You've seen them before. People taking thumb drives and putting them in different housings. There's the highlighter, the lighter, the pinkeraser, and many, many [https://www.instructables.com/id/Foam-apple-keychain-flash-drive.../ more]. (My apologies to those that didn't get linked.)
Well, I've wanted to do one for a long time, but couldn't come up with a good case. I looked around my office, and found nothing worthy. Then I started to think about the basement. My tote filled with useless computer parts that the geek in me won't let go of. Then it hit me.
I HAVE AN OLD CUECAT! And the 1 Gig CueCat was born.
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Step 1: Gather Your Parts
First step in any project, gather your parts.
I also used some of the following things that are not pictured:
-- Leatherman--you'll see him later
-- hot glue gun
-- modeling glue
-- various small screwdrivers
Step 2: Disassmebly: CueCat
First thing to do is take apart the CueCat. Four small screws on the bottom, and it opens up easily.
You may find that you have to get a small flat head screwdriver and gently pry it apart, or you may be able to take it apart with your hands.
When you open it up, you'll see that the "tail" is attached to the circuit board, and has to be cut. Once cut, the cord would not slip out. I decided I wanted to have the butt plug in place on the finished product, so I needed to get this out. A little pulling, and it broke out.
I lucked out big time, too. I thought I was going to have to gut it completely, and find a way to mount the flash drive in there. Turns out it comes with a little black box up front that worked really well as a mount/encasement for the drive. More on that later.
Step 3: Disassmebly: CueCat Part 2
So, I've got this little black box, but it's attached to the rest of the guts. Turns out that inside the black box were two little LEDs. They provided the light for the scanning. The circuit board on top of it was held down with some double sided tape and came up pretty easy. It was really flimsy, so it broke when it came apart, but that didn't matter.
I pried and pried, and finally got the circuit board off and the LEDs out.
Step 4: Disassmebly: the Drive
I got this drive from a free internet offer. I answered a few questions about retirement, reverse mortgage, or some other such nonsense that I have no interest in quite yet. A few weeks later, after I forgot about it, I get it in the mail. COOL!
This drive was really easy to take apart. In the picture you can already see the metal colored plastic ring pried off. Just a small flat head and a little bit of effort...
Then turn the screwdriver to the seam, and it comes open easily too. No glue.
The drive itself is actually hot glued down to the case. This surprised me, and worried me. How am I going to get this out. Just a little bending of the plastic case, and it came right off.
I found out later that this drive runs HOT! So hot, that if I had plugged it in as you see it here, the glue would have melted, and the case would have fallen off. I actually left it plugged in, without accessing any files, and let the heat melt the glue that was left to wipe it off. It was too hot to touch.
I checked with another drive I have that I can disassemble, and it doesn't run hot like this at all. This thing is CHEAP. But, what can you expect for free, right?
Step 5: The Planning: the Black Box
So, how am I going to fit these together?
Well, as you can see, the opening at the front of the black box was not as big as the USB connector. So, I had to trim. An Xacto knife worked really well at taking out unneeded and unwanted plastic. What I couldn't do with that, I did with my Leatherman.
Now, remember, you have to do about a half USB height on each side of the box, and you want it centered, so just be careful.
Step 6: The Planning: the Cat's Mouth
So, I want the drive sticking out of the mouth. We know that the drive is wider than the opening, so we have to open the cat's mouth a little bit.
In the first picture below, which I did just for you guys, I'm showing how the drive is too wide for the cat's mouth.
I took the box apart, took the drive out, put the box back together, and then put it back in the cat. This allowed me to size up the mouth.
Next I carefully cut away the plastic, a little at a time, until the drive fit just the way I wanted it. It's not perfect, but it's good.
Step 7: Testing the Fit
The drive was fairly secure at this point even though it was just a friction fit. But, it was a little loose. I wanted to make a backer so that when you put the drive in, it didn't push into the CueCat. So, I sized it up, and tried to glue down an extra piece of plastic with modeling glue.
That didn't work.
So, I tried some epoxy. That didn't work either.
I really didn't want to use hot glue because of the concerns sited earlier, but I had no choice. I ended up putting a little bit of hot glue on the circuit board to help secure it in place. I didn't cover any electronics. I figured that would melt it.
Step 8: Can't See the Light
I put it all together for another dry fit. No screws, just put it together. I plugged it in, and there was no light. That black box is too black. So, I had to cut a hole.
I also found that the cat's skull was a little thick. (Maybe that's why this thing never took off?) I shaved it down a little from the inside, thinning out the plastic so you could see the light.
Step 9: Final Assembly
So, slide it all back together, screw it all together, and you are good to go!