YASUS: Yet Another Steampunk USB Stick




About: Daniel LeMath is the steampunk name of Andreas Dunker: mathematician, geocacher, steampunk, Arduinista and much more.

Materials for the corpus:
• Copper tube, 18mm,
• Two copper end caps, 18 mm,
• And of course a USB flash drive.

Materials for the decoration, e.g.:
• Nuts M4, brass,
• Cap nuts, M4, brass,
• Earth cable (ground cable), 10 mm^2
• Brass wire and „spacers“ from jewelry supplies store.

Further decoration: Anything you wish, e.g.:
• Cogwheels from an old alarm clock,
• Leather from an old shoe,
• Springs,
• More decoration from a jewelry store,
• …

• Hacksaw,
• Metal drill,
• Dremel with cutting disc,
• Key files,
• Instant glue,
• Round nose pliers

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Step 1:

With the hacksaw saw a part from the copper tube at least as long as the USB stick.

Make a rectangular hole in one of the end caps. In the size 12 mm x 4.5 mm. This can be done in two ways:
1. Cut two slits into the cap with the cutting disc of the Dremel, and remove the inner part,
2. Drill two or three holes with a 4 mm drill into the cap.

In the picture above the two possibilities for the cap on the front side are shown. Choose one of them (meanwhile I prefer the version with two or three holes). The cap for the back end is (in this version of the stick) not modified.

A word of security here: especially if you use a cutting disc, please wear safety glasses. The cutting discs are a little damageable - one wrong movement and little shivers fly through the room. And wear a face mask (as you know from ER e.g.) because the copper dust can lead to hour long sneezing fits (as I had to learn by myself).

In either case do the rest of the work with key files to create a rectangular hole which is big enough to hold the terminal of the USB stick. While filing use the USB terminal regularly to check the size of the hole.
Next free the USB stick from the ugly plastic case. This can be done with a sharp knife and a screwdriver and sheer force, but I recommend the to use the Dremel with a cutting disk. Use low revolutions, because otherwise the plastic melts and the disc gets dirty.

Now you have all the parts for the corpus.

Step 2:

Let’s assemble the corpus. First put a little instant glue onto the inner part of the end cap with the hole and put the USB stick straight into the hole. Check if the the stick is really upright, so that it later does touch the copper tube. If you want to be really sure, that there will be connections, wrap the electronics with some paper.

Then put some instant glue onto the outside of the tube next to the end and put one of the caps onto the tube. Repeat this with the other cap. Now you have the raw corpus of a steampunk USB stick.

If you like a plain design, you can leave now and enjoy your USB stick. Otherwise proceed to further decoration.

Step 3:

The bare corpus can roll easily from the desk. So we need a sort of feet. To create these cut some centimeters from the earth cable and free it from the isolation. Bend the cable with round nose pliers into the desired form. The M4 nuts fit nearly onto the 10 mm^2 cable - you can use a little force to press them onto cable or use a Dremel with a milling attachment to get rid of the thread of the nuts. Then they will fit perfectly onto the cable.

Glue everthing together with instant glue.

Finally here are pictures of the current family of my USB sticks: the „baboon“, the „shoe“, and the „platypus“.

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    27 Discussions


    5 years ago on Step 3

    What are the fidely bits the make the base of the other parts made of ? (the ones that don't look like nuts, a craft store item maybe. I tried to get a better look at the pictures above, but I think my eyes are too old, lol. These are brilliant!

    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi all, please use the link to my new blog: http://dlm.asradu.eu/?tag=usb-flash-drive


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice! I think that I may try making one, but instead of putting a drive inside, I will put a USB cable extender in for a USB hub...


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Ah, very nice! I love steampunk stuff but for some reason have never made any, this looks like a nice project to make for fun :)


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi dcummins81,

    very nice! I like your design. It resembles a butterfly ;-) I nearly don't dare to ask: Would you mind if I use the picture on my blog?

    Dear friend

    Nice to see you here! Great job. Looking forward to see more!

    Sincerely yours

    The Chocolatist

    I like this. What about having it doulbe as a bottle opener, as well?

    Yeah, I drink lots of beer... :P


    5 years ago

    I know you say instant glue but is that referring to super glue? if not that whats a good type that wont leave big whitw spots

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Valocalrep,

    my dictionary says, that the translation of the german "Sekundenkleber" could be "instant glue" or "super glue". I mean this stuff which is drying in some seconds, and glues your fingers together, if you are not carful enough.

    best regards



    5 years ago on Introduction

    This is a very creative instructable, and I feel like I can make one from your detailed directions. I'm an artist and not very tech-savvy, so forgive my questions: Does the USB end need to be protected from dirt and stuff? And what is the purpose of the holes in the opposite end?

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi bluejeannes,

    many thanks for your questions! For your first question: it depends ;-) Usually I carry one of my sticks (the "shoe") in my trouser pocket and have no problem with dirt. The other two are too fragile, so they rest on my desk. I have the idea to put the original cap of a stick into a third copper cap and fix it with hot glue or Fimo or.....

    For your second question: indeed - the photo is misleading. I think I have to add some words to this step. The two caps shall show the two possibilities to start the hole for the USB stick - either drill holes, or cut slits. (Meanwhile I prefer the two or there holes.) The cap for the back side is not worked on. Just glue it as it is.

    Of course: if you like it is possible to drill a hole into the back cap, put a sort of glass (or transparent plastic) from the inside into the cap. Then you can see the LED of the stick (if it has one) working. On the pictures it is not good to see, please look into my blog: http://wp.me/p3CpMZ-E to see a better picture.

    If you have further questions feel free to ask. Best regards


    These things never get old. :)

    By the way, congrats on having your first instructables featured!