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.
Step 1: Design
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.
Measure the dimension of the part of the flash drive that will be inside the holder
Recreate these rectangles in Illustrator
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
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
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
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.