Steampunk USB Drive, Handmade "Submariner" Altered Art




This drive is made with salvaged copper and brass plumbing fixtures. I find items like this at flea markets and thrift shops. This is made entirely of glass and metal. All the metal connections are hard soldered with an acetylene torch. I use a bench grinder, rotaty tool and files to shape the metal.

It features a glass porthole to view the inner workings. You'll see in the last picture why I call it the "Submariner".

The existing LED on the card lights up the porthole when it's transfering. I used fiberoptic line to carry the light into the glass tail.

It has a rubber O  ring in the cap to make it watertight.

Thanks for looking. If you like my work you can see more of it here:

Please note: this is posted as a slideshow and not an instructional. I will be happy to answer specific questions though.

From the submit page of this site. 
"What can I use slideshows for?
Slideshows are for showing off photos of what you made or did, but don't have full instructions to create an Instructable with."

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest
    • Robotics Contest

      Robotics Contest

    21 Discussions

    GeorgianBay Scott

    3 years ago

    I am relatively new to Steampunk and I love it. I am going to make one of those thumb drives this week and I appreciate the inspiration your instructions have provided. Take a look at my steampunked teardrop and let me know what you think.


    6 years ago

    They look great. Do you do your own thread cutting or is this a cleverly reused part?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Where did you get the glass for the porthole? did you cut it yourself? Also does anyone have any suggestions on where to get some good fiber optics?

    The definition is pretty broad and covers literatuure, dress, art and more. I like to think of it as sience fiction taking pace in the 1800s but there's more to it. If you Google it you'll get more and better answers than I can provide here.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Two or three in-process photos (maybe one on the threading) and a reference to the USB stick used would be enough to say its more instructable slideshow than add. And frankly, I appreciate having the option to being able to buy this item.

    Most of this project is about creativity and craftsmanship. Like wood carving - easier to watch than to do. So if you did not know basically how to do this already, I wonder if a detailed instructable would be that helpful.

    Anyway - if you have the skills already, aren't you inspired to try so by this?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Photos/slideshows are for showing off your work, exactly like this.

    If steamworkshop can also sell his work on Etsy, fantastic! Maybe one day he won't need a day job, and can build awesome steampunk projects full-time, if that's his goal. Nothing wrong with it at all, so please be nice.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    one of the coolest drives I've ever seen. I wish i knew more about metal\glass working to make something like this.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    for those asking for instructions...this is actually a lot better than others like this (look like ads) that i have seen recently. at least this person has given a bunch of nice pictures and detailed all the important features. For example, I would not have guessed a fibre optic was used, but that is stated.

    I would think most people with some metal working skill could duplicate this fairly closely or better yet, use it as inspiration (I wouldn't want one to look exactly the same myself).

    Basically the instructions are like so: disassemble a USB drive leaving the USB connector intact and shove it into a container made out of metal and glass bits you have lying around. Fiddle around with the LED (if your drive has one) so that it can be seen nicely despite the new case.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Can't believe I only just saw this! This is truly a work of genius! I love the fact that if you fell into a lake/pool/etc. it wouldn't be toast! now we just need an underwater computer lol Great idea too with the thrift stores and flea markets . . .I'll be hitting those up soon for future projects!

    Actually I've been planning one. I ordered a couple lazer pointers that use AAA batteries instead of the odd/expensive batteries most of them use. It'll be a little while since I'm finishing another USB drive and a few lamps right now.

    how about a steampunk, USB laser pointer? I would make it myself but I have nowhere near the steampunkish skills that you so obviously have...(~suck up, slobber, would you like me to polish you shoes, etc.~)


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Looks astounding... beautifully designed, functional, and sturdy are what describe this professional-looking (if there ever was such a thing :D) steampunk work of art. Sometimes, cheap components and superfluous additions make quick 'n dirty steampunk projects common, however the quality of this and your other works are simply fantastic and stand out. Well done!

    1 reply