Disassembling a CD/DVD Reader and Reusing Its Parts





Introduction: Disassembling a CD/DVD Reader and Reusing Its Parts

About: A eletrical engeneering student, video games lover and hardware aficionado. Starting my journey through the world of electronics. Microcontrollers?! I love them!


Talking about CD and DVD drivers, they are awesome! You can find many cool and valuable(for a hobbist) things inside them to use in your projects. There are so many things that you can do with one or more of these drivers that you will be impressed.

This instructable is about this, reusing the parts from a old/dead CD or DVD driver. After disassembling many of these drivers i could learn its tricks and know what can be done with them, now I want to share this specific knowledge with you.

So, let's start!

Step 1: Finding Your Victim

You can find a dead CD or DVD driver in old computers, maybe you have one in your house. But if you don't have one don't worry. I got mine from a computer repair workshop, if you ask for one in the workshop next to your house they will possibly give you one, because this drivers when dead and being substituted are going to trash, asking don't cost anything.

Good luck!

Step 2: The Tools

To get it open, you will need only some screwdrivers, for the most part i used only a philips screwdriver, But the ideal is to have a kit with many screwdrivers, because you may need a strange to disassemble the laser.

Maybe you will need pliers to pulling the magnets in the laser structure.

Ah, you may also need a solder iron and the skills in how to use it.

Step 3: Starting the Surgery

The first thing to do is to loose the four screws under the driver, after that you can pull the cover.

Step 4: Retiring the Other Part of the Metal Case.

Now on the sides of the press the marked parts on the images and pull
the front of the driver, after that finish taking off the metal cover.

Step 5: Retiring the Electronic Board

I don't use the electronic board, but it is standing in the way of our progress, see the images to know how to take it.

I recommend that you put these parts that don't have much value for us in a box/bag for discarding correctly later.

Step 6: The Tray Motor Board

In the images, you can see how to take off the tray mechanism, there are some things that can bee used here.

You will need knowledge in desoldering to retrieve the parts from the board.

1 x Green diffuse LED.

1 x DC motor.

1 x push button.

1 x strange button.

Step 7: The Tray Mechanism

Here, there are some gears that you can use with the motor from the step before.

What you can make with this parts depends of your creativity, you can make a reduction to a robot or something like that, I using some these in one of my projects, You will see it in Instructables in some time.

Step 8: That Thing That I Don't Know the Name.

Yep, I don't know if this thing has a name.

Let's call it 'Laser movementing mechanism', ok?

For me, that is the real treasure inside these drivers, because I have seen people use them to make laser cutters, engravers, 3D printers and plotters.

Following are some projects that I like with that mechanism:

A Bio Printer.

Poor Man's 3D Printer.

Pocket laser engraver.

And my favorite:

Printer from a CD reader.

Step 9: The Brushless Motor.

The motor used to spin the CD or DVD is a brushless motor, that means that you can't simply connect two wires in a battery and it will spin, for that, you will need a Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) and maybe some mods , following are some instructables with motors like this.

Some projects with these motors:

Arduino CDROM BLDC Motor Driver

I saw people using these motors to fly RC planes with some modifications.


Step 10: The Stepper

The motor used to movement the laser is a stepper motor, stepper motors are very good to positioning, the signal sent to the motor makes it move to a determined position.

The stepper motor in these drivers is bipolar, and have to be used with H bridges , I use the L239D chip, a dual H bridge to drive them.

Nice projects with these steppers:

Arduino Mini Laser Paper Cutter.

Arduino mini pen plotter.

The MicroSlice | A tiny Arduino laser cutter.

Step 11: The Laser

The DVD/CD readers have two lasers, while the CD readers have only one, yeah... I think. The laser used to burn DVDs can be strong enough to burn matches and other things.

Following are some instructables using these lasers.

A Homemade Laser Pointer.

Homemade Laser Module.

*Don't point the laser to your eyes, or to anyone eye or not,it can do serious eye damage or burn the skin, don't be stupid it's not funny.*

Step 12: Well Done!

Hey, we can stop here.

I hope that you liked this Instructable.

Remember to discard the parts that you're not using within the regulation of your city/state/country.

Now you have some things to experiment with, good bye and be creative!

In some days (or weeks) I will be here with something made with these drivers.

Please, if you liked my instructable, vote for me in the 'Teach it!' contest.

See you.

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114 Discussions

I am a regular reader of this forum under Instructables and the items posted under this are very valuable ones to learn and do it yourself.Infact I have started collecting the old parts of electronics only after reading the post. I am a regular subscriber under my another e-mail ID: pawanivr@yahoo.com. Only sad part to me is I am unable to download the articles as PDF ones since it requires paidup membership which I cannot afford. Only I book mark these for my reading whenever I get my leisure.I ahve made lots of gadgets after seeing this site. Kudos for the site which promotes DIYers like me.

how to compound the tools?

how to compound the tools?

Very well done. I like how you took so many pictures of each step. Also, it is fantastic that you include links to resource for using some of the components!

2 replies

Great instructable. I've just learned the right way on the fourth CD Writer I've disassembled, but your instructable has clarified several points. A few notes based on recent research and experience : 1. DC motors with high-resolution encoders (I've found more in printers than CD/DVD drives) with appropriate control firmware give more control than the small stepper motors or hobby servos, plus, assuming there isn't too much friction, you can record movements from the encoder/controller, and play them back. (Motion control, anyone?) I can't remember if they can hold a load in position like a stepper. They're also smoother - I think. 2. I've just taken apart one of the "Stepper Motors" and it consists of a cylindrical magnet surrounded by two highly-wound coils, one around (I'm presuming) each pole. I've never seen a motor of this design before. The magnet is connected directly to the threaded rod, although the rod does not carry the magnetic field. Parts of the housing are aluminum, others are (I think) mild steel, based on their magnetic behaviour. 3. Does anyone know where to buy these (stepper motor + lead screw assembly)? They're a beautiful design -- I'd like to build a 9x9cm 2-axis plaster-of-paris (google for local name) engraver for metal casting. 4. With lasers don't sit around with a power supply trying to make a laser come on. If it's infrared you won't see it until you don't see anything. If it's a writer-laser you may see something as your retina burns out. I'm exaggerating but only a little. Be so very careful. Coherent light HURTS. 5. Does anyone have any idea what those two (presumed) nickel-coated neodymium magnets are for? Fine positioning? I'm just really curious because it looks really cool...

1 reply

10 months ago

Out of Three motors, one with a pulley fixed can be used directly.

For the other 2 stepper motors can anybody suggest a simple circuit and all details to effectively use them in projects. The one which moves the Laser is simply wonderful and can be used for a variety of projects. Waiting for a valuable suggestion.Dhandapani


10 months ago

Hi. This was a nice instructable.Today when I came across a nonfunctional DVD drive, started dismantling, collected 3 variety of motors for future use and was looking at the metal case and hard plastic drawer mechanism. The DVD transfer slide gets locked up and cannot be opened without operating the lever inside. For this you have to dismantle 4 screws holding the plate from the bottom side. I would like to inform all readers that this a very safe HIDING place for Spare Keys, even Jewels as the intruder is most unlikely to expect this as a safety locker. Dhandapani.India

Just be careful with CD/DVD burners and laser stuff. If you are experimenting with those, never look directly into the laser beam, although you think is "invisible" it can damage your eye vision in a snatch. That said, lasers are not toys.

2 replies

Yep, thanks for remenber.

I said something about this in step 11, but i will add more.

I'd go further. The laser from a DVD burner is potentially powerful enough to blind you, not just from looking directly at it, but from looking at a stray reflection. There's an instructable for a glass etcher that's very clear about this - don't power it on unless it's all shielded away in a box.


1 year ago

Just as an info, many drives use standard DC motors (2 wires) instead of Stepper motors (4 wires).
I got DC motors from all kinds of drives and also stepper motors... no pattern to it really.

6 replies

well first you want to make sure they are not, two wire stepper motors. i, do have some old small two wire steppers. best way to test, is to apply voltage and see if it runs or steps. only the motor that runs the read read/write on the slide rails head will possibly be a stepper. but two wire steppers, are very rare.

I really do not belive there are any 2 wire stepper motors in CD/DVD drives..
I created the instructables where I use CD/DVD drives to make a small 3d printer "Complete newbie step by step, 3D printer..." https://www.instructables.com/id/Complete-newbie-step-by-step-3D-printer-with-all-p/

I disassembled 30+ drives and all of them were either 2 wire DC og 4 wire stepper.

I had more DC than Stepper motors when I was done with it..
Stepper motor always needs 2 phases and each phase will need Vcc and Gnd, so at least 4 wires. You can have more wires though, like 6, which is also common.

I have never seen a 6 wire stepper in CD/DVD drive though.

maybe, maybe not i, do know two wire steppers did exist. though i never investigated how this is accomplished, whether their is a phase splitter internally or not. this is why i included, testing the motor to make sure it is a motor not a stepper. in fact it is a good idea, to test the motors, steppers, and parts to insure their in working condition before you reuse them.

the fact is i do not have any old read only, cd, dvd, cd/dvd read only optical drives to verify what is in them. all, i have is the more sophisticated r/w drives. and most of the failures, tend to be from excessively dirty read write heads or corrupted software drivers. i, even have old 50 pin ide drives that are still operational.

This may be a terminology issue. 2 wire motors do exist, but they are simply DC motors (if they run continuously upon an applied voltage) or servo motors (if they run and stop). A stepper motor by definition requires separate power and step command inputs.

No, 2 wire steppers do not exist. You need at least 3 wires using a common, and normally 4 wires without common. A DC motor with 2 wires that doesn't turn is an electro magnet. Investigate before posting.