So I bought the Boye Needlemaster set a while ago for a few reasons:
1. Price (cheapest set available, especially if you have a 40% off coupon, heh)
2. Tons of tips (2-15! no other set has this range of sizes)
3. Pretty colors (yeah, this is silly, but they're so purty!)
The cables that came with them, however, sucked. They're stiff, have a stupid bend at the start, and when you attatch two together it forms a "Z" bend in your cable that is hard to get your work to slide around.
So in a fit of insanity, I decided to make my own. I'd heard about people tapping the boye tips to fit the knitpicks cables, but not only would that mean buying knitpicks cables, but it sounded way easier (and cheaper) to make my own cables than to tap the metal tips (and probably destroy them).
I hesitated making a tute for this since it seems pretty extreme, making your own cables, but I figured if people are willing to take a tap and die to metal needles maybe someone would be interested in how to make their own cables. Plus they're easy to make, seriously, the only real skill you need is sanding/snipping a few things, and some measuring.
So after lots of measuring, trial and error, trying to find perfect materials, I got it, and let me tell you, these cables are awesome. They use weed whacker line (seriously) and are super super bendy. Plus since you're making them yourself you can make any length you want, I even have a cable short enough to make 16" circulars, and ones long enough for magic loop, so I pretty much can make any project that uses a needle size 2-15. You can make a cable the perfect size for making yourself sweaters in the round, and no need to screw two together to make a long cable, just make a long cable!
These are really easy to make, seriously. The hardest part is sourcing the materials, I got everything that wasn't laying around my house off Amazon.com, which was like 2 bucks for 10 feet of tubing and 100 screws, but now the price has gone up and it'd be around $10 (as of writing this) for the tubing and screws. The screws should be easy to find in a hardware store, not sure about the tubing though, if anyone knows if you can get it at a hardware store let me know so I can update this.
So not including the stuff laying around the house I spent probably 8 bucks total on this, and that's including 200 feet of weed eater line (that's a lot of interchangable cables!)
One more note, do not deviate from the required measurments (screw type and diameters of line and tubing) If you do you'll end up with useless cables. Plus this will only work with the Boye Needlemaster tips, the Knitpicks use a different size screw.
1. Nylon Tubing - with an inner diameter of .075" and an outer diameter of .125"
You don't need a ton of this, just a few inches for each cable.
I'm not sure if you can get this at a hardware store or not, I got mine from here: http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Nylon-Semi-Rigid-Tubing-Length/dp/B0013HUEYQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=industrial&ie=UTF8&qid=1285791230&sr=1-1
2. Weed Eater Line - must be ROUND and must have a diameter of .065" or else it won't fit in the tubing
Again, length isn't super important, a regular package will probably have enough line to make tons of cables.
One cool thing about this is that it comes in different colors, so you can customise your cables (as long as it's round and has an diameter of .065")
I got this off Amazon too, here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000CBIFG/ref=wms_ohs_product
3. Screws - 2-56 screws of at least a 1 inch, head style isn't important since you'll be cutting that part off
Each cable takes 2 screws, so get at least enough for the amount of cables you want and a couple extra for mistakes.
I'm sure you can get these at hardware stores, but I got mine off Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FN1VUA/ref=wms_ohs_product
Can get this pretty much anywhere, super cheap too.
5. Medium/Fine Sandpaper
I used a 150 grit I had lying around, grit isn't super important though since you'll be polishing with the nail buffer thing.
6. 4-Sided Nail Buffer/File
These things should be pretty cheap, they have 4 different sides that gradually get finer, meant for buffing your nails to a shine but I find them really useful for smoothing/shining things.
You should be able to find these at any drugstore/grocery store.
7. Wire Clippers
Used for cutting the screws off, I used the pair from my husband's toolkit.
Used for measuring how long to cut the Weed Eater Line
With your sandpaper file the nylon tubing down so there's a gradual taper from the tube to the edge, you can cut a few inches off to make this easier.
Now use the nail file/buffer to smooth the taper you just sanded, do the first step until it feels uniform in smoothness, and continue for each of the "stages" of the nail file until you complete the "shine" or "polish" stage (the fourth stage). At this point the tubing should come to a nice, smooth, tapered point.
Next cut the tubing so your tapered bit is about 1" long, doesn't need to be perfectly that length, if the clippers flatten the hole in the tubing a little just gently squeeze it back into an "o" shape.
Lightly sand the cut edge to prevent any snagging that may happen while knitting.
Now sometimes the sanding of the tapered end will fill in the hole
if this happens just thread the weedeater line in the opposite end to push out the shavings
after pushing the shavings out you'll probably need to sand the tip a little more
Cut a length of weedeater line 9" shorter than you want the circular needle to be (each tip is 4 inches, each nylon tube is 1" minus 1/2" for the amount of line that goes in each nylon tube)
When you cut the line try to cut it at a slant to make inserting it into the nylon tube easier.
Insert the line into the tube to make sure it fits and the join feels smooth, if it doesn't, take the line out and sand the nylon tube again, if it does, put a drop of superglue on the tip of the line, and insert the line halfway into the tapered edge of the nylon tube.
Once the glue is completely dry take a screw and screw it into the opposite end of the tube, you can use a pair of pliers to make this easier, just be sure not to damage the threads of the screw. You can use glue on the screw, but you'll have to screw it in really fast before the glue dries. I don't glue the screw and I've never had one come loose, just screw it in a far as you can get it to.
With your wire clippers cut the screw head off, leaving only 1/4" inch of threaded area sticking out from the tubing. Your clippers will probably leave the cut end rough, this makes it hard to screw into the needle points, so take your sandpaper again and just file the edges of the cut end of the screw until it looks smooth and screws into the needle point easily. Be sure to get it nice and smooth before trying in in the needle though, don't want to strip your needle tips!
Now repeat for the second end (omitting, of course, cutting a new line and such, heh)
Now you're done! Revel in the awesome cables you just made!
Maybe I'm crazy for doing this, lol, but if anyone has questions/needs help/wants to try this, let me know how it goes!