Waterproof and Encrypt a Thumbdrive

Today I’m going to show you how you can take a normal Thumbdrive into a waterproof, tough, encrypted version for much cheaper than the commercially available versions. The whole project was probably under $20 and only took about thirty minutes to complete.


For a while I’ve seen “Survival” thumbdrives. These are surprised to be waterproof,resilient and encrypted. Which all seems pretty awesome to me. I definitely believe in keeping backups of important documents. However the price on these things is many times more than a normal drive. I price checked before writing this and the starting price for an 8GB was $60! The drive I bought for this article was around eight bucks.


The first this your going to want to do is prep your drive. We need to remove all the plastic casing  and coverings. You need to be careful doing this so you don’t damage any of the electronics inside.

In this case the inside electronic components was smaller than I had though. Normally there is exposed circuitry. Now that we have the drive stripped we can move onto to mixing the epoxy.

For this project I went with a 5 minute setting epoxy. I wanted to make sure I had enough time to place the drive but not too much to prevent me from having to hold it in place too long. I wasn’t sure how much would fit in the tube I had so I mixed the entire bottle.

For the drive housing I just went to a local hardware shop and played in the pipe section looking for a small threaded length of pipe with two screw on endcaps. I’m sure the lady thought I was making a pipe bomb or something. I wanted to use copper to be lighter but steel was all I could find there that was threaded and the right length. With the added weight I’m sure it could be used like a kubaton. Once the epoxy was mixed well I poured it into the pipe and held the drive in place till it hardened enough to no sink. That is the tricky part.  Once it was set I let it cool down a few minutes.

For the encryption I choose Truecrypt. It is open source and highly recommended. This is a link the video I watched on setting up Truecrypt for a thumbdrive. The only change I would do would be to keep a section of the drive unencrypted and store the installer files for Truecrypt to access s it on computers that don’t have it installed already.

There you have it one tough as heck waterproof encrypted thumbdrive. I have on here a copy of my Bug out documents. Important numbers, bank account info, insurance and other important documents. Copies of licenses and birth certificates are good too. I would put my $20 drive up against any of the $60 and up drives and bet mine would literally destroy them.



7 thoughts to “Waterproof and Encrypt a Thumbdrive”

  1. What about using PVC? With the epoxy, its darned-near bombproof already, and the PVC will be a bit lighter. Also comes in threaded versions, I’d suggest schedule 80. Home Depot & Lowes should carry everything you’d need.

    Crud, now I gotta go make one for myself. You are such an enabler….


  2. Exacty how heavy is it? could you still plug it into a computer without messing it up, as in bending the motherboard. What about plugged in vertically? would gravity pull it out? would you have to hold it in place?

    1. I just weighed it. With both caps on it is 6.5 oz and 4.6 with the top cap removed for use. I’ve tested it in the usb port hanging in the air horizontally and vertically both worked fine and stayed level not pulling too hard on the port. Normally though the back cap keeps keeps it level by resting on the desk. For sure too heavy for a light BOB but for a car kit to have backup documents it works well and has the benefit of looking like junk instead of something worth steeling.

  3. Pardon my ignorance but why do you have to “prep”/strip coverings before putting it in the casing? Aren’t you just isolating from movement within a tougher exterior? Seems the epoxy & USB end cap should do that fine w/o risking the electronics. Thanks.

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