Instructables
Picture of Custom USB Drive - Project: Enter the USB
Project: Enter the USB was created by Kurtis Kronk for TheTechLounge.com. You can see the original article published online here.

Back in March I posted about a Customized USB Drive that I thought was pretty cool. Someone took an el-cheapo USB drive and stuck it inside a Lego brick. In the same post I talked about a quick-and-dirty USB drive mod of my own, the Electrical Tape USB Drive. Basically, it was a clunker I picked up at CES that fell apart, so I removed what was left of the casing and wrapped it all up in electrical tape. Funny thing is, it's so fugly that when I recently forgot it in a school lab it was still there a few days later. Things might have been different had it been a SanDisk Cruzer or Corsair Voyager... or if it didn't have "62.4MB" written on it.

As simple as my electrical tape USB drive mod was, I had a good time making it and decided to come up with another, different USB drive mod. Luckily, I had another USB drive, which I'd also received from CES, but this one was a whopping 512MB - yeah, they make 'em that big these days... Unfortunately, as it were, this one wasn't quite so fragile, and I actually had to punish it thoroughly before I could get the casing off. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

In this article I will walk you through Project: Enter the USB from conception to finished product. Step by embarrassing step. No detail spared. So in-depth you'll need a snorkel... Let's get on with it...
 
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ThatCatMan6 months ago

When I opened my USB flash drive case, I was really surprised to see that the drive can fit in one of the small regular keys.

20140519_014516[2].jpg
pipizhe7 months ago

What a cool boy in the photos~! i like ur bike!

infob2 years ago
Done. Same Key. Metal bottom.
Here is how mine came out. I used a little sugru on the back and just pushed it in to the cracks. In the picture it looks pretty rough but I have smoothed it down some since then.
DSCN6252.JPGDSCN6254.JPGDSCN6255.JPGDSCN6259.JPG
lol, 514 mb's? I have a 16 gig flash drive. And you can buy a 2 gig at wal-mart for 3 bucks. Great "ible" though! 5 stars.
He was being incredibly sarcastic, if you didn't realize. He got his for free at CES, where they were handing them out. That's why it is so small. That's also why he used them for this instructable
Moore's law, my friend. That was in 2007.
robot 19983 years ago
me pdrian decir cual es el pegamento
red-king5 years ago
 i have an ancient flash drive and it won't fit into any keys except the space bar... but that would look weird. so i'm looking for one that doesn't involve keys.
You could probably fit a candy bar in a space bar. :-)
 probably... but that's not really relevant. xD
Who cares?  Everyone loves candy!
 i suppose.
CANDY BAR FLASH DRIVE!!!!!! probably not possible
definitely possible... until it melts, that is.
legendofaj6 years ago
i haven't tried this yet, but i dont have a dremel, do you think i could just use a sharp knife or pliers to cut the notch? -aj
i used a soldering iron, lol, which probably wasn't such a good idea with the fumes and all but it worked quite well. just make sure u have a wet paper towel or sponge on-hand 2 wipe off the molten plastic. the dremel works much much better though
yeah, i've cut plastic and stuff with a hot glue gun
HOW IN THE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!



POST A INSTRUCTABLE ON IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
same. ive been using one to melt/cut plastic for like, all the instructables.
TTLKurtis (author)  legendofaj6 years ago
Possibly - depends how precise you want to be and how clean you want it to look.
okay, thx but do you know where i could find a cheap usb drive, incase i screw up that one, and it'll let me practice b4 i go and do this with my nice 4gig usb flash drive
staples sells little $5 64mb ones at the checkout counter also checkout microcenter.com they have loads of them. just buy the microcenter brand they're like 1 gb for 12 bucks which is pretty good
for 5$ i got a 4 gig microSD with an adapter
1 word - ebay
i just used an exacto knife 4 the notch it worked well and as long as you're patient and dont rush it, you'll get a clean notch
raykholo6 years ago
maybe a small hole on the top and one of those little plastic computer things that conduct light ? any idea what that thing is called?
Firbe optic? you mean the thing that extends the LEDs?
 They're called "light pipes"
yeah -- the plastic thingys ... i thought fiber optic was some totall different thing, but ur probably right
I call them fiber optic anyway. The principal of them is the same. I like the idea though... Would make the drike look cooler!
i also just found out about an led accessory called the light pipe a flexible one of those might be perfect for this instructable, especially if the flash drive's led is in an "uncomfortable" area to be seen clearly
drike?
XD. Oops, I meant drive.
mr.cole5 years ago
my only problem is that i cannot find a keyboard to get the "Enter" key from. i would jack one from school, but i would most likely get charged for vandalism if i got caught. and also i dont have a keyboard that DOESNT work.
any ideas on where i could get a cheap or non working keyboard? Good Will possibly? 
geekster5 years ago
Just finished this, used a shift key :) I found that hot glue, while slightly less pretty allowed me to do it in about 20 minutes, i also used a band saw to cut the key to shape and then an extremely sharp chisel to take the remainder of the plastic out of the key. Once complete I trimmed the excess hot glue with the band saw once more. For a smooth finish, sanded with 320grit. The hot glue has the advantage of nicely difusing the LED that was on the USB drive I used as a donor, looks good. A tip for anyone who has access to them, older dell systems have ruberised caps on the molex connector which used to connect to a floppy drive, these fit the USB plug perfectly so make a great cover for an otherwise cap-less USB drive.
Clipboard01.jpg
Mr Williams5 years ago
What brand of Flash Drive did you use? Or will virtually all of them fit into an "Enter" key?
Cool
fwjs286 years ago
512mb isn't that big..i have a 5gb flash drive with windows vista pe and like three linux os.
Braeburn fwjs286 years ago
1gb for 10$
4GB for $15 and it's as big a my thumbnail!! XD
I didn't know they made 5. I mean I've heard of 1, 2, 4, and 8gb but never a 5. huh.
they have 16 and 18 too look at staples
keep in mind that was 5 months ago. They even include 32 now. (And probably larger sizes)
omg where at staples.?
well, maybe not at staples, but online retailers such as newegg have flash drives with 32G and 64G capacities.
wowo cool thanks
those are too big,for me a 512 meg cuts it
Derin fwjs286 years ago
i use 512 meg and it never overflowed with data
fwjs28 Derin6 years ago
rlly......215 makes me feel restricted...lol....u can never have enough space...and plus i have 2 gigs of music and a whole lot of pics...and the occasional school project.....
fwjs28 fwjs286 years ago
wups i musta hit 5 by acc. i meant 8
twitch20095 years ago
Thats Awesome. What About an Easy computer case mod..
TTLKurtis (author)  twitch20095 years ago
Hm... Like, stickers? :-D Case modding is actually relatively easy, so long as you don't make it overly complicated for yourself. Making a case mod look stock though... that takes serious skill.
cool mod, might do this. just a sorta off topic question, what kind of gloves are those that you were wearing in the pics? where did you get em/how much?
TTLKurtis (author)  uzumakishade5 years ago
Those are bike gloves. Not recommended for this mod - it was purely for comedic effect. Granted, I did actually use them while cutting, but only because photos were being taken. :-D I think I picked them up at a local bike shop when I bought a mountain bike, for what it's worth.
giddy_yup6 years ago
Cool Instructable! I tried it out with the "stupid +" and the enter key from the numpad. :) Here's how it turned out...
DSC00088.JPGDSC00096.JPGDSC00090.JPGDSC00098.JPG
I would Of use the Enter And the 0/Ins Key for Dummy's Who don't know what way to put it in
Cool!!
it's shiny!!!
TTLKurtis (author)  giddy_yup6 years ago
Nicely done.
Pretty cool.
Derin6 years ago
why does it have that little "slant"on the key? i sanded it so it sits flat
Derin Derin6 years ago
i found keys on the grass playground months ago,and sanded the letters off
M F6 years ago
nice idea, Did you add a back to it yet? I made a usb instructable too. a beltclip holder.
That keyboard is NASTY ! ! !
TTLKurtis (author)  pistolpete35216 years ago
Yes. Yes it was. That's what happens when you pretty much live at your computer and eat lunch at your desk almost every day. :-D
daviddd6 years ago
AWESOME! One of the best memory stick covers ever!
cool!6 years ago
I just thought: If the original USB had a led, make sure it is on the bottom. Great instructable! He He isn't it funny that the instructable spell checker does not recognize instructable?!
Derin cool!6 years ago
lemme try Instructables ya it says change or ignore and it also bulks up FF3
cool! Derin6 years ago
Yeah, I guess it is FF's spell checker, not Instructable's!
Derin cool!6 years ago
FF spellchecker plus the ibles spellchek
Cracknel7 years ago
why don't you use another key for the other side? :D
TTLKurtis (author)  Cracknel7 years ago
That could be cool, but part of the reason I chose to keep it as just a single key was to keep the size down. If you bulk it up too much, you'll block the adjacent USB port. :)
Derin TTLKurtis6 years ago
same with graphic cards,if you bulk it too much the adjacent PCI port will not be usable anymore
You could take two laptop keys, which would be thinner, and then put one on the top and one on the bottom.
Derin6 years ago
nice instructable but please reduce the amount of the sentence "Project: Enter the USB was created by Kurtis Kronk for TheTechLounge.com. You can see the original article published online here." to one.*talks with robot* The robot is saying the same thing.
the first two pictures on step 5 are scary!!!
TTLKurtis (author)  mrmoneybagss6 years ago
Safety first, my man. Safety first.
well it still looks scary
its better than a crap load of bandaids
still scary
lol
cool!6 years ago
For a picture of mine go to My slideshow.
The last picture shows it.
cool! cool!6 years ago
I used hot glue! It worked really well, and actually is much clearer (and easier) than the E6000 adhesive. You pile on the hot glue, and then press it down against a wetted plate- something smooth. Then trim off the excess glue with a Exacto knife.
nkk076 years ago
put enter on one side and backspace on the other if your backspace dosent have BACKSPACE written on it!ill find a cheapo keyboard some day.
taco_guy936 years ago
u know what this needs? another key on the bottom! i think the tab would look cool on the bottom.
omega78566 years ago
dude....UR CAMERA IS AWESOME!...lol....wat kind is it?...and yea dude that lookd really good.....i think if u find sumthng that could cover up the bottom...it would help so if water splashes around it or sumthn....but yea it still lookd really good
pmac936 years ago
your fingerless bike gloves provide great protection from the dremel :P
TTLKurtis (author)  pmac936 years ago
I certainly thought so. :-D
PetervG7 years ago
I just spent like 20 min trying to get it out of this stupid case.
http://www.pendriveworld.com/images/product/de256mb_Big.gif

I got it out nice and clean. (The case is torn apart)
So, is it okay if I use a hot glue gun instead?
TTLKurtis (author)  PetervG7 years ago
Yeah, sometimes it's tough to get them out of their cases. Which speaks well of the manufacturer, heh. You -could- use a hot glue gun, but I don't think it will be as effective as epoxy or something like the E6000 I used. But if that's all you've got and you don't feel like getting that stuff, you could try it. If it doesn't work out, you could probably take the hot glue back out pretty easily.
My brother and I made a USB key drive with hot glue, and it worked really, really well. We attached the drive and then squirted a bunch of glue in, then we took a smooth metal sheet and wet it with a sponge. We pushed the Key with glue down hard to get a smooth finish. The water stopped the glue form sticking. After it dried, we sprayed on some clear coat to get a nice finish. It looks BEAUTIFUL.
i used bostik all purpose glue (it ruined it) Shame im only 13 and i get barley any pocket money 'there goes my money'
ll.13 PetervG7 years ago
http://www.eclipsecomputers.com/product.aspx?code=MEL-FD2048JDL

Mine: that came out of the case easily, but it's been out of it's case for around 6 odd months. now it's got a nice new home.
TTLKurtis (author)  ll.137 years ago
I'd love to see this 'nice new home' if you don't mind sharing. :)
ll.13 TTLKurtis7 years ago
http://www.instructables.com/forum/TQI4LDQF4TLKW1M/?comments=all#CE3JHY1F4ULV2O9

I used a number pad enter as it fitted best and then Araldited it in.
PetervG PetervG7 years ago
USB's!
IMG_4952 copy.jpg
TTLKurtis (author)  PetervG7 years ago
Have fun! :-D
vspider6 years ago
I've made it vithout any instruments, besides a paper-cutting blade =)))
Also you can use a thermo-paste like 'KPT-8' for filling, which costs in ex-ussr 1$ per kilogremm =)))
I had recently made a pez pal usb drive. it's basically taking place of the actual dispenser. I have the little u3 sandisk retractable thing so the plug actualy hides away into my penguin pez pal :)
TTLKurtis (author)  GunnerRecall6 years ago
Sounds cool - would love to see photos.
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I don't think you'll need the airflow, honestly. There are lots of USB drives out there with no heat dissipation to speak of (corsair flash voyager for example, which is a great usb drive). I'm sure drilling a hole for a lanyard won't hurt anything.
For the airflow, buy a usb drive that doesn't have air vents. It will be designed to run cooler and not need air.
TTLKurtis (author)  munchman6 years ago
This is true, though I don't recall ever seeing any with air vents actually. Different types of memory do run cooler than others though.
Well, as for drilling out the corner i think the epoxy will be stronger than the actual key, and as long as its a small hole it shouldn't be a problem. Nice instructable, good pics, im going to have to do this with mine, although mine will be plugging into a PC...
TTLKurtis (author)  HAL 90007 years ago
Yeah, actually mine plugs into a PC too. The iBook was just prettier for the photos. :)
yeah, macs do usually have more visual appeal, in general. Either way, this is a cool idea!
bikerguy77 years ago
I tried it with a shift key and it work really well. I ended up using a soldering iron to gut the insides of the key. To fill the back I used 2-part epoxy and it filled in quite well, providing a cool clear case. Recently I also made one using 3 keys (1, 2, 3) and it turned out better than I hoped. It took almost an hour to finish but the final product is sweet. I just need another Flash Drive 2 put in it. lol. Thanks again for the idea and instruction.
1.2.3 USB Case.2.jpgUSB Flash Drive.2.jpgBack of Shift Key USB.jpg
TTLKurtis (author)  bikerguy77 years ago
That shift key looks slick, and well done on the 1,2,3 as well! =) Glad you enjoyed my instructable.
Bl4cK_kNiF37 years ago
for some reason my windows vista says device not recognized, but im not sure if it works on an XP computer. I used silicon glue, but i dont think that makes a difference.. any help?
TTLKurtis (author)  Bl4cK_kNiF37 years ago
Did it work on that Vista machine without problems before?
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Nice work! =)
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TTLKurtis (author)  DELETED_dannydutton7 years ago
Thanks, glad you liked it. You're right about the belly, though. :-D
PKM TTLKurtis7 years ago
Have you considered white spray paint? Whiteout/tippex? A flat piece of white keyboard plastic?
shooby7 years ago
In relation to the overheating issue, I think I would probably use the industrial strength glue to attach a correctly fitted, thin copper plate to the chip on the underside of the drive. It has a huge surface area, so the copper would probably be able to help get rid of a lot of the heat produced. I've been experimenting with this a little. A good way to test whether or not you'll have problems, is by using the electric tape method for a case. Try it, and if after a while the tape gets sticky, starts to slip, or feels excessively soft, then you may have a heating problem upon casing the drive in epoxy.
TTLKurtis (author)  shooby7 years ago
I've been using this drive pretty regularly since I posted this and I can say I have had absolutely no overheating issues. Obviously, results may vary with different hardware and/or modding techniques, but at least in my case heat has not been an issue at all.
lordwilliam7 years ago
works very well with your apple mac blends in do you know of any easier and simplier usb case projects becase busbi's brake easily
TTLKurtis (author)  lordwilliam7 years ago
One thing you can do that's super simple is just wrap a bunch of electrical tape around a USB drive. I've done this to one, as seen here (scroll down):

http://www.thetechlounge.com/news/11300/
I just realized that was an 'enter' key XD
Sirdizarm7 years ago
Man... How nice isn't this!!
DIY Dave7 years ago
Could I use super glue instead of the E6000?
TTLKurtis (author)  DIY Dave7 years ago
I don't really know how WELL it would work, but it is certainly feasible. I think it should do the job.
hondagofast7 years ago
I have a 128Mb drive that the case broke off of, so I made a case out of some scrap plastic and a lot of water proof duct tape from ace hardware.
DIY Dave7 years ago
cool
xboxteen017 years ago
cool
chuckr447 years ago
I'm not sure I would use epoxy as a filler on my USB drive. I got one of those super thin drives, 1gb, the size of a piece of Trident gum. It heats up pretty hot once connected, in just 2 minutes. I would think my USB drive coated in epoxy would bake itself and die.
Murdok7 years ago
What else will work besides epoxy? Hot glue, super glue?
TTLKurtis (author)  Murdok7 years ago
What I used was actually industrial strength adhesive, not epoxy, but epoxy would work, super glue would probably work, hot glue might work. You can use whatever you want, really. You could use GLAD Cling Wrap if you were so determined. :-D
PetervG7 years ago
Now, do you fill the space underneath the USB itself? Or does it lye flat enough that you just need it on the top?
TTLKurtis (author)  PetervG7 years ago
You fill it underneath a bit as well so it will sit flat and the plug will be level with the rest of the key.
I've been using that 2 part epoxy on everything lately. It;s the stuff people use to seal quarters and stuff onto bar countertops. I bet that would have been perfect for this as It dries clear and self leveling.
HamO7 years ago
Excellent!!
ll.137 years ago
nice. Lego didn't work for me.
mrbob10007 years ago
yay! msa reaperator! cool instructable... i would have sanded off enter and printed somthing like OMFG T3H HAXX!!!!11!1!! but its your call