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DIY Wooden Thumb Drive


This is a 100% made-up-as-I-go experiment.

I decided to rip apart this USB Thumb drive and build a custom wooden case for it.

The thumb drive was one of the kinds where the connection would retract into the case. However, it was slightly damaged and wouldn’t retract any more.

I popped off the end of the thumb drive with some pliers but I could not managed to pull it apart. And of course I didn't want to destroy the delicate(?) electronic parts inside it.

There was no seam or any joint, so I had the idea to take this over to the belt sander and just sand away the cover. A few minutes and the plastic was worn away and I could rip the thing apart.

Unfortunately, the chip inside was quite large. I was hoping to make something small, but you have to work with the materials at hand.

I sorted through my stash of thin/small bits of wood and picked out some padauk and ash to use as the new cover.

The thumb drive had a built-in LED light that blinked to indicate activity. I wanted this to still be visible, so I drilled a 3/8” diameter hole in one of the pieces of wood that I used for the sides.

I first glued the internals to the one piece with some CA glue. I then slightly notched the side pieces to fit around it and glued them down with wood glue. I later added a third little piece to fill in the gap at the back.

After that had dried I made marks on the SIDE of the wood to indicate where the chip ended and the wood began. I wanted to be able to drill a hole through this later and NOT drill through the electronics! I then glued on a cap with wood glue. I also added a small dab of hot glue by the metal shroud which plugs into the computer. This was just to fill in a small gap there, as that piece was thinner than the rest.

After it was all dried I first trimmed off the excess wood on the bandsaw and then took it over to the Stationary Belt Sander and the Oscillating Spindle Sander to shape the project.

I then wiped on a simple finish of beeswax + mineral oil finish. I also use this on cutting boards. I wanted something quick and simple, which would also just feel nice in my hands.

The end result is admittedly bigger than I wanted. I had wanted something much smaller, like the tiny thumb drive shown below. But I do really like the padauk and ash lumber as they contrast beautifully. It feels good in the hands, it still works, and I had fun in the shop making something.

All in all, a successfull experiment, I think!

Some of the Tools/Supplies Used In This Project: (Affiliate Links)


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