Intro: Alien USB Drives - SUGRU HACK
USB Drives, thumb drives, flash drives - whatever you call them are very useful, but very boring and very difficult to tell apart (especially if everyone in the office/house has several!)
So I decided with a bit of sugru I could make my collection of USB drives a little more interesting - my six USB drives are now completely unique and much more fun.
You can get Sugru here at www.sugru,com
I will run through how I made the orange/black double-header - and then run through the difference textures you can make easily
Step 1: Remove the Casing
Using a pair of pliers, a screw-driver and constant gentle pressure remove the plastic casing from the two USB drives to reveal the simple circuit board with the metal usb connection at one end. This is a point where you must be very careful - both to avoid damaging the chip - but much more importantly to avoid hurting yourself.
Step 2: Mask the Important Components
First off cover the the metal sections with some form of masking - I have used cut up pieces of sugru packs (as it hardly sticks to the stuff even once it it cured) stuck down with simple sellotape, You are gonna be covering the metal connector with Sugru so you have to fairly sure that the metal is all covered - especially that none of the holes are open!
Step 3: Make the Cap Section
Open the first pack of Sugru - and create the cap which is fused to the far end of the other usb chip.
First off you use a pad of sugru to link the masked metal connector of one drive to the far end of the other - you then clad the whole end. It really just means slowly building up through small lumps into two caps - the picture is much the easiest way to explain .
1. Bear in mind that on the metal connector you have masking which you mould around. On the other chip you are trying to permanently bond to the chip and circuit board
2. There is no need to be neat - you are gonna cover up everything.
LEAVE THE SUGRU TO CURE!
Step 4: Cover the Whole Chip
Seperate the two chips.
Using blobs of orange and black - very roughly cover the two chips (including the already cured caps) Rather than be careful with the finish - make sure that the sugru is into every nook and cranny.
I deleted my picture of this phase - whoops. But it is not great looking - it is blobby and ugly.
Now using a pin start pricking and drawing. The picture below shows the very first pricking and drawing . You can see it breaks up the boundaries . You push the pin in a few millimetres and drag slightly as removing
Only holding the metal connector go over the whole of the two chips and create the first level of texture
Step 5: Complete the Texture
After going over the entire two chips with the pin - using a scalpel blade to further break up the surface. I kept the blade in the same direction and just tapped all over - to try and make a "fur-like" texture
You can note from the picture that I have put a lump of bluetack on the metal connector - this means that you can put the piece down without flattening all your hard work
Step 6: Trim to Fit
Really carefully trim the sugru away from the metal connector. You must go really slowly - you can always take a bit away, but you have a horrible job adding more back.
By carefully going backwards and forwards - putting the two chips together, trim a bit, try to put together again, trim a bit more... etc - you should be able to get to a situation where the two chips fit with no gap.
Step 7: Final Results
You should end up with two identical usb drives - with each one ecompassing the cap of the other one
Step 8: Different Texture
Below is the same two chip arrangement - but in blue.
First I covered the chip and created the caps with black sugru. I then made a thin covering of blue. This texture is made by poking in perpendicular with a pin and then rotated slightly to enlarge the whole and distort the pattern. These are made from half length chips from two kingston drives
EDIT - Should have made this clear. The lower base level (in this case black) but be allowed to cure completely before putting on top level and making texture. (thanks for spotting and mentioning Terrapinlogo!)
Step 9: Same Texture With Different Colours
This drive uses a similar rough moss-like texture on a single drive. I didn't remove the case on this drive and decided to leave the cap clear. The texture was made was made in a very similar manner - but finished with a pin rather than with a scalpel blade. The texture works slightly better than the orange/black for a few reasons - the nice colours and the greater depth of sugru that I was able to use.
Step 10: Strange Texture
This texture is perhaps the most unusual - and perhaps my favourite. This a drive without the case removed and I covered both the drive and the original cap.
Initially I covered the chip in orange - and went over the whole chip and made the fur/moss pricking texture all over. Let the sugru cure completely - a day or so minimum. I then mashed green sugru into every little nook and cranny - it looked really messy, Again let it cure totally.
Then with a super sharp scalpel blade or craft knife - I cut away tiny slices of the outside layer. Eventually I got down to a piebald mixed layer that I found really weird and attractive. The cut sugru has a slightly different feeling to it
Step 11: To Sum Up
Now have 6 completely unusual - and unmistakable USB drives that are interesting to look at and are very tactile.
Hope that people fancy try making an alien usb drive
All the best