Nothing terribly clever here, but sometimes you’ve got to build your own tools before the real fun begins. I’ve been doing some mobile Arduino development and I got annoyed with carrying around a bulky coil of USB cable. I could buy a pre-made A-to-B gender changer, but not at 10pm on a Sunday, when I need instant gratification! Plus, in these hard economic times, why purchase something new if you can avoid it?

So, I chopped the ends off an old cable and spliced/soldered the four wires of the USB A male end to the USB B male end. I wrapped it in heat-shrink and electricians tape, and now I’ve got a little stub to jack an Arduino into the side of my laptop. The plug fits in the same small case as an Arduino, a breadboard, and a few LEDs, resistors, and hookup wires.

What have you made instead of purchased lately? Let us know in the comments and put your photos up on the MAKE Flickr pool.

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He works at Disney Research and writes for Make and Boing Boing. He is training for American Ninja Warrior. You can find him at and twitter @johnedgarpark — if you like that sort of thing.

  • Anonymous

    WOW amazing…
    why is this crap taking up precious MAKE space? are you really that strapped for material that you have to put this sub-par DIY entry on here?

    I EXPECT Better

  • John Park

    We cover topics for a wide range of interests and skill levels. This post may speak to someone who hadn’t thought to chop up and make their own cables. Perhaps you’ll enjoy one of our other fine entries better.

  • Phillip Torrone

    hello anonymous commenter, thanks for stopping by – not everyone is a master maker yet, we all start somewhere and making USB cables is actually an example of a project that i know for a fact inspires a lifetime of making. about 5 years i had a how-to on engadget on making a PSP power / USB cable – and recently some kid (who was 16 at the time) is now 21 – he said it was one of his first “electronics” projects and now he is doing engineering.

    while you might call something crap, i’m going to put the onus on you – we expect better from our commenters. we’ll leave this comment up, but next time we’ll just remove it unless you can contribute something positive.

  • peterman921

    its not electronics but I made a hanging pot rack a few weeks ago for the cost of the chain and some paint.

    we all gotta start somewhere

    I also made soap and journals for Christmas gifts
    peterman921 on flickr and instructables


  • sakae

    well i just want to experiment something while im bored and don’t want to use a adapter, any1 know some steps or… pinout for a PS/2 keyboard and compare that to a USB one.

  • Brian Jepson

    Nice! I bought a couple of USB A Male – B Male adapters, but they always leave my Arduino flipped upside down. I’ll have to make one of these.

  • John Park

    Nice stuff, Jon.

    Sakae, is the place for pinouts:

    Brian, thanks. It would be super cool to make one that can rotate…

  • Ian

    “How dare you post this on your free website where I might see it, it offends my eyes”

    PT & John — Good job with a bit of gentle push-back.

  • Kent KB

    JEP&PT, is a great link and I found a pintout for another project I had put aside.
    Make is a great place to find this stuff out, and if you read the postings contained here you may be in Danger of Learning something!
    Thank you

  • John Park

    Great Kent, you’ll have to let us know about your project.

  • fruitkid101

    Hey I agree with John and Phil. My first project was a USB LED keyboard light. I didn’t use a resistor because I didn’t know about them so I burnt mine out. But researching how to stop my LED from burning out is what got me started in electronics and now? I’m a maker!

    • John Park

      Rock on Fruitkid. Funny, this comment thread was pre- “be nice” commenting policy — we don’t see as many purely negative comments anymore. (Hope I didn’t just jinx it!)