Heat Shrink On Cables

From detritu–(at)–x.netcom.com Thu May 29 12:32:43 CDT 1997
From: detritu–(at)–x.netcom.com(Lord Valve)
Newsgroups: alt.guitar.amps
Subject: Re: Instrument Cables, Lord Valve Style…
Date: 29 May 1997 06:41:57 GMT
X-NETCOM-Date: Wed May 28 11:41:57 PM PDT 1997
Xref: geraldo.cc.utexas.edu alt.guitar.amps:51280

In <19970529042001.AAA2851--(at)--adder02.news.aol.com> bhabe–(at)–ol.com
(BHabes) writes:
>>> That’s EXACTLY the same thing I make for most of my customers. Do
>>> fill the plugs up with hot glue, too? They NEVER croak if you do
>>> like that…
>>I never bothered with hot melt glue even though I have the gun.
>if this isn’t the most genius idea I’ve ever heard…I don’t know what
> Flying cars wouldn’t impress me more…

Lord Valve Speaketh:

Maybe I’d better elaborate…what you do is, have a piece of 3/8″
heat-shrink ready to slide over the INSIDE of the plug; then, you fill
up the airspace between the tip and the sleeve contact with the hot
glue (use plenty; the excess will squeeze out), and push the shrink
over the whole mess WHILE IT’S STILL HOT. Immediately, you hit it with
the heat-gun, and shrink it all the way down (it will have begun to
shrink from the heat of the glue already). If you don’t have a
heat-gun, you can use a hot-air popcorn popper, or a 1000 or 600 watt
PAR 64 lamp (leave it in the can, and DON’T point it at anything that
will burn) to provide the heat. Hair dryers don’t work very well for
this. Wait for it to get COLD, and then pull off any excess that oozed
out (while you were shrinking the tubing) with a pair of needle-nose
pliers. Then, you can screw the plugshell onto the insert, and use a
piece of 1/2″ shrink over the whole works. Some folks like to extend
the inner (3/8″) piece out through the plugshell, and shrink the 1/2″
stuff down on top of it. Whether or not doing it that way will produce
an assembly that is too stiff to live with will depend on what brand of
HST you’re using; I’ve had excellent results with the Sumitube
polyolefin type. When you put the 1/2″ HST over the plugshell, make
sure that it stops FLUSH with the flat part of the plug just below the
contact shaft…if any hangs over, it will keep the plug from seating
properly in the jack. Don’t be surprised if the first few you do this
way look like holy hell…it may be wise to take an old cord out of
your shitbox, chop it up, and practice a half dozen times or so before
you try this with new parts. Also, like Mark Amundson said, it’s a
really good idea to bend the tip lug SLIGHTLY toward the inside of the
plug, to provide clearance for the HST, which is a little thicker than
the sleeve insulator that normally goes there. Make SURE to nip off any
wire/solder which sticks out from the top of the tip lug; the solder
underneath will hold it just fine (seeing as how the hot glue takes all
the mechanical strain anyway). DON’T use the insulator if you use HST
on the inside of the plug, as you’ll never get the plug screwed
together with the insulator AND the shrink inside the shell. Mark and
I differ on the ground connection; my method is to twist the braid into
a single piece, tin it, and lay it on the INSIDE of the ground
lug/strain relief, where I hold it in place with a hemostat (roach
clip) while I solder it. The strain relief wings are crimped over the
insulation, not the naked braid. Don’t get too ambitious when you
squeeze ’em down, it’s easy to poke one through the insulation and
short it to the hot lead. Bill Bolton suggested silicone sealant
instead of hot glue; I don’t like the stuff (in this application) for
several reasons…one, it takes 24 hours to cure. Two, it’s messy.
Three, you will never be able to use the plug over again if you put
silicone sealant on it…that stuff’s HELL to get off…hot glue just
pulls off with pliers, without leaving any residue on the connector.
(That said, silicone sealant will produce excellent results…just
takes longer.) BTW, use the yellow hot-glue sticks, not the clear or
white ones. Bear in mind that this procedure is for use with the
Switchcraft 280 type plugs; it will NOT work with the Neutrik
chuck-type strain-relief. This technique will make a guitar cord so
good, you’ll lose it or someone will steal it before you can break it.

Lord Valve/Fat Willie

PS: For any of you guys who want a cable like this but don’t want to
make it yourself, I sell ’em. Shoot me an EMAIL for details…
(Sorry, couldn’t resist… 🙂


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