TL;DR - built a new cable for my AKG K240 Studio headphones using Canare L-4E6S cable sleeved in 550 paracord (type 3). Fat fingers & lack of patience can break little parts. Read the whole thing for paracord sleeving suggestions.
I just started my first DIY project tonight, creating custom cable for my AKG K240 Studio headphones. I picked up some Canare L-4E6S cable, Switchcraft TA3FX 3-pin female mini-XLR, and a Switchcraft 35HDRANN right-angle nickle coated 3.5mm plug. My fat fingers broke off a post on the mini-xlr so I had order a couple of more, be here Friday. Anyways, what I wanted to do was use paracord as paracord crafting is a hobby of mine. Just wanted to post a few things a newbie, me, learned tonight getting what I wanted:
Paracord: Using paracord that you can pick up at Michaels or Joann Fabrics, even though it is the same manufacturer here in the US, they are not always the same diameter I found out tonight. It seems the solid colors are slight smaller in diameter (especially internally) than the multi-color/camo cords. I fished on some camo cord in a matter of minutes. Solid color was a no go for me. One thing about paracord is that if it is made in the US, it is pretty much made at the same facility, just repackaged by whoever. Chinese made paracord is not nearly as nice and workable as the US made stuff (not tooting horns here, just the solid truth, after working with paracord for 20+ years now).
Cable: Canare L-4E6S, definitely has to be stripped for 550 paracord (type 3). 750 paracord might fit, but I doubt it. Anyways, back to stripping. I just used a razor blade and ran the cable across my desk. Use a kitchen table, counter, whatever so you can run the blade down the length of the cable in longer runs. This stops the cable from turning on you and just gets annoying. I went in just a little. You know when you are getting to deep when you feel like speed bumps. That is the blade hitting the braided shielding. Don't press down so hard :) No worries, you didn't break anything. Once you get the cut all the way down, use your fingernail and pry open the rubber jacket. From there you can just peel it away from the cable. You shouldn't have to pull to hard. If you have to use a little force, no worries, this cable is crazy strong.
When fishing the paracord onto the cable, you want to "push" the paracord onto the cable. Once you work out fishing it a few inches to a foot, you will get the hang of it and it should go quick at this point. I make a light fish with my hand that is on the paracord, and kind of push the cable towards my fist. You will feel the paracord bunch up, quite a few inches at a time. Then I squeeze my pinky finger as to not let the paracord slip backwards. Once I squeeze my pinky, I release the fist a little and the paracord would go right up the cable with little to no effort at all. In about 3 minutes I did 10 feet of cable. 15 minutes if you include the stripping.
Must have tools for DIY cabling for you first timers: Good wire/side cutters, good wire stripper, decent soldering iron, decent solder, decent solder wick (remove any extra solder you might get everywhere your first time soldering), MAGIC HANDS (I have the original Radio Shack magnified ones from the 80s or 90s), razor blade/sharp knife. My favorite soldering iron for doing small stuff is the ANTEX G/3U (mines quite old). I like it because I can easily slide on/off different tips as needed, and it doesn't get dangerously hot as to start melting stuff you are working around.
This project, to do my headphone cable only cost me $25 shipped. I am in Chicago, IL, USA so I used Full Compass. They are outside of Madison, WI, USA and ground shipping is the same as overnight for me. They have a lot of decent stuff at pretty good prices. I just found a dealer for Furutech who lives a mile from me. Already talking to him about getting me some really nice looking Furutech connectors. Sorry for the book.