How to Turn Your USB Cables into Coiled Cables, Like on Old-School Telephones

John Park of Adafruit Industries picked up on a neat trick: How to turn a regular USB cable into a coiled cable, of the sort found on old-school telephones. Coiled cables have a neater appearance and render the overall cable length shorter (which you may or may not desire), and they also give the cables a bit of stretch memory, if you’re a tactility geek.

The materials required for this DIY project are simple. First you want to select a wood dowel of the appropriate diameter. Here Park shows how two different diameters yield two different coil sizes.

Then you zip-tie one end of the cable…

…wrap it around the dowel…

…zip-tie the other end…

…and hit it with a heat gun for two to five minutes.

Park recommends finishing it off by holding a can of compressed air upside down, to blow frozen gas over the cable to rapidly cool it.

Then it’s just a matter of unsticking the coils from one another, and you’ve got your finished product.

You can also add some colored heat-shrink tubing to the ends if you want to color-code your cables.

Here’s the tutorial in video form: