How to Open a Cable Tie
- 18 Jul, 2022
Cable ties are beneficial little things. They enable you to tie things together and attach items to almost anything in just seconds. They're secure and strong, and they come in different materials too. However, the strength of a cable tie can sometimes get in your way. Sometimes you want to remove a zip tie, and you might want to do so without cutting it in half. In some cases, you may not be able to cut it. This might be because the cable tie is made from metal or it could just be because you don't have anything to cut it with.
Whatever your reason for removing cable ties without cutting them, you need to know how to do it safely and efficiently. Here are some of the easiest ways to unlock cable ties and keep them intact.
Types of Cable Ties
The first thing to consider is that there are different types of cable ties. Some people might be used to seeing cheap plastic ties. These are convenient, although not very eco-friendly, and can be quickly cut off with a pair of scissors when no longer needed. However, even plastic cable ties can be opened up if you don't want to cut them.
Another option for zip ties is metal cable ties, which might be made of aluminum or brass, for example. Aluminum is a popular choice for many applications as it's easy to bend. Brass is tougher, making it good for a more challenging environment. Stainless steel versions are also available and are a good option when liquid could affect them or there are extreme temperatures. Metal cable ties are excellent for stamping identifying data, and managing cables, pipes, and more.
Some cable ties are designed to release when you want them to. This can be convenient for when you want to save money or if you want to undo something and apply the zip tie again.
Cutting Off a Cable Tie
If you want to remove a cable tie, cutting it off seems like the obvious solution. If the cable ties are plastic or nylon, cutting them off with a pair of robust scissors is usually the simplest option. However, metal cable ties usually need something a little more heavy-duty.
Some metal zip ties can be cut open with a standard cutter. Others might need a tool designed to cut metal so you can properly cut through the robust material. They are designed to be pulled tight, so getting a grip on them to cut through them isn't always possible. It can also be difficult to remove a cable tie in some situations.
How Do You Open a Cable Tie Without Scissors?
You may not want to cut off a zip tie or might be unable to do so. So what can you do if you want to open up cable ties but you don't have the right tools, or you want to protect the integrity of the tie? Fortunately, there are ways to open cable ties without cutting them open.
Do You Open Reusable Cable Ties?
Some cable ties are reusable, which means they are designed to open at one end so you can tighten them again in another application. A reusable zip tie can use different mechanism types, so how you open it depends on the kind of tie. Some have a release trigger, others use a self-adhesive, and can be pulled apart.
Of course, one disadvantage of reusable cable ties is that they are easier to open. They might not be appropriate for applications because they don't provide the required strength.
Opening Nylon Cable Ties
Nylon cable ties are plastic, cheap cable ties that are pretty versatile. But they're also not designed to be reopened once you close them. Fortunately, you can still get them open, and you might even be able to reuse them, although they will start to lose their strength. There are plenty of Youtube videos that will guide you through how to get one open.
One of the easiest ways is to take a safety pin and push the tip down on the ratchet pin in the head of the tie. If you push it in, it should release.
How to Open Metal Cable Ties
Metal cable ties may not have the lock mechanism other zip ties have. They will often be held in place by the strength of the metal, which is bent around the cables, pipe, or whatever else the cable tie is needed for using force. Instead of pulling the tie's tail through, you feed it through the other end and then bend it back to keep it in place.
If you want to open a metal cable tie, the process will need a little more than a pin. If the metal tie has a locking mechanism, you can use a flathead screwdriver to release it by pushing the ratchet up. If not, you will need to bend the tail to pull it back through the end. You might be able to do this with some pliers or other appropriate tools that will allow you to bend the metal. You will then need to unwind the tie from whatever you have attached it to.
When removing a metal cable tie, you must be careful of anything it's attached to. You don't want to damage cables, pipes, or anything else in your attempt to remove the tie. Try to pull as gently as you can and keep the sensitive parts of the tools facing away from anything that you don't want to damage.
Undoing cable ties instead of cutting them can allow you to reuse them. It's an eco-friendly way to make use of them and cut down on waste. It can also be safer than trying to cut ties off in environments when it might not be a good idea. Try opening up your cable ties and reusing them instead of cutting them off next time.