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There are literally hundreds of different styles and shapes of USB drives to choose from but most of them tend to be variations around a common core them – a rectangular piece of plastic, metal or wood that is roughly 6cm x 2cm. The downside with this level of familiarity in a product is that it designers and manufactures tend to stay in the market “comfort zone” so we all end up with USB sticks that look pretty much the same. This is not as crazy as it might first sound because the core component of every USB stick is the same – it’s a PCB (printed circuit board) attached to a USB connector and embedded onto the PCB is the flash memory and a controller chip. Lots of schools DT departments are now buying USB components and challenging their students to design and build USB flash drives as part of their GCSE course work. At USB2U we appreciate how much time and resources Universities spend attracting new students to their courses. Very exciting data storage news by optical scientists from the University of Southampton who have developed a new revolutionary method called 5D optical memory. HOW-TO GEEK BOOKSRead our first book, the HTG Guide to Windows 8, or check our upcoming books.
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At DIY Photography they share a straight forward guide to building your own camera flash, including parts lists and schematics.
Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to.
Disclaimer: Most of the pages on the internet include affiliate links, including some on this site. They are used across all age groups and demographics and are increasingly used by companies as a way to drive sales, build loyalty and disseminate information about new products and services. Of course this broadly common shape helps to drive ease of use and comfort – people know what they are buying and immediately know how to use it. In a world where plenty of people want to stand out from the crowd and actually want something different, something that reflects their personality maybe the answer is to design and build something themselves. In essence this is the USB flash drive but to make it strong enough for daily use a shell encases these components and making a unique shell is not that difficult. Companies are also commissioning custom USB flash drives often in the shape of a product or logo – these custom USB sticks are essentially “self-design and build” projects where the mould manufacture and assembly is outsourced.
Alternatively just ask them supply the fully assembled sticks – you just need to supply the idea and design!


The build itself is a pretty easy one if you have a few electronics projects under your belt. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You just need some basic design flair, some imagination and some basic assembly skills and access to a laser cutter, some strong glue and other basic craft tools might help as well! The companies who commission these custom USB sticks end up with something that is truly unique and something that typically stimulates lots more interest and feedback than a standard USB stick that is simply printed or engraved with a logo. This project includes a 450v capacitor which, under the really unfortunate circumstances, can accidentally discharge into your body and give you a heart attack–such is the nature of working with high-voltage electronics.



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