Instructables
Picture of Paracord Cord Reinforcement
I have seen many people wrap cellphone charges and other such electronics cables in paracord. I really like the idea, but any cables I have ever broken, break where the cable meats the plug, not in the middle. This is especially common with my headphones, they always break right at the jack. So I decided to save myself some time and just reinforce the heads of my cables. The different colors also help me to easily identify the cables.
 
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Step 1: Gather Supplies

Picture of Gather Supplies
The first step is to gather the needed supplies.
You will need:
1. The cable you are going to wrap. In my case this was a 6' HDMI cable.
2. The paracord you want to use for the wrap. I used two 4' scraps of blaze orange.
3. Something to cut the paracord with, I just used a pocket knife.
4. And something to melt the paracord with, in my case I used a Zippo. 

Step 2: Gut the Paracord

Simply pull the white strands out of the middle of the paracord and singe the ends. The iner strands should come out without much trouble.

Step 3: Cobra Weave

The weave I used was the cobra, which is what you see on most paracord bracelets. Start with the cord behind the cable. Then bring the left side, the bottom in this case, over the cable. Next bring the right, top, cord over the left cord, under the cable and through the loop on the other side created by the left cord. Pull tight and repeat only starting on the right this time. Continue the weave until it is the desired length.

Step 4: Cut and Finish the Ends

Picture of Cut and Finish the Ends
When the weave has reached the desired length simply cut the cord and melt the ends. Be careful to not cut or burn your cable.

Step 5: Finished Product

Picture of Finished Product
Then You simply repeat the process on the other end and you are done.
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kcrr2w.1 month ago

I added springs from ball point pens over the ends then tube shrink wrap over that. Paracord will look nice over the top

changabanga made it!4 months ago

Thanks for the step by step. This is my first foray into paracord projects, and a very useful one! Question about the end though: how do you make it look at nice and neat at you have it in your pictures? As you can see, after burning the ends, it looks kinda ugly on mine. Any tips?

Also just generally regarding melting paracords. Do you just burn and press it with your fingers? It won't burn/stick on skin?

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Paracord ( or 550 cord - spoken as Five-Fifty cord) *will* stick and burn your fingers if you are not careful. If your using a lighter, then melt the tip, place on hard surface (that you don't mind getting a little messed up) and use plastic body of lighter to mash down in melted portion. Not burn and mushed appropriately.

It helps to melt the ends with a lighter then wet your fingers and quickly pinch them.

hawcrofta (author)  changabanga4 months ago

Paracord will give you trouble if you leave the ends too long when trying to singe them. I have found it best to leave about 1/8 in to burn. When I singe the ends I just take my lighter and use the smooth spot on the bottom of a zippo to press against the melted paracord. It makes it look better and you wont get any blisters. The metal also absorbs the heat so it hardens almost instantly.

mehahaha3 months ago
Cygent3 months ago

I managed to get the pattern after a few online video tutorials. I am curious how you managed as tight a weave as you did. Still, it's nice seeing the green cable come through, and I'm happy with it. Thanks for the instructable!

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hawcrofta (author)  Cygent3 months ago

Looks good. I am sorry if I wasn't really clear on how to do the weave. I was able to make it as tight as I did because I gutted the paracord. This made it much thinner and so I was able to push it very close together. You won't be able to do this if you are using accessory cord, 350 cord or something else that is solid core, but it really doesn't effect the finished product.

Manoka made it!3 months ago

Many Thanks, very helpfull. Done with Shoelace in absence of Paracord.

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3stepps3 months ago

Way back when I first studied electronics in high school sometime in third quarter of the last century we always made our own cables. Would do the stain relief with electrical tape and rubber cement. When I worked in the TV satellite industry a few years later we used self vulcanizing tape on the outside connections.

docrjc3 months ago
Good idea. I usually put 2 inches of krazy glue on each end. It's invisible, only takes a few seconds and lasts forever.
chitownjohnny4 months ago

First off great idea. Second the paracord you use is 550 lb type or just some craft type paracord? I am curious before I run out and get the wrong thing

hawcrofta (author)  chitownjohnny4 months ago

What I used is 550 lb cord, but I don't think it matters. It would most likely not effect the integrity of the reinforcement too much if it wasn't real 550 cord. Plus I gutted it and the otter sheath is only rated at something like 70 lbs.

DvsNegrito made it!5 months ago

Nice instructible. Fixed up my cords today, but used accessory cord so it wouldn't be so bulky.

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hawcrofta (author)  DvsNegrito4 months ago

Looks good!

hawcrofta (author) 5 months ago

Remember to vote if you like it.

nchew2 hawcrofta5 months ago

very nice! will try it today! :D

FirstSpear5 months ago

Don't know how much support the paracord is giving, but it is adding a degree of extra support surely? Given that there is likely to be a chunk of expensive electronics at one end, any help is welcome. Nice weaving, by the way. The problem with many cables is that the strain relief section is often too rigid to allow a smoothly curved bend, and often only allows the cable exiting that section to bend at right angles thus enabling breaking at that point. I check cables to see how the strain relief section is working, and if too rigid I use a sharp blade to cut Vs into some or all of the plastic sections that join the peaks of the concentric rings. This increases the flexibility of the strain relief section. I also like the biro springs and Sugru ideas.

yogunny5 months ago

To ensure cord doesn’t slip, use a drop of cyanoacrylate (CA) glue. Same for the ends of the cord - instead of burning them shut, a drop of CA glue will do you.

usmcreed yogunny5 months ago

thanks Gunny, was just contemplating what I would do to keep it from slipping and saw your post.

yogunny usmcreed5 months ago

Glad it was helpful. Semper Fi!!

hawcrofta (author)  yogunny5 months ago

That would definitely work very well. Just a drop of crazy glue and that paracord is never coming off.

thinkdunson5 months ago

Good try, and it looks neat, but this isn't actually going to do anything. The only reinforcement is the tiny section of cord between the first loop and the second.

As a matter of fact, it may actually make things worse. The rest of the weave is going to make that length of cable more stiff (as intended), however, since the weakest point is still barely reinforced, it's even more unstable. When the weakest part bends, that bend can't be translated (distributed) along the cable anymore.

I think the best way to reinforce a cable would be to just give it some hot melt glue. Then you can add your paracord to dress it up.

I think this WOULD work well, if (combining others' suggestions with a new one): in addition to affixing the woven cord to the cable with cyanoacrylate, also stiffen the woven paracord up with lots more CA glue. That'll give you a rather inflexible reinforcement.

CA glue (superglue) is a bad choice for two reasons.
1, It's brittle... instead of bending, as a cable should, it will either crack (in fabric), or break free (from a smooth surface).
2, It's too stiff for this application. The whole point of putting tension relief on a cable is to spread the bend from a single location, the spot directly behind the connector housing, over a larger area. A rigid structure would simply transition that single point from the edge of the connector housing to the edge of the new structure.
Hot-melt glue is flexible and you can make it thick near the connector and taper off.
lamedoug5 months ago
(removed by author or community request)

That's a bitchin' idea.
And hell.
Cover it with Sugru sculpture and your favorite things.

This is great.

I have attempted to reinforce wires like this with Sugru. But found they simply aren't strong enough. So as I added the Sugru last time, I used something that happened to be on my desk: an Italian 500 lira coin.

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ladysequia5 months ago

I think it is a great idea but how does that stop the cord from breaking at that point?

hawcrofta (author)  ladysequia5 months ago

It makes it less flexible. I have found that it is usually bending that weakens these cables and causes them to break

Thank you!

bob30305 months ago
Thanks for sharing. I'm gonna try this. I spend too much replacing cords.
kakmer5 months ago

It's a great way to use up those scraps rather than just tossing them. We've done similar with embroidery floss on iPod cords (they always break at the usb base), and on earbuds. Keeps them from breaking and helps keep them from tangling also! A super 'ible!!

SGutshall5 months ago
Does it ever slide off the factory reinforcement and move up the cable?
hawcrofta (author)  SGutshall5 months ago

I have only had it on there for about two weeks and so far it hasn't. I think if you snug it down good it shouldn't move.

This is great. I've previously reinforced the factory reinforcement with a bit of Sugru. It occurs to me that if you put a small amount of that down as a base layer, the paracord weave will bond with texture, and won't be going anywhere. Can't wait to combine the two and fortify all my cables.

Snugging down the first few knots at the very beginning of the weave where you are over the factory reinforcement (make them good and tight) should keep it in place well.

TechnoWombat5 months ago

Gonna try this on my guitar cords, better than plain heatshrink, and I can add it to ones that are already made.

solorbob5 months ago

Great idea. I have lots of scraps that would be perfect for this usage. Thanks

kderevan5 months ago

Great idea! My cords always fail right at these points, too.

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