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


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.


ndpani (author)2017-09-01

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

ndpani (author)2017-09-01

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

SisiK (author)2014-08-24

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.

Robson Couto (author)SisiK2014-08-24

Yep, thanks for remenber.

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

JohnH859 (author)Robson Couto2017-04-11

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.

dintid (author)2016-08-23

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.

jimmie.c.boswell (author)dintid2016-08-23

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.

dintid (author)jimmie.c.boswell2016-08-23

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..."

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.

jimmie.c.boswell (author)dintid2016-08-24

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.

JC41 (author)jimmie.c.boswell2016-09-07

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.


By definition a stepper motor needs more than 2 wires !

rafununu (author)rafununu2016-08-29

Or it's an electro magnet !


The only time I have come across a motor that is 2 wires and works like a stepper (if one can call it stepper motor) is the motors inside clocks. These motors just have a round magnet and a coil. The coil needs to be reversed for every pulse and the motor spin 1/4-1/2 turn for every pulse with very little torque.

dintid (author)kimvellore2016-08-23

I disassemlbed 30+ to make my instructable on 3d printer build on CD/DVD drives and I got around 3 to 1 on DC vs Stepper ... meaning more DC than steppers.


well it is possible the motor could be the same, but these have a gear housing included. and it, does have quite a bit of torque for such a small motor. do not know how much the motor spins for each step since i never took it apart, to check the gear ratio. but the ratio can't be too great, since the action is fast.

the guy who wanted me to build the pulse controller circuit, gave me two and some solar cells to do the experimental design and fabrication work with for a solar tracking device. but that, was about 16 to 20 years ago when i was a jr scientist for SERI.

GavinF2 (author)dintid2016-08-23

That makes me wonder if the difference is a burner to reader..
A drive for reading can just start reading wherever and disregard junk data before the data it needs but a burner would need to know exactly what point to write on a disc.

dintid (author)GavinF22016-08-23

If you google i'll bet you can find a wiki somehwere explaining it.

However, it is controlled a lot by software really, and not so much by firmware.

jimmie.c.boswell (author)GavinF22016-08-23

all disc data, and indexes are kept in the formatted executive portion of the disk. the executive index, tells which track the information is located. so the disk will first read and load, the executive dos program information. which gives the precise location of the data on the disk. as all the tracks, are labeled during the formatting.

GavinF2 (author)jimmie.c.boswell2016-08-23

That is a fact but is not a fact which is relevant to this discussion.

Ghostrider13 (author)2016-09-06

Now you have a good reason to try out a Blu Ray laser. I think they burn hotter so your power supply would have to be amped up.

ammar Khalil made it! (author)2016-07-17

Thank you for your instructable.


Thanks for doing it!

eidolon1138 (author)2016-08-23

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!

Robson Couto (author)eidolon11382016-09-06

Thanks, I am glad you liked!

toronja_rabiosa made it! (author)2016-08-23

10 Years ago I was working on a Computer Workshop and I was disassembly hundred of them...

In 2009 I build a Midi Controller, housed on a dead CD-ROM case



manujunaths (author)2016-08-23

Thank you. It does help for other projects. I have taken lessons from instructables and done some small projects which is really usefurl.

Robson Couto (author)manujunaths2016-09-06

It is a plesure!

Ghostrider13 (author)2016-08-23

Really detailed INS. Great job! I've been wanting to make a laser cutter for thin birch plywood. I want to build some small building for my slot car set. Anyone know if the BluRay laser would be strong enough for that?


Thank you! It is a shame, but I never had the chance to disassemble a blu-ray drive.

deswiger (author)2016-08-23

Good info, thanks.....Semper Fi

Robson Couto (author)deswiger2016-09-06

Thanks for reading!

Ggungaby (author)2016-08-23

Cool, man.

Robson Couto (author)Ggungaby2016-09-06

Many thanks!

cuyler1 (author)2016-08-24

Do to the nice policy for comments I can only say more background and homework will produce impressive instructables. Specialty screwdrivers,micro-switch, optical z drive tray are the missing names to help you mature in future publications.

Their descriptions are on the internet.

Robson Couto (author)cuyler12016-09-06

Thanks! I had a look at your impressive instructables as example.

Have a lovely day!

mddeming (author)cuyler12016-08-24

Perhaps spelling and punctuation will help cylert mature. ;)

aldotoms made it! (author)2016-09-03

It's a really good instructable, well done!

I just think is missing a step to explain how to pull over the CD support, but it wasn't really difficult to do it.

I liked all the links you posted.

Robson Couto (author)aldotoms2016-09-06

Thanks for posting a pic! It is a plesure.

BallscrewBob (author)2016-08-23

Have also started to notice manufacturers moving away from steppers to regular DC motors more so in printers and scanners. These also need quite a bit of accuracy esp. the high dpi units so methinks they have found a way to use DC motors without losing the accuracy of a stepper.

RussellS8 (author)BallscrewBob2016-08-24

I've tried to recover a stepper motor from a printer only to find that it was a regular DC motor that had a marked disk and optical sensor that kept track of the positioning.


well there is a way to count the cmef kickback of a dc motor or the use of optical encoding discs. or even lasers, to measure travel distance. so i, imagine it is possible with more sophisticated software and faster computer chips.

dintid (author)BallscrewBob2016-08-23

There are lots of ways to get feedback from DC and Stepper motors by now. Same principle as Servos... combine it with cheap DC and you have your answer :)

VardenJ (author)2016-08-23

This is good but will the bits and pieces help?

RajashriK (author)2016-01-19

I opened old CD drive (Infra 48X creative) and found there is only two wire motor where I was expecting a 4 wire stepper motor.

I have attached image. any idea how can use this as a stepper motor

SteveC60 (author)RajashriK2016-08-23

If you want a cheap source for 4 and/or 6 wire stepper motors, check out used/trashed printers. I got a great husky 6 wire one from an OLD Epson printer. Nice toothed belts in those, too, btw.

kimvellore (author)RajashriK2016-08-23

The ones that use the DC motors usually have a encoder. The encoder here looks like it is in front of the motor, the slotted wheel with a IR sensor.

IonizedCat (author)RajashriK2016-05-03

I had the same discovery. I think the difference here is, that a normal CD/DVD reading driver (no burner) often uses normal DC motors, because they don't need a very high precision.

Burner or writer on the other hand have always a stepper motor. Perhaps because you need a higher precision for the writing process.

LesB (author)2016-08-23

Just in case someone would like to save the drive: All the drives that have gone sour on me went bad because the hatch wouldn't open. In all cases this was due to the rubber drive belt on the hatch motor drying up and losing its "grab".

This can be fixed by buying silicone O-rings on eBay or other sites. A silicone O-ring of the right size will work as a drive belt better than the original, and it will last much longer. Just open the case and pull out the drawer, and drawer drive motor and its dried up belt will be visible.

Can't figure why the manufacturers won't improve the reliability of their drives by utilizing a 20-cent O-ring.

About This Instructable




Bio: A eletrical engeneering student, video games lover and hardware aficionado. Starting my journey through the world of electronics. Microcontrollers?! I love them!
More by Robson Couto:Raspberry Pi - GPIOs, graphical interface, pyhton, math, and electronics.Scanner light and Arduino as an RGB lampDot Matrix Printer from a CD/DVD Reader with Arduino
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