Overclock.net › Forums › Case Mods & Cases › Other Hardware Mods › HDD Mod Ideas
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

HDD Mod Ideas

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've been poking around the threads and ran across a few HDD Window Mods, including the OC FAQ. They look so cool, and I could only imagine what it looks like with the heads scrambling on the platters under some UV acrylic (until I make one myself) . Seeing those drives got my own platters spinning, however. The windows are cool, and I couldn't help but wonder what else could be done to these often neglected, highly essential components of our otherwise tricked out and modded systems.

I've come up with a few HDD Mod ideas, and I'd like to share one now. Another one I'll post when the project itself is completed. (Hopefully a day or two - still have to plan the execution and acquire materials).

Here's the first idea:

How about making your HDD DISAPPEAR?


Yes, as in going David Copperfield... *poof* The concept is pretty simple, but is more of a Hardware Hack (I think) than an actual mod. Imagine looking into the case of a running system and seeing no HDD. No gaggles of SATA or IDE cables. Just a mobo, your DVD drive, and expansion cards. Here's how to do it.

This idea came to me quite a while back when I disassembled one of these after the case cracked. It's a Seagate 2.5gb USB 2.0 portable drive.



After removing the plastic casing, I was amused to discover that it wasn't actually a flash drive - Instead, it's got a tiny 1.8" HDD in it! The HDD has a rubber shield around it for shock protection and insulation from the attached USB 2.0 Controller board. Here are some photos with a penny for size comparison. Sorry the pics aren't sharper, my camera bites.



After a quick examination you'll discover that the USB connector has 5 wires which can easily be de-soldered from the controller board. This is what sparked the idea of this mod. What if you replace the typical USB connector with a 6 pin for your MB's internal USB? You end up with a tiny HDD you can hide anywhere in your case. (Don't forget to sleeve your cables! )

But it's only 2.5GB, what's the point?

You could set your BIOS to boot to it as a primary drive, and load a slim install of XP.

While you could use this type of setup as your primary drive, I wouldn't advise it due to really slow data access times and the obvious capacity limitations. However, this may be an interesting solution to shave some space in ultra-compact MicroATX machines.

The most practical application I could think of was more along the lines of an always-installed Emergency Boot Drive, loaded with diagnostic utilites, drivers, and any other software that may be useful in the event of a really unstable overclock, failed primary drive, or poor BIOS settings. You could have Hiren's Boot CD, TinyXP, or any number of other utilities, partition managers, etc. on there. Maybe a copy of DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke) to wipe our your HDD's incase the Feds kick your door down?

After configuring the drive with whatever goodies you want and setting it into a bootable state via your BIOS, I would reccomend that you find a way to hide the drive itself within your OS so that files don't accidentally get deleted by other users or an errant mouse click. I've formatted the wrong drive once or twice by not paying close enough attention.

So what do ya think?


post #2 of 21
i think that since it's a 1.8" IDE drive, you could always replace it with a 60-80GB part like the ipods use, and get a lot more use out of it.
HP Pavilion dm1z
(13 items)
 
  
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
Fusion E-350 Radeon HD 6310M 8GB Corsair DDR3 Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB 
OSMonitor
Windows 7 Home Premium 11.6" 
  hide details  
Reply
HP Pavilion dm1z
(13 items)
 
  
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
Fusion E-350 Radeon HD 6310M 8GB Corsair DDR3 Western Digital Scorpio Black 750GB 
OSMonitor
Windows 7 Home Premium 11.6" 
  hide details  
Reply
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
The one in this particular Segate device uses a flat ribbon to connect the drive with the controller board, so I doubt it's some type of standardized IDE interface. The main benefit I found to connecting it via USB is that it uses one cable for both data and power, making it much easier to hide or route the line in your case.

A few minutes of poking around revealed the following:

1.8" Hard Drives Hit 100 GB

And an adapter from 1.8" to 2.5" or 3.5" formats

A writeup on the underlying technology behind Toshiba's tiny drives, Perpendicular Magnetic Recording

Anyhow, I just thought the idea was good for applications where space considerations outweigh those of performance - there are dozens of ways you could interface and incorporate all the many types of Flash Memory and Micro HDDs into your system.

I haven't yet done the required hack-n-slice to plug this into my MB's USB header, but if all this mod did was save me from having to swap out a bunch of Recovery CD's during a crash, it'd be well worth the time invested.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Sorry there haven't been any updates recently, but life has a way of getting in the way of things.

The original idea behind this thread was to flesh out a couple of ideas I had for hard drive mods, considering I had a couple of working but unused drives kicking around. Seeing as I've never done any serious hack-n-slice with a Dremel, the first thing I decided to do was give one of the drives a window, and possibly LED's.

The Victem is an old Quantum Fireball 15GB drive I salvaged from a machine on the trash heap. I've got plenty of storage on my PC, so it went in a bin until I started reading the forums here and came across this and this.

Of course that got the gears turning, so out came the Fireball...



DISCLAIMER: If you're reading this, then you should already know the dangers of attempting to open up a Hard Disk. There's a lot of ways things could go wrong and fry your drive, so don't attempt this on one you care about!

Anyhow, I picked this particular drive because it had a bit of a raised lip around the edge of the cover, tracing the outline of the platters and drive mechanics. I thought it'd fit a window in there nicely.

First things first - I peeled off the stickers on the top of the drive, exposing 2 hidden screws in the process. Next, I used a little bit of Isopropyl Alcohol and a soft rag to clean the drive's exterior of any remaining adhesive and oil/fingerprints/gunk.

On this particular drive, there were a total of 9 screws holding the cover in place - 8 Phillips and one Hex. I loosened the screws enough so that I could undo them by hand, and set the drive down to prepare the next step.

NOTE: Some drives (like the one I'll be using in my next mod) have a sort of adhesive aluminum strip to seal the seam around the edge of the drive's cover. You'll need to remove this before you pop the top.

DO NOT REMOVE THE DRIVE COVER YET! You don't want to get ANY contaminents on the actual platters of the drive or you'll just be wasting your time on a cool looking lump of useless metal.

I used the DIY Clean-Room trick from another post and steamed up my bathroom by running the shower full blast on hot for a few minutes. While that was going, I got a 1 gallon Ziplock freezer bag and a roll of Renyolds Wrap (Saran Wrap, Cling Rap... whatever).

Once in my "Clean Room" with my supplies, it was time for the fun to begin. I first removed all 9 of the pre-loosened screws, and then checked to see if I could remove the drive cover by hand, which I couldn't. There's a compression-fit rubber gasket with adhesive that goes all the way around the edge of the drive to seal it. Using a jewler's screwdriver as a miniature pry-bar at the very corner of the cover (so as not to bend/scratch it) it easily popped the cover free. Quickly (and with held breath), I placed this aside and set the body of the drive itself in the center of a large piece of Renyolds Wrap which I carefully sealed over the drive. Now wrapped in plastic and sealed off from contaminents, I placed the drive in the Ziploc freezer bag for extra protection. With this part out of the way, the body of the drive was set in a safe place (in a box on a shelf).

Now it was time to start marking the outline of the window. I wanted to follow the contour of the ridge on the drive's cover, but leave myself an extra lip to adhere the plexi to and maybe hide some LED's. I figured 1/4" would be ample room to work with. The hard part was figuring out how to keep as consistant a width as possible all the way around the edge. First, I set a compass to 1/4" and tried tracing the contour around the cover, but I got crappy results due to an unsteady hand and a POS $0.99 compass. Then the idea hit me. Using a new Chisel-Tipped Sharpie marker (this one had a fine tip on one end, and a really fat chisel tip on the other - my perfect 1/4" ), I put the drive cover face down on the table and traced the INSIDE of the contour. This resulted in a 1/4" thick black line all around the inside of the cover.

Sorry these pics are post-op with the Dremel, but you can see the compression gasket (very dark black) around the edge of the cover, and then my 1/4" line of sharpie appears as Blue/Black. Using a Dremel and a reinforced Cut-Off wheel (first time!), I cut out the center of the cover, not worrying about the details. As you can see, my rough cut was very rough to begin with. This way I could slowly work closer and closer to my marked lines and clean up the curves and corners. I was able to cut out the center with only one Cut-Off, but it took 2 to complete the fine shaping and grinding. Considering it was my first time cutting metal with Dremel, it came out very nicely. The tool only jumped twice, resulting in small nicks in the edge that I hope will come out later on. I was surprised at how long it took me to make the first rough cut - nearly 45 minutes of grinding. I soon realized that this was due to the fact that I'm using a really old Dremel (300 series, I think) that is single speed - 10,000rpm or so, instead of the recommended 15,000+ speed for the Cut Off wheels.



Using a fine-toothed bastard file, I cleaned up all the edges and rounded them over to make things nice and smooth. Still couldn't get rid of one of the marks, but it's starting to shape up nicely!





post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Now I've got a spiffy new hole in the cover of my Hard Drive that needs filling, so it's time to prepare the Acrylic for the window.

First, I laid the cover face down on the table (yeah, the picture shows otherwise - took it after for an illustration shot) and then placed the sheet of Acrylic on top of it. Using a fine-tipped Sharpie marker, I drew an outline on the Acrylic, guesstimating the fit. Once I had this outline, I cut the sheet to size by scoring and snapping it.



I've never had to cut anything other than a straight line in Acrylic before, so I wasn't really sure of the best way to go about it. First thing I tried was the Cut-Off disk still on my Dremel, and it worked the bawlz. No chipping or cracking at all, and the Acrylic just barely started to melt at the edges. I came as close to my marked outline as I dared with the Cut Off, and then switched to a sanding drum to finish it off. Once I reached my line, I test fit the window and made minor adjustments to make it fit snugly.



With the window seated into place, I got to thinking. Even though I used the thinnest Acrylic I could find (1/8"), it was obvious I would have clearance issues when reattaching the cover to the drive. I could see that the spindle would contact the winddow, and if powered on like that it'd send showers of acrylic chips right on the drive's platters... Not good - So, I decided to remove the gasket on the cover and find a way to replace it with thicker material later.






post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BoondockBravo View Post
Now I've got a spiffy new hole in the cover of my Hard Drive that needs filling, so it's time to prepare the Acrylic for the window.

First, I laid the cover face down on the table (yeah, the picture shows otherwise - took it after for an illustration shot) and then placed the sheet of Acrylic on top of it. Using a fine-tipped Sharpie marker, I drew an outline on the Acrylic, guesstimating the fit. Once I had this outline, I cut the sheet to size by scoring and snapping it.

[IMG]http://www.overclock.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=50906&d=1182926743[/IMG

I've never had to cut anything other than a straight line in Acrylic before, so I wasn't really sure of the best way to go about it. First thing I tried was the Cut-Off disk still on my Dremel, and it worked the bawlz. No chipping or cracking at all, and the Acrylic just barely started to melt at the edges. I came as close to my marked outline as I dared with the Cut Off, and then switched to a sanding drum to finish it off. Once I reached my line, I test fit the window and made minor adjustments to make it fit snugly.

[IMG]http://www.overclock.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=50908&stc=1&d=11829268 46[/IMG

With the window seated into place, I got to thinking. Even though I used the thinnest Acrylic I could find (1/8"), it was obvious I would have clearance issues when reattaching the cover to the drive. I could see that the spindle would contact the winddow, and if powered on like that it'd send showers of acrylic chips right on the drive's platters... Not good - So, I decided to remove the gasket on the cover and find a way to replace it with thicker material later.

[IMG]http://www.overclock.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=50909&stc=1&d=11829269 40[/IMG
instead of a gasket, is it just the spindle? if so take a drill and just mill the plastic out til its out of the way, just dont go to far or youll have a hole
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
The spindle itself would contact the window... True, I could try to mill it out, but the Acrylic is only 1/8" thick to begin with, and I don't have anything like a drill press to do it anyhow. Not only that, you'd be able to see the milling in the acryl, and I want a really clean look... The thicker gasket gives me the space I need, and I can hide the wires to the LED's within the adhesive foam I plan on using. Once the cover's mounted, nothing but the window will be visible... hopefully.
post #8 of 21
Wow...that's something there...I like your artistry with the metal work and you did good with the acrylic too!

RE seating the window...how about a bead of sealant you could use black 3M 5200 or nitrile or even silicon.... Just mask the exterior very carefully.
Shop Dog
(13 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
E8400 Asus Blitz Formula SE HD3870X2 G Skill 2 x 2GB DDR2 800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Velociraptor 150GB LG DVD Burner Vista Ultimate 64 AOC 21.5" LED 1080p 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Deck Legend Silverstone 750 Modular OverClock Edition Lian Li V1100 Logitech Trackball 
Mouse Pad
Nope 
  hide details  
Reply
Shop Dog
(13 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
E8400 Asus Blitz Formula SE HD3870X2 G Skill 2 x 2GB DDR2 800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Velociraptor 150GB LG DVD Burner Vista Ultimate 64 AOC 21.5" LED 1080p 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Deck Legend Silverstone 750 Modular OverClock Edition Lian Li V1100 Logitech Trackball 
Mouse Pad
Nope 
  hide details  
Reply
post #9 of 21
looks good. cant wait to see the finished product
Fail-o-tron
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Opteron 165 Toledo @ 2.9 Ghz GA-K8N Pro-SLI XFX8800GT 710/1705/1005 2GB DDR500 G.SKILL 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD SataII 80gb, 120gb, 320gb Gigabyte DVD+RW Windows Vista Ultimate Acer 17'' and 19''WS 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Logitec G15 Cool Master Extreme Power 600W Crap Logitec G9 
Mouse Pad
Icemat 2nd Ed 
  hide details  
Reply
Fail-o-tron
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Opteron 165 Toledo @ 2.9 Ghz GA-K8N Pro-SLI XFX8800GT 710/1705/1005 2GB DDR500 G.SKILL 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD SataII 80gb, 120gb, 320gb Gigabyte DVD+RW Windows Vista Ultimate Acer 17'' and 19''WS 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Logitec G15 Cool Master Extreme Power 600W Crap Logitec G9 
Mouse Pad
Icemat 2nd Ed 
  hide details  
Reply
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberDruid View Post
Wow...that's something there...I like your artistry with the metal work and you did good with the acrylic too!

RE seating the window...how about a bead of sealant you could use black 3M 5200 or nitrile or even silicon.... Just mask the exterior very carefully.
Thanks for the kind words, CD ~ I've been admiring quite a bit of your work since I stumbled onto OCN. The praise comes highly valued.

As for the window, I planned on using some Vynal Foam weatherseal self-stick tape. Gives me the thickness I want, but I may need longer screws.... I want to make darn sure that the acrylic won't come close to the spindle, and the gasket is gives me a place to hide/route the LED wires permanently so they won't drop into the drive during handling or transport. That'd foul things up something fierce.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Other Hardware Mods
Overclock.net › Forums › Case Mods & Cases › Other Hardware Mods › HDD Mod Ideas