Introduction: Shoestring Retro Style Cables

Picture of Shoestring Retro Style Cables

This instructable shows you how to make amazing looking retro style cabling using ordinary shoestring.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

You will need the following materials.

  • Shoestring (or paracord);
  • Coaxial cable;
  • 2 Connectors;

And at least the following tools

  • Soldering Iron
  • Pliers
  • Cutting Pliers
  • Sharp Knife

Always use high quality materials.

Step 2: Cutting

Picture of Cutting

Using the cutting pliers cut both ends of the shoestring.

Step 3: Stuffing

Picture of Stuffing

Insert the cable all along the shoestring. This is a tricky step at the beginning, since the cable is prone to got stuck in the shoestring thread. Also, you will need to stretch the shoestring from time to time.

Once you have finished the stuffing dont' cut the other end of the cable yet.

Step 4: Soldering the First Connector

Picture of Soldering the First Connector

Push the thread to clear about one inch of coaxial cable, then insert the accessories of the connector in the correct order. Double check the correct position of the accessories.

Take the lid of the coaxial cable close to the connector to measure the length of cover to be stripped.

After stripping the cover, twist the braid and tin it. Then cut the braid to be shorter than the tip of the inner conductor.

Now put the soldering iron tip under the metal tab so the heat can melt the tin of the braid. It is recommended to use a little more of soldering wire. DO NOT solder the inner connector yet.

Now push back the thread of the shoestring until it passes the metal tabs of the connector.

Using the pliers, bend the tabs in order to hold the thread together with the cable.

Now it's time to solder the inner conductor. If it has been done before bending the tabs, this would result in a tensioned wire, prone to break with normal use.

Push the isolator over the solder areas. Some connectors come with a therm-retractile isolator. If it's the case use a hot air gun to shrink it.

Now close the connector using the cover. This is the last time to correct any error in the position of the accessories.

Step 5: Soldering the Second Connector

Picture of Soldering the Second Connector

Grab the cable right below the connector and using the thumb and the pointing finger stretch the shoestring thread, then cut it.

Now push back the thread and insert the accessories of the connector. Triple check this time. If you make some mistake in the position of the connectors you will have to cut the end and start it over.

The rest of the work is like the first connector.

Step 6: Conclusion, Ideas

Picture of Conclusion, Ideas

At the end, use a multimeter to check the continuity of the cable, as well as if there is no short circuit between the inner connector and the shield.

Instead of a shoestring it is possible to use any other threaded material like paracord.

Other types of cable can be used, but if the cable is too soft (like some audio cabling) it is possible to pass a stiffer cable first through the thread (like the coaxial used here) and then solder the end of the coaxial cable to the audio cabling so it can be pulled back by the coaxial.


Labarted made it! (author)2015-01-25

Thanks for great idea I made it using a aux cable

unlim (author)2014-10-04

I have made it but using internet cable.

danjovic (author)unlim2014-10-12


badbradmx (author)2014-10-03

love the idea and would love to do it but I'm not sure where to look or indeed if I can even get some 3.5mm headphone connectors in a similar style to coax ones you have.

any ideas? or even what i should put into Google.

badbradmx (author)badbradmx2014-10-03

not to worry I've found all you have to dobis type solder plug/connector and they come up. needless to say the parts are ordered and I will be doing this project. (y)

Leei1337 (author)2014-09-29

I know I'm being dumb but I thought this was funky design for shoelaces

alloydog (author)2014-09-28

Excellent idea! I've always liked the old cord covered cables, but you only see them on really pricey gear nowadays. I think it's time to revamp a few cables to look a bit more interesting :)

MsSweetSatisfaction (author)2014-09-28

Nice, it definitely looks retro and not like it used to be a shoe lace. Thanks for sharing!

jsrubianoch (author)2014-09-27

Awesome, keep up the good work!

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