In the spirit of a hands-on approach to technology, I decided to scour the popular tutorial site Instructables in search of cool hardware hacks to upgrade the right gadgets to something more fun and decidedly more disgusting.
I was looking for beginner tutorials for cool gadgets you can build yourself that don’t require too much dangerous or complex work to help us become confident enough to work on complex projects.
Carefully: this article contains solder, wires and all sorts of adventures. If you don’t want to rip apart a couple of flash drives or glue a few fingers together, you’re better off just freaking out and leaving the tools for another, better day.
Lego USB stick
This is my favorite hardware hack of all time because it’s not only quirky and nostalgic (at least for me, who loved creating Lego landscapes as a kid), but also incredibly useful.
- Flash drive Preferably one that can be easily hacked.
- Lego . The tutorial author used 2×4, 2×2, 1×4 and 1×2 sticks to make it USB. Use any combination of bricks to create a case that fits snugly around your flash drive.
- transparent silicone . The author used this to mount a usb stick in a lego brick and make sure it wouldn’t wobble, but there seem to be some commenters in the comments who have tried hot glue with equal success. Just make sure the glue isn’t so hot that it melts the board!
- metal polish . This is used mainly for aesthetic effect to make the block look smooth and shiny so you can easily do without it if you want. Someone in the comments suggested using a paste (not a gel) to erase imperfections in the brick.
- Super glue . Like I said, be prepared to stick your fingers together.
- Tools: knife to cut through Lego. A soldering iron works too, but beware of burning your fingers! Pliers tear out the inside of the lego.
Projected cost (assuming you already have a flash drive): about 15 dollars . Silicone costs almost $10, but if you prefer to use hot glue, there are many places that sell glue guns for less than $5.
Options A: Instructibles also has a USB eraser, but if you use silicone or hot glue to protect the circuit board, you could theoretically make a USB flash drive out of anything. Among other things, commentators tried toy cars, NES controllers, and Altoid cans.