USB Heart

I was trying to think of a cool idea for a Valentines day gift for my significant other. The idea came to me to build a heart shape that had two halves that interact when brought into proximity. I also decided it would be cool if  had some way of storing photos.
What I ened up building was a pair of Polycarbonate heart peiese that light up when they are put together. Each half contains a magnet and a corresponding reed switch that turns the LED's on when they are brought near each other. They also have hidden flash drives inside that sync via Dropbox and contain out photo albums, using Dropbox the photos on both halves of the heart stay in sync across the net.

Building:
The first step was to cut the heart shape out, this was done on a scroll saw. I used a half inch piece of Polycarbonate as the material. After this was done, I drilled a few holes for the LED's and used a Dremel to remove enough material to hide the wires, battery, reed switch and wires.

 I drilled the holes deep enough to conceal the LED but not poke through the front.

On each LED I soldered a small pair or wires that I salvaged from an old IDE cable.

For the micro USB female connector, I gutted a small micro USB to mini USB cable that I acquired on eBay.

Here is the heart half with the battery LED and reed switch installed. Each reed switch is placed next to the other sides magnet, so that when the two halves are brought together they light up.


Here are the two halved lit up, before the USB drive and connector have been installed.



I ordered a small 4GB USB drive, that I was able to strip down significantly, and very easily.

Once the USB drive was stripped down I soldered it to the USB female connector so it can e accessed by plugging in a USB Micro cable. 

I secured everything in place with copious amounts of Super Glue, then used auto filler to cover the gap and some minor imperfections on the inside edge.

Here is the heart after the body filler had dried and been sanded. It looked good, but I was hoping for a more frosted look:

After some sanding I was able to achieve a semi hazed looked, but I really wanted to conceal the internal electronics more:


To further haze frost the front, I used many thin layers of clear coat, and very thin layers of white, which I lightly sanded between coats. Here it the final result, which I am very pleased with:

For the backs and side, I used two layers of white peel and stick vinyl, which I cut with a razor:



Here is the finished product:


Software:
For the USB photo storage and sync, I used AHK Portable Dropbox
This allows you to run a  single exe and sync your flash drive with your Dropbox account, so files that are on one half of the heart can be sync across the internet via Dropbox to the other heart half.
Comments