Introduction: Instamorph USB Helper
I always have a problem with the proper orientation when inserting the micro USB charger for my smartphone, especially in dim lighting conditions. I used Instamorph (a lightweight reusable thermoplastic that is moldable when warm ~150 degrees, but cools to a strong solid) to make a "orientation helper" to solve that problem.
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Step 1: Gather Materials
I used the following to make this item....
Small pyrex bowl with water (plus microwave oven)
small paper for template
USB charger cord
Step 2: Measure USB for Size
I used a small piece of paper to get an idea of the size and shape of the piece of Instamorph I'd need to wrap around the end of the cable. A better cut template will yield a more uniform shape and require less molding and shaping by hand during step 5. I just went with a basic rectangular shape on this one.
Step 3: Heat and Prepare Instamorph
I heated the water in a microwave to close to boiling, (around a minute or so) and dropped the Instamorph in. I'd previously melted some and formed a piece that was approximately the right size for what I wanted. The Instamorph changes from white when cool to clear when ready to mold. I removed it from the water with tongs and then placed on a smooth surface (important!) between the popsicle sticks and used the rolling pin to create a piece of uniform thickness. I used the paper from step 2 to gauge when I had the right size.
Step 4: Size and Reshape As Needed
I used the scissors and knife to cut and shape the piece to the size needed. This may require some reheating of the Instamorph. If you heated the water up close to boiling initially, it will be usable for several dips during the sizing/shaping process without reheating. The cooler the surface is that you are working on, the more often you'll need to reheat.
Step 5: Final Forming
I reheated the piece, dried a bit and then wrapped it around the end of the USB plug to form a ridge on the top edge so I could feel which way was up. I made sure to keep the Instamorph flush with the end so it would not interfere with seating the plug but allowed it to extend onto the ridged area of the cord in order to hold it in place. Once cool, I can now easily plug in the first time, even in total darkness;-). Be aware that you'll want to ensure your plug is dry prior to plugging in, and since you've been softening the Instamorph with water, some may have gotten into the plug during the process.