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A wire stripper with sizes for American wire gauge.
A simple manual wire stripper is a pair of opposing blades much like scissors or wire cutters. The addition of a center notch makes it easier to cut the insulation without cutting the wire. This type of wire stripper is used by rotating it around the insulation while applying pressure in order to make a cut around the insulation. Since the insulation is not bonded to the wire, it then pulls easily off the end. This is the most versatile type of wire stripper.
Another type of manual wire stripper is very similar to the simple design previously mentioned, except this type has several notches of varying size. This allows the user to match the notch size to the wire size, thereby eliminating the need for twisting. Once the device is clamped on, the remainder of the wire can simply be pulled out, leaving the insulation behind.
When engaged, an automatic wire stripper simultaneously grips the wire from one side and cuts and removes the insulation from the other. To use it, one simply has to place the wire in the jaws and squeeze the handle. While this device allows even a novice to strip most wires very quickly, it does have some drawbacks. An automatic wire stripper only works on wires in a certain size range. If a wire is too small it may be broken by the pulling force, and if a wire is too large it will not fit in the jaws. Some have an adjustable tension, which adjusts the strength of the gripping jaw, such as the knob below the jaw on the yellow strippers below. When stripping the wire, an individual should grip and pull outwards to prevent injury. Mechanized automatic wire strippers can strip 10 gauge or thinner wires.
Laser Wire Stripper
A laser wire stripper is a computer controlled machine, much like a CNC router, which uses a laser to burn off the insulation of the wire. Laser wire stripping machines are used mostly for very fine gauge wires since they do not damage the conductor. A typical CO2 laser wire stripping machine should be capable of stripping the insulation off of any size wire.