Introduction: Clear USB Drive

Picture of Clear USB Drive

After the my cover broke off my Cruzer 512 MB USB drive, I decided to fashion my own case. I saw several ideas floating around on the internet such as cases made of Lego, pez dispensers, and and even a Barbie doll. I cast the USB stick in clear casting resin used to make paperweights out of scorpions or flowers. I picked it up at my local Hobby Store for about $15. It comes it two parts: the resin and the catalyst. If you're making a cast, test it out on some scrap bits and pieces to make sure your ratios are correct.
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Step 1: The Specimen

Picture of The Specimen

Very Stylish Duct tape case

Step 2: Open Case

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Crck open / otherwise dismantle the case

Step 3: Molding Rig

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This is a molding rig created with scrap pine wood and clamps. The pine was covered with clear packaging tape to prevent the resin from sticking to the wood.

Step 4: Resin

Picture of Resin

I obtained resin from my local hobby shop.

Step 5: Pour the Resin

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The long part. The casting was done is several parts. Everything was done in about two days time.

Step 6: Done!

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USB Stick in see-through glory.

Step 7: Lanyard

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I drilled a small hole to fit the rope back on so I could still hang it on the lanyard that I got with it. A small bit of J-B Weld attached the rope back to the clip.

Step 8: Admire Your Work

Picture of Admire Your Work

This picture was taken after about a month of use. I don't think I got the ratio of catalyst to resin quite right. This caused the top surface to become mottled. Otherwise, there have been no problems as a result of the casting.

Check out for my other projects!


tvane1225 (author)2011-01-14

how long did it take for your resin to harden in such a big block?

amakerguy (author)2008-12-25

Thats really cool. I have a 4GB cruzer. But I do not want to take it apart yet i just got it for christmas today.

Rimwulf (author)amakerguy2009-02-14

I just now did this with my 2 GB cruzer but I used epoxy in the the double syringe that you have to mix from the auto shop. It cured fully in an hour but with a yellow tint in some parts but t still kinda like it, but I was a bit too hasty so its not as smooth as I'd like and it has a bunch of tiny bubbles making the entire thing glow like kryptonite it looks kool though. I will try again with another one of my flashies with the stuff this guy used.

Kryptonite (author)Rimwulf2010-03-25

Did you say my name?


Kryptonite (author)2010-03-25

Awesome, thanks! I plan to use this, but with something underneath the clear resin to make the circuitry covered.

princesmay (author)2006-09-26

it's a pretty cool but i think its not applicable all the time...

aforsberg (author)princesmay2006-11-10

I just got another idea. What if you put it into a 9V battery? I did it, and it'll be my first instructable!

aforsberg (author)aforsberg2006-11-14

my dad made me remove the instructable. He thought someont might get hurt shelling out the battery.

Roflolommo (author)aforsberg2006-12-08

tell him your instructable might save a life becuase what if some clumsy person sees your instructable and does that instead of something like tetranites fire cannon.

Da_Fudge (author)Roflolommo2007-12-18

ha ha ha ha ha. LOL. good one!

geeklord (author)Da_Fudge2008-08-04

I've taken apart a nine volt before, no danger just 6 mini batteries inside. How could someone get hurt???

D5quar3 (author)geeklord2010-03-08

 I know!

sharlston (author)aforsberg2009-10-12

thats just a usb behind a 9v battery you can tell by the angle

aforsberg (author)princesmay2006-11-13

if you mean my idea, then i suppose you're right. but, i had an old 16MEG flash drive without a case, and i wanted an original idea. it looks pretty cool, a little clunky, but hey, it scares the computer teacher whenever i use it.

Gage987 (author)2009-10-28


slayer_x911 (author)2008-06-16

can i use clear epoxy??

Rimwulf (author)slayer_x9112009-02-14

I did and it kinda pice of ice

aforsberg (author)2006-11-13

Any comments on my idea??? ......Anyone??? awww.....

tinkerC (author)aforsberg2009-02-06

What was your idea?

munchman (author)aforsberg2007-12-12

this instructable back up????

conman (author)2006-12-20

I want to make a mold of my thumb to make a "real" thumbdrive. This is a really cool project.

absolute zero (author)conman2008-07-27

i know tht this post is 2 years old but, thts already been done on this site....

temp (author)absolute zero2008-11-23

how is conman's post 2 years old?!?! It doesn't make sense.

conman (author)temp2008-11-25

Maybe you would be happier if I wrote "FIRST!" instead?

rjones3 (author)conman2008-11-25

Easy now.

conman (author)rjones32008-11-25

It was just a "jk lol"

Derin (author)conman2008-07-19

lol,good idea

Derin (author)2008-10-22

you used a sandisk non u3 cruzer micro

mindophobic (author)2008-06-30

I am more concerned about heat itself from catalyst process. I have melted led that way before, maybe I added too much catalyst?

msfwebdude (author)2008-02-21

you could, if there is a next time, put clear packing tape (for boxes and such) on all the wood surfaces, to make a smooth also you could have a floating top mold part that floats on top of the resin after being poured. Like foamcore with clear packing tape on the side it touches the resin. I like you project and may bust of my usb case to do the same. Thanks :)

Jesseton (author)2006-11-03

can you use hot glue?

Ollie1277 (author)Jesseton2007-10-29

did u try using the hot glue i was thinking of trying this, just wanted to know if the memory pen was ok?

Da_Fudge (author)Ollie12772007-12-18

see hereu can use hot glue. make a huge blob, let it cool & cure EVER SO SLIGHTLY. then work the stuff around your drive.

done it plenty of times.
you can also use polymorph plastic. looks heaps cool. also done that many times. see here

Da_Fudge (author)Da_Fudge2007-12-18

that link is meant to be at the end of the comment.

rjones3 (author)Jesseton2006-11-04

I would be worried about the heat. But if you've got a drive that you're willing to sacrifice, go for it! It's all part of the 'make' philosophy that binds us all. You start something not knowing at all whether it will work or cause copper traces to break (see BlackWind's comment).... Best of luck

zachninme (author)rjones32006-12-02

It shouldn't damage it, as discussed on the clay thumbdrive instructable.

Briguy9 (author)2007-11-05

I highly agree, if you touch one wrong place on that board, BOOM goes your data

I wouldn't be so sure about that. If by touch, you mean just touching it with your finger, than you are wrong about it doing any damage to it. If you mean shorting something with a metal object then you are also (sorta) wrong. Touching it with a metal object will not ever short something unless it is plugged-in. So unless you are doing this with your thumb drive still plugged in (which by the way would be the STUPEDIST thing to do) than you could not damage your thumb drive by touching it. Of course, the only exception to this rule is if the electronical component that you touch is a capacitor. Capacitors store energy even after they are un-plugged so this could produce a short circuit. Unless of course you mean touch as in crushing it. :p PS: When I was doing this project, my thumb-drive slipped off the table ( without its case on) and onto the floor where it then got stepped on by my sister. :( I was expecting it to not work after that but it did! Just goes to show that while they can be fragile, they can also be very tough.

assm4n (author)2007-08-30

been there, done that...... ALTERNATIVE WAY!!! get a spare pencil led container (clear, plastic, hollow) sand it down to fit your usb key! EASY

Nicolaclare7 (author)2007-05-17

I have a usb stick which I am going to remove the plastic casing. DOes anyone know if i could (if i covered the male end while casting) cast the whole thing in resin, then once it has dried, cut off the segment covering the end that you insert into the computer, to be used as a cover?

adamthiede (author)Nicolaclare72007-07-22

good idea. although I already cracked open my USB and made ianhampton's lego usb stick.

berky93 (author)Nicolaclare72007-05-21

dont do it that way because it will encase around te holes and inside it, you wont be able to remove it. but try taking a ready-made case and take a mould of the inside, then mould a new cover off of that. (saest way)

CaffeineHouse (author)berky932007-07-19

he said he covered up the plug though... if it was ufficiently taped up i don't see how resin could get in the holes...

radiohead (author)2006-04-11

Cool. At first I was wondering if heat build-up would be an issue, but, I guess if yours is still working, there's no problem. Besides, I guess these things don't use enough power to heat up too much.

CaffeineHouse (author)radiohead2007-07-19

yeah i just bought a 1gb cruzer micro and i noticed it heated up a LOT while i was transferring large (~250mb) files to it from my friend's PC, and even when i just leave it plugged in for a length of time.

stonehenge360 (author)radiohead2006-09-04

theoretically, since the resin is clear, that would significantly reduce the heat build-up.

phingerz (author)2007-05-16

I used araldite epoxy resin, fast stuff sets in 90 secs drive was usable in 15 mins if a little tacky! didn't seem to create any heat and it's still running 9 months later, but will probably fail now I've said that.

MadVegetarian (author)2007-03-10

To date, I am still using the drive that I covered with shrink tube. No, I wouldn't drag this around town, but it works just fine for me around the office. I like your idea primarily for the reason that it would [most likely] prevent the user from bending their drive in the port and breaking the contacts (can't tell you how many I've re-soldered).

MerleCorey (author)2007-03-06

now you need to cast a cap, to keep dust debris from getting into the plug. i make surfboards every now and again(tee hee) clear resin shouldnt make THAT much heat, and if yours is working than it should be ok....hmmm...if you got motted plastic you might try using wax paper (wax down) on the outside (top) of your resin... it makes it nice and flat and shiny.

Kauz (author)2007-02-10

Thank you for your idea! i tried it with my 1Gig USB. But to attach it to my keys, i build it with a little piece of metal at one side. works perfectly and looks unique.

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