Nerdiest Thing Ever (USB Hub/Card Reader Mod)

Modded USB Hub

Just a stack of old books...

When not messing around on my computer, I like to tinker and make things. My latest projects combine three of my favorite things: books, technology, and things that are not quite what them seem. Featured here is a USB hub & card reader hidden inside antique books; I’m also in the process of making a charging station composed of antique books, but the size (5 books!) and relative complexity of that project is taking a lot longer.

Modded USB Hub

...or not.

What’s the point? Well, I find a stack of old books to be much more aesthetically pleasing than a jumble of cables, and hiding the gadgets in books also keeps everything organized. Functionality aside, I also just like to play with power tools and sharp objects (making my power saw my new favorite toy).

I made this gadget specifically for work, since students are often coming to me with flash drives that need to be rescued, and they always come in groups, causing me to quickly run out of available USB ports on my computer. The card reader will help save batteries when downloading media from our cameras, as well as allow me to get pictures off of the various cards that staff and students sometimes bring in from home.

The project is pretty straight forward, but here is a short description of what I used and what I did to create this wonderfully nerdy toy tool.


    Gel Mediums

    Gel Mediums

    Card Reader

    Card Reader

  • Antique Books
  • USB Hub
  • Card Reader
  • Gel Medium (Matte and Glossy)
  • Adhesive Caulk
  • 3/4 inch screws


  • Utility Knife
  • Drill
  • Paint Brush
  • Clamps
  • One Nerdy Geek

What I did:

After sealing the pages of each book together (using the matte gel, to preserve the aged appearance of the books), I hollowed out each book using a utility knife. I’ve found that smaller books and/or older books with soft pages hollow easier when the pages are sealed first; however, larger books with stiffer pages are easier to hollow before the pages are sealed, allowing the book to be hollowed in sections. I also coated the inside of the hollowed books with a glossy gel, which tamed rough edges and further adhered the pages together.

USB Hub Mod

Finished Product

When the insides of the books were dry, I arranged the books in a nicely skewed stack then connected them by drilling a screw in each corner of the top book. The 3/4” screws were just long enough to drill into each cover, without going through the top cover of the bottom book. Since I wanted the USB hub in the top book and the card reader to be plugged into it, I drilled a hole into the bottom of the top book and through the top of the bottom book, to allow the cables to pass. I also drilled a small hole through the top edge of the bottom book, so that the usb cable - the one that will attach the hub to the computer - could exit (since the plug is bigger than the cable, I pulled the sealed pages apart slightly to pass the cable through, and then resealed the pages around the cable). Finally, I used adhesive caulk to glue the usb hub and card reader into their respective books.

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