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Old February 13th, 2017, 03:05 PM   #1
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Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors

These used to be the exclusive province of the DIY community, but now several commercial varieties are sold. Since I like to make the occasional piece of gear, as I do all of my cables, I decided to take my own stab at making some of these guys. They can relieve congestion in an audio bag, but I made them to tidy up microphone stands that I use to record live performances.

A pictorial 'tutorial' is on my site here.

Cheers.

Steve
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Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors-31-final-connector.jpg   Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors-33-stereo-setup.jpg  

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Old February 13th, 2017, 04:41 PM   #2
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Re: Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors

Very clean! I'm actually looking to do this for a friend of mine soon. I've seen a lot of people mix up colored epoxy instead of using a plastic end cap. Do you know if McMaster offers those caps in different colors?
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Old February 13th, 2017, 04:49 PM   #3
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Re: Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors

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Originally Posted by Edward Carlson View Post
Very clean! I'm actually looking to do this for a friend of mine soon. I've seen a lot of people mix up colored epoxy instead of using a plastic end cap. Do you know if McMaster offers those caps in different colors?
Thanks! And, yes, you have choice of colors from McMaster-Carr: black and white. Caps in slightly different styles are available, and some are even metal in polished "chrome."

Because my goal was stealth, not color-coding or bling, black was the obvious choice. Had I needed to make a colored end cap, however, I think I might have painted a cap with model paint or similar. I just didn't trust myself to mix a colored epoxy and have it cure without making a colossal mess of things. If you make some connectors, please post your results.
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Old February 13th, 2017, 04:52 PM   #4
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Re: Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors

I'm making them to go in an audio bag, so color-coding is important! I'll post here when I make them.
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Old February 15th, 2017, 07:59 AM   #5
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Re: Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors

If you just need to ID different cables, just put a 1" - 2" length of colored heat-shrink on the cable, where it enters the connector. Lots of colors available, and much easier than mixing colored epoxy.
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Old February 15th, 2017, 10:10 AM   #6
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Re: Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors

Making low profile XLRs has been discussed over at the JWGroup, (search). Lots of photos, parts,vendors and design idea to be considered.. The pre made low profile connectors are nice but are relatively expensive (Kortwich cable = $80) compared to modding a standard $3 Neutrik plug.
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Old February 15th, 2017, 10:17 AM   #7
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Re: Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors

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Originally Posted by Rick Reineke View Post
Making low profile XLRs has been discussed over at the JWGroup, (search). Lots of photos, parts,vendors and design idea to be considered.. The pre made low profile connectors are nice but are relatively expensive (Kortwich cable = $80) compared to modding a standard $3 Neutrik plug.
Yes, that is precisely where I learned about these in the first place. Though I'm not a member at the JWSound Group, I somehow stumbled upon them when considering options to cut down the bulk of stock XLR connectors. I wasn't sure if linking to their years-long threads would be frowned upon here, so I simply decided to start my own thread here.
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Old February 16th, 2017, 10:07 AM   #8
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Re: Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors

Would a pipe cutter work for trimming the case? Less tooling marks than a saw, less work to deburr.
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Old February 16th, 2017, 10:14 AM   #9
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Re: Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors

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Would a pipe cutter work for trimming the case? Less tooling marks than a saw, less work to deburr.
I have a pipe cutter and didn't even think to use it. Hmmm. I don't think it would work because not enough of the connector body exists on one end for the tool to grip. I could be wrong since I didn't try. Second, the rollers on a pipe cutter could leave unsightly tooling marks on the connectors painted or anodized surface as the tool spins around the connector. Finally, finished cuts from pipe cutters tend to leave an inside 'lip' that, here, might unnecessarily interfere with insertion of end cap if one is used.

Really, the band saw or even a hack saw don't leave tooling marks and sanding these soft aluminum connectors is very easy. My example above truly was the worst cut I've made since I started to make these connectors. That may or may not be related to my consumption of wine during its manufacture.
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Old February 16th, 2017, 05:54 PM   #10
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Re: Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors

There is a simple pipe deburring tool that quickly removes the internal burr. Anybody who uses a tubing cutter should have one of these.

Wheeler Rex 920 Pocket Deburring Tool Reamer Pipe Tubing Copper Aluminum | eBay
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Old March 8th, 2017, 09:29 AM   #11
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Re: Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors

That de-burring tool is highly recommended. I'd also recommend using a dremmel tool with the proper "bits" for fine tuning the length and cuts as needed. It's pretty impressive what you can do with one of those. I always recommend people pick one up. You may not use it all the time, but sometimes things come up for where it comes in really handy, from odd jobs around the house, to working on your son's pinewood derby cars, to modding XLR connectors.
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Old May 25th, 2017, 09:57 PM   #12
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Re: Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors

I've drilled a hole on the side of a stubbed connector (near the back), run the wire through the hole and once it was done just filled in the back with hot glue. That keeps the wires from moving around and the whole thing doesn't take very long at all.
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Old May 25th, 2017, 10:36 PM   #13
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Re: Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors

My favorite cable/connector vendor, Redco, is now selling commercial version of this connector. Both male and female, both 3-pin and 5-pin. And end-caps available in the 10 EIA colors.

CT-LPXLR-3F-K
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Old May 26th, 2017, 02:24 AM   #14
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Re: Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors

I expected a real body looking thing - have to say I'm impressed with these - really neat!
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Old May 29th, 2017, 03:16 PM   #15
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Re: Making Low Profile Female XLR Connectors

Still seems pricey for what they are, but I guess if you figure the time to make one, it's the better way to go especially for any commercial application. Plus, they can be disassembled and reworked if a different cable length/style is needed.
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