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Old 06-26-2010, 02:53 PM   #1
Mad_Bohemian
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Default How to make your own custom length control cables.

Anyone who has tried to swap out hand controls for a custom applications knows the headaches of finding clutch and throttle cables the are correct lengths (sometimes they don't exist...anywhere!) So I took my new and too long cable to the only guy in town who makes cables, he couldn't do it because the cable was "too large in diameter for what I have". He suggested getting a cable clamp from the hardware store. Yeah, that'll look real professional on my project. NOT

So I had an idea how I could make the cable myself as I sat in the garage contemplating the past week (car blew the motor, communications board went out on my cnc, unemployment runs out.. )

First I measured my new cable while it was on the bike (twice) to figure out where it needed to be trimmed. I cut the cable and kept the end I cut off.


Grabbed a small block of 1/2" scrap steel and drilled a 19/64 hole all the way through it. Clamped that on top of another piece of scrap steel



.....and then grabbed my propane torch.



I then took an old junk cable I had lying around and began heating the end of the cable with the 'nub' on it (don't know what the official name is for them) Once it got hot enough I was able to to 'drip/drag' it into the 19/64 dia hole. I did that with a total of 3 cable ends. Then I patiently heated the small block of steel around the hole with the melted solder in it. Once it was sure it was completely melted (I stirred it with a small nail held by pliers) I inserted my trimmed cable into the mix I heated the cable a little before and after inserting it so the solder would get good penetration around the steel strands of the cable.




I held it there for 2-3 minutes while it solidified, then I ran cool water over the whole thing. Then I unclamped the small block and took it to my vise to drive the part out of the block




I ended up using a bolt that was just the right diameter to drive it out.

And here it is...looks as good as the real thing
(except for the blurry pic...sorry)!

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Old 06-26-2010, 03:30 PM   #2
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Thanks for the write-up and sharing your knowledge!.

Last edited by Custom85VT; 06-26-2010 at 05:27 PM..
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Old 10-19-2010, 02:00 PM   #3
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I would suppose you have to hold it perfectly center. Why can't you just use regular solder? Like for plumbing or wiring?
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Old 10-19-2010, 02:42 PM   #4
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Hmm, I missed this when you posted this back in the day. Pretty interesting. Is it still holding up and working properly?
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Old 10-24-2010, 12:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rab71 View Post
I would suppose you have to hold it perfectly center. Why can't you just use regular solder? Like for plumbing or wiring?

Yes solder is used for this but do not use plumbing solder since it has acid in it.
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Old 10-24-2010, 02:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
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I would suppose you have to hold it perfectly center. Why can't you just use regular solder? Like for plumbing or wiring?
Wouldn't really need to be "perfectly" center.. but should definitely be centered the best you can.


This is a cool how to post, but keep in minds guys: if your clutch cable end comes off while you are riding, you will be without clutch control. Potentially dangerous and have fun getting your bike home.

Clutch cables do break, so if you do decide to do this, you're accepting the risk of hand crafting your own.

Barnett and Motion Pro make custom cables, and even these can break.


Can you make a better cable, and for less money? Probably. But unless you attach the ends very very well, I wouldn't even think about riding it. Excluding the danger factor, I wouldn't want to risk being 30 miles or more from any repair shop and being stuck without throttle or clutch control.

Another thing many people don't realize is cables DO stretch over time. We're talking steel cables that can hold an incredible amount of weight. Just the repetitive motion and tension stretches them. This is one of the reasons you have adjustments for your clutch.. not all throttles are so lucky. Anyways, my point with stating this is that continual use does factor into part reliability. It's not just make it once and thinking its good. It's also the parts ability to withstand years of use.
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:52 PM   #7
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Good writeup. Thanks for the info. Has anyone tried this with normal electrical solder? I imagine it would be too soft? What other sources could be used for the alloy to be melted if you didn't have access to old cables?
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Old 09-26-2011, 04:28 PM   #8
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G What other sources could be used for the alloy to be melted if you didn't have access to old cables?

199 post 1982 pennies, 2 pre-1982 pennies, and 100 g of aluminum makes ZA-27.


The post 1982 pennies are mostly zinc and can be melted on a stove. The two pre-1982 pennies are mostly copper and will melt (dissolve) into the zinc along with the aluminum.


Do not use pennies from 1982. They were made with both compositions that year and are hard to tell apart.


You can find more info here.
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:47 PM   #9
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Ok, thats interesting info. As i am not from the US, ill investigate other currencies to see their composition. Good solution if pennies are easy to find.
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Old 09-27-2011, 04:52 PM   #10
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Ok, thats interesting info. As i am not from the US, ill investigate other currencies to see their composition. Good solution if pennies are easy to find.

Boy is my face red. I just realized you are from Indonesia.


The key is to find a source of zinc. Copper and aluminum are easy to find.
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Old 12-13-2011, 12:05 AM   #11
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Marked for future reference
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