Engraving Numbers on a Hard Drive Platter Clock

In case you’ve never heard of a “Hard Drive Platter Clock”, this article explains how one is made.  Apparently others on the internet have thought of this concept before, but this is the first engraved one to the best of my limited knowledge.

The engraving was done with a kit-built CNC router controlled by Mach3 software.  The Gcode for this was generated by Inkscape and an extension called “Gcode tools.”  This extension, which is probably no substitute for a proper CAM package in most settings, does a good job generating engraving paths.  I used a pointed bit (Dremel #125) for my rotary tool to engrave everything at the lower setting of 10,000 RPM.  Each pass with the exception of the last one cut into the surface by .1mm for a total depth of cut of .35mm or around .014 inches.  It doesn’t take a lot to make a visible effect, especially on metal as polished as a HDD platter.

I’ve provided the Gcode here, but I actually had to offset the X-axis zero to the right to get everything totally centered, so keep that in mind.  Also, as seen in the video I set the “safe Z-axis value” way too high.  That shouldn’t hurt anything, but it makes things take longer.  The Y-axis zero is the bottom edge of the disk on an X/Y plane and the X-axis zero is the left edge (or the offset therof).  Given my makeshift fixturing for this, zeroing things that way made things easier.  If I wanted to do a lot of these, I’d make some sort of disk setup and possibly zero off the actual center of the platter.  As always, use at your own risk!
[ad#Adsense 250 x 250 image/rich media]

For a tutorial of engraving using these techniques, see this article.  For another CNC router example, here’s how to use it to make a bleach T-shirt stencil!


  1. Generating CNC Wooden Gears The Easy Way | JCOPRO.NET - pingback on May 14, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Trackbacks and Pingbacks: