RFID (radio-frequency identification) systems are all around us. They help us get through toll booths faster. They help stores keep track of inventory. They are even in a lot of toys.
But there is no reason why the RFID chips need to stay in their original housing. In this project, I am going to show you how to transplant a RFID chip into a different housing to make it more convenient or at least more fun use. You can make an RFID reactive wallet, multi-tool, or cell phone case. The only limit is your imagination.
Step 1: Select a RFID Chip to Transplant
Step 2: Carefully Open the Housing
The best method that I found for opening this kind of housing is to crack the glue seam by squeezing it. I wrapped the key fob in a napkin to avoid scratching it. Then I squeezed it at one end with a pair of pliers perpendicular to the seam. This caused the two halves to separate slightly at the end. I stuck a screw driver into the opening to hold the two halves apart. Then I repeated this process moving down the side of the key fob until the two halves where mostly separated. At this point I was able to just pull it apart the rest of the way with my fingers.
Alternatively, you can cut the housing open with a knife or rotary tool. If you do this, then you need to be very careful not to cut too deeply or you risk hitting the chip.
Step 3: Carefully Remove the RFID Chip
I decided that the safest way to remove the chip from its housing was to cut it out with a rotary tool. First I cut off the bulk of the attached material. Then I carefully shaved down any remaining chunks of plastic. Remove only as much plastic as you absolutely need to. The more that you cut away, the more you risk damaging the chip.
Step 4: Choose a New Housing for Your RFID Chip
My favorite housing for an RFID chip is an ordinary stick. That way you can wave it around like a magic wand and it will actually do something like unlock your door. To mount this kind of chip in a wooden dowel or stick, all you have to do is drill a hole in the end that is just big enough to fit the chip.