Quick Project: How to Make a Clock from an Old Hard Drive

It tells time AND lets you watch your back!

Hard drives die.  Most are thrown away or recycled.  Some, however, are taken apart and turned into clocks.  The initial take down of this HDD is here, but in order to get the platters out I had to remove some more screws  (illustrated below after the break) with a Torx bit or screw extractor for my drill.  I don’t think I had the right bit, so the screw extractor was used.  The read head actually had to be pried off after the Torx screw was removed as a large magnet was holding everything in place (it might make a good component for another project).

Unscrew all Torx bits with red arrows

When I initially took this drive apart, the idea of making a clock out of it this came to mind, but I was more thinking I’d have the platters themselves move.  I also thought I’d have to modify an existing clock to do this.  This weekend found me at the Hobby Lobby looking for some picture frames – more accurate: watching picture frames get looked for and wandering around.  On the way out though, I found this, a clock-making kit.  The label describes it as “fine clock making parts,” so if anyone has a Rolex to trade me for one of these, please shoot me an email.  Hobby Lobby frequently has cupons for 40% off etc, so it’s worth looking for them if you’re going shopping.

Yes, this kit is a functioning clock with no face

But seriously, the thing worked great.  If you attach the platter as well as the plate that keeps everything together normally like the kit instructs you to, that’s all there is to it.  Use the platter/plate instead of the clock face.

I have been experimenting with the other HDD platter using my CNC router and Inkscape to see if I can engrave numbers around it.  Maybe I’ll even put a Tiger Paw on it.
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Work in Progress: Although this clock looks cool as it is, it would be better if it had numbers on it.  I haven’t perfected it yet (working on depth per cut and a good holding method), but I’m trying to engrave numbers on the platter with my CNC router using Inkscape.  More on this when complete, but here’s what I have so far.  All done now! Even have advanced to putting logos on them!

HDD clock face engraved

Still a work in progress



  1. Engraving Numbers on a Hard Drive Platter Clock | JCOPRO.NET - pingback on October 15, 2011 at 8:10 am

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