Rock Solid Cement Flash Drive
Why a cement USB drive? Well that answer simply is this, because I can and want to. I was unsatisfied with my newly purchased 1GB flash drive. The drive worked fine but the design was horrible. The case protruded so much that if you tried to plug in another USB device you would have to bend the port just to fit it in. I donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t know about you but IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢m not going to break a port on my $1000 laptop for a $13 flash drive. So the following is a step by step guide to making a rock solid flash drive.
Please read all the directions and precautions before attempting.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ Cement is bad for your skin and eyes. If any comes in contact with your eyes wash out immediately with fresh water and seek medical attention.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ Razors are sharp. DonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t cut yourself.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ This process could damage your drive. Back it up Before you attempt.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¢ I am not liable for any damage to your data or hardware. Attempt at your own risk.
Step 1: Find some cardstock, plastic, or business card. Trace around the male part of the USB. There bottom should be no more that 1/16th of inch between the bottom and edge of card (see below). This is crucial, if you do not take the time here your drive will take up more than one port.
Step 2: Use a hobby knife or razor blade to cut a hole (see below). Test fit hole with USB (see below). There should be no extra space between card and USB.
Step 3: Test fit card in mold (see Fig. 4). This should also be a snug fit with no gaps. The mold I used was 1x1x11. You might have to get creative at this point and make your own mold. A metal or plastic mold is ideal because they will not absorb water. You might want to try balsa wood. When making your mold make sure that you leave ~1/4 inch on each side of your drive and ~ Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â½ inch at the end. This will ensure that the drive is completely covered.
Cement: You have many choices in regards to cement. Some are much better than others. For this project I recommend you use rapidest cement or an self leveling (SL) cement. The rapidest will give you results faster but with a little extra work in the end. The SL should give you a nicer end result (I have not tried the SL yet so you fly solo on this one).
If you use the rapidest then follow this formula. 75g of rapidest, 75g of #70 silica (sand), and 75g of #30 silica. Mix these three components well. You will be adding the powder to 14g of water and mix well. You will have about 15 minutes of working time.
Step 4: Place your card into the mold. Next you lay bed of cement ~1/16th of an inch (see below). Now place you drive in card. If you are using the SL you may want to place the drive in the card before pouring any cement. The SL should be very soupy and the rapidest should be thick and fluffy.
Step 5: Pour more cement on top of your drive but donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t go overboard. Any more than 1/8th of an inch the drive will be too big. If you want to put this on a lanyard then place a straw in the end of the mold. Allow cement to set for ~half hour to hour for rapidest and 3-4 hours for SL.
Step 6: Check to make sure that cement has set. If it has go ahead and un-mold your drive and it should look something like [the picture below]. At this point the drive can be handled but DO NOT put it into your computer. There is still water in the drive. As most learned in grade school water and electricity do not mix. To error on the side of caution I would wait at least 24-48 hours before using the drive. It is a common misperception that the water in cement dries up. In reality as time goes on the cement will actually absorb moisture from the air.
Step 7: You can now test fit your new drive. Test it with other USB devices next to it (see below). If the drive is too large to fit in the port or prohibits another device from fitting properly use a file to grind it down (see below). Use caution!!! There is only a thin layer between your drive and the file. You can also use the file to round off the edges or shape the drive any way you please. You can also paint it if you like. Your new drive has a compressive strength anywhere from 4000-7000 psi and flexural strength 200-500 psi. This means that you can run over your drive with a car and it should be fine. Try to break it in half like a pencil will be fairly easy.