one around my area carries Jasco, but I have discovered that Emory Cloth does the trick about twice as fast as the exacto blade scrape method, so for now that'll work. I just pinch the wire in between a small folded strip of the stuff and pull. Only takes four to six repetitions per wire end. Apparently my hope for a dip & wipe solution to remove enamel would probably involve acids that would also eat my hand... so Emory Cloth wins for now. I'll revisit this thread if I make any useful discoveries.

    Thanks!

    Dave
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  • LoopyBytelooseLoopyByteloose Posts: 12,537
    edited December 2011 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I've been trying to buy Jasco in Taiwan for 18 years with no luck. It is great for rejuvenating paint brushes. And believe it or not, most of my paint brushes are over 25 years old. But I can't think of a more toxic goo that one can come up against. Just being near the stuff makes your skin crawl.
    Hwang Xian Shen, Puddleby-on-the-Marsh.
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  • Rewinders' End Connectors works very good. I've used REC - 101.
    just dip it and remove. its kinda gel solution so it sticks to the wire even if thin and removes it...
    with thin wires, its useful coz scratching and burning breaks the wire... lol
  • kwinnkwinn Posts: 7,979
    vish_srge wrote: »
    Rewinders' End Connectors works very good. I've used REC - 101.
    just dip it and remove. its kinda gel solution so it sticks to the wire even if thin and removes it...
    with thin wires, its useful coz scratching and burning breaks the wire... lol

    This thread is almost 7 years old. Had I seen it back then I would have suggested acetone (AKA nail polish remover) as it is inexpensive and readily available.
    In science there is no authority. There is only experiment.
    Life is unpredictable. Eat dessert first.
  • K2K2 Posts: 607
    The OP claimed acetone didn't touch his particular enamel.

    Like Publison I've used a lighter and fine steel wool on even the thinnest wire, much finer than 26 gauge. It takes but a moment to get the enamel to burn, and that's all the heat that is needed.
  • 26 gauge wire? Have you tried just soldering it? ... the heat and flux from soldering should burn the enamel off.


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  • I actually checked out the link to "Rewinder's End Connectors" above (the post that re-opened this ancient thread) because I still am using emory cloth to strip enameled magnet wire... and while the product seems quite good (fast, easy & clean) if somewhat pricey ($40 USD) - the shipping to the USA is $200 USD, so it's a non-starter. They are located in India and they have no US distributors.

    Dave
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