Sugru Connector Insulator/strain Relief

Sugru is a great material for making a combination insulator and strain relief for home made cables.

Step 1: Quickie Connector

I often need to make up "quickie" cables for some project I'm working on, and many of these use standard 0.1" male or female headers.  Since I'm too cheap to buy the real connector parts, I just solder wires to headers designed for thru-hole PC mount.

But even with good technique, they're kind of fragile, and the exposed pins are just begging for an electrical accident.  The cable end really needs some mechanical and electrical protection.

Step 2: Ugly Way - Hot Melt

My previous preferred insulator and strain relief was hot melt glue.  Carefully squirted into the spaces between the soldered pins and onto the edge of the connector, then encapsulating 1/2" or so of the wire, the hot melt is pretty easy to apply. 

But keeping it from dripping requires some skilled holding and turning.  It's very difficult to actively shape the mass of hot glue, although keeping your finger tips wet with cold water allows you to touch it briefly without having it stick to your fingers.  That technique unfortunately leaves fingerprints in the surface of the hot melt, making it even uglier.

The hot melt approach is quite functional (and cheap!), but seriously ugly.

Step 3: Sugru Is Better!

Using Sugru avoids all the downsides of hot melt.  It's easy to mold and squish between the soldered wires and around the connector and wires - no short working time!  And you can mold and smooth it into a much nicer looking connector cover.

And if some gets where you didn't want it, it's easy to clean it off with no time pressures.

Thanks to "Sugru Build Night" at Workshop 88 for the chance to discover this valuable new technique!



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