OK, everyone has seen the dude who made an LED POV (persistence of vision) clock out of a hard drive, and we’re all very impressed (no, seriously). But not all of us have those skills. This is a hard drive clock that requires only a power drill and some basic hand tools. No electronics knowledge is necessary. Total project time: 60-90 minutes.
- Old hard drive (duh). I happened to find a 5.25″ model. Smaller or bigger drives could be just as fun.
- A clock movement from your local craft&hobby store. Get the one with the longest shaft you can. Mine was 3/4″ and it fit perfectly.
- I used a bit of old IDE cable to help support the bottom of the clock. You may need to get creative to get yours to hang parrallel to the wall.
- A six pack of your favorite beverage to celebrate your cool looking clock.
- Hand drill with bits up to the size of the clock movement shaft. I needed a 5/16″ hole for mine.
- Various screw drivers, perhaps with hex or torx bits, depending on the model of your drive.
- A hammer
- If you do the IDE cable trick I describe, you’ll need a utility knife (or sturdy scissors) and some hot glue.
Step the second: Remove the screws holding the platters in place. Be very careful to not touch the surface of the platters–finger prints will look pretty crappy. Hold them only by their edges.
The magnets holding this part together are incredibly strong, so don’t be suprised if it takes a bit of force to remove one after the screws have been removed. I then jammed the arms all the way down into the circuit board so that I could remove the second platter. Depending on your drive, you may have to remove the arms.
Once the rotor is off, you can see the coils beneath.
Step IX: Punch the bearings out of the rotor. I put the rotor on top of my vice, with the jaws about an inch apart. I then put a philips screwdriver on the bearings, and tapped them out with the hammer. This took a couple of tries, but eventually they came out.
Step 9: Now it is time to drill through the center of the motor mount in the back of the case. I spent a great deal too much time attempting this because there was a small steel column that I’m guessing the motor rotated on top of–it was the center spindle that I needed to get through. My crappy drill bits just weren’t making much progress. Finally I turned the drive over, and tapped on the spindle with a punch (a philips screw driver would suffice) and a hammer. It came right out. After that, enlarging the hole in the aluminum was incredibly quick. So, my lesson here is: if you think you have to drill, try something else. If you are drilling steel, it will take forever, especially if you have crappy drill bits (like me).
I was so excited when I widened the hole an got wood from the work bench, I shot the picture right then and there, without removing the debris.
The Next Step: Reassemble the platters and the spindle rotor. Let them sit in place in the center of the drive, but they won’t stay there very well. Put the magnets back together for the drive arms and put them back between the platters.
Fit the clock shaft up through the hole in the center of the platters. The hole left in the rotor after removing the bearings was bigger than the nut and washer supplied with the clock movement, so I had to add another washer. Fortunately, it is almost impossible to tell.
Step -i: Follow the instructions provided by the clock movement for putting the hands on the clock.
Step M: Now, looking at the back, the body of the clock movement sticks out, and so we need something at the bottom to brace it agains the wall (I’m hanging mine). If you choose to stand yours on a desk, well, good luck with that.
So here’s where that IDE cable came in for me. I took an old cable, and cut off the end that fit the drive along with about 6 inches of cable. I plugged the cable into the bottom of the drive, and hot glued the tail against the back, just under the movement body, leaving a bit of a loop in the wire. In this way, the IDE cable holds the bottom of the drive body away from the wall about as much as the movement body does.
So, here is the finished product, hanging on a wall in my den.
You can see a bit of the IDE loop at the bottom to get an idea of what I mean.
Step 6 Pack: Time to enjoy a cold beverage, admiring your
wicked cool White & Nerdy harddrive clock.