Flip plug USB flash drive keeps this Mini looking stock when not connected.
Step 1: Supplies!
I've made several Hot Wheels/ Matchbox Flash drives, and with all of them I've tried to keep the plug hidden when not in use. The wow effect is kind of spoiled when you've got a USB plug sticking out the back of the car that at scale would be the size of a bookcase. Fortunately companies keep coming up with smaller drives and ways to hide/ retract the plug.
When I saw this little dude, I knew it would fit nicely in something. The working parts are contained entirely in the plug.
So, you will need:
OCZ Roadster (appropriate, eh?) flash drive. I think these go up to 4 gig; this one's 1 gig.
Update: I was recently thinking of making another one, and found that this flash drive is no longer made! I couldn't find anything like it. Bummer!
Matchbox/ Hot Wheels car. I just took the drive to the store and held it up to various cars until I found one that fit. Turns out, the Mini's perfect.
Drill with a 3/16 bit
Jeweler's saw, a cutoff wheel in a Dremel might work
A fine file, a set of needle files is a great investment for this sort of stuff
Hot Glue Gun, What else would hold this together?
Step 2: Dismantle the Car
Time to open up the micro chop shop...
These things are held together by stubs from the body rivetted over on the underside holding the bottom of the car on. It is a simple matter to carefully drill off the peened metal, allowing the "chassis" to separate from the body. (Don't drill through your hand.)
Step 3: Deconstruct the Drive
This thing is really simple. The USB plug part snaps between the sides of the cover and is held in with two rubber plugs. A little head scratching lead to the perfect way to integrate drive and car...
Step 4: A Little Rear Axle Work
The wheels are held to the axle by the ends being peened over. Carefully file off one of these heads. (I forgot to photograph this step.)
With the X-acto knife, cut off the heads off the rubber plugs. Poke or drill a hole through the center of each plug. This is a little trickier than it sounds due to the d-shaped part on the inside. I sliced a little channel in that part so the axle would be right in the center.
Assemble the drive and wheels. I was thinking I'd have to glue one wheel on because I filed the head off, but I got lucky and there was just enough burr left to hold the wheel on. A few months later and it still hasn't fallen off.
I also cut the lanyard loop off the flash drive case, and had to file a little off the bottom edges to get the wheels to be on the "ground".
Step 5: Chassis Mods
Trace the drive case onto the bottom of the car, and cut out. The plastic cuts easily with the X-acto. (Don't cut yourself.)
Step 6: Interior Mods
Lining up the chassis with the interior, mark out the parts that need to be removed. This is trickier, because the case will be going through the seats and stuff. Go slowly, check often, and always cut away from your flesh.
Step 7: Body Mods
The only thing that needs to be trimmed on the body is the after rivet stud. This is fairly thick metal, so it has to be sawed. A jeweler's saw works wonders, but you could do it with a Dremel.
Step 8: Test Fit and Glue Up!
Make sure all is in readiness, and it all fits together nicely. Heat up the ol' glue gun (man, these things are handy!), and stick it all together.
Step 9: The Showroom Floor and Test Drives
So, here's the finished product and a couple of others I made and gave away as Christmas presents.
The maroon retractable one is my favorite. The only problem with it is that because of the orientation of the slider, when it's plugged into a port on a computer, the car is upside down. But when you use a cable, the drive lights up underneath the car! Pimp my flash drive!
The skull car was cut in half with the jeweler's saw, and a USB plug cap was glued into the front half. It's surprisingly secure, and rolls just fine.