PEN DRIVE STORAGE RACKS
Have too many pendrives lying around, getting lost, gathering dust? Here are a couple of ideas for storage. A strip rack to screw to your desk or wall, and a free-standing column rack. The strip rack is also handy if you have more USB leads than sockets on your PC - this saves them just dangling around when not in use.
We need 5 A-female to A-female USB adapters. This will give us 10 USB storage sockets - enough for most people. If you need more just buy more adapters.
Don't buy these items on the high street - via Amazon or eBay they can be sourced at around £0.25 an item (UK pounds) though as they're often sourced from China, you might have to wait a while. I needed a couple of these adapters (for the purpose for which they're designed) and was shocked at some of the prices quoted. When quoted 24p (UK) a unit on Amazon, I ordered a dozen to make up a decent order. Two were used as intended, and the other 10 to make these two racks.
First, cut the adapters in half. Any small saw should do the job. This will give you 10 USB storage sockets. When sawing and drilling take care how you hold these small components - the metal parts are easily bent by careless handling.
Now find 10 small self-tapping screws of a suitable size, and drill pilot holes in the parts you've made. The inside of most adapters is plastic - any small drill should manage this - even a hand drill. Size the pilot holes to suit the screws.
Now you need something to mount the half-adapters onto. This can be any kind of strip or angle material to hand. I intended to use a piece of aluminium rule, but I found some 20mm alloy channel left over from another job and this fitted exactly. This kind of channel can be found at most DIY stores.
The half-adapters were a push fit and just needed to be screwed home with a little help from some superglue to firm things up. I drilled holes at 20mm intervals to space the sockets out a little (some pendrives/dongles can be quite big.) A couple of extra holes were added each end for mounting.
And here's the rack from a couple of angles. I didn't have any countersunk self-tappers, so the screws are proud. I've added a couple of spacers (rubber grommets, steel washers - anything will do) to the mounting screws to give some clearance.
There are all sorts of permutations to a gadget like this. The main thing is to use what you have to hand.
Once again we need a few A-female to A-female USB adapters. I'm using 5 - you can use more as long as the column doesn't get top heavy.
This unit is even simpler than the first - we just need to drill the adapters and connect them with a screw or bolt. Here I'm using a 6mm bolt because it's what I had to hand. You don't really need one as heavy as 6mm. This bolt is 60mm long, which provides room for 5 adapters with enough left to mount the unit. The larger drillbit in the picture was needed to ease the original holes out to 6mm.
Here are the adapters pushed onto the screw. All it needs now is to turn alternate adapters to right angles and mount the unit somehow.
And here we have the finished article. The base is just a pill-bottle top, with a couple of washers underneath to give the base some weight. Looks a bit wonky in hindsight, but it works well enough and I'm sure readers can come up with prettier and sturdier alternatives. The adapters could even be screwed straight into a desktop if you prefer.
The main thing about projects like this is to use what you have. Always helped by a sizable odds&sods box in the garage.
Let me know your own approaches to storing pen drives, even if they're better ideas than mine (in fact especially if they're better ideas than mine.)