This simple instructable will show you how to disguise a USB hub, to fit better with a steampuunk motif. I originally came up with this idea as part of a steampunk monitor design I've been working on, but it could easily be installed in any number of devices.
There are no great feats of engineering required here, but I thought the idea of using the track from a brass door chain lock was rather novel, and worth sharing with my fellow steampunk enthusiasts here on Instructables.
I recently realized that for some inexplicable reason, my cable box has a powered USB port on the front of it, which I've been using to charge my phone. But with a growing number of devices to charge via USB, and a variety of of USB lamps, I decided this steampunk USB hub would work nicely installed in my Steampunk cable box cover. But this technique could be used to add a hub to a steampunk monitor, keyboard, computer or even for a stand-alone peripheral, depending on your needs.
• 4 Port USB hub
• Brass track for a door chain lock
• Upholstery nails - antique brass finish
• Chopstick (optional)
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Step 1: Remove Hub From Case
I bought this hub in a "Euro" store in Ireland a few years ago, (the equivalent of a 99 cent store), and I'm pretty sure it cost me one Euro. It had a small screw holding it together, which fell out soon after I bought it.
Anyway, take apart the plastic case, until you have the guts of the USB hub. You might need a small screwdriver for this, although a little bit of force will probably do the trick.
Step 2: Install Hub Into Brass Track
I did quite a bit of searching for a brass fixture that would accommodate the USB hub. I had a "eureka" moment when I realized that the brass track for a door chain lock was just about the perfect size for a 4 port USB hub!
With just a little bit of pressure, the 4 ports slide nicely into the track.
I thought about installing the hub in an Altoids tin, and cutting holes in the tin, to fill the spaces between the ports, but it just seemed like way to much trouble, so I decided to skip this. Plus I kind of like the way the LED shines through the middle of the hub;-)
Step 3: Secure Hub in Brass Track
While the 4 ports fit nicely into the track, the unit needs to be secured, so the hub wont push in or fall out when used. I'm sure there are many ways to do this, but I decided the easiest way was to pry a piece from a chopstick between the hub and the brass track.
First I inserted the chopstick to get a measurement, then snipped it with a pliers, and then jammed it back into place.
I found this a cheap, fast and simple way to hold the ports in place.
Step 4: Mount Hub
As I mentioned in the introduction, this device can be installed into a steampunk themed monitor, keyboard, computer case, or you can build a stand-alone steampunk hub.
I chose to install this one in my Steampunk cable box cover.
(If anyone can explain to me what purpose a USB port serves on a cable box, I'm very curious... Please post an explanation in the comments).
The brass track conveniently has holes in each corner to mount to the wall. I used antique brass finished upholstery nails, two in the front and two in the back, to attach the track to my cable box cover. (You could also use brass thumb tacks).
Step 5: Finished Product
Here are a few photos of the finished product. As I alluded to in the intro, it's not brain surgery or rocket science, but I thought it was a creative way to give a cheap plastic USB hub some steampunk flare!;-)
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