Jack the DVD ripping robot


[Andy] had a fairly large problem on his hands. For the last 15 years, he’s been collecting DVDs, and since he began, he’s run out of space on his shelves for these miraculous plastic discs. Everything’s going to the cloud now, so he decided to build a media server, replete with rips of all his DVDs. As anyone who has ever tried to rip a movie knows, this can be a very long and tedious process. His solution to this should be something near and dear to all of us – he decided to build a robot to rip all his DVDs automatically.

With a brand new 3D printer, [Andy] set to work on designing Jack the Ripper Bot. The design has two trays mounted to a standard computer DVD drive, an ‘in’ tray and an ‘out’ tray. The frame of the machine bolts directly to the drive, and the entire contraption is driven by only three standard hobby servos.

The robot is driven by a Raspberry Pi, but the ripping actually takes place on an old laptop. [Andy] says it takes about an hour and a quarter to rip a DVD, so a full ‘in’ tray of 24 discs means about 28 hours of ripping time. Feeding the machine once a day is a lot better than returning to the computer every hour or so, we think.

All the STLs for the printed parts and the software for the Raspi and computer are up on [Andy]‘s github, should anyone want to upgrade this to a Blu Ray ripper.

Thanks [Stephen] for sending this one in.


  1. Ian says:

    Great stuff!

  2. Frank says:

    Change the laptop/DVD drive. A good drive can rip and DVD in under 20mins

  3. Drake says:

    I will look into this design for our reproduction (legal repo) purposes

    • Anonymous says:

      How many copies of discs do you need to make? There are commercially available disc duplicators (basically towers of DVD-RW drives) out there that can burn 3 or more copies simultaneously. That will get the job done much faster than burning one disc at a time.

      It’s not that this isn’t a great hack, I just don’t think it’s the best solution for what it sounds like you want to accomplish.

      • Greenaum says:

        You can get fully robotic setups as well. Just depends how many discs you want, and how fast.

      • SATovey says:

        You are so correct. However, if money is an issue this is a good alternative, especially if one loves to hack.

        I’ve looked at a couple of fully automatic ones and they burn one disk at a time, then label one disk at a time. As one disk is burning, the previously burned disk is being labeled.

        I’m thinking of doing this just so I can say I did it. :-)
        Then if I find something I can produce myself, I’ll have a duplicator, though not professional grade, to start with.

  4. mkb says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsQKTUYtZvo You can do this pneumatically, too. The nice thing about this alternative design is that, as you can see, it requires no precision as far as the physical build goes :)

  5. Adobe/Flash hater says:

    15 years worth of discs ? What is the life expectancy of the drive(s) used?
    I didn’t notice any heat removal methods in place.
    Sort of half expected to see a later view with the
    drive sitting in a printed frame also,
    to elevate it for some free air.

    ++ apologies for a thread hijack here.++
    P.S. is anyone else having issues with youtube
    being horribly slow?
    Even 240 is prone to buffering of late.
    not seeing the problem elsewhere IF it’s not just a youtube link (vimeo has always seemed to have a slow cdn)
    Come on Youtube!! I’m in USA & can watch full res Youku vids without a hiccup.

  6. polytechnick says:

    Me needs it! me wants it! (and I know of a family member who needs it 10 times more than I do). Too bad it’s illegal here in US to rip your friggin’ own DVDs

  7. Orion says:

    Though the entire rip will be completed faster with your suggestion it will also increase the frequency with which he needs to return to the computer so Jack the Ripper Bot still comes in handy.

  8. Excellent at first I could not invasion completely what you were talking about. Thanks for adding video. It all made sense once I watched the video.

  9. Reblogged this on Lucifer Luceafar Luceafarul.

  10. w says:

    But in all other respects it does not behave like a 19th century serial killer?

  11. techywechy says:

    This reminds me of this chap on HAD recently who did a sort of Lego version of this:


  12. Nate B says:

    I love the mechanical builds in these various disc changers, but the software still eludes me. There are standard changer interfaces, no? How would a hardware whiz-kid who can’t seem to wrap his head around software go about setting up such a thing?

    • Greenaum says:

      I suppose, do it in Linux with a bit of shell scripting. There are command-line Linux programs for everything, and they can all take parameters and feed into each other. The Linux shell supports all the comparison and jumps, loops etc that any other programming language does.

      Using text-mode Unix you really can’t help coming up with ideas to automate things. It’s so clever and simple.

  13. Bunedoggle says:

    This is super cool. It makes me think, however…

    All movies are already stored somewhere in digital format. Image the energy we’d save globally if we could just agree that buying the physical media gave you the right to access the digital media?

    People ripping the same media, over and over. We could probably power a third world country on the power used in the US ripping media.

    • Mike Szczys says:

      Yeah, it’s kinda messed up. But this is basically what Google is doing with music, right? I remember reading that the cloud music service simply scans your library and anything already on their servers is available for you without upload.

  14. polossatik says:

    impressive build, not sure if it’s not easier (and not as cool – i known) to simply get dvd rips from usenet/torrent/whatever?
    Or is there a “legal” argument in the US i’m missing?

  15. Paul says:

    How do you keep it from picking up more than one disk? The one I built is designed around a similar disk pickup method and every now and then it grabs a second disk.

    • cizzit says:

      I was wondering this, too. I guess the only way to make sure is to use something pnuematic to suction the top disc up, but that then gets more complicated. The probe part might feel the inside of the DVD until it encounters the crack between discs and slip into there?

      Nice work, by the way :D

    • Andy says:

      The “grippers” are angled at 3 degrees from vertical. I tried 1 degree and it sometimes picked up two discs. I tried 5 degrees and the disc sometimes slipped off. The advantage of 3D printing – you can create precise objects and quickly try lots of different variations.

  16. t&p says:

    didn’t really read the article but I think I know what is going on from the summery and honestly… I would just sell my dvds and download 1080 rips and or get netflix. Didn’t look at the build but I am sure it is a nice.

  17. bloodlock says:

    this can be used to burn the same iso several times too…

  18. Andy says:

    Thanks for all the great comments! Regarding the temperature issue – the drive has been running continuously for five days and the hottest part of the case measures 31.4 degrees C. This is without any active cooling and the drive is sitting on a wooden surface.

  19. raster says:

    The build is well done…

    As for the video, I’d rather listen to servos than terrible music. ;)

  20. godi says:

    He should add an extra tray so the robot can play Towers of Hanoi while the DVD’s are ripping

  21. Jim says:

    Once you’re done with your DVDs can I drop off my CD collection?

  22. ragingcomputer says:

    I was able to speed up my ripping by separating the ripping from the encoding and using 3 computers to run handbrake


  23. me says:

    Something I could have used 2 years ago… 3k discs later I am done… The amount of errors makes it a sketchy process. I would say about 1-2% of them flake out for some reason. I also found that different drives yield different results. I had some that would not copy at all on one computer. You can realistically do about 25-50 a day. Since I did them by hand it was more like 10-15. Less if blu-ray. Even if it flaked out once and awhile and you could detect that this would make the process go much faster. With my collection it would be about 60 days at 50 a day. Also do not forget disc space requirements. I woefully underestimated how much I needed. I clocked in around 22TB. I went full ISO as it was simpler at a cost of space.

    • me says:

      One more thing also the dvd labels range from random numbers to DVD_VIDEO to the actual title. Unless you are cool with that…

      • Andy says:

        The PC software puts each rip into a timestamped folder, so if you have more than one disc with the same name (DVD_VIDEO) it won’t overwrite it.
        Also the PC software generates a log which I can match up with the stack of discs to see which ones failed.

  24. Geena says:

    Just in case somebody/woodworker is interested


    perfect in its simpicity

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