Introduction: Sander / Grinder From an Old Hard Disk

Picture of Sander / Grinder From an Old Hard Disk

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to my new Instructable.

I will quickly cover the main steps on how to make a simple sander / grinder using a hard disk.

That's kind of out of focus, but look at those sparks. Yummy scorching particles.

Step 1: Open It Up

Picture of Open It Up

I chose a 7200rpm HDD. No particular reason, any will do.

The tool will be powered via the Molex connector, I adapted a power supply some time ago, which now comes in very handy when I want to move this little beast around, click here to see it: Molex PSU.

Simply open the hard disk with a Torx screwdriver (usually, size 7 and 8 are ok).

Remove te heads and the internal electronics, only leave the motor and the plates.

Cut a disc of sanding paper the same size of a plate.

What you have to do is to rearrange the plates and the spacers so that the sandpaper has the sturdiest base. I personally stacked them this way: plate - plate - sandpaper - spacer - holder.

Step 2: It Already Works Well, But...

Picture of It Already Works Well, But...

...if you want to use it at the top of its capabilities, cut the base and the lid as shown in the pictures.

The lidded part allows to grab the sander and use it on objects, as the "blade" is now unobstructed by the frame.

You may also add a PCB protection. As you wish, it works anyways.

Step 3: Unexpected Problem

Picture of Unexpected Problem

There is a little problem, the hard drive shuts itself off after a minute to save energy. I don't know how to prevent this, so I added a switch on the 12V line that allows me to turn it off and on without losing spinning momentum.


hl1ayw (author)2017-01-30

Hello When I remove the head It does not turn with molex connector powered.

So I found 3 pins from motor powered directly to two of three pins.

However it turns and a little stops right away. What happens?

Is there anybody to teach me why it is?

SussoGobbino (author)hl1ayw2017-01-31

It's probably due to some protection on the controller, sensing something is wrong and preventing the motor to run.
The motor can't be powered directly, it needs the circuit board.
Try another HDD, I've never experienced this problem so far.

dadu2007 (author)2016-04-03

El interruptor va en cable amarillo (12v) y el negativo cual es?

SussoGobbino (author)dadu20072016-04-03

The switch only breaks the yellow wire, to interrupt the supply of +12V.

dadu2007 (author)SussoGobbino2016-04-04

Disculpa..No find a way to operate the disc without stopping after 10 seconds

SussoGobbino (author)dadu20072016-04-04

I don't know sorry, mine stops every 60 seconds.

nsiniard (author)2014-06-20

wouldn't a button instead of a switch be easier to operate? I will let you know when I give it a go. thanks for this idea!

SussoGobbino (author)nsiniard2014-06-21

Hello, I opted for a switch because you can turn it on and leave it on while having both hands free!

dadu2007 (author)SussoGobbino2016-04-02

Te dio resultado con el interruptor porque a mi se me apaga en 10 segundos

SussoGobbino (author)dadu20072016-04-02

You mean it stops every 10 seconds?

dadu2007 (author)SussoGobbino2016-04-03

Si,se detiene cada 10 segundos

SussoGobbino (author)dadu20072016-04-03

Try another HDD, mine stops every 60 seconds.

dadu2007 (author)SussoGobbino2016-04-02

Hello, I run the switch , because it is for every 10 seconds

pfred2 (author)2014-06-21

I cannot imagine hard disk motors have much torque. I suppose they spin at a pretty good speed though. I tend to like my power tools with a bit more power myself.

MikB (author)2014-06-21

The hard drive turns itself off after a minute because it will be
furiously seeking the head back and forth trying to read the disk. The
disk: Covered in sandpaper. The heads: Removed. :)

Basically the feedback loop has been broken, so it has no idea how
fast the platter is spinning, where the heads are etc. and so it shuts
down and sulks.

SussoGobbino (author)MikB2014-06-21

That's the reason, no computer that tells it what to do, and it just thinks "meh, I'll sleep".
I think it's actually a good thing, because if I ever forget it turned on, it shuts itself off!

MikB (author)SussoGobbino2014-06-21

Even with a computer, it would stop spinning in short order. The drive needs the signals from the heads and the platter to be sure that the platter is spinning at the right speed, and to find where the heads are. If the heads were still on the arm, you'd get a "click-a-click-a-click" as it waved them back and forth looking for the platter. And sanding the heads down :(

bergerab (author)2014-06-20

Very creative use for hard drives, thanks for sharing!

SussoGobbino (author)bergerab2014-06-21

Thanks, although I found out I'm not the only one who came up with this idea!

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to build, scavenge material from junkyards, tear up machinery and stuff.
More by SussoGobbino:Reusing ribbon cables and connectors for DIY projectsExternal slim IDE drive to USB power modSander / grinder from an old hard disk
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