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A simple one to start: Memory KeyChain

March 19, 2011

As first “real” post… a veeery simple project: a keychain out of a RAM memory bank.

KeyChains from RAM banks

KeyChains made from various size/brands of scavenged RAM banks

Electronics gets obsolete really quickly, and the turnover rate for PC ad electronics in offices is incredibly high. The bad news is all the electronics dumped every few months.. the good news is that most of it may be recycled if properly handled and, more important, there are tons of things to be scavenged from an old PC / notebook / server / whatsoever.

Scavenged RAM banks

Scavenged RAM banks

Over time I accumulated RAM banks from PC discarded from my lab and from the nearby offices. One of the easiest thing you may do with RAM banks is keychains; they have nice, regularly placed chips and nothing really protruding from the PCB that may get stuck in your pocket. RAM banks have the ideal size for this kind of project, since they are shaped such that, with a single cut, it is possible to obtain two keychains.  Moreover, they already come with a nice hole on each side where to attach the chain. Just a thing, remember to file out the very sharp corners and the borders of the PCB, the result will be much more usable.

ram bank closeup

RAM banks come with a nice hole on each side, but with incredibly sharp borders and corners

Instructions step by step:

  1. clean the bank from the various labels, alcohol will help remove all the residual glue. Some banks have holographic brand labels, i normally keep those, since they are generally stylish
  2. With a DREMEL or a hand-saw cut the RAM bank in two. It is not necessary to go all the way, just make a groove on one side of the bank and then snap the bank in two… PCB are easily broken in this way. For longer banks, to obtain a more proportioned shape for the keychain, it is better to cut out the central area (which is, sometimes, empty) or the middle chips.
  3. With a file or a DREMEL, refine the cut side and round up all the sharp corners of the PCB. Then, with sandpaper or an abrasive sponge, smooth out the borders (this may seem useless, but will make the kaychain feel really well in your hand)
  4. Attach a keychain spiral ring to the bank hole with 2-3 small metal rings in order to give it room to move. Keychain spiral rings and small metal rings are available in many hardware stores, or recycled from old / broken / horrible keychains.
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