Introduction: DIY USB Slimline Optical Drive Enclosure

How to make a USB enclosure for a Laptop Optical Drive - OUT OF CARDBOARD!

I found myself in possession of a broken laptop that still had a perfect DVD-RW-DL drive, so I thought, "why not put it to good use?"

For this instructable you need:
-a functioning Laptop optical drive
-this USB adapter
-cardboard (18"x12" or so)
-masking tape
-measuring, cutting and marking tools

Step 1: Attach the USB Adapter

The adapter I ordered was from centrix
It came with the necessary screws and spacers to attach it. be sure and remove (and save) any screws and brackets originally attached to the drive.

Step 2: Preparing the Enclosure

I didn't snap shots of this while I was cutting the cardboard (FAIL!!!) so instead I will describe how I arrived at the finished product.

Place the drive upside-down on a piece of cardboard with at least 2 inches to spare on the sides. The drive tray should face you. Flush the edge of the metal case to the lowest edge of cardboard (make sure this edge is square). If the bezel is not rectangular, make sure it overhangs the front edge so he drive can fully close.
The footprint of the bare drive is 5" x 5.1" x .5" (width x depth x thickness).
Mark the sides and the back (with the USB adapter attached).
On the sides, make a parallel line twice the thickness of the cardboard (1/4' in my case), then 2 more parallel lines each the thickness of the drive plus one cardboard thickness (5/8" in my case).
In the back, mark a line parallel to it that is the overall thickness of the drive plus one thickness of cardboard (5/8" in my case). From there, extend the lines of the side measurement of the drive equal to the length and width of the first (top) piece. Leave space to add tabs before cutting.
When the shape is drawn, Cut the outline to match the photo.
Score the folding lines with a utility knife, not cutting all the way through, and with a straight-edge, fold them in. The sides will fold over twice and occupy the space created by the 1/4" wide fold.

Step 3: Spacer

You need to ad a cardboard spacer to make the bottom of the drive even all the way across.

Step 4: Create the Tray Piece and Attach It

The Tray piece acts as a base for the drive and a way to secure all the cardboard to the drive.
The tray dimensions should be identical to the overall footprint of the drive: 5" x 5.1" (width x depth).
Once the Tray was cut, I placed the drive in the pre-folded outer shell and secured it there with tape.
I taped the tray to the drive and folded it down, then secured the shell sides to the tray.
Then I folded the bottom of the enclosure down over the tray and secured it all with tape.

Step 5: Final Thoughts

This is a sort-of- prototype. I haven't bothered changing it because it works fine as-is.
If I were going to change anything, I would make the tabs insert into the slots, rather than just overlap them like a half-lap.

I did not include the steps necessary to make the DC power adapter hacked into a USB plug. There are many fine instructables that cover that in better detail than I would. As a note, I only need the 5v when using this with another notebook. A desktop PC seems to provide enough power without it. Maybe you only need it for burning. If you don't want to make it, just get a 5v 2A adapter.


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