From concept to reality. My do-it-yourself 3D printed cable supports are inspired by the outrageously expensive Furutech NCF Booster
. (See Audiophile BS reaches a new depth.. We are way past hipwaders here
for AK opinions on this product). Ever since I upgraded all my AC power cords to Signal Cable MagicPower
cords, I've been looking for something to secure them to my wall receptacles and components as they were drooping under their own weight. Personally, I wasn’t willing to pay $350 each for the Furutech items, so with the help of a friend we created a 3D model in CAD and then printed a prototype on his 3D printer. Then we tweaked the design again and printed a second prototype that was optimized for both functional performance and print speed. Later this week I will make a few more minor revisions for the third (and hopefully final) prototype design with some alternate cradle support configurations to handle different cable routing needs.
This design is not modular nor height adjustable like the Furutech NCF Booster. To keep costs low, the carbon fiber support shafts are cut to a fixed length suitable for that particular application. If you need a different height cable support then you print another set and cut the shafts to the appropriate height. Small adjustments can be made by using flat washers between the shaft and the 3D printed plastic support pieces or by wrapping the cable with one or more turns of self-fusing silicone tape. The upper clamp portion is optional. I did not need it at the wall receptacle but might try it at the component end of the power cord.
All told each completed device costs less than $10 including nylon filament, electricity to print them, the carbon fiber support shafts and the bolts and washers if using the upper clamp portion. Missing is the mystical and proprietary nano-crystalline formula nylon that Furutech uses. Sound quality aside, mine support heavy power cords just as well for a fraction of the cost. After I secure all my heavy AC power cords from drooping under their own weight, I might try lifting my XLR balanced signal cables and speaker wires 6” off the floor and create tidy cable highways to minimize the effects of static electricity, RFI and electromagnetic interference. Future iterations of the saddle support piece might have multiple cradles to support more than one cable in different orientations (e.g. side by side or vertically stacked pairs or in a V formation for 3 cables).
Furutech NCF Booster was the inspiration for this DIY project.
First 3D model in Autodesk Fusion 360 CAD/CAM software.
Checking wall receptacle height so we can estimate support shaft length.
Checking component IEC plug height so we can estimate support shaft length.
First prototype on the 3D printer. The first prototype took about two days to print. We scaled down the parts for our second prototype so they all fit within the work envelope and can be printed simultaneously for faster manufacturing. My friend is graciously printing them for me as time allows in between prints for his other projects. So no, these cable supports are not for sale to the general public. They're for my personal use. But once my design is finalized I may throw it up on Thingaverse
for others who might want to tweak the design or print their own.
First prototype pieces. We dry fit the assembly and then decided to make some design changes for the next iteration. For the second prototype we scaled the part 50% for a tighter fit against the wall/ baseboard trim, better alignment with the AC power cord plug that it is meant to support and so all 3 pieces can print at the same time on the print bed to speed up manufacturing; enlarged some of the holes for easier assembly (it's still super tight no glue needed); and altered the support structure to improve surface finish and dimensional stability.
First prototype pieces hot off the printer.
This is the second prototype part fully assembled and installed. It is holding my heavy-duty Signal Cable MagicStrip
power extension cord in the Hubbell 8200IV
15-amp hospital grade wall receptacle. The Hubbell outlet has really strong contact grip but my cable would still droop somewhat under its own weight due to gravity. That's no longer an issue. I didn't even need to use the upper clamp portion.
The support shafts started life as 30" target arrows. The shafts are made of carbon fiber. The removable tip is threaded for 8-32 machine screws. Once the fletchings and nock are cut off using my vertical bandsaw, the useful length of the shaft is 1" to 26" making them very versatile. Cost is just $2 each. Apparently these are very popular material stock for RC model airplane builders as they're cheap, light and easy to work with.
Base support fits tight against the baseboard trim.
Closeup installed rear view.
Bottom piece is called saddle or support cradle.
I wrapped the power cord in some self-fusing silicone tape to protect the heat shrink tubing that Signal Cable uses on all their power cords from the somewhat rough surface finish of the 3D printed plastic support cradle piece. To be honest the support shafts could probably stand to be 1/16" shorter but they're wedged into the plastic base good and tight and not going anywhere now.
Upper clamp portion is optional. I still get excellent support without it and not using it makes it much easier to unplug the cord. Will most likely end up using the clamp on the component end of the AC power cord so that remains attached to allow slight movement of the component on the AV rack shelf without disturbing the cable support.
With the upper clamp. Could use longer 8-32 screws. Must be very careful not to over tighten these screws. Might use cylindrical nylon spacers as a torque limiting device or to make it look more tidy so you don't see the exposed threads.
Examples of how others have used their Furutech NCF Boosters:
This guy couldn't be bothered to spend the extra $50 for the Furutech support shaft extensions so he used wooden blocks instead. Notice the piece of foam rubber material wedged between the two adjacent plug ends. This is because there isn't enough room between the two plug ends to fit another saddle support.
Cable routing ideas.
$700 worth of Furutech NCF Boosters holding up the component end of the AC power cord and keeping the cable routing tidy.
Nearly $5000 worth of Furutech NCF Boosters in this picture, although I believe most dealers will give you a 15% discount off retail prices.
The shaft extension pieces cost $50/pair. It adds up quickly. With mine, if you need a different height support, you simply cut the shaft to the required length.
I will probably make an alternate cradle support piece that isn't rounded but instead has a flat bottom so it's easier to do the height measurement. Basically I need to know the height from the floor to the bottom side of the AC plug end when it's plugged into the wall receptacle. If you have a duplex outlet, you must decide if you want to use the upper or lower plug. If you have carpet flooring, be sure to press down slightly to compress the fibers and the padding underneath so we get an accurate height measurement. A tape measure accurate to 1/16" should be sufficient.
Elevated cable highway. I will probably make an alternate cradle support piece with multiple cradles to facilitate this kind of vertically stacked cable routing arrangement.