Tuesday, May 25, 2010

USB Gear

Saturday, we went to see Stephanie's parents near Asheville. They were having a garage sale, selling off the bits and pieces their next door neighbor had left behind when she moved into a nursing home. What they didn't sell, we could pick through to see if there was anything that interested us which, given our retro tastes, was considerable.

In addition to a few tiny old books (like a history of the US up to its pub date in 1824), Stephanie grabbed a lot of glassware, and I got my hands on about a dozen old wind-up clocks and a couple of old cameras. One of the clocks has already been broken up for parts, some of which I used.

This was pretty easy. The functional part is a cheap USB drive liberated from its case. The bulk of the new casing is a pair of cheap plastic gears. A little careful work with the Dremmel routed out a space for the thumb drive.

The gears got a coat of gold spray paint, then a very light coat of black followed immediately by rubbing with a sponge to give it that rough, tarnished look. After that, a spritz of polyurethane to make it all a bit more durable.

Then, assembly: the two gears like a clamshell around the drive, then a gear liberated from a broken clock atop that. Several squirts of superglue and bob's your uncle.

This went well enough, but I'm a little dubious about durability. For my next project, I'm looking to start working with epoxy.

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