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Case Smithing: Getting Started with DIY Cable Sleeving

By: John Williamson | Guides | Posted: Jan 29, 2013 5:38 pm



As we are modifying a component which carries power to our system, it is VERY important to use common sense and be very careful. If you are not comfortable or well knowledgeable enough playing with your power supply, I would suggest attempting to sleeve a fan first. Fans are really quick and simple, and I will demonstrate how to sleeve them later in this guide.


Most of the tools needed for sleeving can be substituted for a DIY version of the store bought counterpart saving some money. Lastly I would highly recommend making sure you are comfortable and have a clean well lit work area when sleeving. Comfort is a factor since once you start, you tend to spend a few hours just hammering away - personally I like to sit on my couch and catch up on a few podcasts.


Try to keep your work area clean especially when using Paracord, there is nothing worse than applying some light coloured sleeve only to find a big greasy smudge all over your hard work.



Sleeve Tool Kit vs. DIY


Modder's Tool Kits are becoming a more common place product on today's market with numerous companies catching the sleeving bug. Most kits usually consist of different pieces for removing the various types of PSU and component plugs. Like most tools though there are some sneaky alternatives.




Basically all of the cables pins we need to remove are a clip design usually meaning that two clips need to be pushed inwards to remove the pin. A range of things can be used for triggering these clips. I have used different parts of a pen for removing round male and female 4-pin Molex plugs. A pair of safety pins, a skinny paperclip or even a folded staple will do the same job as its store equivalent. Have a dig around in your tool box and see what you can come up with.





For taking apart your non-modular (hardwired) power supply if you decide to void your warranty - more on this later.



Tape Measure


A must have for sleeving especially for modular (removable cables) and semi-modular power supplies where accuracy is king. I got sick of always losing my tape measure in my pile of sleeve so I marked out a permanent ruler across my bench top.



Sharp Things


One of the most crucial elements of getting a great finish for your sleeving job is clean cuts, so it's essential to use sharp cutting instruments. A Stanley or X-Acto knife are a must have, as well as a good pair of scissors.





Heat Gun, Hairdryer or Lighter


Heat shrink needs a good dose of heat to do its job. I like using a heat gun for controlled heat although a girlfriend's hairdryer or a lighter will also do the trick. Note - be careful with the lighter option as it's very easy to melt or damage your sleeve with.







Tape has a variety of uses during the sleeving process. I like to have clear thin sticky tape for covering pointy pins as well as a range of different coloured electrical tape for marking out wires.


Tip - A good cheap sleeving surface can be made from a piece of wood half covered with soft material for the unit to sit on without being damaged. You can also lay sleeved cables here to keep them clean, while being able to cut heat shrink and cable ties on the exposed wood end.

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