Introduction: Retro Apple Disk Drive As HDD Enclosure

Picture of Retro Apple Disk Drive As HDD Enclosure

Fun update: this instructable was featured on lifehacker.com here.

The Inspiration:

I had this old Apple 800K External drive (Model No. M0131, P/N 825-1174-A) laying around and it dawned on me that it was about the same size as my Lacie External USB 2.0 HDD (Model 301103U) so I thought I'd try combining the two. It would be fun for this diskette drive to have a useful reason for sitting on my desk instead of in a box or the trash. You can read about the original details of this drive on Wikipedia here (under the section title "Macintosh 800K External Drive") if you're interested.

Tools Used:

-Phillips screw driver
-Dremel Tool (drill bits, router bit, cutting wheel)
-exacto knife
-butter knife
-hot glue gun
-tape (about any kind)
-wire cutters

For more than 300 how-to's visit my website: ShareYourRepair.com

Step 1: Disassemble the Apple 800K Disk Drive

Picture of Disassemble the Apple 800K Disk Drive

First we'll get a good look at what is on the inside of this old drive and the space we have inside to put something different inside.  Go to the next step to begin the tear-down.

Step 2: Remove the 4 Phillips Screws on the Bottom Side of the Drive.

Picture of Remove the 4 Phillips Screws on the Bottom Side of the Drive.

There are no screws under the rubber feet so leave those little guys in place (and you'll never get them to stick again if you take them off).  My drive was missing one of the rubber feet so I replaced it with a rubber bumper I bought at Home Depot.

Step 3: Lift Off the Top of the Case and Remove the Two Screws That Hold the Drive to the Case.

Picture of Lift Off the Top of the Case and Remove the Two Screws That Hold the Drive to the Case.

Flip the drive over onto its feet and then lift off the top of the case.  The rubber grommet that fits around the SCSI cable simply fits into a slot on both halves of the case so just hold it in place while you lift off the top of the case.  Then remove the two phillips head screws (gold colored on my drive) at the top of the picture shown (one on the left, one on the right).  There are only 2 screws that hold everything inside the drive.  The front of the drive tucks under a couple tabs on the case.

Step 4: Remove the Disk Drive From the Case.

Picture of Remove the Disk Drive From the Case.

Once you have the two screws out you can just lift up on the end that had the screws and pull the drive in that direction and it will come right out.  The bottom (front) edge of the disk drive is simply tucked under a couple tabs to hold it in place.

Now that the guts are out of the diskette drive you can see that there is just enough room inside for an internal Hard Drive.  I guess they had the 5.5" standard 30 years ago already?!

Step 5: Remove the Insides From the LaCie Model 301103U 500GB USB 2 External Hard Drive

Picture of Remove the Insides From the LaCie Model 301103U 500GB USB 2 External Hard Drive

Now we need to take out the insides of the LaCie drive to put in the disk drive shell. I chose this drive because it was the one I had around. I had already put a bigger 2 TB hard drive in this LaCie so I knew how to take it apart. You can read about the upgrading of it here on my website. One reason this makes a great choice is because the insides of the LaCie are minimal and they fit perfectly into the disk drive's shell. Go to the next step for how to get it open.

Step 6: Pry Open the Bottom of the LaCie Drive.

Picture of Pry Open the Bottom of the LaCie Drive.

A smooth butter knife would work best but all I had was my pocket knife handy and since I'm not going to reuse this case (at this point) I didn't mind marring it up a bit.  The bottom of the case has slots around its outside edge that the plastic from the case snaps into.  Insert the knife straight in from the bottom and pry the point towards the inside of the case.  I would start toward the front of the case because there are no "catches" on the front edge (and only one on the back).  Note: the bottom of the case is aluminum but the top (sides and top) are plastic.

Step 7: Disconnect the SATA and Power Cables and Move the LED Hard Drive Activity Cable Out of the Way.

Picture of Disconnect the SATA and Power Cables and Move the LED Hard Drive Activity Cable Out of the Way.

The HD activity LED is just set down into a slot so if you lift it straight up it will come out.  You do not have to disconnect it from the board.

Step 8: Remove the 4 Screws From the HD and Remove the Drive

Picture of Remove the 4 Screws From the HD and Remove the Drive

There are 4 screws that connect the HD to the metal shielding tabs that wrap around the HD (circled in red below).  Unscrew these four screws with a phillips screw driver.  Keep track of these screws because we'll be using them again.  You'll need to bend the metal tabs up that each screw went through so we can remove the drive (and ultimately take out the metal shielding/frame).  Save the clear plastic insulator sheets that are between the tabs and the drive because we'll use those again too.

You can just put your thumb under the power connector on the bottom of the drive and lift and it will come right out.

Step 9: Remove the Insides of the LaCie Drive

Picture of Remove the Insides of the LaCie Drive

There are 4 tabs (2 on each side) that fit down over posts that stick out of the sides of the plastic case that hold the metal cage in place.  Gently lift these tabs away from the sides of the case and lift it out of the case.  Be careful not to bend the case because the metal is real thin and we'll want it in this same shape when we put it into its new home.

Step 10: Prep the Diskette Drive Case by Removing the Shielding and Extra Plastic From the Back End.

Picture of Prep the Diskette Drive Case by Removing the Shielding and Extra Plastic From the Back End.

Now we need to make the two worlds come together.  We'll need to remove the metal shielding from the back of the diskette drive and remove the excess plastic structure that is on the back wall of the diskette drive case.

I removed the metal shielding by cutting it off with a cutting wheel on my Dremel tool.  Please wear safety glasses when running your Dremel or whatever rotary tool you have.  You probably could just bend the whole tab back and forth and it would eventually break off.  I had to do that for the last half inch anyway because I couldn't cut all the way to the edge without messing up the side (which we want to keep).

Once the shielding is done use a wire cutters to nip the plastic ribs that run along the back of the case (what was under the metal shielding we just removed and around where the SCSI cable went through the case).  I then followed up that with an Exacto knife where I cleaned things up.

Step 11: Make Holes for the Drive's Connectors.

Picture of Make Holes for the Drive's Connectors.

I made a pattern of the back of the LaCie HD case to get the spacing and size of the holes you'll need to make in the diskette drive case.  I did that by cutting a piece of paper to fit perfectly in the opening in the back and then tracing the holes.  I cut out the connector openings and then placed it over the LaCie drive connectors, put the drive inside the Diskette case and, using double-stick tape, transferred it on the inside of the case where I could draw the location of the hole's we'll need to cut.

Step 12: Make the Holes in the Case for Power and USB.

Picture of Make the Holes in the Case for Power and USB.

Using your favorite rotary tool, create the openings needed to access the power and USB ports in the back of the case.  I first drilled some holes to remove the material in the center and to get started.  I then used the router bit to remove the remainder of the material.  Don't try to make it perfect on the first shot.  Take a little out and then compare by putting it in the LaCie case bracket and seeing how things line up and marking what else needs to be removed.

Step 13: Mount the LaCie HD Bracket in the Diskette Drive Case.

Picture of Mount the LaCie HD Bracket in the Diskette Drive Case.

Now that we have the holes cut in the plastic case we can mount the bracket inside the diskette drive case.  Place the bracket in the case and insert the USB and power cables to align it where it needs to go.  We'll then mark on the metal shielding on each side the placement of the hole for each tab that once fit over the posts on the LaCie case, securing it in place.

We are going to use hot glue (one of my favorite things) to secure it instead.  Mark all four holes and then drill a hole through the diskette case's metal shielding (but not the plastic case--be careful).

Place the bracket in place with the cables connected.  Use some tape to hold the other end of the bracket in place (I used packing tape).  Shoot some hot glue through the hole into the space between the diskette drive's shielding and the plastic case and then make a bead on the inside as well, which will bolt the bracket in place (hot glue style).  Make sure the glue is dried before you glue the two on the other side because it will run of course.  Be aware that if you put too much on the inside it will interfere with the hard drive sliding into the bracket.  I had to trim off my glue with a knife to make it easily fit.

Step 14: Mount the Hard Drive and Connect the Cables

Picture of Mount the Hard Drive and Connect the Cables

Once the glue has dried you can insert the bare hard drive, reinsert the screws that attach it to the metal wrap-around tabs (don't forget the clear plastic insulator sheets), and then reconnect the cables.

Step 15: Add Some Color to Your Drive With a Diskette.

Picture of Add Some Color to Your Drive With a Diskette.

I liked the idea of having a floppy disk sticking out of the drive to make it look more realistic and to add some color to this beige little guy.  There's not room enough for the majority of a floppy disk to stick inside the drive with an actual hard drive inside too so I had to make some modifications.  First insert the diskette to the depth you want it.  Mark the diskette and cut it with a dremel tool with a cutting wheel.  I think you'll really mess up the diskette case (crushing it) if you try cutting it with a scissors or something.  Remove the burrs and reinsert and secure it in place with (hot) glue.

Step 16: Make a Decision: LED or No LED

Picture of Make a Decision: LED or No LED

I don't remember Apple putting hard drive indicator lights on things so it may be most true to the brand to just not install the LED but I thought it might be fun to use it anyway.  I don't have a white apple to replace the rainbow one, where I could mount the LED behind it on the front face of the drive.  There is a hole to the right of the diskette slot which was originally for inserting a paperclip in order to manually eject the floppy.

Note: you definitely want to straighten out the LED leads and put the very end of the LED up against the hole because the light of the LED does shine out the tip (versus the side)

Step 17: Reassemble the Case.

Picture of Reassemble the Case.

Now it's time to put the thing back together.  It may be best to test your drive before you proceed because unfortunately the screws you took out in the beginning to open up the case will not work to put it back together since we took out the metal frame that held the diskette drive.  I have opted to just run a bead of hot glue around the inside of the case.  You won't see any of it (if you're careful and go lean with the glue) and you can always pry it open again if you need to.

Step 18: Retro Drive in Use

Picture of Retro Drive in Use

Here is the finished project in action.  Now if I only had some kind of retro hybrid icon to assign to this drive.  Anyone want to volunteer to make an icon for this project?

Comments

amandaghassaei (author)2012-09-18

looks great! love the extra touch with the led and floppy sticking out

Thanks! Unfortunately I didn't have any retro floppy disks laying around so I had to use a double sided double density disk. It would have been best to put some old "classic" disk in there like After Dark where you could see the label but then again you would hate to saw one of those in half :)

transamturbo350 (author)2014-03-27

Very cool. Thanks for sharing

johnfixesstuff (author)2012-12-04

It's a 1.5 TB. I'd guess they make that external drive in a bunch of different sizes with the same case.

'earl (author)2012-12-04

Is that a 500 GB seagate external I see in the bottom right? I believe so. I have the same external xD
Sweet ible.

poofrabbit (author)2012-11-27

Hey congratulations on being a finalist in the hack it contest! Good luck to you!

lhwong (author)2012-09-27

Great idea for a project!

Just a note: I've had a lot of experience cutting odd shapes out of computer equipment cases, and what I've done is very similar to your method, except I cut my holes smaller than I need, and then finish them off with small hand files. It you use hand files to file the plastic back after your initial cut, you can get some really nice, clean, finished edges because you go much slower and can examine your work after each set of strokes with the file. It takes a bit longer, but the results are awesome.

Anyway, just a thought for you future projects.

johnfixesstuff (author)lhwong2012-09-30

That is a good idea. I once had a round file for sharpening chainsaw blades but have somehow lost track of it--that would have worked good for this project. The dremel isn't exactly a precision cutting tool and the holes in the back didn't turn out professionally, that's for sure. Lucky they are on the back and no one really sees them. Thanks for the idea.

adoroshenko (author)2012-09-28

Wow! That's an awesome project! I'm announcing it on my site - http://en.modmag.net/news/converting-an-old-floppy-drive-into-a-retro-external-hdd

thegrendel (author)2012-09-27

Don't throw away the guts of the floppy drive.
It has some reusable parts, including a nice
stepper motor, which you can use for another
project, i.e., another Instructable.

myamiphil (author)2012-09-27

Hmm.. I got an old Zip Drive.... maybe that'll fit a laptop drive drive

Max Headroom (author)2012-09-27

Nice-but does not beat the LaCie design...

therufs (author)2012-09-27

http://www.kareprints.com/ for icon inspiration? :)

blanchae (author)2012-09-27

Now to do that with a 5 1/4" floppy or 8" floppy drive.

nanosec12 (author)2012-09-20

Be careful not to leave that thing laying around, it looks 'original' enough that someone might consider it to be old useless junk, and toss it out...

Great Work

johnfixesstuff (author)nanosec122012-09-21

Luckily it's plugged into the power strip and my USB hub!

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Bio: I love to fix things and write about the repairs so others can do it too. Check out my website, ShareYourRepair.com for hundreds of ... More »
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