Need a USB cable? Build one!

When you have a custom keyboard with some nice keycaps and case, you might start to think, what should I customize next? Let’s start with the cable which connects my keyboard to my computer!

Honestly, I am far from being original with this idea. There are services where you can order such cable, other people have been building them for ages. If you scroll Reddit topic for mechanical keyboards you’ll see them all over the place. I have also already made one simple custom USB cable you can find at the end the post about my custom keyboard.

But since I like to make things I wanted to make another one. I took some photos in the process in order to create a short build log. As usual in my case, this is not meant to be a step-by-step guide, but a little insight into making and inspiration for the dear reader.


I have included links to Aliexpress. Most of them are the items I actually bought. Those are not affiliate links. They are an example of what you could buy if you wanted to make the same cable.

  • 4 wire cable (Aliexpress). You can also buy shielded if you want. Keep eye on insulation if you want to coil the cable later - it will most likely not work for silicon (since it is heat resistant), so go for good-old PVC. You can also recycle old USB cables.
  • a piece of paracord for sleeving (Aliexpress)
  • heat-shrink tubing
  • USB connectors. In my case USB-Mini and USB-A but you can buy USB-Micro and USB-C too.
  • GX12 or GX16 4-pin aviation connector (Aliexpress) for decoration.


  • Soldering iron and some solder.
  • A wood rod for coiling (mine has diameter 10 mm)
  • A heat gun ( I have only a cheap DIY-craft one), some people use a hair dryer instead.

Update: Quality and USB specification

Since the article was featured on and posted to hackernews I feel a need to clarify some things.

This cable is not a high quality USB cable. It is, as many people pointed out in comments on both and hackernews, quite bad USB cable.

  • The cable is not shielded.
  • The Aviation connector has no function and shouldn’t be on the cable. It will affect quality and can cause several kinds of problems.

I wouldn’t try to use such cable for high-speed USB communication nor for high-current charging of other devices. I use it for my USB 2 (Atmega32u4 based) keyboard on daily basis and it works well. If you really want a high quality cable, go buy one, don’t build it or at least not like I did - use shielded cable, skip Aviation connector and read the spec. You can also go and read discussions under the articles above, some people actually share some information and not just the snarky “I-am-the-only-one-smart-here-and-you-all-are-stupid” kind of remarks.

Build log