Cost: $10 – $50
Time: 1 – 2 hours
Tools Required: Scissors / wire cutters, lighter, pliers, hobby knife, heat source (blowtorch, soldering iron, heat gun, hair dryer etc.)
Parts / Supplies Needed: Nylon wire wrap, heat shrink tubing
Difficulty Level: Easy
When I get a little free time, besides spending it with family and friends, I like to work on my RC helicopters.
Whether it’s tweaking it to get rid of a pesky vibration or making it look prettier, I’m all for it.
Tidying up your wires falls into the later category.
But it’s not only about aesthetics. By wrapping your wires in a protective nylon braid coating, you’ll also protect them from things like fuel, snags, the elements, chaffing and normal wear / tear.
Before you wrap them up and make them look neat and pretty, you might want to cut the cables to length (so they fit nicely) and add new servo plugs. Here’s a quick post on how to do just that.
Ideally, you’ll want to use ¼ inch wire diameter wrap and ¼ inch diameter heat shrink tubing. It’s lightweight and flexible enough for easy use while having enough space inside to comfortably slide the wires through at the same time.
You can buy 100 ft of wire braid wrap off eBay for under $20 or it’s also started to be carried by many online / offline hobby shops for about $5 a meter (3ft) and comes complete with the heat shrink tubing.
If you’re going to buy the wire wrapping kit, pick up a couple of them. The average heli needs about 3-5 ft of nylon wire wrap and you might make mistakes, so it won’t hurt to have a little extra.
The colors you use are up to you – I use a standard black for the heli in this example, but if you want something more flashy, there’s everything from lime green to neon orange available.
(Stuff you need)
Here’s a quick, step-by-step guide on tidying up your helicopters cables:
Cut the nylon braid wrap to size using scissors or wire cutters for each wire you’d like to cover (you can do each wire one at a time – recommended)
If you cut it long enough so it goes all the way to the servo plug, it makes it a little harder to bend, so, depending on the angles, you may want to leave a little space for uncovered wire for easier maneuvering. But for a cleaner look, I like to do it all the way.
Cut two pieces of heat shrink tubing per wire you’re covering approximately ¾ inches long each.
(Cut nylon braid / heat shrink tubing)
Carefully, using a lighter, melt (not burn) the ends of the nylon wire braid to stop it from further unraveling.
(Melting nylon wire braid)
Tip:If you hold the braid between your thumb and finger keeping the natural round shape while melting, it will make it easier to slide the wires through later.
Remove the servo casing and slide the whole contraption (nylon braid, heat shrink tubing) onto the servo’s wire.
If you get stuck or have trouble, if you squish the nylon braid together, its diameter will increase making it easier to slide the wire through.
(Nylon braid and heat shrink tubing on wire)
Tip If you tape the servo pins together, it will make it easier to slide through wire braid and less likely to get caught.
Slide the servo casing back on and place the heat shrink tubing at the ends. Then using a soldering iron, pencil torch, lighter, heat gun or hairdryer, shrink the heat shrink tubing around the nylon braid. Be careful not to burn anything or melt the nylon brain.
(Heat shrink tubing shrunk around servo casing)
You’ll want the braid to end around the middle of the heat shrink tubing to lessen the chances of it pulling out.
Reinstall the servo in your RC helicopter and you’re all done. Repeat the process for all other wires.
(Finished servo with nylon protective braid)
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