Turn Your Old Hard Drive Into A Sander/grinder

[Jipa] over at MetkuMods put up an original re-use for old hard drives: make em into power tools. The tiny servo motor that drives the spindle doesn’t generate much torque, but once the drive is spinning fast enough, the inertial force of the platter is enough to make it usable for small grinding/sanding projects. The platters are re-stacked directly on top of each other to increase strength – we’d suggest a few dabs of epoxy to make em even stronger. Once stacked, a piece of sand paper is cut to size and held on by the center platter washer. [Via hacknmod]

22 thoughts on “Turn Your Old Hard Drive Into A Sander/grinder

  1. Come on guys this is stupidly dangerous, there is a good reason that those disks cut at high speed they store massive amounts of potential energy. More than a small calibre bullet in most cases. One of those platters shattering would make an awful mess of you. If that is not enough older drives have glass platters that is just asking for trouble, please don’t promote such dangerous things. Sometimes its worth spending a few dollars and buying real tools, this is one of those times.

  2. i always thought hard drives had stepper motors in them? im sure you could modify the mounts on them to put an actual grinding disc instead of using the platter, and you could just make a cheap circuit to drive it at variable speeds.

  3. As someone who has worked in a machine shop, with a lot of experience operating grinders and chop-saws, I would hafta agree with Alexander here…its too much of a gray area to be playing with. HD platters were NOT designed to have ANY friction on them at all. You might get away with some very light sanding, but using it as a grinder is just asking for some metal shrapnel in places you don’t want it…

  4. Actually, spindles are (have always been?) driven by brushless motors, not steppers.

    As for safety, all the HDDs I’ve taken apart seem at least as sturdy as the cheap “dremels” I’ve owned… Plus, along with the suggested epoxy, some kind of mesh or cloth could be sandwiched between the platters for even more strength.

    A slightly safer use would be as a buffing/polishing wheel.

  5. What the hell has happened to hack-a-day?
    Posting something like this is stupid. Especially when you don’t even bother to mention that this is extremely dangerous. There are still many drives that use metal plated glass platters… the energy in a spinning platter could cause it to literally explode when misused.
    Something like this would not have been posted a year ago. Yes, it may have a cool factor but that is heavily outweighed but the maiming factor.
    Stupid h-a-d… unbeliveably stupid post.

  6. @DigitalKlepto Read on, it talks about using a sheet of sand paper over the plates. The plates are just there for a surface, which seeing there brittleness Id probably opt for installing actual metal plates cute from sheet as opposed to glass….

  7. I was never as paranoid as you guys when attaching an orbital sander disk to the platterface of an obsolete drive, arcing off of old CRTs, launching ballistic CDs with a dremel, or any of the stupid dangerous crap hacks do involving high energies and computer hardware.

    Man up you whinging HAD readers. If you die with a hard drive platter pinning your head to your workbench at least it will be an awesome death.

  8. “If you die with a hard drive platter pinning your head to your workbench at least it will be an awesome death”

    All you “not a hack” whiners, *this* is what a HAD comment is *supposed* to look like.

  9. Funny you should mention, I never thought it could be dangerous when I made it. Anyway all the HDDs I’ve opened and destroyed have had metal platters and this was not different… Metal plated glass does indeed sound rather dangerous so that would have been a good thing to point out in the original article. Also the motor has virtually no torgue at all, so when a load is applied the speed drops well below the specified.

    Funny this gets linked now, it’s already over two years old :)

  10. i´m trying to make the hd plattes spin with a 9v battery but with no success, i´m giving my first steps in circuit bending so i would really like to do this.. can someone give me a clue on how to achieve this?
    thnx :)

  11. This may not be so hot for sanding/grinding but as a lapping/polishing surface it seems to do the trick. hardly any load would be put on it (use properly) and the surfaces are smooth enough that a little diamantine & oil or water would work wonders on that last little bit of high polish wanted.

    Just a thought.

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