Flashdrive in Audio-Casette




Introduction: Flashdrive in Audio-Casette

This afternoon I went curious how many tape actually is wrapped up in an audio casette, it's a lot, and during the process of cleaning the mess I destroyed the casing of my old 128 Meg memory stick.

So I was left over with a USB Flashdrive without any casing and an empty audiocasette, I didn't get rid of either, because I noticed the PCB fits in the old casette casing. I modified the casette a bit, and snuggled in my flashdrive. Having the thing in my pocket for about 15 minutes was a pain, because the USB plug poked into my leg. Also I thought it was quite sad the casette didn't fit in it's original case.

I went for a redo, and now, turning the wheel next to the B will make the USB plug pop out, and in again, like a U3 cruzer, but different.

I want to tell you in this instructable how to do what I done. I'll try supply you with some pictures, but at the moment of making the USB-Casette I didn't think of writing an instructable about it.

Here's a little vid of the end product:

Step 1: What We Need

1. A spare audio-casette
2. A screwdriver
3. Some really thick spungy tape of which I don't know the name. I'll give a description at the bottom, you might have it lying around. (I'll name it borrehtape for now.)
4. A USB Flashdrive.
5. A staple. No gun. Just one staple.

So, the tape I'm talking about, it's about 1 cm wide and 0,5 cm high. It's sorta spungy and I often use it to protect big yet vulnerable electronic parts such as microcontrollers, or in this case, flash memory. If you know what I'm talking about please comment, you'll make me happy.

Step 2: Preparing the Audio-casette.

The casette I used was an XLII (Maxell) - It's two halves are held together by screws instead of the glue often used. If you already got yourself a screwless casette, I think it's better to dive into your mixtape collection and find a casette with screws. (burn the contents to a CD, if desired, you've got other instructables for that.)

1. Remove all screws from the casette and open it up.
2. Remove the black matter from the casette, you've got two options:
I Do it like me and role it carefully out around your house, through your bedroom, bathroom, diningroom, livingroom and measure how long it is
II Just head on to the next step
3. Remove both tapewheels from the casette, put them on your desk. If there's black matter around both of them, the steps 4 to 7 are going to be easier but you gotta do them twice then.
4. Hold the wheel at the black matter with both indexfingers, and use your thumbs to push out the white little pulley.
5. The major part of black stuff is off there, unwind the rest manualy or gravitatually.
6. Once you're done unwinding, you'll notice the tape is attached to the pully with a seperate little block. Look twice, sometimes it just fits seamlessly into the pully.
7. Push out the white block and the white little pulley is free to go, don't forget to put the white block back into there as you're gonna need it.
8. Remove the other two little pulleys at the bottom of the casette. You don't need them and they're annoying while assembling.

Now head on to the next step where I'll tell you how to prepare the USB-Flashdrive.

Step 3: Preparing the Flashdrive.

It differs per type and make, so you're gonna need to find out the major part yourself. Keep in mind you need to reach the PCB of the Flashdrive with all the electronics on it. The USB plug is usually attached directly to the PCB. Don't remove it.

I'll explain you how I could have taken mine apart. The dropofthestairsvacuumcleanerlaundrymachine method isn't suitable for all of them, so ye.

1. Find the line that goes around the USB stick at which the two halves of the casing are stuck together.
2. Try to seperate these two. Start of by sticking your screwdriver inbetween the usb connector and the casing, give some force to lift the top up. It may crack open already.
3. If it doesn't, you've at least created a new little gap inbetween which you can put your screwdriver again to extend the gap.
4. Once you've opened it, take the PCB and get rid of the casing, or put the black matter in there.

Step 4: Flashdrive --> Casettecasing

Here comes the fun part. I've been fuxoring for hours on finding out how to make the USB plug extend and retract again. The solution was simple. Follow the steps. If I'm not clear, the picture says it all.

0. Close the casette for a moment and indicate for yourself where the hole for the next step is going to be.
1. Make a rectangular hole in either the left or the right side of the casette. The rectangle must have the same size as the USB plug. I went for the topmost part of the left side of the B-side. You might need to remove the socket in which the screw was. One screw less is no problem.
2. Now place the flashdrive PCB above the pulley holes, just against the 'ceiling' of the casette. The USB plug must fit through the hole.
3. Place some borrehtape right under the PCB to make sure it doesn't slide out of position.
4. Fold the staple into a straight wire.
5. Bend about 3 mm of one end back down, and about 2 mm of the other end to the left.
6. Hook the end pointing down in the little removeable block of the tape-pulley.
7. Hook the end pointing to the right in one of the wire which connect the usb-plug-exteriour to the PCB.
8. Now when you turn the wheel, the usb drive pops in and out.
9. Close up your casette, and you're good to go!

Step 5: Other Fun Ideas

Other fun ideas, well eh :/

Instead of the little wimpy led on the flashdrive PCB, use a super-sharp blue led to light the little window when writing.

Remove all electronics from an old casette-player, build a computer into it, and make let the motor of the tape player turn the wheel so the usb plug pops out and plugs into a usb host located next to the casette-holder.

Put it in it's original casette storage box.

Do thesame with an MP3 player, so you've got a casette with headphones-out.

Visit this instructable, as this guy was first and I discovered about that while writing this - Though I see some advantages in my design. It'll fit a lot better in any computer as the usb plug goes out further, but can be retracted as well, so you initially don't see that's it's a flashdrive cassette! (And you can put it back into the case ghehe)

Add an idea? The comment button is your friend!

Step 6: Problems Faced

I'm gonna put a list of problems and their solutions here.

1. It won't fit in some computers (thanks to Acidrain1)
Use a usb extension cable. These cables fit in any computer usually. A short one will do.
2. The plug slides back while plugging it into the computer (thanks to Acidrain1)
Hold the wheel with your finger, so the plug can't slide back.

Tell me what problems you faced, and the solutions you may have, I'll put them up here!

1 Person Made This Project!


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Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

Cool. Hey I should make 'nother random instructable. I haven't stopped building random apparati.


Wouldn't it be cooler if this was a DIY flash MP3 player that works with a cassette dock.


Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

Been fantasizing about that too. I still want to build my old PC into an even older Cassette deck, with an usb-port in the tape holder thingy.


12 years ago on Introduction

Ohmy. Dutch beer company Heineken is giving away miniatures which work suspiciously similar to the two side-extending USB flash drives on instructables. What the-


13 years ago on Introduction

very well done. the only problem i see would be when you plug it in you would need to be holding the reel so it woudnt just slide back in the casing unless you figured out a way to prevent that already. Also,from my own experience with flash drives and other usb periphs, sometimes it is hard to fit even the small ones into the small usb area most comps and laptops have. So size may be a factor to others trying this mod. otherwise very well done and very creative.


Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

Well, thanks, I'm not creative that often, so ye.. But I have to admit, I experienced that problem, but I've found out two solutions for now: 1. Hold the wheel with your finger while plugging in, 2. Use a short USB extension cable. Thanks a lot! I'm going to add this to the instructable.

Mr. Fishy
Mr. Fishy

13 years ago on Introduction

Woehee like it! One thing about the originality, the sliding-action has already been done in another instructable, here, but this mechanism (turn-sliding-action-thing) is much neater than a big hole in the side of the casette.


Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

I've made this thing without any research done on Flashdrive cassettes - I discovered about it when I already placed this instructable. It's still original, but it's been done before .