Polymer Clay Thumb Drive




An oven, some time, some artistic talent (more than I have, anyway) and some polymer clay are all you need to have a cool, unique thumdrive....Er...I suppose you need a thumbdrive too.

I don't think that these are instructions that anyone really needs. I just wanted to tell the world that it could be done.

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Step 1: Remove the Case From Your Thumbdrive.

I suppose I could have taken pictures of this process but there are many manufacturers of thumb drives and the steps probably wouldn't apply to yours.

It's pretty simple. Just find the seam and poke and pry.

Step 2: Cover All But the USB Connector With Polymer Clay.

This is where design considerations come in. It's all a matter of taste.

Step 3: Bake

The brand I use says to bake 15 minutes for every 6mm (1/4in) of thickness at 130C (275F). I think they are all pretty much the same.

Step 4: Some Thoughts That Aren't Really Steps

The only down side is that you wind up covering the LED. On the ones where the led flashes whenever the drive is being accessed this could be a minor problem. You just have to make sure it is unmounted before pulling the drive.

On the ones I have the LED is useless. It is lit whenever the drive has power. I don't know why they even bothered with it.

They do make translucent versions of the clay but they aren't really clear. I may try just using a glass shard as a window in future attempts.

One last thing. I doubt anyone who uses a thumb drive needs this warning needs to hear this but.........Don't try this on a drive that has the only copy of data you need...Duh.

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    37 Discussions


    12 years ago on Step 4

    why dont you just make a mold with the clay bake the clay and glue the drive in later that way youd be able to do much more with the led artisticly speaking and in saying that i think regular model glue would probably do.

    4 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Rofl. Its polymer clay. It doesn't shrink, one of the lovely things about it. And hence the reason he said at 130*c, cause polymer clay only needs low temperatures to cure, unlike most other clays.


    Reply 2 years ago

    What is going to melt or fall out? If you glue it on after it is baked nothing is going to melt. If you epoxy the cover on it's no more likely to fall off than the original case. You are more likely to have problems if you bake it directly onto the thumb drive whether you leave the original case intact (and glue on your polymer clay cover) or remove the original case and cover the thumb drive directly. Computer components don't like heat--though at the low temp you bake polymer clay that probably won't be an issue. Still, there is a risk, while adding the case and baking seperatly completely removes that particular risk.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I made these for my husband using polymer clay, but I didn't remove the original shell.I just made a case and glued it on with epoxy.See ore at suzyhomefaker.bolgspot.com.

    Picnik collage (33).jpg

    10 years ago on Step 4

    I'm surprised the drive survives the oven. Nice instructable.

    Ok things that thumbdrives I put in that are unecessary -lighters -big shrink wrap - 4 usb altoids tin with hub built in (with the possiblity of 24GB storage so far -a BB gun (no idea why but ya no those tiny keychain ones) -plastic petri dish (too awkward) -bottle opener - 9V battery casing (tricky but cool) -stapler (don't no why myself) -permanent marker (really good as they can work fin if the have the feltip inside) -Padlock (I spent an hour being bored hollowing it out so i did that) -Highlighter pen (great for ones with good leds replace with superbright and glowing highlighter is born) -Fimo similar idea to the stuff you used but more like foam that's hard -mini alarm clock (handy for school as a personal lunch bell) -digi cam bag (has three built in as they fill up quick) -my next one's going to be a simple vacuum molded roacket with racing stripe and port holes for the LED (glue drop windows prolly) How bout you, I mean it takes someone bored and adventurous with their drives to put them in the oven. gotta get one of those cube MP3's they would be great for case mods.

    12 replies

    hey can you tell me how to hollow out a padlock cuz that sounds wicked! please email me at bikecrash@gmail.com and all hte instructions in it with pix plz :0) i understand if its too much work..im lazy too :)

    any cutting drill bit for metal powerful drill and a good aim, then file out the rest with a round file a few mm smaller than teh drill bit

    not complicated just drill big holes that make it sorta hollow but with the round edge bits still coming in so you file them off, it was easy because I was bored, I've done my most inventive and creative things when bored...

    doesn't have to be a usb... how bout a padlock lighter, just need a lighter with a reservoir and a tube the goes to teh gas nozzle after that it's really simple to do, I made a permanent marker into a lighter using the guts of a BBQ igniter, why? because I go flying in liverpool but live in northern ireland therefore I was sick of leaving lighters behind in airports so I devised a plan to avoid this. Only question I ever got was 'wow marker pens look dead complicated inside' as it went through the scanner... I love idiots sometimes its just funny as hoohah

    yeah I'm in the process of making one with a workin lighter but it's a toughie but it will happen sometime, especcially since I have two jet lighter nozzles and the T connector spare, now add a lunatic and drive (note to self keep destruction to a minum with lunacy.....)