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Case Smithing: Getting Started with DIY Cable Sleeving

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

Bundled and Larger Cables




This is where TechFlex comes into a league of its own. As far as bundling sleeve and bigger cables like SATA data and USB 3.0 cables, expandable cabling is the only way to go. When choosing diameter for expandable guesstimate the rough diameter of the bundled cables, bear in mind the closer the upstretched diameter of the sleeve is to the cables, the rounder your cable will look. Too big and it will look flat or square. The other thing to factor in is the size of the largest point the sleeve needs to be stretched over.


For example, when sleeving a standard straight SATA data cable approximate sizes are 6mm wide, while the plug section is 14mm x 4mm. Ideally the perfect sleeve for this would be something with a similar diameter as the cable, but with enough flex to stretch over the plug. After a quick search on eBay, it seems the closest size to fit our needs is 8mm.


The process of sleeving a bundle of thick cable is virtually identical to single sleeving, although as the sleeve is expandable, the process of threading the cable seems a lot quicker. As I mentioned before, tape your cables when using expandable or you will see the individual cable colors underneath.




My last suggestion with using this type of sleeving is be careful when shrinking; the sleeve is heat tolerant, but will melt if exposed to a good hit of heat for too long.


Heat shrinking large cables and bundles can be done in one of two ways. The first technique is the same as the aforementioned where the heat shrink is placed over the cable and sleeve, except this time we mount the shrink up flush against the connection.


The other option is to purchase 3:1 ratio heat shrink. Measure the full length of the cable and cut sleeve accordingly. With the whole cable sleeve place the heat shrink over the sleeve and then partially over the connection head, and then just add heat. This works really well with SATA cables, but be aware of not covering too much of the connection, or the plug won't fit in its socket.



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