Modern Marvels The Zip Tie

Rubber grommet sizes

Large-scale innovations are impressive and memorable, but it’s the little, day-to-day details that can make all the difference.

For example: when was the last time you sat down and really considered your cable ties? You know, those little nylon zip ties that you can use to bunch your wires and cables together to clean up the space behind your desk or entertainment center? Chances are, you haven’t thought about them since you first wrapped them around the cables.

But did you know that it’s possible to get releasable zip ties? Releasable zip ties perform much the same function as regular zip ties (i.e. wire management and cable control), but you can reuse them. With traditional, one-way zip ties, you have to cut them in order to remove them, so you have to have another one on hand ready to go, but releasable zip ties provide a small latch that releases the ratchet from the teeth and allows the tie to slide back out.

And what about bundles of cables that you need to keep separate? You can either trace each bundle back to its source every time, or you can used colored zip ties to keep them organized and easily distinguished. Know which bundle goes to your stereo, your game console, or your laptop—all at a glance.

In fact, you can find zip ties in a variety of materials for a variety of purposes. Velcro zip ties are perfect for quick storage of large bundles of cables (like the ones used by touring musical groups). Large metal zip ties can be used to secure pipe joints and flexible conduits to more rigid PVC pipes. And heavy-duty nylon zip ties are more and more being used by law enforcement in place of handcuffs (one-way zip ties, obviously).

The amount of thought and engineering that goes into the smallest of items can boggle the mind. And all of it so that you have the right tool for the right job, without ever having to worry about it. Take a moment to look around you right now, and think of the little things you take for granted, and how easy they make your life.

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