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Replacing the Housing on Your Flash Drive?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the naked-hardware dept.

Data Storage 87

TheFarmerInTheDell asks: "I managed to wash my USB flash drive this past weekend (note to self: check your pockets better before doing laundry) and to my surprise, it still works. The problem is that the clothes dryer managed to beat up the plastic housing, and it no longer holds the innards in place as it should. Trying to plug the drive into a USB port is a difficult proposition since the whole mechanism slides into the plastic housing, instead of sliding into the USB port. Rather than using a super glue or an epoxy solution to hold the electronics in place, I was thinking that a custom body would be a cool way to go. I can cast it in resin and have whatever shape I want for the drive, but I am not sure that it will be a good thing to do. Has anyone done anything like this, and if so were there any problems? Are there any issues about not having an air space to help dissipate the heat that the chip generates? Aside from the obvious concerns about allowing the drive to fit into the USB port of a computer, is there any reason that the drive cannot be housed in any shape that I want?"

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Warning (3, Interesting)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847878)

Just let me tell you one thing. I tried this and on the table was an open container of turpentine. Apparently the fumes are very damaging, and destroyed my drive when it was open.

Re:Warning (2, Funny)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848552)

You haven't watched "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" lately, have you?

Re:Warning (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14851697)

To the mods who marked this offtopic: The cartoons dissolve in turpentine!

Shouldn't make a difference (3, Interesting)

srmalloy (263556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847883)

Having seen the various odd casings that USB drives are sold in -- tempura, sushi, ducks, a cut-off thumb, dim sum -- as long as you didn't have anything shorting the actual circuitry, and could still slot the drive into a USB port, what you wrap around the electronics is entirely up to you (I recall the pictures of the person who fit the circuitry into the neck of a Barbie doll, so that when you took off the head of the doll, the connector was exposed).

Re:Shouldn't make a difference (2, Informative)

Sensible Clod (771142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848168)

I know he didn't want to epoxy the thing back together, but he didn't say anything about going all the way!

1. Set a sheet of wax paper on a table.
2. Spray the wax paper with some PAM (cooking spray, not authentication).
3. Squirt epoxy gel (preferably clear) onto the wax paper into a rough thumbdrive shape.
4. Lightly press thumbdrive into liquid epoxy EXCEPT FOR THE USB PORT!!! KEEP USB PORT FREE OF EPOXY!!!
5. Squirt a little epoxy over the thumbdrive EXCEPT FOR THE USB PORT!!!
6. Let it all set. Make SURE you did NOT pour so much epoxy that it gets on the USB port. Watch it periodically to make sure epoxy STAYS AWAY FROM USB.
7. Smile. Bonus points if you can get your old cap to work with it. Extra bonus if you make a new cap out of epoxy. Triple bonus if your new cap doesn't weld itself to the new body.
8. ?????
9. Profit!!!

Man, now I want to do this if/when my thumbdrive's casing dies.

Re:Shouldn't make a difference (3, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848332)

Some epoxy formulations shrink and/or expand as they cure, others are conductive to various levels.
double check what you are using to be sure.

Re:Shouldn't make a difference (2, Interesting)

Myself (57572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848763)

Pack the USB connector with wax or clay in advance, then melt or wash it out when you're done. That should let you get careless with the epoxy or whatever you're using, and have more fun with the casing.

I'd suggest heat-shrink tubing, personally. It's pretty durable, and easily replaced if you don't like it. Not the most waterproof, but you could shellac the board first if you want that.

If you go the epoxy route, don't use JB-weld or anything else conductive. Look up "potting compound" for details. Try something a bit flexible, like silicone caulk or RTV, in a small mold. You want a squishy thumbdrive, don't you?

Re:Shouldn't make a difference (1)

Sensible Clod (771142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14850331)

Are you sure JB weld is conductive? Because I need some conductive epoxy, but all I can find is tiny bottles of this stuff that's more expensive than fine silver (mostly because there *is* silver in it). If JB weld really is that conductive, I'd like to know, because I have some already.

Or is it just conductive enough to cause problems?

Re:Shouldn't make a difference (1)

Myself (57572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14850803)

I was under the impression that it was slightly conductive, but their site claims it's an insulator and I can't find any direct evidence to the contrary. I guess it's worth a shot!

As far as conductive epoxy goes, I saw a half-ounce set at MicroCenter for ~$20 the other day.

Re:Shouldn't make a difference (2, Funny)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14851820)

A 'friend of a friend' once assembled an entire Heathkit Color Television in the late 1960's using 'liquid solder' instead of regular metal solder. The 'solder' connections all looked shiny and bright and perfect to the naked eye, nobody could figure out why the TV set was completely non-functional until the fool explained what he had done.

Re:Shouldn't make a difference (1)

eta526 (833281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14854379)

Why don't you test it out? Put a line of it on a piece of waxed paper and check the resistance. Remember that the thicker you lay it on, the less resistance per unit of length, assuming that it is conductive, so your number isn't going to be usable in calculations using this method, but it'll tell you HOW conductive it is.

MMM Epoxy! (2, Interesting)

dracho (774428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14849202)

I once made a solid epoxy flash drive, it was great: it was hard and durable, very compact, and I made the end (opposite the port) a little longer and drilled a small hole through it... voila, a keychain connection. Highly recommend it. I used an old plastic case from older RAM to keep the perfect rectangular shape, then used the good ol' Dremel to fix up the edges a little.

Re:Shouldn't make a difference (1)

harrypelles (872287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14851891)

Just so I'm totally clear on're saying we shouldn't put epoxy on the USB port??

bleh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847893)

what size is the device?


use a new one for a custom job (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847896)

If you want to make your own custom case, I would recommend using the innards from a new device. Otherwise, you may go to a lot of trouble making something really cool only to discover that the spin cycle actually did do some damage to the flash memory.

Soviet Russia (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847909)

In Soviet Russia, Flash Drive housing replaces YOU.

Re:Soviet Russia (1)

toddbu (748790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848389)

Actually, in Soviet Russia all housing is supplied by the government. Better keep what you have, though, since I understand that the housing provided is generally sub-standard. Better to drink vodka instead, as you soon won't care what your housing looks like.

Re:Soviet Russia (-1, Offtopic)

tloh (451585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14849093)

Hey toddbu!

Our old thread got archived. I know posting my reply here is off-topic and probably rude. But I figure at least I can be more stimulating than soviet russia jokes.

This must mean that it's ok for me to "observe" that you've made relatively few posts with that low Slashdot ID of yours.

Your observation would be perfectly reasonable and correct. How you interpret that observation would be another matter. Does the number of posts have anything to do with how long I've observed the history and evolution of slasdot? Are you privy to the inner working of my private motivations for posting the comments that I did? Do you understand me well enough based on our one conversation here to engage in further inquiries of an ernest and civil nature? Or are you going to remain defensive and continue to maintain that you're right and I'm wrong about asmor, slashdot, and everything else? I stand by what I said. Your slashdot ID indicates you joined relatively more recently than I did. The examples and analogies you concieved indicates a lack of awareness of the way slashdot has developed and evolved over the years. I think it is rather sad that you would think Rob Malta has sold out for monetary gain when in reality he and his team have done so much over the years to make this place grow and prosper. The work they've put into continuously improve the slashcode. The valiant efforts put into dealing with conflicts and crisis that has confronted slashdot - from overcoming DDOS attacks to the ultimately failed effort to protect comment posters from the Church of Scientology. If you truly have experienced slashdot long enough to live through some of these events you would know how steadfast CmdrTaco has steered this ship with lofty ideals that could never be bought or sold. The relevent facts are that you've repeatedly complained about how slashdot doesn't suit your fancy while giving no regard for the value of this forum to other individuals who are not like you. The relevent facts are that you try to impose rules befiting of a formal professional organization when in reality most slashdot users approach this place with a casual attitude that does not bring the kind of expectations demanded of a commercial customer-centered service organization. When you've been around long enough and starts noticing more than just your own stake in slashdot, then you will understand.

Explain this one to me. You say that judging people based on their submissions is bad, and I say it's good. You "observe" my behavior and make a judgement, and then somehow it's not relative to the discussion? Your point this entire time is that I was wrong in judging Asmor, yet you try to dodge the issue when judging me.

First off, my main objection has always been the fact that you believe guys like asmor shouldn't be allowed to *post such questions* to slashdot. Your trivial dismissal of asmor as "lazy" was a secondary objection. I feel you were unnecessarily harsh on asmor because we know too little about him and the circumstances of his inquiry to make judgments or assumptions meaningful. In other words, there isn't enough information to warrant an acurate or useful assesment of a person's skill or character. On the other hand, you and I have been conversing for more than a week. You have had ample opportunity to state your case and express your opinion clearly and without ambiguity. We have engaged in an exchange of information and perspectives. It is in the spirit of this exchange that I provided to you details of slashdot's aquisition by This information provides context with which to evaluate your earlier remarks about the business aspect of slashdot. Based on the history of our conversation, I made a *judgment* that you lacked such information and that it would be useful to you in better understanding the nature of slashdot. It seems to me you're more concerned about the judgment that lead to the provision of this information than the information itself. Did I hurt your intellectual pride by mentioning something you weren't aware of or didn't consider? You need to understand the judgment was of you need for a piece of information not any kind of conclusion about your character or such. I have not resorted to insults or name-calling here. I was simply trying to be straight forward and informative. Weren't you the one who said that one shouldn't be coddled? It wasn't my intention to pass judgment on *you*. Everyone was a new visitor at slashdot in the begining. Just like every programmer at one time or another was as raw as asmor.

All communities are by definition markets....

Why? because you say so? See, this is the kind of attitude that got you in trouble earlier. How are you going to make others use your definitions and play by your rules? How do you intend to make guys like asmor respect your desire for a more technical slashdot? How do you intend to change my mind and have me regard my interaction with you in terms of a market transaction? Within the proper domain of respect and courtesy, I *don't* feel the need to impose my own perspective on others or play by other's arbitrary rules. Guess what? it is the same liberating mindset that compels people to write software and give it away without restriction even while others are charging exorbitant licensing fees for products that are not much better. I'm sure you understand how the realities of OSS has wreaked havoc with Microsoft's concept of "market". Perhaps the notion of a market isn't as useful or meaningful as you think, especially when applied to communities like slashdot. (or at the very least you'd be missing out on a lot if you view it strictly as such.) Lesson? Don't be Microsoft! :-) Embrace power in diversity! Welcome curiosity! Smile! Be Happy!

Re:Soviet Russia (1)

toddbu (748790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14850340)

Our old thread got archived. I know posting my reply here is off-topic and probably rude.

I recommend that we take this off-line. Send me an email at and I'll reply to this thread.

Re:Soviet Russia (1)

WebCrapper (667046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14852984)

(self mod: offtopic) I'm an American living in western Germany and my wife and I took a vacation to Eastern Germany. Even today, my wife and I were suprised by the housing. In the area we where in, everything was grey, the same type of house, there where empty shells of houses and buildings all over downtown. We where amazed at the difference between the city we live in compared to there. I can't even think of how it was when the Soviets had the area.

first post! (-1, Troll)

uq1 (59540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847914)

you're a tool!

They're pretty tough (3, Interesting)

tooth (111958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847918)

Washed mine twice so far, still works fine. I'm surprised about the melted case in the dryer though, I wouldn't have guessed that it would survive the heat! As for what to do... hmm, buy a new one anyway? They are really cheap now-days. Or you could attack it with duct tape, for a real low tech solution :-)

Re:They're pretty tough (5, Funny)

Voltageaav (798022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847947)

Mod the parent redundant, as everyone knows duct tape will fix almost anything.

Re:They're pretty tough (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848472)

Sure ... almost anything .... except baling wire.

Re:They're pretty tough (1)

TClevenger (252206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848500)

Nonsense. I use duct tape to fix my bailing wire all the time. :-)

Best mod... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14847921)

The best mod I have ever seen in a situation like this, was to copy to a brand new flash drive.

Mod parent sideways (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848069)

Media? What are you crazy? Bill Gates says we don't need media.

Re:Mod parent sideways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14848796)

Bill Gates says we will never need more than 4mb. we-we handheld has more than that.

duct tape (2, Funny)

jollyroger1210 (933226) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847928)

Two words my friend:
1. Duct
2. Tape

Re:duct tape (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14848321)

that's actually 4 words:


I'm just sayin'....

Re:duct tape (0, Troll)

TheSalzar (945163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848971)

actually its words:6(SIX) ONE PERIOD TWO PERIOD TAPE Im just sayin'.... noob!!!!!!!!11111!1

What's wrong with a naked drive? (2, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847974)

You could keep all your pr0n on it!

Re:What's wrong with a naked drive? (1)

j741 (788258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14851734)

Quote: "You could keep all your pr0n on it!"

I was not aware that they made USB flash memory drives with a large enough capacity for that.

Be a REAL man! (0, Redundant)

The Iconoclast (24795) | more than 8 years ago | (#14847981)

Just wrap it in duct tape.

Go naked... (3, Insightful)

OmniGeek (72743) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848022)

I've seen flash drives that are just a plastic-coated PC board. The heat generated won't be a problem (the USB spec limits the power you can draw to fairly negligible levels).

Oh, and -- don't trust the washed USB drive with critical data, there may be corrosion that takes a while to manifest itself.

Re:Go naked... (2, Interesting)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14849420)

I woudln't trust a usb drive iwth critial data full stop. Backups ffs

Re:Go naked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14852297)

Yeah... because we all know how silicon has a tendency to rust and the SMT packages are porous enough for water to get in. Tool.

Re: Go naked... (1)

Dakman (824764) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866029)

Oh, and -- don't trust the washed USB drive with critical data, there may be corrosion that takes a while to manifest itself.
You mean like my pron?

Meh -- not worth the struggle (1, Redundant)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848026)

Duct tape or toss it and buy another. I wouldn't waste a whole lot of time on it.

Re:Meh -- not worth the struggle (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14848256)

Are you aware of the fifty kilograms of raw material that goes into making such a device, and the dozen kilograms of toxic waste produced as a result?

Nevermind that the energy used to make it is lost forever and the refined materials are lost forever into a landfill.

Thanks for doing your part to make efficient use of the things in your life. You're a real asset to the world.

Re:Meh -- not worth the struggle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14853576)

Nevermind that the energy used to make it is lost forever

what about the conservation of energy? how can one lose energy?

Re:Meh -- not worth the struggle (4, Funny)

binarybum (468664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848440)

points for duct tape solution. Negative points for suggesting someone not waste a lot of time on tech mod on /.

correct answer is skip work for a few days, spend a ton of time working on some really cool device mod that will make most people say "that guy has waaaay too much free time," post pictures and a step by step of how you did it, let us slash the hell out of your server for a few hours

Re:Meh -- not worth the struggle (2, Funny)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14849986)

You forgot to insert the obligatory missing step...

3. Spread the article over the course of six pages requiring people to click Next in order to read the next paragraph.
4. Attach Google ads to your article (all six pages).
5. Profit!

How can you profit?? (1)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14854022)

If your sever is a steaming pile of melted metal??

clear epoxy (4, Informative)

zeenixus (571630) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848089)

the casing on one of my flash/thumb/pen/whatever drives was just stupidly big for no good reason, so I took it off. To protect it I just got some clear 5 minute epoxy and layered it on there and just kept turning the the drive while it cured.

You can also put a lanyard hole in a dead space on the board or epoxy something in there and hang it on your keychange. It's working quite well for me.

Re:clear epoxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14848687)

I modified my Sandisk the same way as you modified your (prolly) Sandisk. It does work well, now I worry about losing it and wished I had put a lanyard strap in.

Be careful washing you hands !!!! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14849593)

While working on my own case mod, I discovered I was allergic to epoxy. BE SURE TO WASH YOUR HANDS ******BEFORE******!!!!!! repeat ******BEFORE******!!!!! using the rest room. my little buddy was the color of an apple and twice as large around. The scariest part was that it didn't hurt at all, even grossly deformed.

So Remember, wash BEFORE, and after, using the restroom.

Re:Be careful washing you hands !!!! (3, Funny)

moonbender (547943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14849988)

Sounds like you could earn a lot of money with that...

Re:Be careful washing you hands !!!! (1)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14853796)


Doesn't it have to fit in those places for him to begin his lucrative career as a film star?

Re:clear epoxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14851044)

It's more likely that the chemicals in the epoxy are just extremely irritant to skin and you received a mild burn.

Drilling Holes in Board = BAD (1)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869148)

You can also put a lanyard hole in a dead space on the board or epoxy something in there and hang it on your keychange.

DO NOT drill holes through even apparently empty areas of PC boards. Often times, the boards are multilayer and there could be anything from interconnects to inductors and capacitors etched into a buried layer of copper.

Using a bright light may help you see how many layers there are, but usually one of the layers is a ground plane which will obscure your view of all others.

Electrical Tape Worked (1)

xanderwilson (662093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848097)

I know it isn't fancy, but I wrapped a busted case with electrical tape and it was fine.


Hmm (1)

$exyNerdie (683214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848138)

Next time I will see an instant rebate deal on flash drives at yourlocal electronics store, I will tell you. Will save you time and probably some money!!

howdoyaknow? (1)

freaker_TuC (7632) | more than 8 years ago | (#14849367)

How do you know all this information? Are you related to the Bush Administration?

Re:howdoyaknow? (1)

freaker_TuC (7632) | more than 8 years ago | (#14849374)

Guess I went blind for a few seconds because this post was replied to a complete other parent than this; sleep is needed...

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14849489)

That's not the point, idiot. As well, don't even post if you can't learn how to speak English.

Also, fuck off and die.

Are you retarded? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14848163)

Cant you figure out something on your own. I mean its a freaking little plastic case. Who gives a shit about this? Wrap duct tape around it or something and do try to dress yourself in the mornings.

Liquid latex (4, Interesting)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848237)

I got some liquid latex from Home Depot for a similar problem. They talk about using it to coat tool handles, but it works great for coating bare electronics too.

Re:Liquid latex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14848563)

That's what you told your wife the latex was for at least, right? We all know when someone buys a gallon of latex they often have a little more, shall we say, intimate plans.

Re:Liquid latex (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14856604)

Just as a quick aside, when playing with liquid latex, it's best to shave any body hair on the place you plan to apply said latex. Otherwise, I guarantee you won't have any body hair left when you decide to remove the latex :P

Re:Liquid latex (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14862005)

Hey, which aisle was it in? I tried to get some the other day there and it wasn't in hand tools - they sent me over to paint but it wasn't there either. The staff was clueless and couldn't figure out how to find it in the computer.

Re:Liquid latex (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865302)

At my home depot it was in these thin yellow cans in the "secure" tools section. I forget the brand name but they had blue, yellow and red.

You know (1)

CsiDano (807071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848244)

I would bet that taking apart the "Desktop" Death Star that came free with the purchase of Star Wars Empire at War and modding it to house the guts of your USB stick. Shit I'd do it. It's a good size too.

A few issues... (2, Insightful)

stienman (51024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848304)

Look up "electronics potting problems" in Google and you'll get all the fun info.

The short and sweet of it is that there are two basic issues: During casting/potting, the epoxy generates a LOT of heat. It can be surprising, and damaging. Check the type of epoxy/resin/casting compound you are using. For such a small amount it probably won't be a problem.

The second issue is the composition of the epoxy and suitability to its purpose. If it has a low resistivity or creates significant capacitance between conductors, then it'll cause problems. If it's not suitable for electronics (ie, degrades over time into other components, is corrosive, etc) then it will cause problems over time.

In short, chances are good you'll be fine for this particular application with hobby grade casting compound. But be prepared for possible data loss if you don't fully understand the subject and act accordingly.


Epoxy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14848307)

My flash drive came in a really ugly and bulky plastic and metal case. There was an indicator LED on the circuit board that was all but invisible with the opaque casing. So I did the logical thing: took the casing off and painted the board and components in several coats of 3-minute epoxy. (I coulnd't find anything longer lying around.) It now works like a charm even though I carry it around in a fleece sweater with a lot of static. It also looks much nicer than before.

Huzzah for Araldite (2, Interesting)

Scytheford (958819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848336)

When the cheap plastic case on my USB memory stick gave way I just mixed up some two-part epoxy (Araldite) and gave it a good healthy coating. After it set (24 hours or so) I crazed the surface up with my Dremel. Now when the read light flashes the whole thing lights up. Looks pretty cool and is nigh on indestructable.

lego my lego! (3, Insightful)

Deitheres (98368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848357)

Without question, this is the only way to go:

Lego USB flash drive [] ... that will give you near-infinite geek points (which can now be exchanged for frequent flier miles!) ;-)

Re:lego my lego! (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14849657)

Alternatively: a link in your link shows a Pez-type USB stick: []

Lego (1)

boldra (121319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848571)

When mine broke, my girlfriend made me one out of lego.

(crappy) picture []

Re:Lego (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14849682)

Difficulties... what to envy more? That you have a girlfriend? Or a lego-USB stick? Or a Girlfriend that makes you a lego USB stick?? OVERLOAD!!!

clear heatshrink (1)

H0NGK0NGPH00EY (210370) | more than 8 years ago | (#14848703)

I just didn't like the shape of my case, as it was too wide to allow another USB cord to plug in horizontally next to it, so I intentionally removed the case and covered the circuitry in clear heatshrink. I used three or four layers for a bit of added durability, but just one layer is probably sufficient. This has the benefit of protecting the circuit while still allowing for some room for air to get in to dissipate heat (those things can get a bit warm).

mask off the plug. (2, Informative)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 8 years ago | (#14849241)

If you're worried about getting epoxy over parts where it might get in the way of plugging in, then just mask off the plug part..
Just mask off the plug itself with masking tape, then wrap that in putty. If you don't like the idea of getting putty on the end of the epoxy, then get a piece of stiff plastic and cut a hole the size of the plug, and slide that up the plug, then continue as above. When you're done, you can usually just peel the plastic off the epoxy. If in doubt, add a thin layer of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to the plastic.

Machined aluminum (1)

sirket (60694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14850040)

Just the other day I was gong to do soemthing similar to mine- Machine a tight fitting case and end cap out of aluminum, coat the flash itself in epoxy and install it into the aluminum housing. Put an o-ring on the cap and make it watertight is my goal :)


If it's less than a GB, scrap it. (1)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14850373)

I just got a 1GB Sandisk Micro Cruzer for $49 after rebate. 512MB flash drives can be had for well under $30 while the 256MB versions are down under $20. Unless you work at McDonalds, your time is worth more than $30.

If, on the other hand, you have lots of time and want to express yourself artistically, I'd recommend that you look into fancy hardwoods from which to construct the case. You could even laminate thin strips of contrasting hardwoods like Babinga, Maple, Cherry, and Bloodwood.


hot glue (1)

HTL2001 (836298) | more than 8 years ago | (#14850374)

don't use anything that might disolve plastics (like super glue), fill the inside with hot melt glue, let it cool a bit so its still fluid but not gonna get anything too hot

and if you can, get a new one soon

Electronics are resilient (1)

mnmn (145599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14850717)

If nothing is shorting the pins, or changing the capacitance between two conductors too much, or damaging the electrolytes in electrolytic capacitors, I'd say electronics are pretty tough. Some parts might rust and tarnish on contact with water, but most boards are coated with material to resist that. I've gotten computer parts wet before, and they worked after being dried immediately. Metal + oxygen + water + time = rust. Otherwise theres no reason it shouldnt work.

I wonder if the right amount of coating on a circuit board can make it completely waterproof...

Update (2, Informative)

TheFarmerInTheDell (730167) | more than 8 years ago | (#14851483)

I love all of the ideas and suggestions - especially the lego and hardwood solutions. If I could get my wife to understand what a flash drive is, maybe SHE could do something with it...or maybe I should just find a girlfriend who can do it for me!

I did get a new drive the day after I found the old one in the dryer, and after a week or so the old one is still working so I guess that the corrosion is not happening very fast (if at all). I will post before / during / after pics as I get the old one rehoused - and it looks like I might have to make a trip to my local hobby store to find some interesting ways to dress up the drive.

Thanks for all of the help!

Of course you could get a FREE one from Micro$oft. (1)

Kilz (741999) | more than 8 years ago | (#14852031)

Micro$oft is giving them away, loaded with their crap propaganda. Its easy to wipe off and then you can laff all the way to the bank! 1545.html []

Shapelock (1)

John Meacham (1112) | more than 8 years ago | (#14852951)

Sounds like the perfect job for this really neat stuff (it goes by polymorph in europe) []

Barbie flash drives make great christmas gifts (1)

bullring1 (758908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14854191)

I made several Barbie flash drives for my sisters and sister-in-laws... they love them. it was great because most barbies are sround 10bucks and with a 128mb flash drive on rebade or deal at fry's made a cool stocking stuffer. i repacked them all neat in the box after i made my modifications and noone could tell they were different. The girls all thought i just got them a barbie and they were like "Thanks.... a barbie". But then i came by and plucked the heads off and they all started laughing and they totally enjoyed it... they use them at school and they say they get the strangest looks when using them at the computer labs and thing... it was a great idea and only took a couple of hours each... only tools required was an hobby knife, hotglue, flash drive and barbie...

Put it inside of an onion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14855523)

Then you can wear it on your belt. It will probably become the hottest fashion of the time.

3D printing service (1)

Cha$e (49107) | more than 8 years ago | (#14857803)

Fire up Blender, 3ds max, or what have you, and model a cool looking shell for the flash drive's guts. Then send the file to a 3D printing service such as

Don't make it too heavy (1)

user2048 (198694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859535)

Don't make the new case too heavy. In many cases, the drive is held horizontal by the connectors at one end. If the case is too heavy, you'll stress the connectors. And as the case gets longer, the leverage makes the situation worse.

Soapy fresh (1)

pxc (938367) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866280)

My memory key went through the wash once (not the dryer). It smelled soapy fresh and it still worked great. Make sure that whatever case you build keeps the part that connects it to the usb fastened well. On an old memory key of mine that part got wiggled loose from the actual data-holding part and you had to hold it at a certain angle to access files on it.
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