The Art Of Cable Folding

Since Michael posted his review of Cable Organizer, I figure now would be a good time to show you some of my cable folding skills when it comes to building computer systems.

I discovered the art of cable folding while meeting with Calgary based, Voodoo PC (now owned by HP). Before that meeting, I used rounded cables like everybody else. Voodoo PC was reluctant to show me how they fold their cables to create their look. They refused to open the case so I can poke inside. That would stop the average person but not the root of all evil. 😈

Folding computer cables serves two purposes. The first is to achieve a super clean look. The second is to maximize the airflow going though the computer case. Nothing messes up airflow more than a bunch of dangling cables. Rounded cable helps this problem but they still tangle inside the case and still block airflow. A properly fold cable will snake along the sides of the case so air flow is not disrupted and will look cleaner than anything you can do with rounded cables. The following is three systems I’ve built using proper cable folding techniques.

The LAN Boy

The LAN Boy

The LAN Boy

The LAN Boy

The Black Beauty

The Black Beauty

Black Beauty Case

Black beauty computer case

The Black Beauty II

computer case

computer case

folding cables

54 thoughts on “The Art Of Cable Folding”

  1. Nice looking cables, but still not as clean looking as a Mac Pro!

    1. Oh come on! Everyone of those machine look very clean! I would be proud to show off any of those – especially if I had done it myself, and not bought them that way!

      1. Dan1el says:

        How often do you open your pc and show your friends your cable art? 🙂

        1. Not often I guess. But it is a trend and many of the techies in this area is doing the same. It has the ‘wow’ effect.

        2. Tyler says:

          That’s why I like having a window in my PC. To show off the insides, people love looking in side my machines!

          1. Dan1el says:

            People who aren’t familiar with pc hardware are fascinated by the innards of computers. Throw in a few neons and they are mesmerised.

    2. Jeff Kee says:

      My friend always rubs it into my face about how his mac is much better than my PC.. but its kinda true – i can’t even defend myself anymore haha.

      1. But, did you build your PC?

    3. John says:

      I’ve seen disassembled pictures of the Mac Pro (and Power Mac G5), and there are additional panels designed to hide the cabling. The Mac Pro also benefits from custom drive cages and case parts.

  2. HMTKSteve says:

    Those do look nice on the inside!

  3. Gareth says:

    I was going to suggest black cables when looking at the black beauty, but then I saw mk2!

    Very nice work. But still not as clean as the internals of a mac 🙂

  4. Ajith says:

    John that was amazing…………….. 😯
    gonna try it

  5. Dan1el says:

    Those pictures just gave me some bad flashbacks. I used to work in a factory building pc’s and we used to fold the cables like that. Repetitive work is not good for the soul, or the body for that matter.

    1. I can imagine that, folding cables all day long would suck!!!

      1. Dan1el says:

        My neck used to get so sore leaning over a bench all day. And those cases have lots of sharp edges. It wasn’t fun 🙂

        1. And I’ll bet they weren’t tool less either!

          1. Dan1el says:

            Argh the tools. Why did you remind me. Everyone would steal each others screwdrivers and clippers, and if you believe it, peoples bins.

    2. Andrew Chen says:

      🙂 Intresting picture actually

    3. Jeff Kee says:

      Been there, done that. MY worst job in my life was dishwashing.

      1. Dan1el says:

        haha I’ve done dishwashing too. And that was after I quit the job building pc’s.

    4. Tyler says:

      I’ve done that, I did a few days at a company that built OEM machines for a local company (If anyone in the lower mainland know who TLD is ;))

      Cable folding is can get a bit repetative…

  6. John Murch says:

    Folding Cable is not that bad, I had a job back in the day, build Custom “Gaming” machines for a computer store. Over time you develop tricks and can build them pretty fast.

    Nice Job John, Super Clean!

  7. Shawn Knight says:

    Cool write-up. I used to worry about the interior of my case and would spend a few hours during initial hardware install to make sure everything looked “pretty”. I still do this for my main system, but have given up all hope on my dedicated test computer since I change out hardware on a near-daily basis lol

  8. Shawn Knight says:

    BTW, what are the specs of that first computer? Looks pretty old… ugly mobo and the IDE HDD give it away heh

    1. Sharp eye Shawn, but we are talking about ribbon folding here!

      Only The Black Beauty II is using SATA drives! In that case, we’re talking about cable management!

  9. MasterSparky says:

    Does folding those ide cables not have adverse effects on the signal integrity? I know when laying out a board there are no 90 degree signals. Honestly can’t remember why you don’t, but thought the ide cables would need the same type of constraint.

    1. Dan1el says:

      I’ve never had any problems with folded ide cables other than some older cables where some of the wires inside cracked.

      1. Right, I’m sure that in a server it might, but not on these machines.

  10. Ryan says:

    Wow, I didn’t know cable folding could be such an artform. 😆

    1. Just take a look inside any VooDoo machine!

  11. derrich says:

    Deee-licious! 😛

  12. Tony says:

    I think people have too much time on their hands. Most of my hdd’s just hang out the side of the box. using the cable to hold them off the floor. I haven’t placed the sides on any case I have had for the last 15 years. 😉

    1. Marc says:

      It’s not too much time on your hands, it’s the difference between just getting it done and getting it to the point where you’re proud of your work. Beyond that it’s not just aesthetic. The airflow within a case is very important to both performance and longevity.

  13. Gary Lee says:

    If I could of cabled like this, then I would have never gone Mac . . oh wait, there was the whole Microsoft Windows thing . . . so ya, I would have still gone Mac . . . nice work though!

  14. Its been a while since I assembled a PC. And its true I never really cared about the whole airflow crap back then. But now I seriously need a fast laptop or a PC for some Linux experimentation. Maybe I will go with assembling my own this time. I think 2 laptops are enough already.

  15. It is very colorful! But dealing with it seems to be a ‘nightmare’. I just can’t tell which is which!

  16. caplondon says:

    The folded wires take less space, look good, and help with the airflow. But is it really worth all the extra work time and added expense to the consumer??

  17. Ricco says:

    Cool – I never gave it a thought that this was a way of organizing the cables inside a PC. Proper airflow wasn’t the main priority the last time I built my last PC, though. You don’t need to pay attention to things like that on a mac 😉

  18. When working for Micron PC back a few years… I learned proper cable folding and now these days I am shocked at the mess that pc makers deliver.

  19. Leftblank says:

    Nice way of handling the mess John, perhaps you could also try it with an Antec P180? I could use some advice; the cables are usually too short to sticky anywhere 😕

  20. Jez says:

    Nice job, I think a cobweb folding article would be more use in my case 😳

  21. Matthew says:

    Wow. When I do cables they end up a complete mess. I never thought about folding them that way 🙂

    1. lol.. I wonder what a technician would say when you call him up for repairs one day. 🙂 Err.. Which one is the correct wire?

    2. derrich says:

      Zip ties, Matthew. Zip ties. 😉 😛

  22. zaki says:

    Very good lucking body inside the CPU…
    Nice and neat arrangement….
    I’m really impressed….
    What a soft hand…. 😉 😮

  23. Marc says:

    The cable folding is a fantastic idea. All the best ideas look so obvious after someone show it to you. I am pretty surprised that they wouldn’t show the guts of the case though… Considering anyone who buys one can open it up, take a picture and post it online. But then again, I think that if I saw John asking me how the inner workings of my stuff worked I’d be worried. Someone that evil can’t be up to any good 😉

  24. Tyler says:

    I do like the pictures, very clean. Also if you can tuck them out of the way properly they won’t get in the way for air-flow.

    That being said, for those who don’t like folding cables or can’t for the life of them, pick up Rounded-IDE cables etc, they help keep the case neater and are a better for airflow too. Sometimes easier to tuck out of the way too.

  25. CypherHackz says:

    ah…you had giving me an idea what should i do on this weekend. lol…

  26. Will says:

    I started doing this earlier on in my life with wireloom.

    It was pretty decent, and worked really well for the time being. It seems however than this surpasses it by far.

  27. Joe says:

    Nice cabling! To say I’m now humbled… no, embarrassed with my cabling is an understatement. Ouch.

  28. David says:

    nice work…I’m building a pc soon, so I’ll get to try my hand at cable folding…

  29. You should put together a little tutorial – those are some pretty cables.

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