Introduction: Copper Usb Pen/ Flash Drive With Vacuum Tube

About: I am a father, musician and a DIYer
I wanted to build a cool flash drive, after being inspired by other I saw on indestructibles.

Its kinda Steam punk. 

You can have the coolest drive at school or the office.

This is my first attempt at this style. I think I'll do it again with more mods.

Parts List:

  • Flash drive- I used one that had a two layered case where I was able to slide off the outer leaving a transparent plastic the glows with the LED.

  • 3/4" copper pipe- I only need about 4"

  • 3/4" copper caps

  • Old small vacuum tube- I had a bunch , 9 pin preamp tubes 12ax7 type fit perfect in the pipe.


  • Pipe cutter

  • Dremel with cutting disk and wire brush

  • Propane torch and plumbing solder accessories.

  • Pliers

  • Hot Glue Gun

  • Clamp or Vise

Step 1: Pipe Prep

Use  your pipe cutter to cut the pipe to length based on the length of my flash drive and tube.

Next I drew my lines to cut viewing holes.  I wanted them to show the glass tube.  MY goal was to make it glow. 

I cut 4 1" x 1/8" slits with a dremel.   Beware the copper will get very hot very quick.  Use a clamp or vise to hold it secure .

Next use a wire wheel on the dremel to polish the entire thing inside and out, or the tube won't slide in, and the solder wont stick.

Step 2: Tube Prep

Grip the Tube with a rag in case it breaks. 

Use Pliers to grasp the wires.  Pull and twist and the whole end of the tube should break off pretty easily.  Mine worked on the first attempt.  Caution!!! this will leave a sharp edge!

Slide out the tube guts .

Step 3: Solder the End Cap

With this step you should know how to solder or Sweat copper pipe.

With the areas to solder cleaned, apply solder flux where solder will be.

Heat with a torch until the flux bubble good. 

apply solder quickly in the joint.   When properly heated the solder suck right in.

Cool the tube before proceeding.

Now use the dremel again with the wire brush to clean and polish the whole thing.

Step 4: Assembly

Glue the usb cover into the other end cap.  Fill the cap with hot glue , use plenty  hot glue doesn't stick well on copper.  Quickly insert the flash drive cap first holding it square to the endcap until the glue is set.  I used to hole drive to better judge squareness.

Stick the flash drive in the tube and slide both into the pipe leaving the usb end out the desired distance. The tube should be tight enough to stay on its own.  

Pull the drive back out. Coat the edges in hot glue and quickly insert to into the pipe to desired depth. After the glue is set put the cap on and Your DONE!


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