How to Disassemble a Hard Drive


If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you’d know that hard drives have lots of excellent components inside of them. Unfortunately, disassembling one isn’t that straightforward, so here’s my “How to Disassemble a Hard Drive” guide.

As seen in the video, the most important tool required to get into one of these devices is a hex driver. If you don’t have one, here’s a review of the Wiha screwdriver set that I use. Additionally, you’ll need a flathead screwdriver, and, in my case a vise, hammer, and chisel. Usually you can get away with just a screwdriver, but the magnet decided it liked being attached to its base.

As for what you can do with these components, the magnets work much better than traditional ‘fridge paper holders, or you can use them to hold a GoPro camera, or even to attach reflective safety material to a backpack. the platter motor looks useful, and the read-head comes with a nice bearing. Of course, the platters themselves are very cool. Lots of people (including myself) use them as clocks. Here’s one that I engraved with my favorite college’s logo!

Of course, this isn’t my first post about HDD disassembly. This article takes a somewhat more destructive path, using a drill and a screw extractor. I’d recommend following the video seen here.


Modify Fisher-Price Corn Popper for Hardwood Use

corn popper with o-rings

You might not remember the black rings around the wheels…

If you were a kid at one time, you might remember playing with something that you rolled over a carpet, and balls popped up. Your mom and dad likely remember this as well; hopefully with fond memories.

That being said, now that I have a kid, we now are the proud owners of a Fisher-Price “Corn Popper.” (Amazon) I previously had no idea what it was called, but that sounds better than “rolling popper kids toy.” We are also owners of a house featuring quite a bit of hardwood flooring. As seen in the video below, the corn popper doesn’t perform well on this type of surface. Naturally I had to find a solution.

After having this “problem” running around in the back of my mind for some time, it finally occurred to me that if a channel is cut around the circumference of the wheels, I could place an o-ring on each of the wheels, and it shouldn’t come off. Results of this experiment can be seen in the video below:

I used a bandsaw to perform this operation, rolling the wheels to form a sort of impromptu lathe. Results were OK, and I considered using my actual lath with this instead. This would have probably led to a more consistent cut, but would have also meant I needed to take the popper apart. Also, most people don’t have a lathe, likely making this project less accessible.

That being said, I probably should have cut the grooves even deeper than I did, as the o-rings can come off if used roughly enough (as they certainly will be). Obviously, do this or any other project on this site at your own risk; I certainly haven’t thought of every danger o-rings could cause to a child!

If you’re wondering, O-rings were from this handy variety pack from Amazon.

Also, I’ve been posting a lot of stuff on Twitter that’s not necessarily for my site and/or I’m currently working on. Be sure to check out my feed for more wacky creations!

New Quieter Fan for My HTPC

quiet fan HTPC vs old louder fanFor the last five years or so, I haven’t had cable, and instead use a computer (AKA HTPC) to stream everything off of the internet. I use a graphics card with no fan, which has generally worked well for me, but some streaming services* seem to cause the CPU to heat up, causing my main cooling fan to go crazy.

I’m not sure if it’s because it was getting old, but the fan that I had sounded like a jet engine. After doing a little research, I found out that I needed an 80mm fan. This is apparently normally measured by what the height and width of the square fan box is, but my fan was round for whatever reason. You can also infer this width by the distance between the holes. There is a handy chart here, so I made my best guess after taking the measurements.

After looking at reviews, I finally settled on this “ARCTIC F8 PWM PST” fan (Amazon) for under $8 as of this writing. It is seriously the most Read more »