Introduction: Dual-Faced Clock From Recycled Hard Drives

Picture of Dual-Faced Clock From Recycled Hard Drives

Have you ever had a hard drive fail on your laptop? What was I thinking, of course you have.

What did you do with the useless chunk of metal after you replaced it? Probably just chucked it in the trash.

Well, why not recycle it?

"But JokerDAS, recycle it into what?" you ask.

At that I say, "Well, you clever Instructable creator you, why not turn it into a geeky/techie dual-faced clock?"

"If only there was an awesome instructable that could show us how." You sigh in return.

But now there is. With my easy to follow instructable, I will show you how to turn not one, but TWO defunct hard drives into a stylish clock.

Step 1: What Do We Need?

Picture of What Do We Need?


  • Of course, you will need two hard drives. I used 2.5" drives, but 3.5" would work just as awesome!
  • Two separate clockwork components.
  • Two CD's. Preferably without scratches.
  • Assorted small screws
  • Two AA batteries
  • Superglue
  • Epoxy


  • Mini screwdriver set with star head bits
  • Tweezers
  • Drill with 1/16" bit - optional

Step 2: Disassemble the Hard Drives

Picture of Disassemble the Hard Drives

Using the screwdriver, remove all the mini screws from the top and sides of the hard drive if there are any. Some of the screws are hidden beneath the label, so I suggest scrapping the screwdriver along the label to feel for hidden screws. It is easier than attempting to peel the whole label off.

Remove the metal cover from the top of the drive. After it is open, remove the screws from the swing arm cover, swing arm and the disk spindle. Set all the parts off to the side.

Step 3: Attach the Clock Face

Picture of Attach the Clock Face

Apply some of the epoxy to the face of the clock and adhere the CD to the face of the clock. Center the clock spindle with the center of the CD hole.

Repeat for both units.

Step 4: Set the Positions

Picture of Set the Positions

When the epoxy is dry, place the clock hands on the clock at 12:00.

  1. With the tweezers, grip one of the small screws.
  2. Apply a small dab of superglue to the screw head. Carefully place the glue-screw head down onto the CD at the 12:00 point.
  3. Let the glue set.
  4. Gently pick up the clock, and using the dial on the back, set the clock time to 1:00.
  5. Repeat the previous process of gluing and adhering the screw, but this time at the 1:00 position.
  6. Repeat this for all the rest of the hours, until the clock face is complete.
  7. Repeat the entire step for the second CD.

You now have two clock faces with various screws counting out the hours on one and the minutes (in 5 minute increments) on the other.

Step 5: Attach the Hands

Picture of Attach the Hands

This step will be the most unpredictable. Not all hard drive swing arms are the same.

Examining the swing arms removed from both hard drives. Some have a hole at the end that may or may not fit over the clock spindle.

If the end was solid, drill out a hole just large enough to fit over the hour or minute spindle.

In my case, one arm fit just right for the hour. My second swing arm fit exactly on the minute spindle at the pivot point of the arm.

  1. Insert batteries into both clocks.
  2. Using the superglue CAREFULLY (so you do not accidentally glue the minute spindle to the hour spindle), glue the arms to each spindle at the 12:00 position.
  3. Double-check that both hands are set to 12:00.

Monitor that both arms move as they should. One should display the hours the other should display the minutes.

Set off to dry completely.

Step 6: Make the Base Structure

Picture of Make the Base Structure

The two hard drive shells will be used as the base.

Run an even bead of epoxy along the flat end of one of the drives. The end opposite the connectors.

Lay the other drive flat with the circuit board up.

Press the epoxy end perpendicular to the other drive creating an inverted “T”.

Set aside to dry completely.

Step 7: Attach First Clock to Base

Picture of Attach First Clock to Base

Lay the base on its side.

Set the appropriate clock face (hour or minute depending on which side you have facing up). Line up the top edge of the structure with the top edge of the clockworks.

Make note of where the clockwork hits the structure.

Remove the clock face.

Apply superglue to the edge and front of the structure where the CD connects.

Press the clock back onto the base into the glue.

Let dry.

Step 8: Attach Second Clock to Base Structure

Picture of Attach Second Clock to Base Structure

Lay the structure on its back with the base hanging over the edge of a table or counter.

Lay the second clock in place against the structure.

If the CD does not touch the structure, due to the clockwork being thicker than the hard drive, use something to shim up the structure until the clock can sit flat on the counter and the CD is touching the structure.

Remove the second clock.

Apply superglue along the edge of the clock that is against the structure.

Apply superglue to the structure front that touches the CD.

Leave laying down to dry completely.

Step 9: Stand It Up

Picture of Stand It Up

Stand the completed clock up on the base.


You now have an awesome dual-faced clock created from recycled hard drives.

If you like this instructable, please vote for it.

Thank you very much for checking it out!!

Happy constructing!


caperjack (author)2015-10-17

You got my vote ,,,love it ,I am always taking apart hdd , I see a clock In my future , I think i would like numbers on mine

danielleb24 (author)caperjack2015-10-18

just going over the instructions ,i see you used cd°s , what was the reason for not using the drives platters ,i have 2 15000 rpm scsi hdd ,i will take them apart soon to see if i can use the platters

caperjack (author)danielleb242015-10-25

I just realised I posted once with my daughters laptop and it came up as danielleb,lol

JokerDAS (author)danielleb242015-10-18

Hi! Thanks for the comment!

There reason I went with the CD'S was just the fact that I used 2.5" drives instead of 3.5" drives. The platters from the 2.5" were too small and didn't completely cover the clockwork assembly. If I had two 3.5" drives to cannibalize for parts, I most definitely would have used them. The reflective surface of the platters is so much more attractive than simple CD'S.

Please, make one with the SCSI platters and post it! I would really like to see it!
Happy creating!!

caperjack made it! (author)JokerDAS2015-10-20

I started taking apart the scsi drives ,there heavy, but its not because of the disks inside ,theses 2 disks are from the same drive ,was shocked to see how small they were. other drive was single disk but it was slightly bigger than these 2 by about a 1/2 in in diameter

JokerDAS made it! (author)caperjack2015-10-21

Well, that is odd. Here is what the platters look like for me. In my clock, I used one 2.5" SCSI and one 2.5" IDE. The two on the top are form the SCSI the lower is the IDE. Checking it out, yes, the IDE is larger. I had not known that.

I dissembled a 3.5" for platter size comparison. It would work as faces, but I only had the one.

caperjack (author)JokerDAS2015-10-21

I just took apart an old laptop IDE drive and the disk is the same size as the larger 3.5 scsi drive , center hole a little smaller in the 2,5 only difference

the hands in the 3.5 scsi drive have 4 arms on them so not usable ,but I have about 5 old laptop drive to get arm from

JokerDAS (author)caperjack2015-10-22

I guess I never paid attention to how much difference there is between different brands of drives. Perhaps a unique arrangement of all the smaller platters in place of single larger platters... hmmmm.

The SCSI arm on the 2.5 had 3 layers for the two platters and it worked fine.

Keep at it! I want to see it!

JokerDAS (author)caperjack2015-10-18

Thanks for the vote! Same with me about taking stuff apart. I think it will look sharp with numbers, I just liked staying with the recycled aspect of using what I had lying around.

When you make your, please post it, I would like to see how it turns out!

Happy creating!

pj200 (author)2015-10-25

very nice

devicemodder (author)2015-10-16

Nice clock. Reminds me of those old reel to reel tape machines.

JokerDAS (author)devicemodder2015-10-18

Oh wow! Yes, it does look like the old reel to reel recorders!
Thanks for checking it out!

Wired_Mist (author)2015-10-16

lmao, ok you got a Good laugh out of me :P

Too bad you couldn't use the original HD platters, I geuss they were too small eh? Still love the Idea, Keep it up !

JokerDAS (author)Wired_Mist2015-10-16

I mean the Time Contest.

JokerDAS (author)Wired_Mist2015-10-16

I am glad it was as entertaining as it was informative. :-)
Yes, I did try to use the plates, but you are right, the 2.5" HD plates were too small. 3.5" HD plates would work.
Thanks for the comment.
If you like it, please vote for it in the Clock contest. (Shameless to ask, I know!)

MaDDN3ss (author)2015-10-16

I love this! I will be totally doing this soon as I have amassed a collection of defective drives.

JokerDAS (author)MaDDN3ss2015-10-16

I mean the Time Contest.

JokerDAS (author)MaDDN3ss2015-10-16

Thanks. When you do it, please post it! I would like to see it!
If you have questions, let me know.
Also, please vote for it in the Clock contest.

devicemodder (author)2015-10-16

Nice clock. Reminds me of those old reel to reel tape machines.

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