Instructables

Double-ended USB flash drive

Picture of Double-ended USB flash drive
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I don't want to have one flash drive on hand, I want two. And if I'm going to be carrying two drives around I'd like to keep them together so they don't get lost. Thus the double-ended USB flash drive. It keeps my files together and looks nicer than a couple of drives hot glued together.

Why not just get one larger flash drive? Good question. Even with just 4 gigs on each of these drives I'm still not even coming close to capacity with the files I carry around. In fact I could get by with a 1 gig and be fine. The true answer is that I just want to have a physical separation of two types of files: work and personal.

Sure sure, this could be done with two folders on one drive, but I enjoy the switching of one drive to the other as a physical reminder of what I'm working on. It's also a reminder that maybe I haven't been giving enough time to my personal projects that keep the mental fires burning. Work is a fun challenge, I love my job, but to keep myself happy and fulfilled I desperately need to keep doing work for myself as well. If not, I don't see the point. Fulfillment of personal ideas is one of the most beautiful things in the world and I want more beauty in my life.

So no let's take a step back from the glory of creation to the building of a small flash drive, let's do this.

 
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Step 1: Design

Picture of Design
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I'm working once again in Illustrator (Inkscape for the free option) as all of the files need to be vector for the laser cutting. Getting the basic shapes of the flash drive to be cut here is easy.
  1. Measure the dimension of the part of the flash drive that will be inside the holder
  2. Recreate these rectangles in Illustrator
  3. Add a thin space around and between the drives, this will give you an H-shape for the middle layer and a rectangle for the top and bottom layer.

Step 2: Create a design

Picture of Create a design
Now for the fun part, making a design for the outside of the drive. Since the form of the drive is symmetrical be sure to create a design that has a left and right side. Here I created two designs: a domino and a double USB icon. The domino is very clear which side is which. The double USB design is a little harder to read, form wins over function, but I like the reference.

What you make here is totally up to you. Or you can make the outside shape asymmetrical and avoid this problem whatsoever.

Step 3: Cut and sand

Picture of Cut and sand
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I cut these files out of 1/8" plywood on our Epilog 36EXT. You could easily make it out of acrylic as well. Totally up to you. The wood is handy in that I could sand the cut pieces down to make the final item slimmer.

Step 4: Glue and insert flash drives

Picture of Glue and insert flash drives
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Now it's just a matter of applying glue, I used Elmer's® Carpenter's® Wood Glue, clamping it and letting it dry.

The fit was so snug that I just pushed the drives in and they're staying put. If it's a little loose you can easily dab a bit of hot glue onto the end and the sides of the drives and use that to keep it in place.

So now you have a double-ended flash drive. Carry your digital life around with you and take on everything.
codongolev2 years ago
next step: USB shuriken. one for work, one for play, one for, uh, cat pictures, and one for.... bills? I dunno. you'd have to work that out.
looky here http://www.instructables.com/id/Shuriken-USB/
do you have a recommendation on where I can buy the case-less flash drives? (in bulk if possible)
philwaud2 years ago
In my opinion, this isnt a good idea. I have two USB pen drives which i keep on a lanyard. There are many times when i have been using a file on one of the pen drives and needed something on the other pen drive. The only way you deal with that is to close all applications and files that are open on one drive, then unplug the USB pen drive before switching over.

Your (very neat) solution will have exactly the same problem.
I think the point is to have a total separation between work and play. if he wants to play around in his personal folders, he's going to have to stop all his work, which is exactly what is intended. that way there's not any time lost to the endless abyss of "my work's open, so I'm working, right?" when really you spent all day fiddling around with a 3d model of a banana.
im with you on this one, and you dont even really have to close anyhting, as long as you plug the flash drive back into the right end before you click save, no harm done. the only effect this would have is on portable apps, and even then most of them load into resident memory so they will run without core files anyways....
I do get that, and its certainly a laudible aim!

Personally, I dont separate work and life at all. I do put a firm split between the week and the weekend though, usually by popping to the pub to read the papers and a couple of pints of real ale.

I can also "turn off" quite easily, but if I need to work a bit later I can also "turn off" the life bit while I get on.

My original comment is still valid, its such a pfaff to have to shut everything down whilst you switch over - its bound to be a problem.
Actually a simple solution is to just use a USB extension cable for the other side...
stackdumb2 years ago
Nice Project
but what if i want to wear them at the same time?
criggie2 years ago
Next time: Four flash drives with an integrated hub, set up in a RAID.
I can imagine the conundrums now. One side contains a virus to remove your identity from this world forever and make it impossible for you to find meaningful employment ever again. The other with make you rich beyond your wildest imagination. Choose! Muahahaha!

Or just use it for backups if you wish... Seems boring now though, doesn't it?
Very cool indeed, I may just try this. Being a bit paranoid I keep daily backups in a fire-safe, but it isn't half inconvenient. This is the nicest USB case I have come across so far, thank you!
TSC2 years ago
Great job I would like to make some thing like this!!
fungus amungus (author)  TSC2 years ago
Go for it and post your results!
Wow, you got aroductive week man! Nice job! Was it make week?
fungus amungus (author)  Samuel Bernier2 years ago
It's one of a series of projects we did for Elmer's so I've been sitting on them for a bit. Then mass publish!
wetnap2 years ago
The quick and dirty way is to use clear epoxy glue, add a thick layer and it bonds and forms a thick plastic like protective casing. if you take the extra step of removing the case down to the board as is possible iwth many usb drives, you can paint the epoxy straight on the board and make it water proof.
fungus amungus (author)  wetnap2 years ago
Sure, but I wanted to have some design for it too. Even quicker and dirtier would be a glue gun.
Very nice looking product! If I had a laser cutter, I would give it a shot. What type of flash drive did you use?
fungus amungus (author)  AdamVigneaux2 years ago
Ah, good question. This one's a little smaller so this works out better. It's a Patriot X-Porter Mini
Jayefuu2 years ago
Nice! It came out really well. I'd want a cap with mine, but still love it, especially the graphic.
fungus amungus (author)  Jayefuu2 years ago
I considered a cap (or two), but when I take a look at all my flash drives I realized I never hold on to them.
Hiyadudez2 years ago
Nice! I love it :D

Looks super clean and its actually really useful! Great project.
fungus amungus (author)  Hiyadudez2 years ago
Thanks!
Two memory sticks in a single handy to lose package- Pretty cool thou
You've just described every flash drive ever made. Having the only copy of your files on a flash drive is going to end in tears no matter what.