PCB makers Dirty made a name for themselves in the prototype PCB biz, with a convenient web form and numerous options for PCB color, thickness, layers, silk screening, and so on. Now they’ve branched out into custom cabling with Dirty Cables.
You can design it yourself by dragging wires and connectors out of a sidebar and arranging them on a workspace, deciding which wire goes to what pin of the connector. Your choices for wires include various gauges and ribbon configurations. You choose a color (they have eleven) select connectors and drag those out too–choose from 17 cable-to-cable and cable-to-board connector families. We made a quick cable with four 32ga wires and two 16ga wires, with two different connectors on each side, with pricing updated realtime. If you want a sample pack of connectors, Dirty sells them for $10.
The downside to the service: there’s a minimum order of 100, though paying Shenzhen prices might make it worth your while. Just imagining crimping all of those connectors makes Hackaday’s hands hurt.
To get a sense of the diversity of connectors out there, read Elliot’s piece on the connector zoo that we published last year.
25 thoughts on “Dirty Now Does Cables”
Minimum order of 100 cables or 100usd?
100pcs of one type of cable is a bit meh compared to 100usd worth of cables.
But this looks really cheap and is likely a more sane option for some projects than designing around re-using existing cables.
100 pieces. You’re asking a manufacturer to do a run of cables, not getting them individually hand assembled.
This is great if you’re producing kits. If you’re just making something for yourself, it’s trivial to make up a few cables manually.
I guess so. I have ordered one-off custom RF cables from china in the past and those ware not that expensive, barely above the price of connectors.
@2ftg From who did you order those RF cables? I have some that I would like to make as well.
This! For my own DIY I would spend the $100 on the crimping tool and make my cables myself. Though I have made a huge amount of cables without a crimping tool. Will they last forever? Unlikey but then I don’t expect them to be the first thing to fail in my projects >_<
I tried it and made 100 cables for 19 usd. It has one connector on one end and four on the other side and four wire colors.
If i order the crimps,wire and connectors on ebay for 100 pcs the price would be almost the same ad they aren’t assembled too. Prolly the quality would suck if i made them.
I like this idea a lot. The price seems fairly competitive at first glance. 4 x 1 metre 16awg with 2.54 mm crimp connectors on each end at $1.52 each. Seems cheaper than many others I’ve seen on ebay or amazon etc. I’m looking for this kind of thing to connect 4-wire steppers, haven’t seen many cheaper. Would be worth investing in a run of a 100. Postage to Europe is about $10 for 500g for the ‘cheap’ 8 weeks service, but they do DHL 2-5 days at about £20 (at higher weights, the DHL is actually similar in price, £20 per Kg).
This is great thanks for letting me know, We are putting together a kit with a small run of 100 kits to sell to try it out. Getting cables that are just right is hard to do.
Great concept. But their choice of connectors is very limited. They do have the ubiquitous “dupont” connectors tho, under the designation “CRHO”.
The article Sjaak links below goes into a lot more detail. The short version is is that their selection is based on what’s commonly available in Shenzhen. Uncommon connectors lose the price/scale/availability sweetspot that makes their service possible.
not an option for prototyping but it’s about time for a direct-quote service to offer small lots of cable assemblies.
But maybe they will work with you on samples before the larger lot.
I use Digi-Key for some cable assemblies. Some are really cheap like IDC cables with name brand gold plated connectors. I design the cable (length, wires, connectors, orientation, etc) and get them to quote and make me 1 or 1000 based on my needs. Lead time is usually less than a week. Example IDC cable is $1.13 each for 100, $1.23 each for 50
Digi-Key also carries wire leads in various lengths, pre-crimped with contacts from Molex, JST, and a bunch of other name brands. These hit a real sweet spot for professionally crimped cables in prototype quantities; just buy leads/housings and assemble.
I’ve tried sourcing leads prepped with “JST” connectors through eBay, and the quality is significantly inferior. Contact plating suffers from weird corrosion problems, the plastic housings are softer and don’t engage as well, and the crimps are often missing strands. I would be concerned about these issues with Dirty vending of Shenzhen’s finest as well.
Too bad there is no link in this article to the blogpost on dangerousprototypes.com where the service (and used connectors) is explained.
lots of more usefull information here: http://dangerousprototypes.com/blog/2017/06/22/dirty-cables-whats-in-that-pile/
“Dirty”? You mean, the “Dangerous Prototypes” guys?
OMG, this is excellent news. I can easily imagine a pile of things to do with this, depending on the variety of connectors they offer.
Now someone needs to create some cable art.
I tried to make a “mains to Ethernet” cable, but couldn’t find either connector in the drop down list. Useless tool. :P
Mains for what country?
RCA to Camlock?
Edison to forks? (for cooking hot-dogs, of course)
TwistLock to garden hose?
Stagepin to Stage Hand?
Bluetooth to WiFi
MIDI to SCART.
Custom RF cables and connectors of decent quality are the Holy-Grail of what’s needed from a service like this. Pay extra to have the cables swept.
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