Stripping Magnet (Insulated) Wires: the most dangerous/effective method

I’m starting a separate thread to lay off the one about the Maytech 6880 motors, because this is sidetracking it. I don’t think there’s a thread dedicated to this procedure so Here we go:


But, again, the phase leads are impossible to effectively solder. I’ve tried a lot of options, and had some upsetting results. I have two motors connected. One reads at 14 mOhms, the other at 20 mOhms. The difference between them is the way I soldered their terminals. The 20 mOhm motor I connected by burning the insulation in a solder pot. I even fanned the strands out and sanded them fairly extensively before the plunge, and still, that wire is INCREDIBLY RESILIENT. For the 14 mOhm motor I tried the following proceedure… HOWEVER:

Before I say anything else, this method is dangerous AF*!!!** When the LYE gets hot enough to melt, it begins to spatter and pop. ONE SPECK gets in your eye, permanent blindness. On your skin, instant excruciating burns. We are few of us chemists, and lye is an extremely dangerous chemical, as are the fumes that it produces when eating polyamide laminations. It can kill/maim you, But, f-me if it isn’t the single best way to strip some magnet wire.


  1. Your respirator covers most of your face
  2. Your SAFETY GOGGLES cover a lot too
  3. You’ve read at least one entire wikipedia article about Sodium Hydroxide (LYE), Especially the danger parts. Maybe re-read those too.
  4. Your thick-rubber gloves go most of the way to your elbows and your protective clothes cover everything else. DONT BE THE GUY IN YOUTUBE VIDEOS DOING THIS WITH BARE HANDS Be like Walter White. image

Literally, you can FEEL the danger.

If you wanna try it despite everything I’ve said, it works brilliantly. Some key points for success:

  1. Heat! For my first attempt, I used my solder pot to heat a steel ramekin which contained the salt/lye (equal parts is fine). This got the mixture to melt, but when wires were immersed, salt formed in large clumps and failed to saturate every strand. For my second attempt I used a torch to heat the same ramekin until the salts boiled, and kept the torch on while the wires were immersed. This resulted in perfectly stripped copper! 20190220_233509

  2. Remove at least 4-5 cm of the wire casing so the individual strands can be easily separated. Fan that shit out . 20190220_233219

  3. Once the immersion is successful, dip the wire in water to cool it, and pull the chunks out. Take it to a faucet and rinse THOROUGHLY before next steps

  4. Wipe everything down with a wet towel before removing your huge rubber gloves!! Do NOT RISK GETTING LYE ON YOUR SKIN!!

  5. Flux and tin the beautiful wires, and have a few beers! Cut a small amount of the tip off to make sure you have fully tinned them

20190220_234419 20190220_234639

Great success I would have done more to document this process, but it just seemed way too dangerous to worry about a camera. Good luck friends, and be VERY CAREFUL


That has to be the most dangerous thing I’ve ever read. Seems even more dangerous than accidentally shorting a lithium battery. That’s hard to top.


It was thrilling, in a bad way. But the only thing that worked. Edit: to elaborate, I hated every second of it. It was terrifying, possibly the most dangerous thing I’ve ever attempted. But when I saw the bare naked strands of copper, I knew it was worth it.


Forgot to mention how important it is to clean up after. You must be surgical and methodical in your cleanup. It is true poison and should be handled as such. It will stick to your fingers, shoes, etc. Then you’re tracking it into the house. If it gets into your food or you touch your eyes, you’re fucked


Does this mean they use really good quality coating on the wires?

There must be a safer method for people who are not willing to or have the equipment to do this?

I have some really strong nitric acid, would that work? I would not need fire just air extraction and skin protection.

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Nitric acid will eat the copper!! Lye (basic pH) does not react with copper or steel, and I feel like that would actually be even more dangerous than Lye.

The insulation on these wires is very high quality. And to answer your question about alternative methods to remove it, yes mechanical and thermal methods work to an acceptable degree however:

  1. When I was attempting mechanical abrasion, i found that the best I could do is strip two sides per strand and only marginally well. I also ended up breaking a bunch of the little bastards off in the process :rage:

  2. Heat, sufficient to burn the insulation travels very quickly, and leaves the wires brittle and covered with oxidized soot. This also leads to the need for mechanical abrasion and more frustration.

  3. The solder pot bath was the most effective of these 3 methods, but again, the heat transfer is problematic, and it takes a long time to get tinning to occur. Once it finally does, the solder just doesn’t look like a trustworthy electronic connection.

As of yet, I have done the Lye/salt suicide mission only on one of two motors, the other is terminated by the solder pot process. The measured IR on this motor is about 21mOhms vs 14 on the other. Maybe not a truly material difference, but I wanted peace of mind knowing that each individual strand of the windings has a solid, reliable, and electronically sound connection to the bullet!!

But I’m obsessive about these things…

Edit: truth be told, Once i had the process down, and got comfortable with the safety precautions I had in place, it became a little less frightening.


Had a great time last night! I didn’t pay attention to which motor I was replacing, and instead of applying this procedure to 2 motors, I ended up doing it for 3. So long story short: I have one motor with loose magnets, which runs really efficiently because it’s the one I terminated with the mlmwsm (molten lye magnet wire stripping method -henceforth ). As mentioned in my OP, one motor measured 20-21 mOhms vs the other at 14. The one that measures 14 has loose magnets (more on that later), so I set out to replace it last night and figured why not re-terminate the 21mOhm while I’m at it!!

Well, I didn’t double check which was which, and ended up getting more practice than I wanted lol. As of now however, after some extra unneeded work, I have two motors measuring 14-14.5 mOhms :rofl::sunglasses:

Was also able to video the process. Before you watch, please reread the warnings in the OP. It’s crazy dangerous. And there’s probably a much better way to do this, but this is what I have to work with so whatever.


Very interesting video :ok_hand: looks a bit like you opened up a crack kitchen or something illegal :joy:

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Right?? Lolz. If you wanna get high, just take off the respirator

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In manufacturing they just a machine that essentially has wire brushes which strips the enamel off.

I haven’t had to do this in a while but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work? A wire wheel.


If you guys never knew what LYE is and to see how quick it burns watch Fight Club. Chemical burns are probably some of the worst pain you can have from a burn.


No man, I tried it. Dermel with wire brush? Not a f*ing chance. Literally every alternative method and zero luck. Whereas some careful experimentation, and about 30 seconds per phase… perfect, bare copper.

Again, I would like to point out the level of quality that goes into the motor windings in these maytech motors. These wires are as good as it seems to get, unless you need to strip them lol. Without pain, without sacrifice, we have NOTHING. don’t talk about fight club