DIY Power Cable Report

Just completed two AC cables of two meters for ARC 250 mono blocks using all Furutech parts, including their FP Alpha 3 OCC cable and FI28 Rhodium plugs. The results are so good, it's more like an interconnect upgrade, but what I had to do to make these was a real project. I cannot say enough about their OCC copper for its smooth, rich performance--I must have it in my system wherever it can be applied, but here's what I had to do. I cut through the thick pvc insulation that encapsulates and provides a twist to the three conductors, which I removed out of the pvc. Now with three loose conductors in a PTFE dielectric, I can carefully insert the wire into the terminal in a straight shot. This wire is described as 11 gauge--not a lot of room in the clamping mechanism, but to make it even harder, I ran two legs each into the hot and neutral terminals, and this is why I had to pull the conductors out of the thick pvc. Each conductor must be carefully inserted, one on each side of the screw that runs down the middle of the clamp. The only way to do this is a straight shot, one wire at a time, or there will be strands bent back. But, even more ridiculous was that the PTFE is too thick to insert two conductors into the plastic housing--just can't cram them in there without stripping a lot more insulation than is recommended, so I had to taper each end of the teflon insulation in order to comply with the 10 mm length of bare copper. Well, this PTFE is tough, tough stuff and very hard to work with, even to strip. I realized I could not taper the teflon after first stripping the end--too risky, easy to nick the strands with a blade. A grinder wheel did not work--just too tough a material. So, I had to first score the PTFE at the right distance then taper/carve the material out with an x-acto blade. Only then was it safe to strip the insulation the rest of the way. And then, it worked--could insert the bare copper into the housing, which has a beveled profile. I could only use one leg for ground because there is so much bulk involved--I also sheathed each conductor with Techflex Flexoconductive, a nylon braid infused with carbon--supposed to cancel RFI. Now, had to work with the plug housing--had to gut all the clamping parts and completely cut out the rubber grommet from the back of the housing--this is working with the extreme limit of what these plugs will take-had to spray some silicone on the braid just to work the pieces together during assembly. I did a five-wire braid as far as possible up to the second plug--have to run them straight in at just the right arrangement according to the terminal layout. This approach pushes the extreme limit of these plugs and is very laborious and you have to invent some technique in order to exceed the physical limits of these plugs, which already feature a rather generous gauge capability. I wanted a large overall gauge of OCC copper, and this has been achieved, but had to order extra cable to create ten separate conductors. The results are stunning--the dieIectric and this copper together in this bulk is beyond anything I could have hoped for, and I like to think I did something creative here. Highly recommended for those who like to really get into their projects.
On second thought--I cannot recommend this as a project. By defeating the double insulation of a high-current cord, it no longer meets code. This does not worry me in my personal use in my own environment--I only ask that you understand my caution.
When cable manufacturers charge for their products, everyone screams bloody murder. They say you can just go out and buy all the raw materials for a few dollars; a small fraction of what the cables usually retail for. Who would have guessed that there's a lot of labor in all this?
So how much did the raw materials cost per cable?
The cost of materials for two 2-meter cords using the rhodium plugs was $1800. I also treated the exposed copper with Furutech's Nanotech liquid--a bit spendy on that, so about 2K total, all of this from The Cable Company. The Techflex was about $100. Tools needed, at least for me, were two Panavises mounted close together on a 2x6, which was then clamped to a table. The vises are needed in creating the tapered ends by carving out PTFE with a blade. A Klein Catapult stripper was used to first score the PTFE and later for the final strip--a very nice tool for the money--it cuts and strips off the insulation in one operation. For the cost of this much OCC copper and the fine plugs, you can easily beat the big boys--not even close. If they aren't offering OCC metals, don't even look at them. There is no reason to have any distorting grain structure in an elemental material at their costs. It's laughable. This is a lot of copper per cable, though. if you don't have big mono blocks, you would be overbuilding.