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...
Step 1: Getting Started
Once I had successfully freed the USB drive from its lame shell, it was time to think. Whatever am I going to put this little thing inside? And so the search began. I thought about doing a better Lego mod - unoriginal; ChapStick - too thin (I've been informed that somebody else has made a ChapStick USB drive); film canister - too fat; USB cable shell - too short; gutted iPod - too spendy. Hmm... nothing on my desk was really striking me as a great idea. So the search continued. To the closet! As I rummaged through piles of miscellaneous electronics, cables, and computer accessories, I paused as I held an old keyboard in my hand.
What to do with a keyboard, though? The PS/2 connection isn't large enough to accommodate the USB drive, and the keyboard is a bit bulky to be useful as a USB drive. Think, Kurtis... Think.
As I stared at the keyboard, I noticed some tasty treats (well, they used to be tasty) peeking at me from between the keys. Gross. Ah, wait a second, the keys! Oh sweet, blessed keys.
There are a decent number of keys on the keyboard which look like they could be just big enough to squeeze a USB drive inside: Tab, Shift, Backspace, Enter, Delete, and +. After careful consideration and a quick coin toss, I decided the Enter key would make the best case for my custom USB drive. It sort of makes sense, after all; "Enter" your USB drive into the USB port, with an arrow to help the less technically inclined. Tab is just plain confusing, with the two arrows pointing in either direction, Backspace and Shift don't sound cool, and +... well, + isn't even a word. Stupid +.
Removing keys from the keyboard is easy enough. Using a small screwdriver you can gently pry them off. In my case, the Enter key had a bar stretched across its width to ensure uniform key presses - I just ripped it off. Enter key removed, I check to see if the USB drive fit... and it did - with a little room to spare.
Before hacking away at the Enter key, I decided to perform a practice run on the Backspace key (I only had one old keyboard to work with and didn't want to ruin it, after all). And I'm glad I did.