What's the best way to bend coat hanger wire, for making a DIY GameKlip? Answered
So I discovered my Samsung Galaxy S3 supports USB gamepads. Well long story short, I quickly hacked apart an old original Xbox controller, replaced its 10 foot xbox cable with a 1 inch USB cable, and it works GREAT in most gamepad-supported Android games like Dead Trigger and Shadowgun. The next obvious move was to make a holder to attach my phone to the gamepad, to have a portable gaming device, like an nVidia Shield. Now I know commercial solutions exist, like the Gameklip, but they're all designed for the PS3 controller, which I don't have.
So I've attached pictures of my first two versions. The first picture showing the regular coat hanger wire wrapped in black electrical tape. It held the phone just fine, but it was butt ugly, because I used electrical tape to protect the phone from the steel coat hanger wire. So I made a second one (2nd picture), using a rubber/plastic coated coat hanger, thinking it would look better, because I wouldn't need to wrap it in electrical tape.
Well the problem is that I'm so horribly bad at bending wire, and at planning, and measuring, that I had to make so many corrections, that it too looks butt ugly. It's a completely different design than the first one, for starters. I can never think of how to design these things on paper. I always just get a rough idea in my head, and then play it by ear as I go along. But because steel coat hanger wire is so incredibly tough, every time I try to bend it with pliers, or a vice grip, I end up damaging the nice plastic coating, making it look ugly. Multiply that by the number of times I had to make corrections, and well, you can see the result. The second design is the one I'd like to stick with, however. Mechanically speaking, it is perfect. Two nubs on the bottom, and a nub on the left and right sides, hold the phone in place using gravity and friction. Then the whole thing uses spring-tension to compress the left and right nubs inwards, squeezing the phone in place, but without letting these nubs get in the way of the USB port or the headphone port. One can adjust the width and tension of these left and right nubs, just by squeezing or stretching them apart, to fit different sized phones and cases. Finally, two support legs are left at the end of the wire to easily place the whole thing on a table.
Both versions are attached to the controller in the same way: I started with two loops, as small as I could make them, right next to each other. Then I just bolt the whole thing to the controller through those two loops, and two holes I've drilled in the controller's memory slot. It's an incredible pain in the ass to try and get the nut and washer in the tiny amount of space in that memory card slot, but I managed to do it twice.
I want to build a third, good looking one. So now I've gone out and invested in some proper, straight steel wire (of the same thickness and stiffness as the coat hanger wire), and some heat-shrink tubing to protect the phone from the steel. But I need advice on how to do this properly, so that it looks good. The only way I can use the heat-shrink tubing, is to put it on FIRST, BEFORE bending the wire. I couldn't possibly imagine how to do it AFTER bending the wire. But the problem is, I'm worried that my vice grips/pliers will damage it the same way they damaged the plastic coating of the coat hanger.
Any suggestions/tips would be greatly appreciated!