Introduction: Create Awesome USB Keys With Sugru and Random Objects!
USB keys are sooooo boring !!!!
I want something awesome and very personal, it helps that it looks different to everyone else' keys and it makes it super easy to find. I now have a few different keys for different stuff.
1 for work and another for personal files.
For one USB stick you will need:
1. USB flash drive
I used a USB key with cheap plastic housing that was easy to remove. We found that the USBs you get from www.play.com are super easy to get into. Also they don't cost too much, you can get 3 for around £11 and they are 4GB so a decent size. These are the ones we bought.
2. masking tape
4: your accessory to customise the USB
Why is sugru good for this:
1: Electrically insulating and waterproof so will protect your electronics
2: Bonds to most materials
3: Is easy to mould by hand
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Step 1: Removing the Original Case
Removing the USB casing is kinda like opening a fortune cookie !!!!
Use a scalpel blade to prise open the USB casing at one end
You can then prise the two halves of the USB apart revealing the lovely electronics inside.
Step 2: Preparing the USB
Before you start to sugru your USB it is best to mask off the connection end to ensure that it will fit into your computer when finished.
Insert the raw USB into the port on your computer.
Use a pencil to mark how far it enters the port.
Wrap masking tape around the end up to this point. This way, when you build up your sugru you know that the drive will still fit in the port.
It is worth making a mark on the masking tape as to which side is the upside when inserted in the computer as you don't want your lovely customisation upside down when it goes in the computer. The upside has two dots underneath the squares while the downside has a line running between the two squares.
Step 3: Covering the Circuit Board
To cover the USB circuit board you will need roughly half to two thirds of a mini pack with some sugru left over to finish customising.
LESS IS MORE: It is best to apply the sugru in smaller pieces and spread it out so as to use just enough.
Press the sugru flat to the point where the masking tape ends.
Ensure there is enough sugru around the back of the circuit board, sometimes small parts on the board penetrate the sugru.
Gently rub the sugru to get a smooth finish.
You are now ready to start customising.
Step 4: Attaching Stuff to the USB
When objects are smaller than the USB or a particular shape it is probably best to attach them to the USB rather than the other way around.
Once your circuit is covered take the object that you want to attach and place sugru along its underside.
Shape this sugru into a pyramid, this will ensure a stronger bond when pressing together.
Press the object onto the top side of the sugru covered USB.
Smooth over the joins with your finger for a clean finish.
Carefully remove the masking tape from the end of the USB. It is easier to do this when uncured. Press down the edges of the sugru but always push back into the sugru.
Leave the USB to cure overnight.
Step 5: Embeding Stuff Into the USB
You may want to add smaller details to your USB key, for example we embedded swarkowski crystals into one of ours.
To do this just cover the USB with the entire pack of sugru so the sugru body is far thicker.
Then press the base of what you are embedding into the sugru body.
Press the sugru around the edges of the embedded object.
Add as many as you want.
Smooth with your fingers.
Leave to cure overnight.
Step 6: EXPERT TIP 1 - Colour Mixing
Create a diverse range of sugru colours by mixing different amounts of the 5 colours together.
This is our colour mixing chart, you can also download a PDF version from here.
Mix the appropriate amounts of sugru colours together in your fingertips until the colour is the same thoughout.
Add small amounts of black or white if necessary to alter the shade. Only add small amounts of black and white at a time, it is easier to add more than it is to take away.
TOP TIP: When colour mixing sugru can get a bit more sticky. Use dry tissue paper to remove any excess sugru form your fingertips.
Step 7: EXPERT TIP 2 - Texturing
Texturing is a great way to really make your USB stand out.
You can use a wide range of objects to achieve different finishes.
We used a stick to achieve a wooden effect for our angry birds USB.
Thoroughly clean the object prior to texturing. Just gently but repeatedly press the surface into the sugru to leave an impression.
Step 8: EXPERT TIP 3 - Smooth Finish
To achieve a nice smooth finish with your sugru dip your fingers in soapy water and gently rub the sugru.
Step 9: EXPERT TIP 4 - Leaving to Cure
Leave to cure overnight.
If possible leave resting on the object attached to the USB but ensure that no sugru is touching the surface.
If this is not possible then tape the uncovered end of the USB to a table so that the USB stands vertically and does not touch the surface.
If the USB body is too heavy to stand vertically use another piece of tape to support the top but be sure not to touch the sugru with the tape.
Step 10: USB GIFTING!
Here's an idea for an inexpensive yet personal gift.
Create a custom USB and then fill it with all sorts of content (films, music, images, etc) that you know the person would love.
How to turn something very generic into something very personal and get yourself some serious brownie points!