Posted on

DIY USB Cable Tutorial

DIY KIT (19 of 26)

In the future, I plan to release a proper YouTube tutorial, but I hope that this will suffice for now!

Buy a kit here!

Estimated time on your 1st try with no experience with anything related to this whatsoever: 90-120 minutes.

You Need the Following Tools to get Started.

You'll see why you need these tools during the tutorial.
  1. Soldering Iron
  2. Pointy Tip for that Soldering Iron
  3. Solder
  4. Heat Gun (or blow dryer).
  5. Pliers
  6. Wire Stripper
  7. Hot Glue Gun
  8. Sharp Scizzors
  9. Protective Glasses – SAFETY FIRST.

Suggested Tools to Make Your Life EASIER.

You'll see why these tools will make your life easier when I reference them, or when you see them in the tutorial.
  1. Lighter used to start stoves (stove fire is not advised).
  2. Helping Hands
  3. Tweezers
  4. Solder Flux

In this tutorial, I will be making a 3FT cable.

1) Cutting the Cable to Length & Presleeving Duties

So you have all your tools & your pieces from the DIY kit you just bought! Great!

DIY KIT (1 of 2)

DIY KIT (1 of 26)
38 inches for a 36inch cable!

Begin by cutting your USB cable to length. Leave about 1 inch extra on each end so you have room to work with.

Example: If you want a 3ft cable, cut the cable to 38 inches or so. If you want a 1ft cable, cut the cable to about 14 inches or so.

Take out the inner paracord rope!

DIY KIT (2 of 2)
That white stuff is the inner rope. Take it out

 

2) Sleeving that Cable

PRECAUTION: This part will discourage you:'(

First, use your LIGHTER to heat up the Paracord/Aegis/Techflex just a LITTLE. This will prevent fraying which is not the business to deal with layer.

DIY KIT (3 of 26)
Paracord Frayed like no business
DIY KIT (5 of 26)
Flame that cord up!

Now, lets start sleeving!  This is the hardest part as some paracord is tighter than others. Aegis will make your life easier (FYI).

You want to add a little piece of masking tape on the the end of the cable to make sure the inner core cables do not come out. The secret to this technique is to do a double pinch technique!

DIY KIT (1 of 1)

3) Time to Cut the Paracord/Aegis & Techflex

So now that that sucker is sleeved, we need to have room to work with for the cable! Remember those 2 inches we left for slack earlier? Well this is where it comes in. Make sure the paracord or aegis sleeving is the length of your cable that you wanted, and then cut the excess paracord/aegis.

DIY KIT (4 of 26)
Cut the extra.

Lets just sum it up right now:

  1. Your USB cable is 38 inches long
  2. Your Paracord/Aegis is about 36 inches long.

If you have techflex, make sure to add that here too. Also cut the excess techflex.

Now flame up the other side.

DIY KIT (6 of 26)

4) Strip the Cable

Strip off part of the USB PVC first.

Time to strip a piece of the wire with your Wire Stripper so you can solder that baby up! Make sure to cut off the extra copper mylar.

DIY KIT (7 of 26)
Wire strip it!
DIY KIT (2 of 26)
What you DO NOT want.
DIY KIT (8 of 26)
This is what you want.
DIY KIT (9 of 26)
Cut the center piece of copper cord.

5a) Crimp Cables. Get ready to crimp it up! 

Now just shove the cables into the connectors, and you’re ready to go! Make sure there is an ample amount of wire to shove into the connector. You only need about 3/8″ of exposed wire.

You don’t need to use a “crimper”, but pliers or a similar tool help. You can honestly use your thumb.

Here is the pinout for the cables; CABLE COLORS DO NOT MATTER. As long as it is the same order as the picture below. 

Please make sure the cable works before crimping and sealing the metal housing.

2016-08-02 01.22.06 copy 2016-08-02 01.22.18

 

5b) Solder Cables: Add Solder the Wires & Connector

WEAR SAFETY GOOGLES.

DIY KIT (11 of 26)
If you can’t see, you can’t clack!

Warm up your soldering iron to about 540*F or 280*C & warm up your Hot Glue Gun.

DIY KIT (13 of 26)
Warm that soldering iron up!

Make sure to use protective glasses to protect those eyeballs of yours. This is where a helping hands comes in HANDY. Add Solder Flux to the Pointy Tip first. This prevents oxidation and your soldering tips going bad.

DIY KIT (9 of 26)
Look how handy that is.
DIY KIT (10 of 26)
Some flux I found @Frys Electronics

First begin by adding solder to the individual wires.

DIY KIT (12 of 26)
Solder that baby up!
DIY KIT (14 of 26)
This is what you want.

Now add solder to the Type A connector.

DIY KIT (15 of 26)
Before being soldered.
DIY KIT (16 of 26)
After adding solder

6) Now Actually Solder the Connectors.

Now I’m NOT a soldering expert…but to properly solder the connections (I believe), add heat to the contact points on the connector first, then move the wires with the tweezers to their position. The solder should basically melt and join with the contact points.

DIY KIT (17 of 26)
Result from Type A soldering
DIY KIT (19 of 26)
Results!
Pin Out Photos

minib pinout microb pinout
Now TEST the CABLE. If it doesn't work, resolder the connections. I usually just hit caps lock because it lights up on my Pok3r II.

DIY KIT (20 of 26)

7) Hot Glue & Seal

Just add hot glue to that sucker and you’ll be on your way now.

Now seal the connector with the metal housing with your pliers.

DIY KIT (21 of 26)
Seal the housing!
DIY KIT (22 of 26)
Seal both sides.

NOW TEST THE CABLE. If it doesn’t work, take off the hot gun, and go back to step 6.

8) Add the Heatshrink

You need to stretch the heatshrink a little. Just use your pliers to do so.

DIY KIT (23 of 26)
Stretch the shrink

Then use the heatgun to make the heatshrink supes Dolch. Yes, Supes Dolch.

DIY KIT (25 of 26)
Heat that baby up. Don’t go too close or you’ll burn the heatshrink apart or mess up the connections. 2-3 inches away is good.

9) Now test the Cable and You’re Good to Go!

DIY KIT (26 of 26)
Done!

Cable not working? Cut off that heatshrink, feel sad for 2 minutes, go back to step 6.

8 thoughts on “DIY USB Cable Tutorial

  1. Thanks for this JChan! I got my DIY kit from you a few days ago, and I’m definitely going to use this as a guide when I can dig my soldering supplies out of storage.

    ~Shell058

    1. of course! 😀 hope this is enough detail for you to carry forward!

  2. Hey just bought the DIY cable kit and was wondering if the hot glue gun is necessary? Can I use anther type of glue without having to buy the gun

    1. It isn’t 100% necessary. It just helps “seal” it and keeps it off the metal of the housing from making a disconnection. Alternatively, you could use a small piece of masking tape (the off white, slightly yellow kind).

  3. Is there a guide for the “Crimp” style connectors?

    1. Please refresh the page:). Updated it.

  4. If you want to coil the cable, when is the best time to do it? Before sleeving? Between sleeving and double sheathing? At the very end?

    1. I personally coil after I solder the cable but if you mess up the coil, it can make you remake the whole cable.

      I know some people who prefer to coil before soldering, but if you’re careful during the coil, you’re fine!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *