View Full Version : What Steel cable should I use?

05-01-2009, 07:14 PM
I finally got a manual for my Enco surface grinder. The table traverse is driven by a steel cable that is wrapped @7 times over a 1.5" (38mm) capstan . I have none of the original cable. The Chinglish manual says the replacement is a 3x19x3x6m cable. I am trying to figure out a suitable alternative. I presume that the 3x19 indicates the cable form and the 6m indicates 6 meters (although 6 meters seems excessively long). I have no idea what the 3 indicates. The capstan grooves look like they will take a max of 5/32" (4mm) diameter cable. So it looks like I will need a very flexible cable. The table weighs over 150 lbs, so I am going to need some strength although it floats on 47 five eighths balls.
Does anyone have any suggestions on what cable I should use and where I might get it??


05-01-2009, 07:34 PM
Go to a chandlers
..and have a look what stainless steel cable they have there .

That's what my friend Alwyn put on his makino tool and cutter grinder a few years ago ..still going strong no failure .

that's, if you live near the coast.........Which you don't .?

edit..... you do ..just looked it up .

all the best.markj

05-01-2009, 07:44 PM
The McMaster-Carr catalog www.mcmaster.com has quite a good writeup on the various types of steel cable.
See for example www.mcmaster.com/#about-wire-rope/=1oua6p

05-01-2009, 07:49 PM

05-01-2009, 10:20 PM
I re-did the cables on a couple Kent 6x18 grinders.They both used 3/32" braided stainless which actually measured .135" OD.

Got it from McMaster.

05-02-2009, 05:28 AM
I second (and third) Marks suggestion on Stainless and Wierds on braided Stainless. Similar wrap around system on a hand adjusted double headed mitre cutting saw used in plastic window making industry.

Regards Ian.

05-02-2009, 11:21 AM
Thanks for the responses Guys.

I like the idea of the stainless braided cable, but I can't find any on the McMaster site. In fact a Google search for braided Stainless steel cable turns up motorcycle cable and jewelry. I an not sure what this braided cable looks like. Is there possibly an other term I should search under?

I presume I should be looking for uncoated cable?

Thanks Again


05-02-2009, 11:39 AM
Check out your local Ace / True Value hardware store. They should have something to fill the bill, sold by the foot. Isn't garage door cable about that size?

05-02-2009, 12:04 PM
Try West Marine for stainless wire. Used in sailboat rigging, life lines etc.

Good luck,


05-02-2009, 03:18 PM
Thanks for the responses Guys.

I presume I should be looking for uncoated cable?


You need Coated cable

Limy Sami
05-02-2009, 04:59 PM
IME 1.5" dia is a bit small for ordinary rigging type wire, suggest you look at wire fishing leader, super flexible compared to rigging wire......... also in nylon covered.

05-02-2009, 05:40 PM
Thanks Rick,

Being and old sailor any excuse to venture into West Marine is always appreciated. I found some very flexible cable that ought to work fine. Of course West Marine liked it a lot too. (a buck seventy nine a foot). It does fit the capstan well and now I am off to the next opportunity, the magnetic chuck. I started a new thread for that.

Many thanks to everyone for their input.