Intro: Giving My USB a New Life
So I have this Kingston USB (or flash drive if you like) I bought several years ago. Years of service showed proof on its appearance now. The cap is already gone and the casing seems taken from a junk yard with traces of discoloration.
The USB board itself is still functioning well so my plan is to just replace the casing and I got my idea from this ible. But it showed no steps to follow so I made mine and documented it as follows.
Step 1: Removing the Case
The first thing I did was to remove the old casing. The case is quite easy to disassemble and I just used tweezers to do it. It has a couple of small openings at the USD connector side so I was able to slip the tip of the tweezers in it. Then I carefully pried the case so that the circuit board will not get damaged 'till it cracked open.
I kept the old case for whatever purpose that may arrive in the future (who knows).
Step 2: Choosing the New Case
I choose to use acrylic for its new casing. I first thought of using printed circuit boards since it is already available but that seem less manageable for this case and since I already have as well some acrylic boards lying around plus the added good effect of transparency it gives. Have crossed in my mind as well the use of 3D printer but unfortunately I don't have access to one.
The acrylic boards I used are the anti-static type so the USB board's critical components will not get damaged if ever.
Step 3: Cutting the Case Parts
So I traced the USB using a pen on the acrylic board. The traces include the upper and lower panel, the side parts and the bottom (rear) part. I give extra space for the traces so that there is allowance for excessive grinding and sanding.Then I started cutting the parts starting with the upper and lower panels using a hack saw while the acrylic board is held in a bench vise. I then cut the other parts of the casing afterwards.
Step 4: Sanding the Case Parts
To hasten the job, I grind first the edges of each acrylic piece using a bench grinder then they were flattened/ refined using a piece of sand paper and a "guide" (I used a diskette and piece of metal case) to have it done at right angle. Doing this ensures that the connecting parts have the right planarity (or the parts are not oriented slanting) when the parts are glued together.
Step 5: Gluing the Parts of the Case
After sanding the edges, I cleaned the parts and then glued them together using a super glue with the USB board inside the case. This process is quite tricky specially that the glue dries quickly and if one acrylic piece is attached wrongly or off alignment, the case will be poorly assembled ( and there is no turning back!). The whole thing will be redone from the start if that would be the case.
With this, extra care and precaution is necessary.
The process is as follows:
1. First, I glued the two side parts on the lower panel.
2. As the glue dries, I placed the USB on it. Then I added two small pieces of acrylic on the opening at the USB connector like a stopper to hold the USB board in place and not easily pulled-out.
3. Next, I glued the upper panel covering the USB board except for the connector.
4. Lastly, I attached the rear acrylic part.
Slight deformities can then be sanded if necessary.
Step 6: Adding a Cap
I also made a cap to replace the missing cap of the original casing. The process is just the same with the casing itself except for the 'stopper'. The cap should be tight enough to hold itself in place. The cap was done by tracing the dimension of USB connector over the acrylic board with enough spaces. The traces are cut into pieces then I grind/sanded them to achieve a good planarity on the edges just like that of the casing. Finally, I glued them together as planned.
Step 7: New Case Is Done!
The case and cap are done and my USB has been given a new life.
I trimmed the corners to add some style.
Love the looks of it now.