A 3D-printed ethernet RJ45 clip to secure/repair/fix broken tab (2020)

644 points19
myself24818 hours ago

Can also just buy a bag of 'em:

I'm still working my way through the 50-count bag I bought in 2018; evidently I don't actually encounter that many broken cables, they just exert an outsized effect on my psyche when I do.

Damogran618 hours ago

But then how do you justify your 3d printer?

(Kidding, I already know you justify them by printing bottlecap openers.)

PostOnce16 hours ago

A 3D printer has taught me mechanical engineering like my computer taught me programming

MezzoDelCammin22 minutes ago

It works the other way around too. Got some nasty scars from disassembling cheap PC cases. That told me a lot about stamped sheet metal and costs-cutting in assembly lines.

On the other hand, no better way to learn an STM32 and automatization than looking into Prusa Mini firmware github ;-)

GekkePrutser11 hours ago

This!! It's also given me a lot of insight into industrial design. As in how do you make something strong in the right places yet not use too much material. I'd seen the result of such choices when opening up devices but the "why" never sank in.

Obviously this is not a super important thing in the scope of our world and my day job. But still, it feeds my curiosity (as does this site) and that alone is more than worth the investment to me.

Also, being able to design and manufacture a plastic part in a matter of hours any time of day or night has become a really useful tool. Only a few days ago the window latch on the front door of our apartment broke off and we've already had too many break-ins. It was too late in the day to go buy a new one but the printed one works really nicely.

GeorgeTirebiter16 hours ago

Although this seems to me like saying "learning BASIC has taught me Computer Science" -- yes, the principles of MechE can be learned by study + some actual 3D printed models. But to truly grok MechE, you need mastery of some CAD program (OpenSCAD is my choice, but I also use FreeCAD), and the ability to fabricate in some other materials (metals) using subtractive methods. Plus, you know, a little math here and there...

I like your reasoning tho; I got mine when it was on sale, and just before the pandemic - so I have plenty of learnings about PLA, ABS, PETG, temperatures, glue or not, surface, and most of all -- plenty of piles of material creating 'modern art' rather than my planned masterpieces. '-)

GekkePrutser11 hours ago

It's not mastering mechanical engineering that it teaches you. But just a basic hands -on understanding that is very useful in the life of a maker with a broad range of interests.

Becoming a wizz at industrial design was never my goal. There's universities for that. But it's wonderful to see how everything comes together.

Also, imagining something only in your head and then seeing it come to life on the screen and then in the real world is a magical thing.

I guess carpenters and sculpters etc get this all the time but I totally lack the manual skills needed for that. The 3D printer solves my handicap of having two left hands.

Most people that buy a 3d printer download some models from thingiverse and then get bored with it. It's when you learn design that it really becomes amazing. And it's not all that difficult at all.

auxym12 hours ago
shepherdjerred15 hours ago
VBprogrammer15 hours ago

Definitely made learning a bit of CAD more interesting when you can actually apply it to real life.

dylan6048 hours ago

My favorite CAD story came from around the time when the ability to create 3D renderings from the plans came around. The company my dad worked for had a disagreement on the location of a set of pipes running along a corridor. Once the 3D render was available, it was clear that the plans were very wrong and would have placed the pipes in an impossible manner. I never did learn why the CAD ops were so sure they were right, but just one of those funny stories that stuck you just made me think of it again.

mmaunder7 hours ago

Just a minor nit. Mechanical engineering ain’t additive manufacturing. And CAM isn’t mechanical engineering. Also 3D printing and CNC, which creates far stronger parts, are quite different. CNCing ferrous and non ferrous metal is quite challenging - but again, this is CAM which is more a machinists job, not a mechanical engineer.

sli12 hours ago

Yeah, that was my experience. Now I just model stuff in Blender and haven't printed anything in a while. I'll probably get back into printing stuff once I get a new storage solution for my filament (and install some of these upgrades I've been sitting on for a year).

dylan6048 hours ago

You just added more evidence to my theory that there are a lot of 3D printers sold to "enthusiasts" where it sits in a corner covered by a sheet just like a lot of grease monkeys have a car in a garage covered by a sheet that one day will get restored.

GuB-428 hours ago

I sometimes use my 3D printer just so I can get the thing right now. For example, I once printed a small electrical box, the kind you can find for $2 in any hardware store. Totally not worth it in normal circumstances, but it was Sunday, shops were closed, and I needed one, so I just printed it, and finished the job, didn't have to wait the next day.

And you got things wrong, 3D printers don't print bottlecap openers, they print little boats ;)

alias_neo2 hours ago

I had to print some little "brackets" for the blinds in my daughter's room after she broke some (she's a toddler) and we needed to close them for bed time;

Half an hour in CAD and another half an hour of printing a dozen of them, and now I can replace them any time they break.

I also printed some curtain clips for my wife rather than drive to the DIY shop or wait for Amazon to post me some; Perhaps not cost effective, but better than driving a couple of miles for £1 of plastic clips?

I have young children so I occasionally print aesthetic things, but as a rule, I reserve 3D-printing (or "printing" as my daughter knows it because she's never known printing to have fewer than 3 dimensions) for practical things.

It's funny, my wife has never been on board with my hobbies so much as she is with 3D Printing.

rainbowzootsuit17 hours ago

I've been enjoying gridfinity to keep the print head warm on long cold nights.

blamazon15 hours ago

For the unfamiliar, gridfinity is a project kicked off by Zack Freedman, who makes awesome YouTube videos with his life partner:

(Yes, that is a monocular HUD on his face, it's his teleprompter. There are a bunch of videos on the channel chronicling the various iterations of it)

code_biologist15 hours ago

I've recently been printing a lot of terrain STLs for miniature games (MyMiniFactory or patreons are great) using a 0.25mm nozzle on my FDM printer, then airbrushing to paint them quickly. It's a far more satisfying justification than just printing random brackets and boxes!

ornornor15 hours ago

Speak for yourself! I get the most enjoyment and satisfaction out of printing spare parts to fix things I own but for which parts are unavailable or prohibitively expensive; or to design add-ons to make the things I already own work better for me.

To me it’s the opposite: printing dust-gathering figurines and other baubles with a 3D printer seems rather unappealing.

To each their own!

gerdesj13 hours ago

I like both!

I printed a set of new hinges for a large outdoor plastic storage unit. It has my lawn mower, strimmer etc in it. It would have been skipped years ago because the doors kept falling in or out. Bit embarrassed that we bought the bloody thing in the first place but printing new hinges has avoided landfill and a replacement. The new hinges have lasted four years and counting. SW UK, local unofficial temp range -5C to 35C in that time, so not too nasty. The PLA has discoloured a bit due to UV but not gone brittle.

I also have some little tanks on my desk and a dragon. There's some phenomenal models on Thingie.

ninth_ant12 hours ago

For folks who actively play games with minis (as is the case with the person you replied to), a 3D printer is an excellent addition to the hobby.

specproc15 hours ago

Yeah, this. Such a cool and interesting scene.

Ptchd16 hours ago

I justify the 3d-printer for printing prototypes.... of course they aren't ideal for production...

At less then $200, it is well worth it.

the_cat_kittles13 hours ago

exactly what i use it for- prototypes, one off jigs and such, spacers etc. its so useful for stuff that needs a certain awkward geometry and fairly high dimensional accuracy. i just dont see myself ever using it for production parts, though i do have a 6 ft auger i printed which has moved tons of material by now with no problems

Ptchd13 hours ago
matthewmacleod17 hours ago

Obviously you use it to print 3D printer parts.

dustymcp16 hours ago

Is 3d printers as annoying as their 2d cousins ?

GeorgeTirebiter15 hours ago
myself24812 hours ago

Not hardly.

They have problems, but they're usually easily solved, and you'll never fight with drivers.

Furthermore, the cheapest 3D printers are _made_ to use with generic supplies, it's not like the "give away the inkjet, sell the ink" model you see with 2D printers. They're almost universally based around open-source software and mostly-open hardware now, so there's a thriving ecosystem of mods and upgrades, which can be bewildering but you don't need any of that at all to get started.

The problem is that they're mindblowingly slow. A typical 3D print might run 5 or 10 hours, to make a functional object like a desk pen organizer. And because parts of the thing get hot, you don't want to leave it unattended -- fires are rare but they can happen. So, you have to plan your prints around your life, or vice-versa.

Mercifully, the default mode of operation is just to read files from an SD card that you sneakernet over to the thing. That gets annoying if you're doing a lot of small prints and tweaking things (and there are network options for that, or direct USB connection), but it's a godsend when your printjob is longer than your workstation's typical uptime...

GuB-4212 hours ago

Not at all, more precisely, they are annoying but in not in the same way.

Most cheap 3D printers are children of the reprap project, and the hacker spirit is still there.

3D printers are often made of cheaply available standard parts, and use the same type of filament. Not all printers can print all materials, but there are no technical measures preventing you from trying, and they tend to be mod-friendly. On the software side, they almost all run open source firmware, and take standard G-code. G-code is generated using a slicer, there are several of them on the market, also typically open source and compatible with all sorts of printer from many brands. Everything is interoperable, even when a brand has the whole vertical. For example Prusa makes filament, printers, slicer software and has a repository for models, and none of these are tied to the brand. No DRM, no huge drivers, no overpriced consumables, totally unlike 2D printers.

The flip side is that you feel like you are buying a new hobby rather than a tool. It is certainly a useful tool, but especially on cheaper printers, sometimes, things don't work right out of the box, you have to make some adjustments, understand its capabilities, know what parameters to use out of hundreds, etc... It is rarely "push a button and get your part", you have to know what you are doing, and even then, sometimes, it fails. That's how they are annoying.

kristopolous13 hours ago
blackoil8 hours ago

Don't you know of the woodworking wisdom. "Why buy, When you can build at 3x price in just 100 hours time?"

wartijn_4 hours ago

I like that attitude, it’s the hardware version of “why spend 5 minutes to do something manually, when you can spend 30 minutes to write a script that does the task?”

mcbits15 hours ago

It's a 1 cent item being sold for 22 cents, probably at least 30 cents with shipping. The 3D printer can't compete with the 1 cent but can compete with the 30 cents and definitely with the $15 if you really only need one clip and the "spare parts I may never use" drawer/closet/room is full.

Turing_Machine8 hours ago

I made some replacement wheel caps for my FIL's car. Nothing structural, just simple plastic press-fit caps that keep gunk from getting in.

They're about 4 cm in diameter and just cover the center of the wheel. They're not full hub caps. The dealer wants $20 for one cap. Yow!

I printed a couple of sets for probably less than $1.00 in filament.

mmastrac18 hours ago

I had no idea this existed and I think I need to buy a bag.

marcosdumay18 hours ago

And to carry a few around at my pockets everywhere.

actionfromafar17 hours ago

I just had the (to others obvious I'm sure) ultimate idea endgame - we will all have a mini 3D printer in our pockets, with a library of handy things.

bradknowles4 hours ago

You can also get them on Amazon: Construct Pro RJ-45 Easy Plug Repair for Cat5e & Cat6 (Clear | Bag of 50)

capableweb14 hours ago

I like the design in the submission more, as it doesn't seem like it'll break as easy as the one you linked. Those you linked have that "open backside flap" that breaks so easily when you're pulling cables around and it gets stuck on something, quickly breaking off. While the submission one has both sides closed, so pulling a cable means it won't get stuck anywhere, much preferred.

windexh8er16 hours ago

I'm legit confused as to why this is a thing. Crimping ends is dead simple with pass-thru style RJ-45 tools. I don't think I'd trust these "repair" connectors for anything important.

For price comparison a pack of EZ RJ-45 (Cat6 rated) is around $20 and a pass thru crimper is about the same. Even cheaper if you go old school.

pmontra16 hours ago

I crimped Cat6 cables recently and found out that it's not as easy as crimping Cat5 years ago. Maybe it's the older me but I ended up with a lot of failed cables to redo. Eventually the price per working cable is not that good. Next time I bought tool less Cat6 plugs and sockets. Not only they are faster to work with but they are fool proof. Not a single faulty cable. They cost more per piece but for people like me they end up being cheaper.

kadoban15 hours ago

I feel like you were probably just rusty if you haven't done it for a while. I barely know what I'm doing, don't do it often enough to really get good, don't have great tools, and I still get 80-90% success rate.

anarazel14 hours ago
gambiting14 hours ago

I don't own a crimping tool or spare connectors. I do however own a 3D printer and lots of spools that sit around doing nothing. This is probably the coolest thing I've found to 3D print in a while, I'm very excited to try it.

runjake16 hours ago

Because recrimping is a pain, and this fix is quick and cheap and they stay secured well.

But yeah, pass-through RJ-45 is great.

myself24812 hours ago

Because I can keep a baggie of five of these things at the bottom of my laptop bag, it weighs less than an ounce and takes up almost no space. Could stay there for years and I'd never mind the extra baggage. Then one day, it saves the day.

Carrying around a crimper, stripper, scissors, and a baggie of ends would certainly fit my character, but realistically it's bulky and heavy enough that I'm gonna take it out when I think I won't need it. Which means I won't have it when I actually do need it.

gmiller1234568 hours ago

Couldn't you just use WiFi, and/or carry a spare cable? It seems like an awfully specific thing to prepare for, since the solution only has one specific problem it could fix compared to all of the things that could break. Even a small roll of tape would work, and have many more use cases.

jibe16 hours ago

Is there a specific crimper you recommend?

tunap16 hours ago

Klein hand tools. Full stop.

Below is my favorite. Caveat, it takes some getting accustomed to if you're used to the standard plier style(They make those, too).

edit:plier handle style, not wrench

girvo12 hours ago
repiret15 hours ago

I’ve got that tool and I couldn’t be happier with it. Works good, does RJ11, supports pass-through RJ45, has the color coding on it so I don’t have to look it up. Not too pricy too.

joshu15 hours ago

Another vote for exactly this. It's great. Get the passthrough connectors

subhro16 hours ago

I prefer and pretty much every single one of their tools.

myself24814 hours ago
roperj16 hours ago

The Klein VDV226-110

eurasiantiger16 hours ago

The connector stays the same, only the latch clip is replaced. Add a drop of elastic superglue if in doubt.

dheera17 hours ago

But do you want it delivered in 2 days or 30 minutes?

kotaKat17 hours ago

The 2 days of waiting beats the 6 hours I'll spend cursing why the 3d printer isn't printing "just right" later today to be able to wait 30 minutes for it to finally print out a handful of them.

foxylad11 hours ago

You need a Prusa.

I started with an Anet A8 which taught me a lot about 3D printers (and even more about how they fail!). My Prusa Mini just works, and it's rare I need to reprint anything.

fnordpiglet17 hours ago

Clearly not written by an engineer.

bombcar16 hours ago
kotaKat16 hours ago

Nah, I have too many other ADHD projects on my brain to try to suddenly squeeze in "figure out the 3D printer again" ;)

mad18217 hours ago

I just cut off the broken connector and put on a new one in 2 minutes...

opan17 hours ago

I actually thought the 2 days was for the 3d printer on first read. Are they not incredibly slow these days?

Mogzol17 hours ago

They're slow, but this part is also very small. 30 minutes is a pretty good estimate.

enriquto18 hours ago

Heh. The first thing I do with a new ethernet cable is to break the clip, laptop side. It's orders of magnitude better to have an occasional disconnection than to trip with the cable and make the laptop fall from the table.

I did not invent this. I've seen legendary graybeards do it. I see it as a rite of maturity, like cyclists who discard the caps of their presta valves.

liotier17 hours ago

Send DM - I have a carton of broken RJ-45 cables to sell you !

hollerith16 hours ago

There are no DMs on this site.

Firmwarrior16 hours ago

you just hunt the guy down IRL based on his writing patterns or any personally identifiable info he let slip over the years, then leave a scrap of paper with the DM in his real-life mailbox

lostlogin5 hours ago

But you can just use the stalking tool from yesterday.

AviationAtom10 hours ago

Dox Messaging

phyzome15 hours ago

I can't relate to this at all! If I have a broken clip, I can't get the plug to stay in for more than about 5 minutes. And I never route the ethernet cord somewhere where I'll trip on it...

aulin17 hours ago

what's this thing about presta caps? cyclist for 10+ years, never heard about it

ruiseal16 hours ago

The caps on presta valves aren't necessary as there's no way for dirt to get into the valve stem (unlike Schrader valves which can get clogged). The caps are useful for transporting the tube though to prevent the valve from puncturing anything.

Wheel reflectors are also pretty useless so you can remove those too. Plus you save some weight.

ornornor15 hours ago

> Wheel reflectors are also pretty useless

Never understood that. More visibility = potentially slightly less likely to get hit by a distracted driver so why remove the shiny reflectors spinning on your wheels?

And what’s a 20g saving per wheel when we carry so much more extra weight on our bodies.

askvictor15 hours ago

Interesting. Though I'd argue that if the valve gets dirt on it, then eventually, when you unscrew it, some of that dirt will get deeper (particularly if you're completely flat and there's no pressure to push it out), and perhaps stop if from sealing perfectly. But I try to keep gear running for a very long time; this approach might be from cyclist who replace things a lot more often?

And yes, wheel reflectors are utterly useless.

ehnto7 hours ago

They are pretty robust, I have been riding the same presta valves on my mountain bike for maybe 5 years which I ride a few times a week, immense amounts of dry silica, muddy dirt, rain, cold, heat.

They are serviceable too. If you find it isn't sealing you can disassemble and clean the sealing surfaces, replace the locking oring or nut etc.

ilikejam14 hours ago


are better than plastic plate reflectors in every way.

epakai4 hours ago

Somewhere I picked up the idea to place reflective tape on the inside of the rim between the spoke holes. Not really for side visibility, but for front/rear off-angle visibility I like it. You can alternate (say every 3) to produce a flashier pattern when you're moving.

dev_tty0110 hours ago

Assuming it has air left, always let out some air to blow out the gunk before adding air.

adrianmonk17 hours ago

Seems like laptop ethernet jacks should be built to do this.

Grip the tab, but lightly, so that a small force will pull it out.

bluedino9 hours ago

Lenovo does this on some machines, you have to use a micro-usb-like Ethernet adapter to use a cable

djmips5 hours ago


renewiltord17 hours ago

The valve cap thing is really funny. It's funny. I upgraded to a nice aero bike with Dura Ace everything, and then promptly got in an unrelated motorcycle accident and gained 25 lbs.

My weight gain is some multiple of how much I saved. Those Zipps have been outdone by my own gluttony. But one day I shall make the valve caps matter!

VincentEvans17 hours ago

What are those for? My laptop has internet, but I don’t need to plug it anywhere for it to work. Is this for computers like they had in the really old movies like Back to the Future?

mig3915 hours ago

This is the best troll comment ever :-) Look at the replies taking you seriously :-) Including me.

When you have a lot of wireless devices, for every one you take off wireless, you have less radio traffic, less interference, and everyone else has a better connection :-)

In my network, unless something has to be wireless, I run a cable :-)

consumer4515 hours ago

> In my network, unless something has to be wireless, I run a cable :-)

i would argue that being seemingly extreme here is worthwhile. If possible, run it inside rigid conduit. Some more cost now, but conduit makes it a much more maintainable system. Solid yet upgradable digital infrastructure, for the home or small office.

I once did this for a small office space which I had the freedom and budget to do as I wished. After that, everything was rock solid for years. Floods, critters, insane humidity... survived it all. If somehow a cable went bad, it could be used to pull through its replacement.

If in 10-20 years fiber became the new LAN cable, then just pull it through yourself without an electrician. If you need to hire an electrician who has the clbest tools for termination, their billable hours will be much lower.

Rigid conduit every room, maybe even two walls per room since you are already paying a pro to be under/over there already.

If it's a retrofit then maybe it's too late, but a renovation or new build... I would always spend that extra money if at all possible.

Smoosh13 hours ago

Same with me re wired whenever possible.

Especially for things like streaming boxes which want a good connection and use high bandwidth.

I save the wifi for things that really need it, and they should be faster as a result.

AdamTReineke17 hours ago

I'm convinced that a wired connection is better for video calls. Just like headphones. I'm my opinion, those two things are table stakes for a good remote work experience for your coworkers.

Mogzol17 hours ago

I was convinced of that until I was forced to stop using a wired connection (moved to a room that didn't have ethernet). I'm on wifi now and notice literally no difference compared to when I was on ethernet. As long as you've got a decent router/AP, modern wifi is really not bad. I get a consistent 400-500 Mb/s up and down with no hiccups. On my wifi 6 devices I get closer to a Gb/s.

ornornor15 hours ago

It’s not only throughput. Wifi is more susceptible to jitter as well. But yeah in some cases wifi works well, whereas wired always works well. And if wired doesn’t work then your internet connection is bad and wifi won’t help either.

bombcar16 hours ago

Yep my wired is 10Gb and it is better than wireless.

newaccount7417 hours ago

Ethernet has more bandwidth and lower ping than Wifi. And is mostly immune to interference. If you have a lot of devices on Wifi, it helps to put your main devices on Ethernet.

pletnes17 hours ago

Often true, but since many a corporation now prioritizes wifi or stops deploying ethernet to avoid the cost, AND wifi keeps getting better, the lines have crossed for me. Oh and I need a USB-C to ethernet dongle. Oh, and a cable. TL;DR for me, wifi now beats ethernet at work.

celtain15 hours ago
brian-armstrong17 hours ago

Your company comes to your home to deploy internet for you? Fancy!

Firmwarrior16 hours ago

Cables are so that you don't lag in the middle of an important boss encounter at work or play when someone turns on the microwave

bornfreddy15 hours ago

Off topic, but if your microwave does that, it is time to either fix or retire it.

EvanAnderson11 hours ago

Years ago I had a Customer who complained that the Wi-Fi in their conference room “always” failed during a midday meeting. The conference room was right across from a break room w/ a microwave. Sure enough, employees heating food correlated with the outages.

dekhn12 hours ago

No, it means you should move out of 2.4GHz for wifi.

ornornor15 hours ago
rkagerer8 hours ago

It's a kind of safety line to keep your packets from wandering off and getting lost on their way to the cloud. Helps reduce the "401 not found" pages you sometimes encounter.

Is this for computers like they had in the really old movies like Back to the Future?

Yep, exactly that. We used the 1.21 Gigawatts standard, which was only half as groovy as today's 2.4 Ghz WiFi.

russdill15 hours ago

There's a large number of reasons, reliability, bandwidth, latency, security, but really with the rise of thunderbolt and USB c docks there's no longer a need to plug a laptop directly into Ethernet.

comboy15 hours ago

Guys, VincentEvans has almost 10 years old account, I doubt he needs these explanations. I've never seen such joke being misinterpreted on HN. Heartwarming patience for youngsters though.

TacticalCoder14 hours ago

> but really with the rise of thunderbolt and USB c docks there's no longer a need to plug a laptop directly into Ethernet.

Especially when the laptop does not have an Ethernet port. For me it's USB-C to Ethernet adapter when my laptop is in my office room, and pathetic WiFi elsewhere.

I take it I should try one of these USB-C to USB-C magnetic things (a la Magsafe): don't know if they're any good.

funhatch17 hours ago

What’s a laptop, grandad? I can code on my tablet /s

dmd17 hours ago

I learned recently that most high school students around here (fairly affluent Boston suburb) write papers - even long 10+ page ones - on their phones.

lostlogin5 hours ago

This is terrible.

Using the phone keyboard?

munk-a17 hours ago

What's a tablet grandpa? I code in Roblox /s

lm2846916 hours ago

Not all networks are wireless enabled

somat18 hours ago

So the 8 pin modular connector(rj-45) may not be the best connector in the world(the 8088 sas connector is a serious contender for that honor), but it does one thing better than any most connectors, it is designed to be field terminated, and as such is easy to fix. the crimping dies are ubiquitous, the process is simple. because of this single fact, I think it is better than just about any other connector in widespread use. because you can fix the infernal thing.

As such the article left me a bit confused, why not just cut off the end and putting a new plug on? with an 8 pin connector this is very easy. But I am in the industry and tend to have a crimper close to hand. perhaps some are not as fortunate.

chrisdalke17 hours ago

Your comment is right above someone saying RJ-45 may be the worst connector! That’s just the internet I guess.

I think both opinions are right. If you’re a professional working in the field, RJ-45/8P8C is awesome because you can do large runs of cable and crimp on connectors after which is a lifesaver. The longevity of the connector is less important than ease of installation/replacement. I’ve done a little work with marine ethernet and CAN which uses M8/M12 circular connectors and those are pretty painful in contrast.

For consumers, it’s exactly the opposite. They’re unlikely to have the tools to crimp connectors. Most cables off Amazon come with lots of plastic that makes the cables rigid so it’s a pain to route and use in a home.

anordal13 hours ago

Yes, field termination is mostly for permanent installations, but luckily, there are also proper "industrial" connectors that are field terminable. Such as Harting's PreLink M12 connector:

When I say "industrial", I mean for home use, of course. There is obviously a lot of potential for a more robust yet cost effective and practical connector for home use. Field termination being no excuse. First off, even metal 8P8C connectors have plastic tabs. If single-pair ethernet ever takes off, the "industrial" M8 push-pull connector seems a good one.

Smoosh13 hours ago

> the best connector in the world(the 8088 sas connector is a serious contender for that honor)

Overly complex. BNC bayonet FTW! It's main fault is the lack of good strain relief.

venj3 hours ago

you can probably 3D print one

gibspaulding11 hours ago

It also gets points for being the only connector that I can pretty reliably plug into the back of a PC by feel!

puffoflogic17 hours ago

The pictured cable has that built-up end which is supposed to prevent cable strain; re-terminating requires discarding it.

somat17 hours ago

I am not sure how important the strain relief is, I never bother, but if you really want strain relief there are connectors with it. sometimes they have a metal band you have to crimp around the cable.

akira250116 hours ago

The strain relief is for machine made cables where they glue or melt the relief into the plastic plug. Almost all manual crimp connectors have a strain relief built into them that's meant to grab the jacket and hold the cable right at the entry to the plug.

All my RJ45 and RJ45-EZ connectors in my bag have this locking strain relief tab at the back.

JoBrad17 hours ago

The adapter actually looks easier to use than the tab on some Ethernet cables.

VBprogrammer15 hours ago

I've just remembered that while having our second child the nurse couldn't get the monitoring in the nursing station due to one of these clips. The ethernet socket was quite high up the wall so the weight of the cable was handing from the slightly broken clip. Thankfully even in my frazzled state I was able to suggest turning the cable around end for end so that the one with a good tab was plugged into the wall.

Waterluvian15 hours ago

There’s a joke on Instagram of a lady in the delivery room giving her partner (an electrician) a stern look because he’s testing the outlets for compliance and discussing why some are inverted with the ground up.

I’m picturing you and your partner having a similar scenario and it’s rather amusing. :)

timonoko1 hour ago

Does not fit into my 20 meter long cable. It has fatter handles. Can I have programmable Openscad - version?

mastax16 hours ago

I don't have problems with RJ45 tabs breaking off. I do have two problems with the connectors:

1. Sometimes the connectors don't latch properly in the port and fall right out. I try to bend the tab out further to help it latch but it never stays.

2. Some patch cables have rubber over moulding that covers the latch that's so stiff that I have trouble getting it to release. Who even wants the latches to be covered? One of my cables has a thin rubber tab over the clip that stops it from snagging on things, I guess, but doesn't inhibit unlatching. But it seems that the most popular over moulding is the terrible one.

foxylad11 hours ago

Imagine twenty ethernet cables plugged into a switch, and you need to remove one. You unplug it, pull it slightly to see which it is below the bundle, grab it there and pull.

You will then discover that an uncovered clip magically catches on EVERY SINGLE other cable on the way through. It will also catch on the rack, any other devices within reach, and somehow the power switch for the entire installation.

In fact if you ever lose your car keys down a drain, simply poke an ethernet cable with an uncovered RJ45 plug through the grate. Your keys will be firmly attached to the tab, along with five other sets of lost keys, several rodents and the grate itself.

asddubs15 hours ago

well, clearly the latches are covered so it doesn't break off because something gets caught behind it

travisporter13 hours ago

To counter your experience tho, the clip helps with cable from coming out of my router, the rubber helps with the tab breaking when it caches on another cable.

moffkalast18 hours ago

That's fantastic, just about every one of these cables I have eventually ends up tabless. They're just built so flimsily that breaking them is a complete inevitability if you need to plug them in more than once, they're like a 5 time use cable.

Comparing it to other types of connectors, RJ45 is probably one of the worst ones out there (at least VGA has screws that don't break), but it's also as prevalent as USB-A so I wonder if anything will ever replace it.

3np16 hours ago

The worst in my book is micro-HDMI. So many broken connectors, adapters, and cables...

Even before USB-C became an option, mini-HDMI is just a different league of reliable without being that much bigger.

A broken RJ-45 is still usable and fixable. A broken micro-HDMI makes you feel lucky it was the cable and not the device that goes in the bin this time. But only after hours wasted on fiddling with it because the closest shop carrying them wouldn't arrive until after the weekend.

bbarnett17 hours ago

They're just built so flimsily that breaking them is a complete inevitability if you need to plug them in more than once, they're like a 5 time use cable.

Erm? You must be exaggerating a bit, I use cables/connectors hundreds of times with zero isses.

Misuse / mistakes happen, yes. But?

moffkalast13 hours ago

Naturally it's an exaggeration, but it really depends on how careful you are, quality of the cable, and quality of the port. Laptops, especially, I've found absolutely eat the tabs since you move them around and often have collapsible ports.

jccalhoun16 hours ago

If modern laptops even have ether net ports, they seem to the kind with the little spring loaded flap because the laptop is too thin for a normal ether net port. So I'm surprised they haven't made a slim lightning connector type ether net port.

rnhmjoj15 hours ago

I had the same thought some time ago and went looking for alternatives to the 5P5C connector. It turns out they exist and are used in industrial applications, like the "ix Industrial" [1], precisely because how fragile the standard connector is. Unfortunately there's no standard and the designs are proprietary.


meling8 hours ago

This made me think, why do we still have RJ45? Yeah of course it won’t disappear anytime soon, but couldn’t USB C replace it? Are there USB C switches (hubs) with say RJ45 input (from Internet) and USB C output ports for connecting local machines? I’m thinking about a small home network with say 8 ports. Ideally, it could also deliver power to smaller units, such as a set-top-box and wifi base station. Larger devices such as TVs could also deliver power to its connected boxes. What if we had an Apple TV with a single cable… it could receive both power and network traffic via the TV and deliver the TV signal back over the same cable.

ehnto7 hours ago

Someone else mentioned it, it can be terminated in the field. It is a very serviceable connector which fortunately the commercial world still values. You don't want to be replacing a 100m run of USB C cable when the connector breaks.

If you are a consumer who tries to buy right, buy once, commercial products are a great place to look for this reason too. Industry often requires serviceability and robustness.

CivBase8 hours ago

USB C relies entirely on friction to keep it secured. Seems like a pretty big issue for most RJ45 applications.

Doxin3 hours ago

USB-C has a mechanical detent. There's a metal spring in the male connector, and the center tab in the female connector has an indent on either side for that to snap into.

jameshart13 hours ago

Looks like a poor match for FDM printing. There's no orientation where the layers won't leave some part of this component very weak. In any orientation, it requires support material; in the suggested print orientation, it requires internal support material, which will leave rough surfaces on areas of the part that have to interface and fit with the ethernet jack.

Essentially doesn't really look like a 3D-printing project so much as an injection moulded part design.

dekhn12 hours ago

This print would work fine. The forces cables are subjected to are far lower than the break point of the Z-axis layers. I would print in another orientation that had less interior fill.

jameshart10 hours ago

The comments on thingiverse are full of people saying they printed multiples and all of them broke when used.

Doxin2 hours ago

Material used is rather important. PLA, which is probably the most common 3d printing material, is very prone to stress fractures. ABS on the other hand would probably do alright in this application.

dekhn2 hours ago
stevenhuang13 hours ago

> Printing the tab from the base to the tip in X-Y axis makes it stronger and more flexible since its printed in one continued string.

The component won't be undergoing any stress at all, and for a continual print like above it will be plenty strong for the application.

jameshart10 hours ago

> The component won't be undergoing any stress at all

It has a compliant clip that bends to clip and release; its entire purpose is to retain cables against being pulled out of sockets; and it is designed to press-fit around the body of an ethernet connector which, if it is not too loose or a perfect fit, will subject it to a continual stress.

Are you looking at a different object than me?

stevenhuang10 hours ago

Just printed one and it works perfect with PETG. PLA was more brittle and I can see it would break easier for people.

travisporter13 hours ago

What about sla?

longtimelistnr13 hours ago

Sla should be fine. However I do believe this part can be redesigned to become fdm friendly

stevenhuang13 hours ago

FDM prints are usually stronger than SLA prints.

Not sure why you think an FDM printer can't print this component with sufficient strength, it'll be plenty strong enough.

markandrewj15 hours ago

The best option is probably re-crimping the cable, but in a pinch you can make an extra clip with spare zip ties also.

grizzles8 hours ago

Ethernet / RJ45 could displace USB 3/4. It's technically superior in every way. The only barrier that I can see is the standards folk would need to come up with a new RJ45 connector that is designed for end users.

oso2k14 hours ago

This one is fine. But I had better luck on my booted CAT6A cables with this other design. The longer one is what I used and even then, I had to shave the nose a mm or two.

actionfromafar17 hours ago

I'm starting to think I have dreamt this but... wasn't there an IBM Ethernet cable with instead of the little tab ending in ... nothing, it was a little bridge that went back down, so nothing to hook/snag on. But it didn't look quite like the 3D printed one here, but it was symmetrical looking, like a tiny tiny arch bridge.

Oh, and it was made of springy metal, in this maybe dream.

JoBrad16 hours ago

Pretty sure I’ve seen a version of this cable that had a solid tab that bent in the middle. I have no idea what the brand/name is, and just spent way too long looking for it. It wasn’t metal, but sounds like a plastic version of what you’re talking about. I remember really liking them.

Edit: I think this is it.

opan17 hours ago

Unsure if IBM is involved, but there is the "industrial ethernet" connector that's different.

Tried to find it and found a few variants, but the one I had in mind is the "ix industrial ethernet" that's used by the MNT Pocket Reform.

djfobbz14 hours ago

This is a very good design! Great job and thank you for sharing. Happy thanksgiving everyone!

latchkey18 hours ago

I might just have to buy a 3d printer now.

Filligree18 hours ago

If you're serious about that, then please consider the Bambu Labs P1P, X1, or any of the Prusa printers.

There are cheaper ones, but they're all terrible. Personally, I think the X1 is the best. Prusa's printers are good, but a little dated.

silversmith17 hours ago

Sure, if you are very serious about it. But anecdotally, a lot of folks buy 3d printers only for them to gather dust. Unless you are really up there on income, get something cheaper to start. Ender 3, while being objectively worse, can be had for peanuts compared to Bambu Labs printers. I have one sitting in the room next door, bought on a whim after noticing a very good deal. While I would love a better one, it has taught me what at-home 3d printing can be used for, and what are the main features to look for in the next upgrade. And the limits of applicability I've run into have thus far been mainly down to materials and my design capabilities, and better hardware won't solve those.

chrisdalke16 hours ago

3D printers have exited the hype cycle and now are in two categories:

People who bought them as a cool consumer gadget similar to VR. These printers are gathering dust because there ultimately isn’t that much interesting plastic junk to print.

Silently churning out hundreds of rapid prototypes a month for engineers & makers. In my circle it’s just become an assumption that you have 2-3 printers running when prototyping a project. 3D printers have just become a background tool rather than something that you actively tinker with + improve. I got mine down to decent print quality and haven’t upgraded it in years, but print daily!

grepLeigh17 hours ago

I make monitoring/automation software for 3D printers, and I'm thinking about adding a "make something every day" achievement to help with this. I'm collecting handy/functional prints (like the OP) to make it easy to achieve.

It takes a lot of activation AND creative energy to figure out something useful/functional to print, then execute on your vision.

chubbnix16 hours ago
silversmith16 hours ago
dawnerd17 hours ago

I dunno if I would call cheaper ones terrible. My 99 dollar Ender 3 Pro with a couple mods does extremely well considering the price. The detail you can get out of it is more than enough for what I've needed it for. I'd highly suggest trying the cheaper ones out first, especially if you live near a microcenter.

grepLeigh17 hours ago

I think the amount of modding/tuning required to achieve good results with a low-end printer is a turn-off for most people. Imagine if you had to spend 40-100 hours modding your microwave before you could start cooking quick weeknight meals - that amount of effort isn't worth the trade-off unless you're a modding enthusiast.

I second the recommendations for Prusa and Bambu Labs. My Prusas are especially reliable for daily tasks, and started my obsession with 3D printing a few years back. If you have an open weekend coming up, the self-assembly Prusa kit is a delightful example of excellent technical documentation.

newaccount7416 hours ago

I recently bought a Prusa Mini+ (self assembly kit) and it is truly a fantastic product. The documentation is phenomenal. The step-by-step guide makes it very easy to assemble, and the best part is that when you are done you know every part and understand where to open it if eg. the filament gets stuck somewhere.

Turing_Machine8 hours ago

Maybe comparable to running MacOS v. Linux for a home machine. They're both basically *nix, but if you're the kind of person who enjoys tinkering and digging around in the guts of the machine, Linux might be the fun way to go. If you just want to use the machine, Mac might be a better choice.

Then again, I use a Mac at home (Linux servers though), and have an Ender 3, so maybe that comparison isn't as valid as I thought it was.

roboben18 hours ago

X1 means Artillery Sidewinder X1?

Filligree17 hours ago

Bambu Labs X1

_carbyau_12 hours ago

Others can argue over printer models.

I will caution that learning the ways of 3D modelling/slicing takes significant investment. Even if all you do is grab something off Thingiverse to print.

The learning curve is not hard and info is everywhere online. But it is of reasonable quantity compared to a $300 printer.

If you already have those skills, then a 3D printer is no brainer.

paulwilsondev4 hours ago

had no idea this was a thing

madaxe_again18 hours ago

I mean, sure, but reterminating with a new, not broken RJ45 only takes 30 seconds, and they cost peanuts.

pxx18 hours ago

30 seconds? I can hardly even get the wires in the right order in that amount of time and don't get me started on shielded connectors...

CodeWriter2317 hours ago

I hardly think this add-on clip is an appropriate fix for applications requiring shielded connectors.

pantalaimon18 hours ago

Eh maybe if you are used to doing it. I always fail miserably and the cable gets ever shorter.

michael199918 hours ago

How do you re-terminate stranded cable? I struggle to terminate solid-core in less that 5 minutes.

silversmith17 hours ago

Not much to it. Every individual wire is wrapped up, and stays that way. You just need the stranded cable caps with teeth that pierce through the individual wire wrapping when you crimp down on them. Keystones are a pain tho, nobody seems to make them for stranded cable. But you can terminate the cable coming out the wall with a standard cap, and shove a connector where a keystone would go in the socket.

All those things I learned after accidentally buying tons of stranded cable for re-wiring my house :)

dekhn18 hours ago

What do you mean stranded? If you mean standard ethernet cable, it's 8 solid wires. Putting a keystone block takes about 1-2 minutes (with a tool). I spend more time figuring out which wire goes where than the actual retermination.

wrigby18 hours ago

Cable bought on long spools to install permanently is usually solid, while patch cables are usually stranded. Most of the time, you'll end up buying pre-terminated stranded cable, and all the cable you terminate yourself will be solid.

danuker18 hours ago

Stranded as in each wire being made up of smaller wires.

These are typical in pre-capped wires. While they allow more flexibility of the wire, their ends are hard (if not impossible) to change.

dekhn18 hours ago
somat17 hours ago

The trick is the jack, you need the plug for stranded cable. and don't try to use stranded plugs on solid core, as I found out the hard way it is nothing but pain.

klyrs18 hours ago

It's quite a process, apparently. Amusingly, their "all-in-one" tool doesn't do it all.

supermatt17 hours ago

OH MY! Pass-through RJ45... Why havent I seen these before. Arghhh. Im going to have to order some now.

CodeWriter2316 hours ago

Yeah, I thought "what kind of newfangled abomination is this" earlier this year, grumbling it was all that was available at Home Depot at that moment. Pleasantly surprised upon using one though, what a great time saver.

Mikealcl18 hours ago

Easier than you think but one of those things easier to show than do. Muscle memory skill.

CodeWriter2317 hours ago

You have to use an RJ-45 for stranded cable, not solid.

justsomehnguy17 hours ago

I mean, sure, but reterminating with a new, not broken patch cable only takes 30 seconds, and they cost peanuts.

But sarcasm aside, you don't want to reterminate a pre-made patch cable. Under a very strange Universe fluctuations where you don't have a spare patch cord, spare 8p8c jack with a crimper but you do have a 3D printer with a plastic loaded and ready to print....

thesaintlives14 hours ago

Brilliant! I have a servo cable that needs this.

FounderBurr13 hours ago

Copying is not designing

iLoveOncall15 hours ago

I have printed this very model and it wasn't compatible with any of the cables I tried. It's also extremely weak and will break very easily (they all broke within a minute of trying to install them).

It's less than 10 min of print time so it's worth trying, but expect it to fail.

dekhn12 hours ago

if you need more strength in a print, increase the vertical and horizontal perimeters (not the infill).

engineer_2211 hours ago

Nicely done

MartijnBraam15 hours ago

Or... snip off the connector and crimp a new one on.