Easy paracord USB flash drive case
[UPDATE]
The finalists for the Paracord Contest have been selected ! Congratulations to everyone who got picked, and thanks to all those who submitted an Instructable - there's some awesome creativity going on out there :)
[/UPDATE]

Welcome to this paracord Instructable !

I first discovered this awesome material through stormdrane's Instructables and quickly got hooked - lanyards, bracelets, handles, I even went so far as to knit it (great result by the way, you should try it) ! The paracord contest I'm entering with this Instructable has shown me how much people around the world are doing awesome, elaborate stuff with their paracord but I thought I'd go a different route and offer you guys something geeky, easy and that can be done on the side of a table :)

I use a lot of flash drives, if only to try out Linux live CDs thanks to Unetbootin or to move my pupils' data from one computer to the other and over time, the glue that holds the case together tends to give up on me. So I came up with what I thought would be a quick fix until I get to make a set of USB chess pieces for my father...And for the last 2 years, these paracord-adorned babies have never shown a sign of wear, so I kept them that way.

Interested ? Then...On to the next step !

Step 1: What you'll need

For this project, we'll need :
- Paracord, obviously ! For 1 flash drive, 80 to 90 centimeters (about 3 feet) are necessary ;
- A pair of scissors (gnawing paracord with your teeth won't work) ;
- A USB flash drive, yup ;
- A lighter to melt the ends of the paracord and seal it.

All green ? Let's get started !

Step 2: Remove the casing (or what's left of it)

Depending on how weak the glue that holds your flash drive has become, that might be more or less easy. Usually you can do that with your fingers and nails, but a Swiss army knife or a precision screwdriver can do the trick if need be. Just make sure you don't damage the actual drive !

Once this is done, on to the next step : measuring and cutting your cord !

Step 3: Measure your paracord and cut

Easy paracord USB flash drive case
As I said earlier, braiding paracord around a flash drive with the snake knot takes 80 to 90 centimeters (or about 3 feet) of cord. Measure that out, measure that again, and cut - you're done with this step ! Let's hop to the next step, which is equally easy.

Step 4: Make a loop...

Easy paracord USB flash drive case
It's always convenient to have something to attach your flash drive to something like a key-ring or a , so let's give this little guy a loop. fold the cord in two equal parts, and set the flash drive on top of it. You can easily decide how big the loop will be at that stage but don't go too crazy ! You might end up a few inches short on paracord for your snake knot.

And now for the braiding...On to the next step !

Step 5: ...Then start (and keep) braiding !

Easy paracord USB flash drive case
Easy paracord USB flash drive case
Easy paracord USB flash drive case
Easy paracord USB flash drive case
Easy paracord USB flash drive case
The knot we're going to use is the easy, famous snake knot you can see in Stormdrane's paracord bracelet Instructable and in so many others.

- Take the flash drive on top of the folded paracord, and make a loop to the left with the right-side half of paracord. It should then come under the flash drive and to its right (see picture 1) ;
- Take the left-side thread of paracord, make it go in a loop to the right, under the thread that went out to the right, and then over the drive into the loop (see picture 2) ;
- Tighten it all up together (picture 3), then repeat the steps from picture 1 and 2 on the other side of the flash drive (picture 4) ;
- Keep going alternating left and right and left and right, until you reach the end of the flash drive (see picture 5) !

It might be difficult at first, and the first knots will look ugly - but don't worry, it'll look better as you train and as you keep braiding ! Once you're done, time to cut, trim and seal the cord - in the next step !

Step 6: Trim and burn

Easy paracord USB flash drive case
Easy paracord USB flash drive case
No need to keep the excess paracord : we're just going to cut it close to the body of the drive, and burn and seal it with the lighter. The strands of cord inside, as well as the outer sheath, will melt : once it does, press it against the strands of paracord with the flat side of the scissors so that it all binds together as the paracord cools off. Repeat on the other side, and you're good to go !

Step 7: You're done !

Congratulations, you've replaced your flash drive's case with a nifty paracord case ! It's cheap, it's pretty original and you can do a lot of variations thanks to the knots and patterns of paracord available. The desert camo paracord flash drive you can see below is one of my favourites, and I wish I has more of this cord. If only it hadn't looked so good as bracelets... ;)

That's about it for today - I hope this little Instructable will have given you a taste for continuing to explore all the things you can do with paracord. Good luck to everyone entering the contest and happy braiding !
 
 

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