We first discovered this material through stormdrane's Instructables and quickly got hooked - lanyards, bracelets, handles, we even went so far as to knit it to experiment with it.
We use a lot of flash drives to try out Linux distributions or pass data around. Over time, the glue that holds the case together tends to fail, so we came up with this quick paracord fix to squeeze a little more life out of them.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
For this project, you will need :
- paracord - 80 to 90 centimeters (about 3 feet) for a flash drive
- a good pair of scissors;
- a USB flash drive;
- a lighter to seal your paracord.
Step 2: Removing the Case
Depending on how weak the glue holding your flash drive has become, this step might be more or less easy.
Worst case scenario, you will be able to do that with your fingers and nails. A Swiss army knife, a precision screwdriver or a smartphone repair prying tool will work even better. Just make sure you don't damage the flash drive's board and don't yourself!
Once you cracked the case, it's time to measure and cut your paracord.
Step 3: Measure and Cut Your Paracord
Braiding a new case for a flash drive using a snake knot takes up 80 to 90 centimeters (or about 3 feet) of paracord cord. This is easily the most important step as it cannot be undone. To ensure the success of your paracord project:
- measure once;
- measure twice
You would be surprised how many people don't believe this is important. You would be equally surprise how many people end up running short of materials on a paracord project, or any project that involves cutting materials.
Step 4: Making a Loop
It's always convenient to have something to attach your flash drive to something like a key-ring or a , so let's give this little guy a loop. fold the cord in two equal parts, and set the flash drive on top of it. You can easily decide how big the loop will be at that stage but don't go too crazy ! You might end up a few inches short on paracord for your snake knot.
And now for the braiding...On to the next step !
Step 5: Braiding Your New Case
The knot we're going to use is the easy, famous snake knot you can see in Stormdrane's paracord bracelet Instructable and in so many others.
- Take the flash drive on top of the folded paracord, and make a loop to the left with the right-side half of paracord. It should then come under the flash drive and to its right (see picture 1) ;
- Take the left-side thread of paracord, make it go in a loop to the right, under the thread that went out to the right, and then over the drive into the loop (see picture 2) ;
- Tighten it all up together (picture 3), then repeat the steps from picture 1 and 2 on the other side of the flash drive (picture 4) ;
- Keep going alternating left and right and left and right, until you reach the end of the flash drive (see picture 5) !
It might be difficult at first, and the first knots will look ugly - but don't worry, it'll look better as you train and as you keep braiding ! Once you're done, time to cut, trim and seal the cord - in the next step !
Step 6: Trimming and Sealing Your Paracord
No need to keep the excess paracord : we're just going to cut it close to the body of the drive, and burn and seal it with the lighter. The strands of cord inside, as well as the outer sheath, will melt : once it does, press it against the strands of paracord with the flat side of the scissors so that it all binds together as the paracord cools off. Repeat on the other side, and you're good to go !
Step 7: The End, and Going Further.
It's always interesting to learn more about the materials you use. Here are a few extra resources to keep you going:
- the paracord article on Wikipedia will teach you more about the origin of this versatile material
- Stormdrane's blog continues to be a great source for paracord projects
- our local library also has resources on paracord projects for crafts, Every Day Carry or jewelry - yours probably does too!