5 Sep 2017

There are a few ways to cut and install Type MC Cable, but you should be aware that some are quicker and more efficient. Depending on the style of cable and insulation, different factors need to be taken into account to prevent damaging the conductors within.


Method 1: Rotary cable cutter
Rotary cable cutters are a standard tool used to install Type MC and AC Cables and can be found in most electrical supply stores. The blade depth can be adjusted to prevent cutting too deep into the armor and damaging the conductors within.

After measuring the length of cable needed, place the cutter approximately six inches from the end of the cable and cut through the armor. Next remove the armor to expose the conductors underneath to install into the box.

Method 2: Side cutters
For installers that may not use MC or AC cable regularly, or have a small job, using a side/diagonal cutting tool already available may be the easiest option. To cut cable this way, bend the cable at the cutting point until the armor begins to open. Where the cable has opened use the side/diagonal cutters to cut the remainder of the opening taking care not to damage the conductors. This method is less preferable due to the jagged and sharp edges that are left, causing a potential safety hazard. Safety gloves should always be worn when cutting cable and jagged edges should be trimmed to provide a clean end.

Method 3: Saw blade
A third option to cut cables is to use a hacksaw. This method is similar to using side cutters. First bend the cable until the armor begins to pop open. Next take the saw blade and cutting at a 45° angle, cut through the remaining armor avoiding coming into contact with the conductors. Once the armor is cut through, remove the armor sheath to expose the conductors. Using a saw blade will leave jagged edges that need to cleaned with cutters or a metal file.

Different style cables
Additional consideration should be made if this is an MCI-A style cable or a traditional cable. Traditional MC cables have an overall polypropylene assembly wrap under the armor that will be removed during installation. AFC’s MC-Stat® and MC-Quik® products have a polypropylene covering extruded directly onto the insulated conductors and could become damaged if the cut is too close. For further instructions on installing these cables, view AFC’s MC-Stat® and MC-Quick Installation Guides.

For all Type AC Cable installations, red anti-short bushings must be inserted into the end of the cable prior to installation. For traditional Type AC and MC cables, view AFC’s installation instructions.