A Clever Way to Access the USB Ports on Your IMac (+ Video)





Introduction: A Clever Way to Access the USB Ports on Your IMac (+ Video)

This is an evolution on our last Instructable where we tried to solve the problem of accessing the USB ports on an iMac.

People raised some interesting points about how "ugly" the solution was and then criggie suggested using magnets and we thought, hey, that's an awesome idea, so we tested it and loved it :)

Here is a simple Instructable on how you can make this too.

This is a smart idea that is a total pleasure to use, I imagine that you can have loads of quick access ports dotted around the back of your machine now, the possibilities are endless.

1. sugru - one mini pack is enough to make 3 of these
2. Neodymium magnets (we got these ones from ebay but you could probably use slightly smaller ones)
3. USB extension cable (male to female) 
4. scissors
5. tissue paper

Step 1: OPPOSITES ATTRACT - Label Your Magnets

I think everyone knows how magnets work, but it's pretty easy to mount these incorrectly and for this project not to work for you, so, here comes some obvious but useful tips.

With magnets, OPPOSITES ATTRACT, this is the key thing to remember so we recommend that you label your magnets.

Allow your magnets to attract, (if you are using Neodymium then be careful, they are powerful)

Label the sides, we marked ours with plus and minus signs.

Step 2: Prepare the Magnets

One mini pack is enough to do about 3 sets of these or you could do this with some spare sugru form another project...

1: Break the sugru into 3 equal pieces.

2: break one of these pieces in half.

3: shape these pieces into small cones.

4: Press the pointed end onto the sides of each magnet;
One piece onto the plus side of one magnet.
The other piece onto the minus side of the second magnet.

Step 3: Apply Magnet to Computer

Press the pointed end of the sugru pyramid into the place where you want your cable to sit.

Press the sugru that spreads out around the magnet to help ensure a strong bond.

Step 4: Apply Magnet to USB

Press the remaining magnet into the base of the USB extension lead.

Again press the sugru that spreads out in around the magnet.

Leave to cure overnight.

Step 5: Enjoy the Good Life

Once cured, plug in the cable and connect the two magnets.

Now you have an easy to find USB extension that is kept out the way.

Enjoy :)



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    very creative, i just have on question. wouldnt the magnet mess with the computer?

    hi, good question. These magnets are not very strong and don not interfere with the computer at all. We were at a magnet warehouse last year and they guy there showed us a magnet that would delete data on a hard-drive and it was MASSIVE. These magnets are too small for that. Also, interesting point, the magnets power reduces exponentially with distance, so it is much less powerful even just 1mm from a surface. If you consider the distance between the magnet and the hard-drive, usually at least 1/4" or more, then the magnetic force will be significantly diminished.
    Magnets do damage old CRT monitors (the big old heavy type, oh, and old floppy discs etc. I guess that's where the magnet and computer warning came from, not a concern any more, particularly with solid state drives etc.)
    Hope this helps,

    very creative, i just have on question. wouldnt the magnet mess with the computer?

    isnt it bad for magnets and computers to touch?

    Small magnets are safe near computers. In fact, magnetism reduces exponentially with distance so there is almost no magnetism through the housing of the machine. That coupled with the fact that these magnets are small means that there is literally no risk. Also interesting to know that Apple use magnets on most of their products. For example the screen on my MacBook is held closed by magnets...

    Excellent idea! Want an even better suggestion: for a couple of extra bucks buy a small USB hub instead of a USB cable extension. Then you will get 4 ports conveniently located on the (e.g.) right of the imac, instead of the stup*d back location. Unbelievable that apple would put the connectors in such a silly place...

    I thought about that but you compromise speed and the ability to charge accessories / phones when you use a USB hub. I would recommend that each USB port has a single dedicated extension.

    any chance of free sugru to get a feel for it as i am planning to get some soon but dont know how much to get

    thanks loads


    I use a powered hub and it works fine for charging iphones and ipods. I have not noticed any speed difference. In any case if speed is an issue for copying files I use a firewire drive.

    That's true with some hubs, but I'm able to charge devices plugged into my USB-powered hub and I haven't noticed a significant loss of speed either.