Make Straight Cable Into Coiled / Pigtail Cable





Introduction: Make Straight Cable Into Coiled / Pigtail Cable

Here is a super-easy way permanently coil a cable such as a USB, Lightning, or similar data / charging cable.

I recently upgraded my iphone and had to upgrade all my cables too. I like the coiled type for plugging my phone into my car stereo. For some reason, the coiled cables cost about $12 a piece, but you can by 5 straight ones for $10. Being cheap, I bought the straight ones and decided to coil one myself.

Step 1: Stuff You Need:

Straight Cable - I'm using a $2 36" long lightning cable from Amazon. If you plan on doing this to some crazy, high-end, expensive cable, proceed at your own risk. I can't guarantee you won't ruin it.

A round object - I'm using a piece of threaded tube meant for a lamp. It's about 3/8" diameter. You can use a dowel rod, pencil, metal bar, etc. Whatever you use make sure it is something than can take a little heat and moisture.

Cable ties - You can use wire twist ties or other fasteners if you want.

Step 2: Boil Some Water

Hopefully you have access to a stove, a pot, and some water. Boil that stuff up. Move on to the next step while you are waiting. For God's sake man, don't watch it!

Step 3: While You're Waiting...

Start coiling your wire. Secure one end to the rod with a cable tie or other fastener.

Step 4: Coil It Up

Wrap the wire tightly around the rod. Secure the other end with another cable tie.

Step 5: Take Care of Some Loose Ends.

Trim your cable ties to get them out of the way.

Step 6: Quality Control Inspection

Let the boss check over your work.

Step 7: Submerge in the Boiling Water

Use some tongs or other utensil to keep it off the bottom of the pot. The bottom is hotter and could damage the cable. Keep it submerged for a good 60 seconds to soften the plastic in the cable.

I read somewhere else that you could do this with a hair dryer. I tried it with mine and did not get good results. The coil relaxed too much and was very loose. I checked the temperature when I heated it with the hair dryer and it was only bringing up to about 130 degrees F. This might work for you if you have a more powerful hair dryer or a heat gun. I think the boiling water is good because you get a nice controlled 212 degrees F.

Step 8: Finish Up

Remove the cable from the boiling water and let it cool off. You can run it under cold water to speed this up. Clip off the cable ties and slide it off the rod. Make sure everything is dried off good before using. Enjoy your springy, coiled cable.



  • Epilog Challenge 9

    Epilog Challenge 9
  • Paper Contest 2018

    Paper Contest 2018
  • Science of Cooking

    Science of Cooking

We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.




Last step and very important for a polished job.

Turn the coil inside-out. This will put a pre-tension in the coil that will hold the coils tight against each other in the retracted position. I didn't come up with this trick myself, this is how they are actually produced.

You can also heat the wire prior to wrapping it on the mandrel (you will need gloves), in some circumstances higher softening temps require an oven.

For higher temps use hot sand. You need a lot of sand...i.e. a large thermal reservoir. A cooks quick read thermometer will work well.

Heat the sand in an oven and let it stabilize (this may take a fairly long time), remove from the oven and immerse the wire in the sand, install your thermometer in contact with the wire/sand, cover and wait. If it's a large cross section, turn the oven down or off and put the wire/sand back in. Do not put the wire in cold sand and try to heat it, you will make a "mess".

To Towellm

How do you "turn the coil inside-out". Thks

You twist it backwards and it pops inside-out...hard to explain..

Best to see it done and then you'll see it's actually simple..

go to: YouTube and look up "how to coil a cord"

Many thks Towellm

you can use hair drier like here :

To keep the spiral closer, the twist must be "reversed". Following video shows the reversing method after 4:00.

Brilliant video! Thank you!

Work also with a hairdryer just not heat the cable to the fusion point (it depends on the hairdryer also). I dit succeseful used this method.

Any conjectures on whether this technique would work on cables that have the braided nylon covering instead of the rubbery covering?

(My suspicion is that this method will not curl the charging cable with the braided nylon covering.)