The new instructable is here. Its ia newer, improved and hugely better version and adresses the disadvantages of this design

 If you are a computer guy, you must have lots of Hard Disk drives piling up. If you want to use these for a good reason, the HDD Sander is just for you.
Because of the high RPM platter motor , the HDD platters have enormous speeds, generally from 5000  RPM up to 15,000 RPM. To make use of this power, The HDD Sander attaches directly to the platter, in a portable and interchangeable design.

A quick video of the HDD Sander in action is below.It was taken in the dark and looks excellent, due to the sparks coming from the sander.

WARNING: The HDD sander is not a plaything. The platters are spinning at a very high speed, making it easy for the sander to rub your finger raw. I am not responsible for any damage you do to yourself or to anyone else near you.

UPDATE 1: Some users have pointed out to me that their HDDs are just not simply spining up. To make them, sometimes you need to adjust the jumper blocks on the back of the HDD.See Step 4, Picture 1 for help.

Step 1: Materials

 Most of the materials for this project have been recycled to keep the cost down. 

1.An dead HDD - From a old Presario ($0)
2.Sand paper(any grit) - $5
3.A bench-top Power Supply/12v power source - ATX conversion ($0)
(Search for "ATX bench-top Conversion" on instructables)
4.Molex Power Connectors - $0 (recycled from old PSU)

Thats it, thats all you need for the HDD Sander. I expect you to have a few basic tools like a pair of scissors and a wire stripper and a screw driver with a Torx T9 driver head.

You'll also need an compass to make the sand paper template.
Awesome idea, I am going to try this!
Any idea on how to get a laptop IDE drive to spin up? I applied 5v to +5v motor and +5v logic then 0v to ground but still does not spin up.
<p>I tried it too, but the engine does not start, only moves the head</p>
Great idea
My HDD's jumper pin socket has only 4 columns of pins. Your picture here has 6 columns. where shall I connect my jumper socket? I'm using a Seagate ST340823A and Seagate ST36422A HDD's. I also want to subscribe to you, how is it done? Thanks.
I have made one that works quite nicely. <br>Although when ever I apply too much force, the motor automatically shuts off. <br>How can I fix this?
This is awesome imma build this as soon as i get the time!!!!
Well done for this EXCELLENT &amp; AWESOME 'ible mhkabir !!! <br> <br>i just didnt know what to do with my collected 12 dead hdd's (Not working as a HDD as-in dead, lol) !!! <br> <br>So now i'll have 4/5 sanding hdd's with different grade sandpapers, a metal grinding hdd and a polishing/buffing hdd !!! <br> <br>A true work of inspirational GENIUS !!! <br> <br>Once again many thanks mhkabir for the 'ible and taking the time to properly document this with really great photos and videos !!! <br> <br>!!! ***** KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK ***** !!!
&nbsp;i really want to do this, but all i have are those ocz 60gb ssd's i opened one, and was no motor or anything inside of it... maybe ill try the 30gb one
SSD drives work a little different with this project.&nbsp; What you want to do is cut open each memory chip and replace the each of the electrons with a grain of fine sand.&nbsp; Then when you want to sand, write all &quot;1&quot; then all &quot;0&quot; repeatedly to the drive, and the sand will move around at great speeds and sand the wood. <br /> <br /> The advantage of this approach is that, with proper addressing of the sand grains, you can actually sand patterns into the piece.&nbsp; You should be able to write a program that can even &quot;monogram&quot; the wood with a little effort (warning, writing the program in lisp will mean every &quot;S&quot; will be replaced with &quot;TH&quot;, just so you know).<br />
HHHHaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHAAHAHAHAHAHA !!! <br> <br>LOL X 2 !!! <br> <br>(ask a silly question &amp; an equally silly answer un-earths itself !!!) <br> <br>Awesome answer, made me laugh-tears when i read it !!! nice1 NateHoy !!!
Very nicely done....
You, sir, win the internets.
and SSD is a big flashdrive, solid-state means its solid with no moving parts
An SSD won't work, because an SSD is essentially a large flash drive. they have no moving parts and are pretty much useless for anything but actually being a hard drive.&nbsp;
wow, who in the right mind would think an ssd has a motor, i was just kidding about it. an 60gb ssd is like 140 dollars
I know right? Hard drives contain all sorts of goodies: powerful magnets, motor.. did i mention really strong magnets?
You really can't take a joke can you brokeit?<br />
I wasn't trying to spoil natehoy's joke, just give poolshark a legitimate answer
Something that concerns me when I take apart electronicsare the exotic metals and chemicals used. I don't know if hand washing is enough protection . Any one know what those platters are coated with?
They are coated with a platinum and palladium coating, which is atoms thick. It would take hundreds of them to get enough of these precious metals to put a good plating on a ring.
Very clever, I'll have to try this.
ill be honest.. i've taken apart many hard drives in my day but i never once thought of plugging in a power cord to see if it ran after the inside was open... genius.. ill have to try this when i get home today<br><br>Thanks!
When I plugged my HDD into the molex everything spun up fine. I then removed the acutator and plugged it back in - it did not work.<br><br>I plugged the acutator back in and it works fine.<br>The acutator then got damaged at the end and it no longer works either way.<br><br>Any suggestions? I tried messing around with the jumper leads but I had no idea what to connect to what.<br><br>
You could try to short the pins on the actuator leads to check if it works, but if it gives off smoke or anything, your HDD might be busted.
Good work.<br>I'm going to build one now.<br>Thanks.<br>
All the HDDs I ever open up never run constant, they power up, power down, up, ext. could I adjust the jumper thing to fix this
have you tried putting a metal grinding disk in there in place of the platters?
Pretty good. You've got a nice little collection of instructables in place. Excellent work.
Safety comment: Older disk drives use Aluminum disks. Newer ones (especially 2.5 inch drives) use glass disks. It is not safe to spin a glass disk in the open, since if it breaks the shards become projectiles. If the clamp is steel, it is probable a glass disk. Or you can check by using a file at the edge....glass will chip, aluminum will make filings.
Hmmm the HD I tried won't spin, but the motor makes a noise and it vibrates when plugged in. Am I missing something?
Generally this means that the controller/PSU is damaged. I faced this problem with several of the older HDD models I used. What model PSU are you using, ATX? MicroATX and BabyATX have some problems with the HDD sander. Or is it a commercial BT PSU? Try changing jumper blocks and see if that solves the problem. Try using another working HDD with the PSU. If it spins up, then the old HDD is damaged.(Coils burnt out by over voltage, bad controller etc.) Maybe the PSU is damaged and is spiking the power. One of my HDD burnt up after using it with a damadged PSU. So, I used another old Seagate controller from anothjer HDD to solve the problem. Hope this solves the problems. Kabir -- Geek Level 5
Thank you Kabir. The PSU is fine, works with other devices without problem. I suspect a microcontroller problem, since the motor vibration seems pretty strong (which would indicate healthy coils). One thought I had is if the HD made a check of the IO heads controller in order to spin, but then there would not be any motor vibration at all. I will have to try another HD.
I am always here if you need any more help. Hope yopu've rated the instructable!!<br> <br> Kabir
This is a nice little idea that would be&nbsp;fantastic&nbsp;for squaring off the ends of acrylic tubing--but what tests do you perform on the drive before ripping the heads out to make sure that it will keep spinning rather than shut down and register an internal fault?
&nbsp;I just ran it continuously for half an hour or so and tried different jumper combinations.
Nice experiment. Im trying it myself. I'm using a IDE HD but it won't stay on for more than 10min, I don't know the model nor brand that I'm using, It has 10 jumpers pins and I've tried Slave, Master and Single, only one left is PM2 and some pair that doesn't say anything below. What do you think the problem might be?
Could you please post a picture of your HDD jumper combos. Maybe your PSU has some problem. Some PSUs old PSU pulse the power for a few minutes and then automatically go into standby without a heavy loaad on them. Or the PSU/ HDD Brushless controller maybe damaged. Try the other jumper blocks/get another HDD/ change your PSU. Hope this helps!! Kabir
I wonder how did you &quot;jump&quot; more current into th motor because i have a HDD grinder and the controller kept warming pretty bad when I was working with it and I superglued a aluminium piece to the chip.<br /> I got a little more power/torque by removing the extra platters.<br /> Also, if instead of pushing the sand paper into the small disc securing the platter you decide unscrew the screws, remove the small disc, use it as a template for holes in the sandpaper, and mount the sand paper by securing it with the screw that secure the smal disc and platter in place... than the whole assembly will not vibrate and will not be off center (be careful to cut the sandpaper as raound as possible) and this is good for speed, torque, power.<br />
&nbsp;I gave more CURRENT to the HDD by attaching all the 12v power wires together in series to get the currrent.<br /> <br /> Post pics of the sander if possible.<br />
&nbsp;The thought occurs to me, if a strong enough flywheel was attached to the motor shaft, it would offset the torque problem.
Perhaps a little, but that poses two problems.<br /> <br /> 1.&nbsp; Because HDDs use high-speed/low-torque motors, it may not have enough torque to move the flywheel.<br /> <br /> 2.&nbsp; It would dramatically increase the complexity of the project, to the point where that much effort would be silly instead of sourcing a motor designed for this type of high-torque/high-speed application.<br />
&nbsp;I'm not talking about attaching a millstone to the HDD motor. Even a few ounces would buffer the power drain of the friction.<br /> <br /> If a suitable object were found, not fabricated, it would still remain a simple project.<br /> <br /> Yes you can buy a motor that is better suited for this project but the idea here is that you are.<br /> <br /> 1. Using something that would have been thrown away and therefore extending it's lifecycle. A large number of instructibles are about recycling.<br /> <br /> 2. Providing yourself with a tool that some people cannot afford.<br />
Flywheels only help for transient load variations. &nbsp;The torque going to the motor is still the same.<br /> <br /> If you want to easily add some load, just take a bunch of hard drive platters and put them in one drive, after removing the spacers that are usually between the platters.<br /> <br /> The problem you'll likely have is that a lot of hard drives controllers are built assuming a specific load for&nbsp;acceleration.<br /> <br /> once they're up to speed, they may check phase currents to know when to switch, but usually during spinup they just ramp up the switching at a rate they know the motor can achieve. &nbsp;When you throw some extra weight on it, you might lose steps, and have the motor go out of sync.<br /> <br /> Sometimes they'll just get confused and burn up, etc.<br /> <br /> It really just depends on the drive.<br /> <br /> I agree, as to the purpose. &nbsp;I think that this could also be useful for doing extremely fine grit sanding where you'll have very light motor loads, and sanding discs for a commercial sander might not be easy to find.<br /> <br /> Sharpening exacto knives, etc..<br />
&nbsp;I understand, it would only help for a moment as the inertia of the flywheel is used up. In this case it would be a split second.<br /> <br /> I'm bypassing the controller entirely and putting power to the motor itself. For this a controller isn't needed.<br />
&nbsp;You realize that it is a brushless 3 phase motor, right? &nbsp;You can't just hook DC directly to it, and expect it to spin. &nbsp;You need some kind of controller.
&nbsp;Thats why transformers are so much fun.
&nbsp;What do transformers have to do with it? &nbsp;It's not like a synchronous AC motor either.<br /> <br /> the only way to drive these up to speed is with a 3 phase switching controller.<br /> <br /> The most practical way to make it run significantly faster is to run it with a separate controller at a higher voltage, &nbsp;You can get controllers intended for RC vehicles which will work on this type of motor.<br /> <br /> The controllers aren't actually that expensive but even It's probably still not enough to make it capable of anything needing any significant torque.<br /> <br /> I would just use this to sand very small things with fine grit abrasives. &nbsp;Find a real sander for real sanding. &nbsp;I'm all for recycling your junk, and I think this could be a great tool, but it's not a replacement for a full size sander.<br />
I used a few years ago a transistor to boost the curent capacity of a voltage regulator. I think there should be a possibility to boost the output of a motor driver, but I don't know if there could be sincronisation problems because I don't have the knowledge I need about transistor speed.<br />
&nbsp;Yeah, if the on resistance of the switches on the controller are too high, it might be possible to improve things, but only slightly, &nbsp;The problem is just that it's a tiny motor with tiny windings. &nbsp;The only way to get more torque out of it is to run it at a higher voltage, and that will require a different controller.<br /> <br /> you might get up to around double before you start having heat problems, and that's probably optimistic. &nbsp;Many motors won't make it that far.<br /> <br /> You're still orders of magnitude below a real sander. &nbsp;The main benifits are high speed, and an extremely flat smooth surface. &nbsp;a few drives with some really fine grit paper stuck to them, and you could have a very nice tool for sharpening tools (wood plane irons, chisels, xacto knives, etc)<br /> <br /> I've seen some very fine grit papers with adhesive backing. &nbsp;That would be ideal.<br />

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Bio: M.H.Kabir is a green geek who likes recycling and loves instructables and DIY among other things such as microcontrollers, embedded systems and photography ... More »
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