Being a DIY electronics geek, I think of the cable tie as one of the most amazing inventions of all time. They're cheap, they're easy to handle, and they can hold incredible amounts of weight (or provide incredible amounts of tension). I use cable ties (and the many mounting accessories available for cable ties) to neatly bundle audio cable, clamp down strain-reliefs, prevent wall warts from falling out, mount power strips, attach labels, etc. Call me a fan. And no respectable fan of cable ties would be without a cable tie gun. What's a cable tie gun you ask? It's a tool that can tension and trim a cable tie all in one go. All you need to do is wrap the tie around whatever you're bundling/clamping/mounting, insert the loose end into the tip of the gun, and squeeze the trigger. One such tool is the Model 900-005 from Eclipse Tools. It has a comfortably shaped metal body with a mechanism made of heavy- gauge stamped steel. A tension wheel with a numerical indicator allows you to control how tight the cable tie is pulled before the tool flush- cuts the end. Quality-wise, it's middle of the pack. It's not as hi-end as Snap-On, nor as cheap as K- Mart. It's more like the Craftsman or Husky of cable tie tools. Eclipse claims that the gun handles cable ties that are from 3/32'' to 11/32'' in width - but I find that cable ties on the smaller end of this range aren't trimmed correctly. I'm not sure who really manufactures the 900-005 gun. The exact same tool is also available as the Del City 990085, the Ideal Tools 15-991, and the Paladin Tools 46120, with prices topping out at $110. I paid $59.95 for an Ideal Tools 15-991 from the Future Active Catalog a few years ago thinking that was a great deal for a contractor- quality tool. Recently, I bought the exact same gun - labeled as the Eclipse 900-005 - for $19.95 at the local MicroCenter computer store. When I wired one of the control rooms at WMBR radio last month, I proudly sported both my guns - with one set for low tension and one set for high tension. How's that for geeky!


Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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