How do you custom sleeve cables?

So you’ve just spent hours looking for the perfect motherboard to match your GPU’s cooling solution. You carefully put everything together, tucking cables here and there to have that perfect clean look that you can admire while enduring the load times of the latest, not so seamless, open world game. Something’s missing though. Something that no amount of cable ties can fix.

Cables, single sleeved and in every color and pattern you can imagine.

Many PSU manufacturers have started offering sleeved cables as an add on for their modular power supplies. The problem with this is that color choices are very limited and prices are exorbitant. I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about getting the most popular look for your cables, heat-shrinkless and single sleeved. Your fingers will hate you but your wallet will still be thick enough that it’s uncomfortable to sit on hard surfaces. There are several ways to sleeve your cables while maintaining the clean heat-shrinkless look. This method is the cheapest and arguable best looking way to get the job done. We are going to be using 550 parachute cord. It’s cheap, comes in every color imaginable, and can be found at any outdoor store. Unlike regular cable sleeving, paracord can be easily melted onto the ATX terminals to hold it in place.

Before you begin removing any pins from the connectors it’s very important to keep track of where they go. The terminals need to go back exactly where they were. A simple way to do this is to wrap tape around both connectors and number each pin on one end. When you remove a pin, mark down the corresponding number on the other connector.

Removing the Pins

It’s highly recommended that you purchase a proper atx pin removal tool but if you’re in a pinch and have a bit of patience, regular old staples will do the trick. You will need to take two staples and flatten out one end on both. Carefully insert the flattened staples into the sides of the connector and then push in until you feel a slight click.

If you have activated the release properly, the cable should pull out with ease. If it seems to be taking an abnormal amount of force, stop, reseat the staples and try again, unless you enjoy crimping.

Preparing the Sleeving

The one downside to using Paracord over traditional sleeving is that it’s not ready for use off the shelf. You need to first remove the core which consists of seven yarns. Thankfully, removal is relatively quick and simple. First, use the wire you wish to sleeve to measure out the length of sleeve required. It is important that there is no slack in the wire when you are measuring or you will come up short and have to start over. Measure the length so that each end of the sleeving comes just past the release tabs on the terminal.

Once you have cut your sleeve, simply grab the guts and pull them out.

Apply the Sleeving

There are two very important things you should do if you don’t want make the next little bit of your life hell. The first is to lightly melt either end of each sleeve so that there are no loose strands. This will making melting the ends to the terminal easier.

The second is to ensure that you wrap one terminal on each wire with a short piece of tape, painters or otherwise. This will ensure that you aren’t cursing while snagging the terminal on the sleeve every half an inch.

Next you will do the obvious, slowly feed the wire into the sleeve until both terminals are exposed. It helps if you do a push-pull motion to get the sleeve on in shorter increments. Once you have the sleeving applied you can proceed to the next two steps. This is where your fingers are going to hate you…for days. You will need to pull one end of the sleeving flush with the tabs on the terminal and firmly slide the sleeving between the fingers on your other hand to stretch it out so it reaches the tabs on the other terminal. Rope burn FTW.

The idea here is to melt the nylon sleeve to the terminal to avoid using Heatshrink. You need to ensure that the end of the sleeve is sitting between the crimp and the release tabs so that the terminal will still fit into the connector but also hide the end of the sleeve like so

Hold the sleeve in place and carefully melt the end of the sleeving and gently pinch it with your fingers until it is securely attached to the terminal. Yes, you are going to get burned, but what is modding without a bit of pain.

Repeat as necessary and then proceed to reattach the connectors. They should snap in without requiring too much force. Sometimes you may need to melt the sleeve a bit more to ensure it fits into the connector. The result should look something like this.

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You can use cable combs to ensure that all of your wires remain nice and straight but if you are after that rainbow shape, you will need to create entirely custom cables as this is achieved by having the inside half of the wires slightly shorter than the outside to create the curve.