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Steampunk USB Flash Drive

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"And as they stared in wonder at the glowing box the small device off to their left began to whirr and behold! a luminescence began to grow and fade rythmically while the box's images flashed and changed."

I've been away for a while but I haven't been idle! Here's the first of a few new Instructables on their way!

As an applications developer you can imagine that I do a lot of transferring data. Home to work and back, out from behind firewalls and back etc. I also need to store my own applications that I've developed an of course my writing so that when over at the folks' or friends' houses and an idea strikes I can immediately write it down or use my little tools! So you get it . . . I utilize these little drives extensively but, as usual, I was not pleased with their out of the box look . . .from the branding all over them, to the distinctly modern look, right on down to the mere fact that they are encased in plastic . . . ugh!

Solution: pry them out of their boring little cases and create something worthy of the high profile data stored within! Read on to discover how I applied my love of tinkering and the steampunk aesthetic to a more ordinary device than previous projects!
 
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Totally great piece....LOVE it....love the tubes, and the working LED. I feel like Sherlock Holmes was once challenged by the guy who owned that USB key! Great piece, and great instructable!!!! Fun way for us to get into the 'punking scene!
Kaelessin (author)  doozer_not_fraggle4 years ago
what you don't know is that my nickname among my colleagues at the university has been simply "M" Thanks for the comment! Post some of your creations for the betterment of the scene!
drewgrey4 years ago
I saw a steampunk exhibit in oxford last year at the history of science museum. It was brilliant. I love the reinfusion of art into soulless technology.
Kaelessin (author)  drewgrey4 years ago
"reinfusuion of art into soulless technology" <-- love it! Heh I wish i could see an exhibit like that! shoot . . .I merely wish i could be in Oxford!
http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/steampunk/album/?album=1&gallery=9 will take you to the photos of the exhibit. Also check out the scientific instruments! Drew
Absolutely love it... steampunk can be done well and this is such an example... I'll have to see what bits and pieces I can find locally and try it out... I love the gears... has anyone tried running a micro motor (or a mobile's vibrator motor) to make the gears spin and whir? Now that would be cool! I especially like the quotes (did you write them? or are they from a book - very poetic either way)... Thanks for the instructable.
Kaelessin (author)  rocketsurgery4 years ago
Moving parts would be wicked cool . . . *muses* I would imagine that if one made the initial casing longer and left room for a motor they could use the power from the computer coming in through the usb port (splice in a couple of wires?) to run a small motor which could indeed spin the gears while it's plugged in . . .that's a REALLY cool idea! I did indeed write the quotes . . . I just made them up on the spot for each step (heh so THAT's why they're so applicable lol). I started doing that a couple ibles ago and have fun with it so I'm going to keep it up :D some day i'll be putting more than a couple of those kinds of things together and calling them books but for now I'm winning the bread by programming computers Glad you like the ible and the quotes too!
You used one of those slide-y type right?I'm sure you could make some sort of motor that retracted the USB once power was cut off.Might take alot of programming and a really,really tiny motor,but it's possible.
Kaelessin (author)  paperclip324 years ago
yep initially it was the slidey kind but after removing all the case components it's really just like every other one. It's definitely possible . . .size is negotiable too since you can always make the case bigger . . .after a certain point pockets aren't good containers any more
If you switched the motor to run only when the disk is being accessed (ie when the led is on) then the faint whir of gears would be present just every now and then... I'll have to give it a try... the quotes are a lot of fun and they really tie the room together (so to speak)... booker prize here you come ... again... great 'ible!
Finally a good Instructable on how to make a Steampunk USB case. I've searched for the last few weeks and have only found slideshows that don't provide enough detail. Thanks for posting this. It's going to be my summer project along with some goggles.
Kaelessin (author)  prototype22134 years ago
Awesome! I can't wait to see them! be sure to post the results
I will. Thanks again for the Instuctable and good luck on future creations.
or_ford982 years ago
what's with the ancient quotes? O.o uber cool 'ible tho :)
Kaelessin (author)  or_ford982 years ago
haha actually they're only as old as the ible . . .i wrote them in there for ambience *shrugs

glad you liked it though :D
jwilson442 years ago
wow looks fantastic. Couple questions though since I've never done anything like this before:

1. A Jeweler's saw. Is it absolutely necessary? If so, where can I find one, and how much will it run me?

2. In your opinion, would it be possible to avoid using glues? One of the reasons I love steampunk so much is that it's mostly metal. A lack of hot glue/epoxies would make this a lot better for me.

Thanks!
Kaelessin (author)  jwilson442 years ago
Thanks for the comments and questions!

I would imagine you could get away without the saw but in reality it's probably the easiest way to cut the various pieces. The frames cost anywhere from 8-25 USD or so depending on how nice you want to go. The blades are cheap ... sold by the gross (144). They're for sale at jewelry supply stores (there's one or two huge ones in most major cities) or failing that they may be bought online.

As for glues: yes and no. You could solder everything except the last part (the end cap). There may be a different way than glue to do this last piece but I'm not sure. perhaps you could even make the cap removable so the casing could be used on different drives (in the event one goes bad on you or something) with a movable way to lock it in. You definitely can't soldier it though because the heat would surely kill the plastic and delicately soldered wiring of the drive.

I hope that's sufficient! Let me know if you have any more. Welcome to instructables by the way!
dropjohn2 years ago
really nice detailed instructable - good work!

thanks immensely for sharing.
Kaelessin (author)  dropjohn2 years ago
not a problem! I'm glad you enjoyed it!
rammstein23 years ago
it would be more than badass if the gears whirred during data transfer.. ;-)
Kaelessin (author)  rammstein23 years ago
agreed :D
acosicris3 years ago
Nice one. I wanted to mod my flash drive too but I don't have a damage hard drive. I guess I have to wait until it is broken. =)
Kaelessin (author)  acosicris3 years ago
Patience is a virtue indeed but should you run short on it you can find bits and pieces of watches and whatnot on ebay and other internet merchents.
I sell WATCH PARTS and many other STEAMPUNK items (brass keys, wings etc) in my eBay store.
Here's a link to the watch parts.

http://cgi.ebay.com/29g-Sale-Lot-Steampunk-Vintage-Watch-Parts-Altered-Art-/130420346565?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e5da88ec5

Let me know if you'd like to link your website to my store for people to find more steapmunk items.
Thanks,
Carolyn
cblazzer3 years ago
Here's a great place to get the WATCH PARTS: http://cgi.ebay.com/29g-Sale-Lot-Steampunk-Vintage-Watch-Parts-Altered-Art-/130420346565?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e5da88ec5

Hope that helps.
The_Warlock3 years ago
I llike the writing bit... gotta try it someday....
what is that blue sticky point for one.
Kaelessin (author)  MurphyHarris3 years ago
I'm not 100% sure what you're asking but i'll give it a go:
There are 2 blue things in the photo:
* one is a pipe cutter (squarish blue metal tool with a triangular notch and a wheel)

* the other in a tube is 2 part epoxy putty. You cut a bit off and mix it up with your fingers like clay and it will stick things together or allow you to create shapes that cure very hard.
ah ok - im talkin about the epoxy putty
what to say. look like it should. good work. where is the cap? 4stars
mohsen_sam3 years ago
i love it
Great job! Congratulations and thanks for this. It will be a great present for my father. ;-) See you!
Kaelessin (author)  Lorenzo771244 years ago
I know I would be thrilled to receive something like this but then I'm a bit of a nut for cogs and metals ;)
te he. 'nut' for cogs and metals. te he
Kaelessin (author)  mibz man3 years ago
exactly! finally someone who gets my humor! most people usually (te hee hee) BOLT!
ok now ur pushing it.
-chase-4 years ago
Ditto on it looks great - nice job punkin it out. - love to see a cap for the usb end and then it'd look good enough to serve a dual purpose - as a usb flash drive and a cool looking punked out necklace charm - heck i'd wear it. ;0) again - great job Kaelessin
Kaelessin (author)  -chase-4 years ago
ooh . . .a necklace . . .good idea! I don't really wear jewelry (aside from a watch) so i never thought of this but perhaps my next one will be a necklace! I hope to be able to make and sell these (and similar) things some day and I would imagine necklaces would be popular!
Why don't you try Steampunking your watch. Hopefully, I'll post an Istructable on a Steampunk watch soon (when I have time, and a watch).
Kaelessin (author)  prototype22133 years ago
I have to keep a somewhat professional exterior right now since I'm in the consulting business but definitely a project for a time when I get a new one! (heh with a watch you always have the time! (get it!!??))
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