Is there any tool to strip ribbon cables (all wires at once)?

It's too time consuming and error prone to do it one by one.

ribbon cable

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ If you use IDC connectors, you don't have to strip it.. \$\endgroup\$
    – pjc50
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 22:10
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ of course, if I wanted to use IDC, I wouldn't be looking for a stripper... \$\endgroup\$
    – csadam
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 23:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Buy single strand wire? \$\endgroup\$
    – Passerby
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 5:18

3 Answers 3


There are, in fact, ribbon cable stripping tools. For example, see this catalog.

Here's another one:

Wire tool

Typically the tool will come with multiple "blades", or these blades might be available as options.

My Chinese no-name ribbon cable stripper (approximately $8, local store) came with 3 blades, one for 10 x 2.54mm pitch, one for 16 x 1.27 mm pitch, and one for 8-conductor cable for direct insertion into RJ45 jacks.

For mass production, ribbon cable stripping machines are available, which can place, size, cut, strip and crimp connectors onto ribbon cable without human intervention. Sites like Alibaba.com might be useful to search for them.


I faced the same issue, and found a "budget" - and as such "less than perfect" - solution (I didn't want to wait the 2 weeks shipping for the tool, and saved some money too this way):

  • get two similar straight, flat, and straight pieces of metal, that are longer than width of the cable to be stripped (the flat type PC card slot covers are fit for the job)
  • drill matching holes to their ends, so that the edges of the metal pieces on one side match perfectly
  • get screws to hold them together
  • insert unblanked ribbon cable to extend the desired length from this makeshift clamp
  • tighten screws so that the cable is held firmly in the clamp
  • use fine tip soldering iron, pull the tip along the metal pieces, just like a pencil along a ruler, with low heat setting to melt the insulator until the core of each wire is visible. Be sure to do this for both sides
    • I'd recommend a cheap or quite "end-of-life" tip for this not to ruin the good ones
  • use a wide pair of pliers to pull of the insulation.

The tough part is the last to get done properly: if done hastily, the cores will get bent, and tangled. Or even torn, if too much force is applied to the pliers...


Thermal stripping is best. Use a metal straight edge and drag a soldering iron or similar down each side and pull the insulation off. It will melt the insulation with no risk of nicking the wire, but there is a risk of oxidizing untinned copper wire. You can clamp the end with moderate force in a vice or similar and pull to break it off if doing it by hand is too much hassle.

Many of the cheap automatic wire strippers will work (ones that look like Xcelite SAS3210, but you can get $15 versions on Amazon). You have to be careful when the insulation first breaks not to spread too far and just work down the ribbon cable if it is wider than the stripper.

If you're using 20AWG or bigger, Jokari FKZ (PN#20030) is really nice and does 12mm widths. It's similar to the cheap automatic wire strippers, but controls the cutting depth and pull-apart better, and has less slip so you can make multiple strips that line up.

For most ribbon cable, I just use a good pair of scissors to cut it (any heavy duty fiskars is generally fine).

For broad ribbon cable consider getting flat cable shears such as RS Pro 359548.


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