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Still moar laser: Customized, laser-engraved USB drives

I always wanted to make custom USB cases, ever since I was in highschool. Back then, attempts at this with cardboard and origami paper didn’t work quite as well, with the nature of how these things are abused. I thought about making one with a 3D printer, but my first 3D printer was DOA and I didn’t get a replacement before this laser cutter came. So here I am, making custom USB cases with a laser :).

This thing costs a ton at shops

The hard part, as expected, was to design a case around a bare circuit board, where it has to be small enough to hug the board or have pins that hold the board in place, yet strong enough to handle plug/unplugs. After several trials, I just couldn’t do it at all. I even thought of just buying some epoxy and just fill in the void spaces with it. That is, until I see the Kingston DataTraveller SE9. This thing has the perfect shape for a laser cutter: smooth, continuous bar of USB port.

The fact that it is exactly as thick as a USB-A plug is nice, because it is 4.5mm, or roughly 3/16″, which means I can just sandwich¬†two layers of 3/32″ plywood (around the USB stick) in between two layers of 1/16″ thin plywood (for the top and bottom design); and that made my life a lot easier.

2x 2.25mm plywood in the middlel; each sheet was cut at 13mA 15mm/s. 1.5mm plywood for the 2 faces, cut at 13mA 20mm/s

The cap was also another fun part to make. I knew plywood is elastic, but seeing how well a piece of plywood tab holds the cap on the USB plug surprised me.

With the cap detached

With that, making small, customized gifts becomes a breeze. Heck, I probably should open my own shop on Etsy now :P.




Dory • June 11, 2017

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