As I mentioned in my previous blog post I am still using the Cruzer Titanium that I broke. The chip and connector were undamaged so I set about in my free time at work to construct a new housing for it. It took several months but I have now completed it.

I've always liked the look of computer boards. They have a very rigidly artistic feeling about them. They just look raw and technological and sometimes I think that is cooler than the suave covers we put over them. I also have a goldfish memory (My wife can attest to this) and so designs that are capless, or have an attached cap are the ones I like. Without this feature I would lose the cap in a matter of days. So, I attempted to make something that would show off the look of the board as well as the cool blue LED on the end of the board and at the same time incorporate a cap design that was foolproof even to a skatterbrain like myself.

To that end I built a case using acetate tubing which I annealed to a flat oval shape in a lab oven. I then built a fixture to hold two teflon tubes straight within the case which served as guides for the cable that holds the cap and body together. I then positioned the board inside the case and capped the body with an acetate cover cut to accomodate the USB connector. Finally I injected Sylgard 184 silicone elastomer into the case with a syringe and let it cure. Sylgard has optical properties very similar to water but it forms to a durable silicone rubber, thus protecting the drive from moisture, heat, shock and probably static electricity as well.

The cap was constructed in much the same way but with a curve of rubber tubing in the top for the cable to run through (The teflon would not bend to this radius without kinking so I had to switch materials, oh well). I covered the holes in the USB connector with tape and dripped wax in order to keep the Sylgard out and then molded it directly into the Sylgard by attaching the cap temporarily to the body with wax and then filling the cap with Sylgard. This made for an insanely tight fit so the cap will not come off in nearly any circumstance.

The loop was created with additional sizes of teflon tubing (2 layers) and 2 strands of jewelry making Tiger Tail wire (Nylon coated thin cable). The wire was run through the cap and crimped using a small piece of stainless steel tube. The crimp was subsequently hidden within the blue tubing of the cap so it would not interfere with opening and closing the cap.

After everything was completed the entire drive was coated in clear fingernail polish using 3-4 coats to give it a glassy look. The fingernail polish binds incredibly well to the acetate tubing so i'm not too worried about it chipping off although I'm sure it will scuff eventually. Luckily fingernail polish is cheap if I want to repair it.

Had I had better tools, more time, and expertise I would have fixed a few of the imperfections. The USB connector is not completely square in the housing and there are some rough spots in the case as well as a few bubbles in the silicone rubber. These are all aesthetic really. The drive works great. It only fills one stacked USB slot (As long as the cap is not folded to the side of the adjacent slot). I think it would block an adjacent slot in a side to side configuration but I don't have any of those on my computer. It also benchmarks as well as ever and has no problems transferring files. Overall though I think this ressurection was a success. Let me know what you think.