Hard Disk Drive Coasters

Working with IT can leave you with a lot of spare and sometimes broken/useless components. One of which is dud hard drives. This could be because they are no longer useful in modern machines such as there capacity is too small or they use an old connection such as IDE. Another is that they have just given up on life and no longer want to read and write. So what to do with these dead and old HDD’s, paper weight? Door stop? Both useful but impractical. The best and most interesting is to turn them into tea coasters, well the inside of them anyway. This has been covered in a few blogs before and isn’t even my own thinking. I was given the idea by my old friend Josh Browning over at FreshApp who also runs a software development blog here. (Better give him credit!) But I thought I would write a quick post just to show you how it’s done.

HDD’s vary depending on the model but in general the process is the same. The HDD I am going to use is an old 80Gb Maxtor SATA 1.5Gb/s drive which died its death a while ago. The only HDD’s I’ve had problems with is Western Digital as the screws inside are smaller than the screws on the outside so can be difficult to remove without the correct screw driver.

The first step is to grab your old HDD and remove the screws on the outer casing. These are torque screws and require a T27 head to undo them.

Don’t forget the one usually hidden under a sicker in the middle.

After these are all removed you can easily remove the top casing to reveal the insides.

Next remove the screws in the middle which hold the physical hard disk in place and remove the metal spacer. You also want to remove any screws holding the arm in place. This is where you have problems with Western Digital drives as the screws here are smaller torque screws than what you have been removing so far.

Push the arm to one side or completely remove it and ease the disk out. You will then be left with just an empty shell.

We then have are shiny coaster sized hard disk which we can use to stop those nasty tea stains! Or use as a vanity mirror.

And we are also left with some rather power magnets which made good, but all be it not very interesting fridge magnets.

There you have it! The only other feature you can add to these newly recycled coasters is to add little rubber feet on one side to stop them sliding around and getting more scratched. I found the ones you get with new network switches are perfect for the job.

I would suggest you don’t open up any HDD unless you are happy to never use it again as these units are sealed to stop any dust entering and damaging the disk. But then I’m not looking to teach anyone to suck eggs ;P.