Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!

MZ_Toolbox2010.gif


I guess it’s something of an aspirational thing — the desk jockey’s answer to wearing a track suit and never working out — but I’m fascinating by all forms of organizing technologies (while remaining something of a dedicated slob). I have collected all manner of cable management and labeling technologies over the years. The most obvious of this tech is the zip-tie. I use them, but don’t like their permanence. Years ago, a company sent me a big bundle of color-coded Velcro cable ties (that work just like zip-ties, only they’re adjustable/reusable). These have remained my favorite. The only drawback is that the Velcro is very effective and they’re hard to cinch up, and hard to take apart.

So I was very interested when I got the PR about the Q Knot reusable rubber ties from a company called UTWire. They work on the same principle as standard plastic zip-ties but they can be fairly easily pulled apart and reused. If you crossed a rubber band with a zip-tie, you’d get a Q Knot. They work similarly to zip-ties except the “gripping teeth” are made of flexible rubber so they can be worked back through the loop end (but the teeth are big enough, the rubber strong enough, that they hold firmly in place under light stress). UTWire sent me one of the Q Knot Pro packs ($9.50 MSRP). It has 25 “Knots” in small (4 3/4″), medium (6″), large (7 1/4″) and in three colors (black, white, green).

The coolest thing about them is that I was able to immediately put the Q Knots to the test. The day they arrived, I started a discussion on my Facebook page about some really ugly blue-cast compact florescent bulbs I had installed in the light by my bedside. This led to a discussion about different types of lighting and someone mentioning LED strip-light material. It just so happened that I had been sent a short test strip of such lighting from a company about six months ago. I grabbed my bag of Q Knots, the LED strip, and the power adapter and headed to my bedroom. Within minutes I had an awesome, perfect reading light set up along the top tube of my iron bedpost. I used two small Q Knots to firmly fix the strip in place and one on the bedpost to secure the power cable. The small dark green rubber ties look unobtrusive and they can be adjusted if need-be. If fact, I moved the strip and wiring several times, something that would have caused me to cut and use new conventional locking zip-ties. I’m really happy with my new bed-light and its use of Q Knots. At first, I thought I’d find a more permanent solution, but I think this is my permanent solution.

The only open questions I have about Q Knots are their longevity (think rubber band rot) and their strength. I definitely wouldn’t rely on them to carry a load. The other issue would be, depending on what you’re bundling, how heavy, where you are, etc., wrappin’ these rascals might be a little harder than conventional zip-ties — you really have to put some muscle into cinching them.

All-in-all, I’m please with Q Knots. I definitely think I’ll be reaching for them in the future to tie down my life, at least until some shiny-shiny new organizing technology comes along and distracts my flitting bug-brain.

More:
See all of our “Toolsday” tool reviews here.

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


Related
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25,496 other followers