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Is there another way to crimp aluminum sleeves without having to buy a $40+ crimping tool that I will only use for this one project?

Or at least is there a crimping tool that has another use?

I don't want to spend so much on a tool that will only be used once and will then be stored in a box until I die.

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    Why not buy one on eBay, use it, sell it on eBay. Or use a regular tool rental shop? – RedGrittyBrick Oct 11 '18 at 12:50
  • I'd go with the tool rental. Things like that can be incredibly cheap to rent for one day, especially if the sales price is only $40 to begin with. – FreeMan Oct 11 '18 at 13:54
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THIS METHOD SHOULD NEVER BE USED ON WIRE ROPE INTENDED FOR LIFTING PURPOSES. THE RESULT SHOULD BE ADEQUATELY TESTED WITH AN INTENDED LOAD UNDER CONTROLLED CONDITIONS WHILE HORIZONTAL BEFORE USING IT IN THE FIELD. (If the intended load is a very light one, such as for a dog tie-out, using your own body weight is one way to test it.)

For up to 3/16" BARED wire rope (that's the metal dia, not including any covering) I hammer in 3 dents. Using a nail about 3/16" dia. (for a 3/16" ID ferrule) laid across a DOUBLE ferrule, put 2 dents on one side, no closer than within 25% of the END of the ferrule flip it over and put the 3rd dent on the opposite side, spaced between the first 2. Don't go hammer crazy. With a properly sized ferrule, the dents don't have to be even the WALL thickness of the ferrule itself for max holding power. I use a traditional anvil's surface, but if you have a vice with an anvil surface behind the jaws, or a piece of railroad rail, or any THICK piece of scrap steel, lay the cable and ferrule on that. DO NOT DO THIS ON BARE CONCRETE-its an eye hazard and you can easily damage the concrete surface. Plus the ferrule doesn't look as good when you're finished.

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Just crush the thing with any tool you have around.

I googled the phrase "crimping aluminum sleeve without tool" to find examples of a child using pliers to get this done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMJETUcYNxg

If you can use a big vise to crush them down, that's probably the most 'controlled' way. Otherwise, use pliers, or get a hammer and chisel and dent the sleeve at two or three points with the chisel.

Plan on destroying one or two sleeves first just to get the technique down. Then, once you have one that looks right, really try to rip the wires out (to verify that you have a good internal connection).

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I often use a thick nail set and drive two divots on each side of the ferrule on concrete, staggered from each other on opposing sides.

Simply crushing ferrules with a vice or Vice-Grip doesn't leave me with much confidence in the holding power of the crimp and tends to leave a less pretty result. Creating a zigzag path for the wire rope is more reliable.

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Assuming you were thinking of using these ferrules to terminate wire rope, and you're only making a few connections and not hundreds, my advice is don't use them at all: use Wire Rope Clips instead.

Wire Rope Clip

They're not quite as cheap or quick to assemble, but if you're only doing a few, there's not much difference, and the only tool you need is a wrench.

Note that unlike the ferrules, they do have to be installed a particular direction.

Don't saddle a dead horse

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I just went through this! The guy at Home Depot practically rolled his eyes when I asked him where to find a “swaging tool”. Turns out, just bashing the crap out of them with a hammer (on our concrete garage floor) did the trick for the FOUR cable ends/ferrules I was dealing with. Who knew! Upside: very satisfying to bash things. :D. Caveat: I’m a chicken-armed chick, so bashing for me is probably gentle compared to a dude with actual muscles. Start “gentle” and work up. I was dealing with 3/32” cables. Project is finished!

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    You are far better off getting the proper, ratchet-type crimping tool for whatever ferrule/cable-end/... you're using, especially if you have chicken-arms (or noodle-arms for that matter). -- Another noodle-armed geek – ThreePhaseEel May 10 at 2:17
  • There’s something very satisfying about having the right tool for the job, especially if you have tried to do it with Incorrect tools. – Alaska Man May 10 at 4:56

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