Introduction: Wire Identification

About: Old inventor, reverted back to my 10 year-old self. A shop full of tools, a boat, race car, 3D printer and a beautiful wife who wants me to invent things for around the house... Now how cool is that?

I'm at the point in my car restoration where the wires have to be laid out. I purchased a harness a couple of years ago, but now the identifying marks are beginning to fade and very difficult to see.

A 3D printer and label maker were the only items I needed to make identifying clips that are very, very easy to see, both now and years from now when I, or someone else, will have to trace them.

Most of these tags will be close to the fuse box, but any that bypass it I'll mark at both ends. The clips are designed for 6mm tape and there are two STL files of it. One is a single clip and the other is a block of 10 so you can make lots of them at once.

Step 1: Making Labels

Label maker tape is expensive and the makers of the machines want to sell you as much of it as they can. Even with the borders set at the minimum, you'll end up with a huge amount of blank tape before and after your words. We can put their greed to good use and conserve our money at the same time.

There are 2 ways you can print labels for this clip:

1. Buy 6mm (1/4") tape and type the name of a wire on your labelmaker, make 8 spaces and type another name. Then hit print. What comes out will be a label composed of a large space, your name, a smaller space, another name and finally, another large space. Cut the small space between the names in half and thread the end with the large space through the slot in the clip. When the name on the strip gets close to the slot, bend the tape around and stick it to itself. You'll end up with a flag with your name on it. If you keep your names short, you'll have more than enough blank tape to get past the word on the other side. Trim the flag and you're ready for the next one.

2. Or... You could do what I'll be doing. Use 12mm, or 1/2" tape, which is a little more expensive, but label makers are set up to allow multiple lines of copy to be printed across the width of the tape. By typing your 2 names, hitting return, and typing 2 more (don't forget the 8 spaces between them) you'll end up with what looks like what's in the picture. Cut the tape down the middle the long way like I'm doing, and what you'll end up with is two pieces of 6mm tape, each printed with 2 names. In the same length of tape it takes to print one name, you can print two.

If you're going to show the car, or retentive like me, you can have the name show on both sides of each label. The labels are typed and printed the same way, but instead of typing 4 different names, type the same name twice, still putting 8 spaces between them. When the label comes out, cut the tape in half the long way (or not, if you're using 1/4" tape), but NOT cutting the space between the words in half. Each piece of tape you end up with should have a large space, a name, a smaller space, the same name again and another large space (just like you'd do if you're planning on marking both ends of the wire with one sided flags). Thread the tape through the slot half way. With the space between the words wrapped around the slot, line the ends up and stick them together. You'll end up with a flag printed on both sides.

Piece of cake.

Step 2: Tag Your Ride

The clips fit 14 gauge wire very tightly so they won't slide or fall off. If your wire size becomes small enough that the clips don't stay put, you can reduce the size of the print. I've made the slot 2.6mm long, so there's some room to go smaller without infringing on the width of the tape. Obviously, the same holds true if you want to tag a larger size wire.

If you're working on your car, I sure hope you're enjoying it as much as I am.

Home Hacks Challenge

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3D Printing Contest 2016

Participated in the
3D Printing Contest 2016