The Ever-Growing Wiring Job

When we started on this thermoforming machine rebuild project, one of the first things we did was to open the control panel. We looked at the nest of wires back there and tossed the whole tangled mess. Those control wires were a basket case we’re happy to leave behind. But the rest of the machine – the power cables and such – looked OK at first glance.

Unfortunately, they don’t look as good after the second or third glances. Sometimes it’s not a glance at all – it’s seeing (and feeling) them fall apart when we worked in the machine. We expected the wires to be old, and kept our eyes open for signs of aging wires. We just didn’t expect to see them quite so often! This particular example was from the back of the air compressor. When we wanted to clean up the air compressor, we had to disconnect these wires. The act of moving the wires for access and removal broke the age-hardened insulation in many places. So now we have to replace it.

Failing insulation

Every time we get to work on a new area, we find that a new bunch of wires need to be replaced. We’re rapidly approaching the point where it might be easier to rip out every single wire and restart from scratch.

Wiring is tedious work, part of why good electricians make good money. For us, it’s a very real threat against project completion. We’re interested in having our own thermoforming machine, but that interest tends to drop every time we discover 2 new wiring tasks for every one completed. It’s a race to complete before everyone loses interest in the project.

Hopefully the work will be much easier – or at least more rewarding – once the wiring is complete.

Assuming, or course, we get there…

(Cross-posted to Hackaday.io)

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