DIY full size SD card reader?

So had a thought, wondering if I could take a off the shelf USBC to SD card reader, disassemble it and take the pcb and glue it into a 3D printed expansion shell. (Front modifications to fit the reader, of course) thoughts?


I think it should work just fine. Near as I can tell the inner end of the expansion cards is just a USBC. I think the USBC expansion card is just pass through extension. So if you have need for a full size reader and the skill to do the teardown and rebuild, I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t work. :smiley:

subscribing to know what full size sdcard you pick that will fit, as I will want the same thing!

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So, I ordered this one as a baseline to see what the size of the board is in comparison to the slot.

I did a little work in UHS II USB-A cards for my desktop build. I use fullsized cards in audio recorders and cameras and wanted to install two into the front panel-- and specifically I wanted the type where you push them to eject and they click. That is a part which you can get from mouser electronics although I had some trouble fabricating the panel slots as this was before I got a 3D printer.

I don’t have a framework laptop on order, but I can let you all know how this specific adapter works out and I’ll try some test prints with the CAD files.

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An SD card is about the same size as the expansion cards. It will be difficult to fit flush (might be possible though)

Noted, a thin reader might fit but it will be close.

It shouldn’t fit flush. Should stick out to be able to remove and replace with other SD cards.

Heck, current USB adapters for sdcards only allow 9mm to be inserted. That leaves a huge 23mm of sdcard dangling out of the adapter.

Obviously, we don’t want 23mm sticking out of a laptop (east to snap off!). But it should protrude enough to be grabbed and removed easily.

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Like I said it might not be possible to be flush (having it stick out would ruin the clean look of the Framework in my opinion)

No reason for them to stick out assuming you can squeeze in an SD eject mechanism like on my old Lenovo

The adapter I purchased points out a few key things. For one, I am not sure that any reader on the market will fit in terms of width. The PCB and in fact the solder pads on the SD card slot itself are too wide.

Now, there are not any electrical elements on that part of the PCB and those solder pads are just to hold down the slot, but I haven’t been able to find any sockets with through hole contacts which would make it more narrow.

It actualy seems to me that the expansion card specification was designed to be just wide enough for a full size SD card as the socket just fits into the CAD frame work provided.

I’ll cut the PCB and 3D print a new expansion card with internal spacing for the USB C to line up which I am pretty sure whill work but it is more of a hack than anticipated.


Hey @Charles_Borsos Can you provide close up images of the main silicon so depending on if it available I can make a PCB around the silicon.

This is Realtek IC ( hard to get probably) :slight_smile:
[maybe RTS5169 - REALTEK ]

Hi Charles,

check: Full size SD Card Reader Prototype

Any luck with trimming down the PCB to fit? I think part of the metal of the SD “slot” is RF shielding which could be moved to the plastic of the enclosure if there is enough card retention left without it.

Yes, @Lee_Holbrook, @maybeRui, and myself have all been able to trim this PCB and make it fit in the expansion card bay. @maybeRui and myself went the extra step of putting the trimmed PCB in a 3D printed enclosure, which you can check out below.

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