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:

Quantity     Part Description                         Approx Cost

1             2” 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.

3 People Made This Project!


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33 Discussions


2 years ago

I dont have a picture but today I made my own gid that locked the paracord tightly in place using the inside of a mechanical pencil. It turned out awesome. Will make another one and post a video soon


4 years ago on Introduction

I just realized I have seen these before. I have a dozen of these bolts from IKEA spare parts. They are small one inch versions. Oh and they are free at customer service desk at spare parts wall


5 years ago

We made a few of these today & they work great. Thanks for the instructable.


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Yes, they are designed to be re-usable. To use simply "screw" the end of paracord, string, etc into the Fid. To remove, you reverse the direction and "un-screw" from the Fid. A unique feature of these Fids are that you can use post-extentions to increase the length of a Fid when needed and remove when you want a shorter Fid.


5 years ago on Introduction

Just an fyi those type of binding posts are also called "Chicago screws"

Great instrucible!


6 years ago on Introduction

Dang, I just bought a pair of aluminum knitting needles that I have to tap! I wish I had seen this before . . ok, taking needles back to Wally World and stopping by Lowe's. Thanks again for a great 'ible!


6 years ago on Introduction

Made one of these the other day. Super easy to make and works like a charm. Thanks for the instructable....


6 years ago on Introduction

Took me a while to find these screws, tried a few stores before I found the magic phrase "binding post" (which leads to a bunch of search hits as well).

I found the best selection locally at Lowes in the specialty screw drawers, and now have a 2" and a 1.25" and a 1" extender !


7 years ago on Introduction

I wish I had seen this a month earlier. I had a bathing suit where the tie string got pulled inside the suit a few inches. I couldn't pull it out. Later, after vacation was over, I tried a hanger with a hook on the end to feed through the waistband of the bathing suit. It was difficult to do, but this would have made the job super easier and I would have been done manufacturing the fid and restringing the waist of the bathing suit in less time than struggling with the hanger.

Great idea!

2 replies

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

I always used a large paper-clip and fed it through the fabric channel, inching it along through the fabric.


7 years ago on Introduction

Hey guys, new here must say it's nice. I used a rod from a gun cleaning kit I bought. I don't own a 22 cal. and found that the size was spot on for 550. I cut the rod 4 inches from the end of the threads. Ground to the desired point. The lbs to pull loose depends on how far I thread it. Hope this helps some of you.

1 reply

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

What a great thought.

I just got done cleaning my gun last night and had several different rods from different cleaning kits and actually thought "now what can I do with the extra rods?".


Those internally threaded bolts are known as "Sex Bolts" by many manufacturers, if you are having trouble locating them. No, seriously. The small screw that you though away is called the mating screw. Stop giggling... I'm not joking here.


7 years ago on Introduction

One handy tool is a long forceps purchased at some hobby shops. This can used to pull back those cords drawn back into clothing. Then you can put your fids on the ends.

As an air crew chief used to whip the ends of twisted lines. These line ends can be done to the desire of the worker, from 1 - 12 inches. Used a lighter to seal the ends of the lines before starting the work and forming loose ends that would stick out. Some of the lines lasted almost 10 years with proper care.

I have an older Dremel and the only chuck I have for it is too small. If you have a chuck that will accept a 7/32" then it should work.

You don't need to have a drill press - a drill will work just fine.