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I am connectorizing my Ender 3's hot end through a 15-pin D-sub connector, so I can swap in an E3D hotend much more easily. I have previously done this with another printer, but I am updating my approach. As part of that update, I am looking for a good cable/set of cables to run from the controller board to a D-sub that I will mount by the default extruder motor.

I need to account for 15 wires, with the following allocations: 2 wires, part fan (~0.1Amps at 24v) 2 wires, hot end fan (~0.1Amps at 24v) 2 wires, thermistor (unsure of signal, but thermistor wires are usually 24AWG or less) 4 wires, stepper motor control (~1.5Amps at ~ 5v, signal pulses) 5 wires, BLTouch (under 0.1Amp at 5v)

I will run the heater lines in parallel, with a separate connector. It would be neat to find a clean solution, but I don't expect to find a generic cable with 15 small wires and 2 large ones.

So, I'm looking for a heat-tolerant way to run about 18 inches of cable here. It will be flexing constantly, but that doesn't include any sharp bends or kinks.

Would a pair of ethernet cables be a good fit here? I'm a little nervous about running the fans over that wire gauge. I read Using 2x CAT6 cables for 3D Printer Hot End which suggests that it's fine, but I wonder if there's an obvious better option.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What's wrong with heatshrink or a cable spiral? \$\endgroup\$ – DKNguyen May 5 at 19:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ethernet patch cables can be stranded, but I'm unsure if those would last in such an "abusive" role. The more finely-stranded the wire, the more flexes it will endure before breaking. You may find wire parameters such as "18-gauge, 7-5" which means 18-gauge bundle diameter, 7 sub-bundles of 5 strands each. \$\endgroup\$ – rdtsc May 5 at 20:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I see. This cable is one of those kinds that in a commercial system would sit on one of those linked wire carrier belt hings. \$\endgroup\$ – DKNguyen May 5 at 21:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DKNguyen I expect to use them, but loose wires are harder to manage, and harder to fit through the back of the connector. I can already hack something together; this time I want to do it right. \$\endgroup\$ – fectin May 5 at 21:28
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You're looking for "continuous flex" cable. In this case, your standard electronics places aren't the first place I'd look; try McMaster or another vendor that skews towards automation and factory/production applications. It's a little pricey but since you're only using a few feet it won't break the bank.

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