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A way to keep wires out of the way - Car

  1. Mar 20, 2010 #1
    Hey all,

    What I'm trying to do is find a way to affix a wire or group of wires to the frame of an FSAE car to keep them out of the way. Last year this was done by either tie-wrapping the wires to the frame (tie wrap around the frame tube & wire) or with electrical tape by the same manner.
    There are two problems with this, however: because the radius of the chassis tube is so large in proportion to the wire, you end up cinching the wire and actually damaging it. Secondly, if we want to remove them for some reason, it's a real pain trying to cut the tie wraps or electrical tape.
    The idea we had for this year was to make little tabs from stainless steel welding rod about 3/4" long with a gap of approx 1/4" to allow us to use velcro straps to attach the wire bundle to the tab, rather than the frame. The problem, as you may have guessed, is that the welding rod melts at such a low temperature that it's impossible to weld.
    The next idea we had was to use small sheet metal tabs welded to the frame (think of wire loop connectors) then run wires through that, but even then the tabs are too thin to weld easily.
    We haven't tried stainless steel wire yet, but do you think that might work?

    Are there any other good ideas you can think of that might work for this purpose?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 22, 2010 #2
    Drill the tube and thread the wires. Slightly (read quite a lot) more work, and it's a fiddly job, but much much neater and the wires don't get damaged unless someone is careless when threading them.

    Or just use velcro tie wraps.
  4. Mar 22, 2010 #3


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    Go to a garden-supply shop. They sell large rolls of double-sided Velcro tape (hooks on one side, loops on the other) to use for tying up tomato vines, etc. You can cut the tape to any length you like. Wrap, overlap and press, and you're done. The stuff removes easily too.
  5. Mar 22, 2010 #4
    O.O That would be beautiful. In fact, it would really protect some wires :D I'm not sure if I can drill the tubes though due to
    A) rules
    B) Structural stability. This car is built to the "If something doesn't break, it's too strong/heavy" mentality. I will ask, however.

    Also, I need to route large bundles of wires (for shifting, ign, killswitch, etc) through the same spots.

    The velcro tie wraps we have now are too short and not sticky enough. Can buy better ones, I suppose.

    Hmm. That should work. Still means I am going over the frame, but at least this way it's easy to remove and won't cinch the wires. Will look into it.
  6. Mar 22, 2010 #5


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    That's my take on it too. When adding electronics to Harleys, I often ran into potential problems with zip-ties. They are skinny, hard and narrow, and if you overtighten them, they chafe the insulation. Cloth Velcro tape is gentle, wide and soft enough to restrain plants without damage, and holds really well. Want more hold? Make the ties a bit longer for more overlap. The big rolls make that easy to do.

    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  7. Mar 23, 2010 #6
    http://www.panduit.com/Products/ProductOverviews/CableManagement/index.htm [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Mar 23, 2010 #7
    Your holes are only going to be small, and you shouldn't be drilling them near the ends of tubes where loading is high.

    Basically if a few 2-3mm holes compromises the structure it's not safe to be in without the holes :D
  9. Mar 25, 2010 #8
    Ha! I think you misunderestimate our crazy :P
  10. Apr 1, 2010 #9
  11. Apr 1, 2010 #10
    go back to the garden supply above, buy a cheap garden hose (of proper color to match the chassis)
    take a 1" thick piece of wood, drill a hole in it about 1/8"-1/4" larger than the hose.
    saw wood in half thru hole, clamp back together in vice with razor blade sandwiched between sawed wood with the blade sticking into the hole (1/2 way in)
    cut the ends off the hose, then slide thru the wood. Razor will slice one side and if you are careful, the line will be straight as an arrow.
    pop rivet the split hose to the chassis thru the slit, then insert wire bundle, and zip tie together the hose. the hose protects the wires, and doesn't allow the zip ties to smash thru them.
    and with the new tool, now wire loop material costs pennies, or less

  12. Apr 1, 2010 #11
    I would not use velco tape to hold electrical wires. One way would be to use clamps. A clamp which was originally built by Adel to Military Spec MS21919 is commonly used for this purpose.However, the clamps are made by many other companies now. It consists of a metal band with a rubber protection. They can be used to hold fuel lines as well.

    The way I would connect the harness would be to install a large clamp around the tube, then install a screw with a plain nut. Position the clamp and tighten the nut. Place a smaller clamp over wiring harness and install to the same screw and use a nylon lock nut. This way you can change harness without removing clamps on tubing. You can install tyraps or nylon string between clamps for more support. Hope that makes sense to you!

    Here is a picture of the clamps:

    See first two pictures here for a typical installation: http://www.adap.com/rv7/Firewall Forward.htm
  13. Apr 2, 2010 #12
    I thought the problem wasn't keeping the wires held together, it was attaching them to a spaceframe. I thought those clamps were all round and used for pressure hoses, etc? I have a feeling I may have missed something here.

    EDIT: I looked at the website, I was thinking of a different product, silly me.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  14. Apr 2, 2010 #13
    Correct. We have some nylon woven sheath stuff that we use to make a bundle.
  15. Apr 13, 2010 #14
    Hey guys . . i came across this website with some good prices for http://www.securecableties.com" [Broken] stuff. You may find it useful it has cable clamps, ties, velcro wraps etc. Definitely good for organizing rogue cables.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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