USB Stick Lost-and-Found





Introduction: USB Stick Lost-and-Found

Pier 9's 3D print room is a black hole for USB drives. It seems that almost everyone who uses the 3D printers leaves their drive behind. Sometimes people forget their entire set of keys. The old lost-and-found was a drawer in the corner, and we needed a better solution. Enter, the USB Stick Lost-and-Found.

Step 1: Measure

First, I measured a USB port on my computer with calipers to get precise dimensions. Based on my measurements a USB port is .5 inches by .2 inches. The rectangle inside is .1 inches from the bottom and surrounded by a .02 inch channel on the top and sides.

Step 2: CAD

The next step was to go directly to Fusion 360 and build a CAD model of the part. I modeled one slot and then used the rectangular pattern tool to copy it 33 times. I used the text and extrude tools to write the text along the top. I have included the Fusion 360 file and an STL of the design.

Step 3: Print

I used the Objet printers at Pier 9 to print out the model. I would suggest hollowing the part out before printing if you decide to print this part using a resin printer. The version I made is solid and it is much heavier than it needs to be.

Step 4: Clean

Cleaning the 3D printed part is important here. In order to avoid getting support material gunk all over other people's USB drives use a thin sharp tool to scrape out the space inside each of the slots. It helps to soak the print in water to soften the support material before cleaning.

Step 5: Mount

3M mounting tape is pretty amazing stuff. Be careful in your placement because it's hard to change your mind once it is stuck to the wall.

Step 6: Use

Now that the lost and found plaque is mounted it is time to plug in all the orphaned USB drives. Hopefully, now that they are out in the open people will be more likely to rescue them.

2 People Made This Project!

  • How's this?-CobyUnger

    CobyUnger made it!

  • Thanks, I needed one...-sweeezn

    sweeezn made it!


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Wow this is very clever! Unfortunately, I don't have a 3D-Printer... Maybe it's an idea to think of the same idea but then without the 3D-printing? I'm going to think of this myself but maybe it's a nice challenge for you too? :)

No problem. Remember to post photos once you finish!

Glad you like it.
Maybe you could use a hard bake clay like Sculpey. First make a small tool that is the same shape as a USB stick and press it into the clay. Once you bake it you should be able to achieve a similar result. The only problem would be if the clay shrinks when you bake it. You may need to compensate for this by making the tool a little bit bigger than a USB stick.

USB Stick Lost-and-Found
in my language that translates to "FREE USB DRIVES" OR "HACKBLE VICTIMS".
it's a good thing you trust your coworkers, i saw the comments below.

then again. that might be why they get return to their respective owners, because somebody might be afraid of what's on it.

In each of my USB drives, I place a text file called "This stick belongs to" in the root directory, containing my name and contact details. So if found by an honest person, it should get returned.

I keep my keys separate, so that if found by a thief, they can't connect the keys with my address !

I wanted to get my name on the list of people who place a text file on their USB drives.

well for starters I do it with all my external media, except the 3 small external hard drives I have ( they are Mac formatted, so they are usually dangling off my computer. and they are clear so, they are fairly easy to notice ).

now I actually have 3 files.
contains the volume title of the USB drive in case it gets changed ( yes I've had it happen ) it breaks down to "VT" is short for "volume title", "MyName_Last", "size" and "drive number".

these two files contain the exact same thing, name, phone#, e-mail and address.
so you might be asking, why do I have 2 of them?
interesting answer, i mark both files as read-only in Windows ( Mac doesn't always respect it and it doesn't translate to windows, but it works the other way around. )

the file with ".IV.", i don't know if I should tell you all this?
All right you talked me into it, ".IV." indicates that it should be an invisible file ( that other check box in Windows ) so even if you figure out how to delete or modify the read-only file you will have to have visible files turned on to see the extra.

and by now you should be able to guess what my drives volume labels are.

well I'am here I should mention I love the idea of having something pop up when It gets plugged-in. but after that security scare with automatically running software from disks and drives, i don't know how feasible that is going to be in the future. ( plus it would annoy me! )

The text file is a good idea, I use a jpegf of me holding a sign with my email address. But don't forget the volume label: I rename a drive when I get it then instead of just showing as Drive E:, it shows up as Drive E:GRAY_D_1. This comes in handy when collaborating and multiple thumb drives are inserted at once too. Make telling the drives apart much easier.