FOA Basic Skills

Lesson: Cleaving Optical Fiber

Objectives: From this lesson you should learn:
How to use these tools to strip cable to the bare fiber

Safety Glasses
Fiber Stripper
Kevlar Shears
Fiber Cleaver

Cleaving fiber

Fiber optic cable



Lennie works safely

Always wear safety glasses when doing any of these exercises and dispose of all fiber scraps properly.

Safety Rules - Read before beginning any exercises.


Before attempting this exercise, you should complete the exercises on stripping and cleaving fibers.

Familiarize yourself with the cleaver parts:


1. Using what you learned from the fiber stripping exercise, cut off 2-2.5" (50-60mm) of the cable jacket and cut off the Kevlar strength members.

2. Use the fiber stripper to strip 1.5" (35-40mm) of the fiber. and clean the fiber.

For splice or connector exercises, follow the stripping and cleaving lengths specified for that component. 

Clean the fiber.

Hold the fiber carefully in one hand while you open the cleaver.

5. With the cleaver open, you can see the small black fiber clamp. Open that.

6. Notice there are two grooves for fibers, one small for 250 micron buffer fiber and a larger one for 900 micron buffer fiber. There is also a scale that tells you the length of bare fiber that will be left after the fiber is cleaved, important for fibers and connectors.

cleave length

Insert the fiber in the larger groove and align the end of the fiber buffer at 15mm, the middle of the range on the scale.

7. Close the fiber holder to secure the fiber.

8. Close the lid of the cleaver.

9. Push the lever on the lower right side of the cleaver to cleave the fiber.

10. Locate the fiber sticking out of the right side of the cleaver. This will be the scrap fiber that needs to be discarded-CAREFULLY! Grab the fiber scrap with your fingers as you open the cleaver lid and dispose of the scrap fiber immediately.

Clean up all your fiber scraps and dispose of them in a container like a used take-out coffee cup clearly marked "Fiber Scraps"! Seal this container with tape and dispose of carefully when finished.

11. Open the fiber holder and remove your cleaved fiber.

12. Your fiber is ready to be inserted in the splice or connector used in these exercises.

Watch this to see how it's done:

Cleaving Fiber

You have successfully completed this exercise when you have been able to strip the jacket and both buffer coating layers from the fiber without breaking the fiber and you have cleaved the fiber to the proper length.

Try cleaving fiber several times and then fill in your

Return to Lesson Plan

This information is provided by The Fiber Optic Association, Inc. as a benefit to those interested in teaching, designing, manufacturing, selling, installing or using fiber optic communications systems or networks. It is intended to be used as an overview and/or basic guidelines and in no way should be considered to be complete or comprehensive. These guidelines are strictly the opinion of the FOA and the reader is expected to use them as a basis for learning, as a reference and for creating their own documentation, project specifications, etc. Those working with fiber optics in the classroom, laboratory or field should follow all safety rules carefully. The FOA assumes no liability for the use of any of this material.


Table of Contents: The FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics

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