Introduction: How to Repair a Weak USB Cable With Sugru

Picture of How to Repair a Weak USB Cable With Sugru

Hurrah! Our Hacker space is having a Sugru build night! I've never tried this stuff out but I've heard great things about it.
Let's see, should I make a bloodshot blinking LED lamp? or a protective guard for my cell phone ports?
Well turns out I have a micro USB cable on it's last legs, I tried to repair it with trusty Duct tape, but I decided to use Sugru for something it's really good for, cable repair!

Supplies needed for this Instructable:
- a frayed USB cable
- 1 5 oz mini pack of Sugru (ideally share with a friend and each use 1/2 so you can tell end from end and make designs)
- (optional) a magnet so you can find your cable where you left it (In my case that's attached to the Robot on my night stand :-) )
- (optional)Play-Doh or modeling clay for some ideas and play (much cheaper and reusable as compared to Sugru)
- (optional) bring plastic baggies to store the excess (but remember Sugru has a use by date, even in a brand new pack it may only last 9-12 Months)

Tools Needed for this Instructable
- None
- (optional) I used the edge of a Play Doh container to smooth out the Sugru and remove my incriminating finger prints!

Let's get to fixin'  !

(This Instructable submitted by the Rabbit-Hole Maker Space as part of the Instructables Sponsorship Program.)

Step 1: The Problem - a Flimsy Frayed USB Cord

Picture of The Problem - a Flimsy Frayed USB Cord

So I'm always hurrying to get somewhere and almost forgetting my USB cable...this can't have anything to do with the fact that 'occasionally' my USB cables get weak and worn at the ends?
Anyway, just look at that poor thing - even with trusty duct tape it's flimsy and nasty.

Sugru to the rescue!
Sugru, as in https://sugru.com, you've seen it at the Maker's Shed during Maker Faire, or on the Adafruit website, right? it's self setting rubber. Starts out soft and mold-able like clay and hardens in < 24 hours. Sticks to nearly anything, it's great for repairing and prototyping things.
And apparently as one of our hacker space members proved, for creating cute little Minions!

I used 1 5 oz mini-pack to repair the cord shown here, it was plenty for this task.
I only had a lightweight fridge magnet the night of the build (shown in the picture, I cut a small slice of it, but it was too weak to hold the cable up)
...but we had some Sugru left over, and the next day it was still pliable. I grafted on a much stronger rare earth magnet with the extra blue Sugru, worked fine. But, it would have been better if I had the magnet from the start.

DO: think about practicing with modeling clay for complicated tasks. 
Don't: let your Sugru covered magnet stick to the metal of the other end of your USB cable while drying (oops I did that and had to clean it off) 
Don't: read the rest of this page unless you want to read a cute joke

Joke: 2 pieces of string walk into a bar. The bartender says "Sorry, we don't serve your kind here." So the pieces of string leave.

Sitting in the gutter feeling depressed and thirsty one piece of string says "Hey! I've got an idea!" and he starts twisting and turning, pulling himself into a knot, then he puts on some tiny sunglasses as a disguise.

He heads back into the bar. The bartender looks at him and says "Hey, you're not a piece of string, are you?"

The piece of string shakes his head and replies "frayed knot!" 

Step 2: The Fix

Picture of The Fix

Success!

Sugru worked really well to repair my frayed cable.
I really liked using two colors so it's easier to identify which business end of the cable I'm looking for.
The idea of adding a magnet to the cable seems like it will be handy...It will be easier to find my cable when I come home and want to plug the charger in. 

Thanks for checking out my Instructable and good luck with all your projects!

Comments

bginlalaland (author)2014-03-20

Great 'ibles and enjoy the way you explain. Yay!

mazzmn (author)bginlalaland2014-03-20

Thanks!