This is a repost of an article I originally wrote in September 2003. I recently did some more shrinking, and noticed it didn’t make the transition to my new site, so I have reposted it.

Introduction

The more and more I consider my self an “enthusiast” when It comes to PC’s, the more and more I am becoming a neat case freak. Many will call it anal, but having a neat and tidy case does have advantages, mainly with regard to airflow. Today I am going to run people through a quick tutorial on using Cable Sleeving and Heatshrink to make some of your cables neat and tidy. Today I will be doing this on a Hard Drive/Floppy Drive Combo Power Cable, but the same theory can apply to any cabling, particularly the front panel cables that you run to the bottom corner of your motherboard.

What you Need

First you will need some cable sleeving. I purchased two different diameters from
PC Case Gear in Oakleigh. Why two diameters, well I was a little unsure which size I would need. Also this stuff will come in handy for lots of applications and doesn’t cost too much, so having a stock of it in my cupboard won’t hurt. The images below show the two different diameters. The first is 6mm/11mm and the second is 10mm/16mm sleeving. The reason for the two numbers (6mm/11mm) is the first represents the closed diameter, and the second represents how much you can stretch it to.

I then went to JayCar in Melbourne, and picked up a number of different diameters of 50% reduction heat shrink. I got this in diameters (before shrink) of 3mm, 6mm, 10mm and 16mm. This stuff comes in 1 metre lengths and is dirt cheap. When you apply heat it will shrink by 50%. Since buying this stuff I have used heaps of it for lots of different purposes.

Also, you are going to need some simple tools. You will need a micro flathead screwdriver, a pair of nail scissors and a zippo (or heatgun or hair dryer). I use the zippo because I have heaps of fluid, it is the perfect temp, and much faster at shrinking than the hair dryer.

The Power Cable

The item for the neat freak treatment today is a power splitter cable. This cable has two 4 HDD and a 4 pin FDD split, so it is pretty bulky. As you can see from the picture below, it is pretty messy, even more so when inside the case.

The first thing we need to do is to remove the molex connector. Depending on how you want to sleeve this, you could remove the three female ends, but with what I want to do, sleeve them all together and not individually, I will remove the male molex. Also note, that removing a male molex is MUCH easier than removing a female molex.

Each Pin in the molex connector is held in place in two spots. There are two little bits of metal that you need to push in with the micro flathead screwdriver so that pins will pop out the back. This is hard to show in a photo, the photo below is the best I could get, half way through the process. Later on you will lever the bits of metal back out before popping the pins back into the molex. This is really fiddly at first, but after a few attmpts it gets pretty easy. Now don’t forget to remember which colour pins go in which holes, otherwisewhen you put it all back together you might blow something up by putting the wrong voltages in.

Ok, Now that all of the pins are removed from the male molex we have this:

Next job is to get into the Cable Sleeving

Cable Sleeving

Now that I have the Molex off, I can see that either of my Cable Sleeves will
be able to be used. I could stretch the 6/11mm sleeve the limit, ot I could slightly
stretch the 10/16mm sleeve. I chose to use the 10/16mm for this one. Slide the cable sleeve onto the cables, and make sure you leave enough room to get the female ends to reach where you want to use them. For me they will be used on a CD, DVD and Audigy Livedrive, so I need about 8cm (approx 2.5 inches) free.

Now slide the cable sleeve back a little bit, and then chop it off. you slide back a little bit because you need to leave room for the male molex, and the heatshrink. You should end up with this:

Heat Shrink

Using 10mm Cable Sleeve unexpanded, I can use 10mm Heatshrink. This can shrink as tight as 5mm, so we should get a nice tight fit. cut off two small bits of heatshrink. About 3cm long will do.

Slide both pieces of heatshrink over the cable, and cable sleeve, and slide it to the middle of your cable.

Re-attach the Molex

Now that you have everything on the cable you can reattach the molex connector. This can also be a little fiddly the first time round, but like the removal process, the more you do it the easier it becomes. you start by levering out the little slats that will hold the pins in place. In the photo below I have only done the red one. This should show clearly what you need to do for the other pins.

Once you have all the little slats levered out you can just pop the molex back on. Remember to get the pins in the right place! If you are unsure look at an untouched one for an example. Now your male end will look like this.

Shrink

Ok, we are ready to shrink. Push the cable sleeving towards the male end and leave about 1cm. Slide the Heatshrink to overlap the exposed cable, and the cable sleeve.

Use your zippo to apply heat to the heatshrink. Be careful, you don’t want to burn the molex, or the cables. Now I have a quick little mpeg of doing this. It is 1.7Mb Zipped. So don’t download this unless you are really curious. Video File of shrinking. After it is shrunk on one end it looks like this.

And now the other end.

Thats it. Side by Side the original Cable and the finished product are like chalk and cheese (well I think so anyway).