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Fiber Optic Termination Tools
Fiber Stripping Tool
Adjustable Fiber and
Stripping Tool for Ø3 mm and
Three-Hole Fiber Stripper
Thorlabs offers the following tools used to install connectors on single mode and multimode optical fiber.
Click options in the guide below to quickly navigate the page.
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T12S16 Stripping Tool Shown with Included BFG1 Fiber Gripper
These fiber buffer stripping tools provide a quick, easy, and reliable way to remove the buffer from an optical fiber in preparation for connectorization. A fiber guide and matched blades ensure that the optical fiber is correctly positioned and stripped each time. The blades are color coded to allow for fast identification of the proper fiber stripping tool.
The BFG1 Bare Fiber Gripper is included with each fiber buffer stripping tool. When removing the buffer from an optical fiber, the textured rubber material of this gripper provides a secure hold without damaging the fiber. This method of gripping is recommended over wrapping or clamping the loose end of the fiber, as these techniques can create microfractures in the fiber. The BFG1 gripper is also sold separately below.
To select the correct fiber stripping tool for your cladding and coating diameter, please expand the Stripping Tool Selection Guide table below.
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The FTS4 three-hole fiber stripping tool can be used to strip off (1) the jacket, (2) the buffer, and (3) the coating of an optical fiber.
The FTS4 Fiber Stripping Tool is capable of stripping the fiber jacket (furcation tubing), fiber buffer, and fiber coating. The first hole, indicated by the 1 in the photo to the right, strips the Ø1.6 mm - Ø3 mm fiber jacket down to the Ø600 µm - Ø900 µm buffer coating. The second hole strips the Ø600 µm - Ø900 µm buffer down to the Ø250 µm coating. The third hole is used to strip the Ø250 µm cable down to the glass fiber without nicks or scratches.
The handle is made of thermoplastic rubber and the tool is 6" (15 cm) long from the tip of the blade to the end of the handle. This fiber stripper is preset at the factory and cannot be adjusted or calibrated. The stripping tool should be periodically checked for proper operation and can be cleaned with a fine plastic bristled brush to remove debris from the openings. The openings can also be cleaned with dry compressed air.
The AFS900 Adjustable Stripping Tool is capable of stripping the fiber jacket (furcation tubing) and fiber buffer. The blades have a V-groove slot to precisely hold the fiber in the proper position as the stripping tool is closed. The AFS900 has an adjustable blade stop that can be used to ensure that the optical fiber is not cut when stripping the jacket or buffer. This tool is often used when stripping Ø900 µm fiber jacket (tight or loose), and can remove jackets and buffers down to Ø400 µm. Because of the delicate nature of fiber, we recommend that when the AFS900 is used to strip fiber buffer that the stop be properly set and then to dedicate the tool for that purpose. Also available are fiber buffer stripping tools with blades that are dedicated for use with specific fiber cladding and buffer diameters (see above).
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The TBS900 Tight Buffer Stripper shears off a portion of the buffer, allowing the user to peel the buffer back by hand.
The Vytran™ TBS900 Tight Buffer Stripping Tool is used to remove tight buffer from Ø900 µm buffered fiber without cutting the coating. It is designed for fibers with coating diameters from 250 µm to 500 µm. As shown by the image to the left, it consists of eleven slots, each of which is 4" (101.6 mm) long, and a holding plate. Each slot cuts a different depth into the buffer, as given in the table to the right.
To use, place the tool on a flat, clean surface, then push down the two rounded tabs next to the holding plate to raise the holding plate. While holding down the tabs, insert the Ø900 µm buffered fiber into the desired slot in the direction marked "Feed". Release the tabs to lower the holding plate, then pull the buffered fiber in the direction marked "Strip". This removes a portion of the buffer, as shown by the drawing to the right, and provides a starting point for peeling back the rest of the buffer by hand.
We recommend starting with a slot that will remove less material, then increasing the amount removed until the ideal slot is determined. Our JEL10 and EYL10X Eye Loupes are useful for inspecting the stripped fiber to ensure the coating has not been compromised.
Each TBS900 stripping tool ships with one single-sided blade pre-installed, as well as ten extra replacement blades. The replacement procedure, which requires a 0.050" balldriver or hex key (not included), is available in the manual.
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FTS3B Replacement Blade Set
The FTS3 Stripping Tool will provide precise cuts through Ø3 mm and Ø3.8 mm furcation tubing. Simply set the depth of the dual cutting blades before placing the cutting tool around the fiber. Then spin the tool around the fiber several times. This results in two precise cuts through the tubing. The furcation tubing between the two cuts can then be removed by using the blade at the end of the FTS3 to make a precise cut through the tubing along the length of the fiber. Each FTS3 also comes with a blade that has a rounded tip. Long cuts along the length of the fiber can be made through the furcation tubing by swapping the blade at the end of the FTS3 with the rounded blade. Simply place the fiber in the end V-groove, press the blade through the furcation tubing, and then draw the fiber through the tool.
Replacement blades (Item # FTS3B) are available for the FTS3 stripping tool. Each FTS3B set contains three straight blades plus the round tipped blade.
This fiber connector crimp tool can be used to crimp SMA, FC, SC, and ST connectors. It has hex crimp sizes of 0.128", 0.151", 0.178", 0.197", and 0.215". Crimping is only required for connectors attached to furcation tubing that is Ø2 mm or greater; Ø900 µm or smaller tubing does not need to be crimped.
The T186 Kevlar Cutting Shears (Mfg. Item # JIC-186) have carbon steel blades that are specifically designed to cut through Kevlar fibers. One blade is serrated to keep the Kevlar fibers from sliding along the blades as the shears are being closed, which allows the Kevlar fibers to be cut easily. These shears feature an ergonomic loop handle made from dual component nylon and Santoprene™. The tool is 6" (15 cm) long from the tip of the blade to the end of the handle and features an adjustable joint screw for tension adjustments.
It is important to use the T186 cutting scissors only for cutting Kevlar. Any other material, including the silica fiber itself, can potentially damage the precision edge of the blades and make them less effective in cutting Kevlar.
The BFG1 Bare Fiber Gripper is an ideal aid when removing buffer from an optical fiber. The textured rubber material of this gripper provides a secure hold without damaging the fiber. This method of gripping is recommended over wrapping or clamping the loose end of the fiber, as these techniques can create microfractures in the fiber.
The FTDU offers a safe solution for disposal of cleaved fiber ends, epoxy and syringes, and other sharp objects. This high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottle features a translucent lid with one circular and one rectangular hole in it (see the photo to the right). Both of these holes have individual covers that snap closed to keep the contents inside the unit. Tabs on the side of the lid hold the covers open for hands-free use. The two hole covers are connected by a plastic tab. Cut, or pull, the covers apart to use the holes separately.
To use, insert sharps into one of the holes in the lid. Do not remove the lid itself from the unit. Use the "Contents" space on the label to clearly indicate what is inside. To protect against spills, keep the holes covered when not inserting sharps. When it is full, securely cover both holes in the lid by inserting the tab on the cover into the slot in the lid and dispose of the canister according to the contents. Do not fill the sharps container past the indicated "Full" line on the label. Do not reuse this unit; it is a one-time-use container only.