Steampunk 4 Gig USB Drive





Introduction: Steampunk 4 Gig USB Drive

This drive is made of brass, copper, solder, watch parts and glass.

The cap screws on securely and the glass lights up blue when transferring data.

I like to think of this as a USB drive from the 1800s.

4 gig USB drive with Windows ready boost.

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    I was just wondering how you found the glass for the back? did u use an old light bulb or what? This is really cool! thanks for posting.

    3 replies

    Thank you,
    It's a car headlight bulb I found at the local salvage yard. I do a lot of work with glass and have a special glass grinder that keeps the work wet while cutting. I'm not sure how you would cut one if you don't have access to a tool like that. The "heat and cool" method won't work and a traditional scoring glass cutter won't work either. A place that does custom glass work should be able to do it very easily.

    Hello :-)

    I'm wondering if you can give me a link to the type of tool you use for cutting the glass. I used a regular scoring for a vacuum tube and it came out ok but a little chipping here and there.


    Ah i knew that shape was familiar . . .I just replaced my old headlights and now actually have a legitimate reason for having kept the dead bulb!

    Old thread, but in case Reader is looking for general technique/info- for patina ("antiqued" finish) use Liver of Sulphur on brass, copper, silver, etc. There are other techniques (hard boiled eggs, ammonia/salt, vinegar/salt, etc) depending on the metal you are using, the depth/type of color you are looking for and the size of your piece. Google patina info. I've been successful using lower temp solder & hand-held butane torches for art/jewelry pieces- I've only needed to braze weight-bearing or structural work. Also, I've cut, ground to shape, finished edges & etched headlights and other high-temper glass with my Dremel (with extension) and a cordless drill. The sanding disc for the drill takes grinding plates just as well. :)

    Steamworkshop, these are beautiful! Your attention to detail is fantastic! And I do envy you your "real" torches. :)

    the spiral looks great in the car light bulb.

    What kind of solder would you use to do something like this? I haven't found any info that's descriptive enough. All i see is "solder", and not what kind. So far I've had to use hot glue to keep things together in my steampunk projects (which is a bad idea because of the residue). Anyway, I'd appreciate it if you'd tell me a kind of solder that works for this.

    1 reply

    Most of the connections are are brazed with silver solder. It requires very hot temps that can only be reached with a fuel/oxygen torch. I use oxy/ acetylene.

    The wire on the top is held with plumbers solder fron the hardware store and a 100 watt soldering iron. I don't use that solder anymore. I braze everything now and only use the soldering iron for electrical soldering.

    How do you secure the usb drive in the middle inside the tube?

    1 reply

    It's held in place with two part epoxy. I fill the plug end of the tube with epoxy before I slide the USB plug through. That way the plug is also held with the epoxy so it's very strong.

    It helps to fill stick a piece of rolled up tissue in the plug to keep epoxy out of it.

    COOL!!! it looks all vintigy and old, but its hold 4 gigs!!!

     Wow Man, I can't believe all the flak you are getting for this posting. Great build, it's truly a work of art. It's sad that there are people on here that want to beat you down because you linked to a store they could buy this piece from. In my opinion the slideshow itself is an instructable. Seeing the finished product of a skilled hand can be more educational than a 20 step instructable made by someone that has no idea what they are doing. Art is Art and we can learn a great deal just by looking at Art, otherwise we wouldn't have museums. Thanks for immortalizing your piece by posting it here.

    This looks great! A very nice job over-all. The LED is a cool detail as well!

    Thanks for the nice comments. I'd be happy to share some more details. This was my first slideshow and I never dreamed that it would generate so many views and comments.

    The body and cap are made from copper and brass plumbing fixtures/pipes that I found in various flea markets, thrift shops etc... They could also be purchased new at hardware stores.

    I use hard solder (1300 degrees) and an oxygen/ acetylene torch for most of the metal connections. The other metal connections are made with soft solder (375) degrees and a soldering iron or propane torch.

    To shape the metal I use a bench grinder, belt sander, angle grinder, rotary tool, various files and sandpapers.

    The light is from the existing LED on the USB card. There was no electrical work involved in this piece. I just made sure to design the case to show off the light.

    There are no secret techniques used here. Grinding, soldering, scavenging and a lot of time.

    That is actually very nice piece of work! Steampunk is not really my style, but Im beginning to like it, I might even try make one when I get a chance...

    superb build sir. any chance of a how-to instructable?

    Won’t it be heavy? But it’s very cool.