Introduction: DIY Paracord Fids (Permalok-like Needles)

This tutorial will show how to make your own paracord fid for under a dollar and with minimal effort. I decided to try my hand at making my own paracord fid (Permalok “like” needles). I looked at two different methods, one by ch5 on the Instructables site: and another using copper tubing. I made a couple of needles using the tube method, but decided I would try to find an easier method.

I got side tracked on other projects until ch5 published an instructable this month, so I decided to “re-visit” this project to see what I could re-purpose for this project. I decided to use a 2” screw post with screw. The screw post and screw are made of aluminum and are commonly used to bind papers together in folders/binders. I got mine from my local hardware store (Menards), but they can also be found at office supply stores.

I was able to make this paracord fid in about 15 minutes with little effort and for under 80 cents. In addition, these fids do not require you to cut the end of the paracord at a 45 degree angle before inserting the paracord - just lightly singe the end first.

The second photo above shows how the shape of the screw post is changed to a fid.

Tip: To get a really nice, smooooth surface in step 3, try using a scouring pad after the sand paper/emory cloth (with the drill or drill press). The scouring pad is also handy to remove any leftover aluminum on the files.

Update 8-26-11:
- I got my screw posts from my local hardware store in the nuts & bolts section - hence the higher price ($0.79 each). Hobby centers/stores usually carry the posts in the scrap booking section. Another source of screw posts is photo albums found at garage sales, thrift shops, dollar stores, etc.
- While some neighborhood office supply stores may have screw posts, I've found that larger office supply centers usually don't carry the screw posts.
- Screw posts can some times be made of steel and/or they can be hollow. Be sure to get the solid, aluminum type of screw posts.
- If you prefer a longer fid, you can usually find extension posts in the scrap booking centers.
- Be sure to use only the 3/16" diameter screw posts (not 1/4" etc.)

Update 8-28-11:
I've added a couple of photos
   1) shows the extension posts I use, 1/2" and 1"   
   2) a photo from the tension test I just completed. In the last step I mentioned "moderate" tugging. Under normal use I've only needed the tension to hold for about 1/2 pound. However, I decided to do a tension test to determine how much pull can be applied before the paracord comes out of the fid. For the test I screwed the singed paracord in about  3 turns until it stopped. The photo shows the tension at 12 1/2 pounds and still holding. I kept applying tension until it finally released at 23 pounds - I actually had to use pliers on the fid and secure the scale to a stationary object. The tension test shows that the holding power should be more than adequate.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Tools needed:

- hacksaw

- drill or drill press

- file (coarse or medium)

- sandpaper or emory cloth

Materials list:

QuantityPart DescriptionApprox Cost

12” screw post with screw$ 0.79

Step 2: Remove the Head of the Screw Post

Discard the screw (shown on the right above). Using a hacksaw, cut off the head of the screw post (opposite the threaded end).

Step 3: Round Over the End Just Cut Off

Using a drill or drill press, chuck up the screw post with the threaded end inside the chuck. Using a coarse or medium file, round over/shape the end of the screw post. Smooth the rounded end using fine sand paper or emory cloth.

Step 4: Finished

All that’s left is to use the needle with your paracord. I lightly singe the end of the paracord and let cool. I then screw the lightly singed end of the paracord into the threaded end of the needle and use - no need to cut the end at a 45-degree angle. The singed end stays in the needle and allows moderate tugging without it coming out.