Awesome Hard Drive Tower




I recently backed up all of my pictures to DVD. Having a fair amount of photographs this took up about 25 disks. I immediately started thinking of an alternative way of archiving my stuff. I already have an external hard drive that I use for "backups." the issue with that is that I leave it plugged into my computer almost constantly and its also likely to be stolen should my house be broken into. I wanted something that's faster then dvd's but not likely to be stolen. Rummaging through my massive amounts of computer parts I found a bunch of older hard drives of varying sizes and a usb to ide adapter. A few more parts from an old computer and my hard drive tower was born!

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Materials

Here's a list of what I used:

7 Hard Drives of various sizes, from 80 gigs to 20 gigs
1 old computer power supply with it's own dedicated on/off switch
1 hard drive bay chassis (don't know what the proper name is) from an old computer
1 usb to ide adapter (the more the better)
a bunch of different screws

and for tools:

Drill with metal drill bits

all the materials, except for the usb to ide adapter can be found at a computer recycling place, the side of the road, garage sales, attics, etc. for free or for a very low price.

Step 2: Putting It Together: Extraction

The first thing is to get the hard drive bay thing out of the case. If your case is like mine it's riveted tot the bottom and front of the case. Take your drill with a decent sized bit and drill out the rivets (just don't drill all the way through cause you'll need those holes to attach the hard drive bay to the power supply)

My case also had the power supply i needed so I got that out of this case too. Just remember, you want a power supply that has it's own dedicated on/off switch. They've stopped making these a while ago but you can still find them here and there if you look. There are ways to make a newer power supply turn on without the motherboard attached but i don't want to get into that here.

Step 3: Putting It Together: Attaching

Once you have the hard drive bay out we've got to attach it to the power supply. Mark with a sharpie or some sort of marking thing where you need to drill the holes in the top of the power supply. I found it helped if you temporarily put a hard drive in one of the bays just to make sure that the sides are straight.

TAKE THE TOP OF THE POWER SUPPLY OFF BEFORE YOU DRILL THROUGH IT. You don't want to drill into the electronics inside and you don't want tiny bits of metal inside it either. 

I found some black self tapping screws that worked perfectly for holding the bay tower to the power supply. Just make sure the screws or nuts and bolts aren't going to far down into the power supply.

Put the top of the power supply back on and you're good to go.

Step 4: Putting It Together: Adding Storage

Slip the hard drives in and attach all the power cables, pretty self explanatory.

You can also dress it up and make it look a bit more cooler. I found a place to screw the switch on. I also added a led light on top and an awesome sticker on the side.

Step 5: Formatting and Copying

All that's left is to format the disks and copy your stuff. Since I only have one usb to ide adapter I have to move it if I want to switch disks. Just remember to eject (or safely remove for you windows people) the disks before you move the adapter.

USB Contest

Participated in the
USB Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Multi-Discipline Contest

      Multi-Discipline Contest
    • Robotics Contest

      Robotics Contest

    23 Discussions


    9 months ago

    This is cool, but you would probably have been better off leaving everything in the computer case. The case provides for a closed environment for cooling and keeping out dust and such (sort of). Plus if you look for a cheap mini AT motherboard you could run linux on it and create an actual NAS that would allow you to connect to all of your drives. A standard motherboard would handle four drives, but this can be expanded. It might be a little cheaper to use a USB to IDE adapter connected to a multi-head cable, as someone else commented, but leaving it in the case for that would still be a good idea.


    4 years ago on Step 5

    Sorry for the question.... you connect one drive at a time?

    Doesn't that put a bit of stress ot the hard drive's pins?

    I have a FREENAS disc server, it has about 8 discs at the moment, and after 5 min not being used, they shut down. Very low power consumption. Try it! :)

    Nice instr. Thanks!

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Step 5

    Or, have you tried using the IDE cables with multiple connectors to connect more than one drive at once to the adapter


    7 years ago on Step 4

    You should add a power switch for every drive. It's kinda alot work, but will save power and reduce hard drive noise. You could also add a CD drive that has a audio jack and control buttons to add an extra use, CD playback! Add some (cheap) speakers to the tower and blast some tunes to drain out the time of copying, moving and deleting files! And ofcourse, you could replace the hard drives with CD/DVD/ect. drives to create a burning station.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    if you want to do a NAS or have eSATA check this little project that this guy did.


    7 years ago on Introduction Quick way to make your PSU work for this project.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    you can use a more modern power supply, short the green wire going into the 20/24 pin connector to a black.

    i found this in another instructable, it shows where to place a standby power and power LEDs, and even a power supply.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    cool looks like a simple vacum form case could make it a pro then agin i love the look of it as is just wow reminds me of strgate data crystals


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Like this. Do most towers come with 7 power connections? How would you link the drives together so that theres only one interface for them? RAID? Now where will I find an old tower with a power supply with its own switch....

    7 replies

    To answer your question yes you can get a PSU with 7 power IDE connections!
    my old one had six, but you can always mod a PSU with a few more because the motherboard connection is not getting used so you can put like 10 HDD on a 250 watt PSU!

    You can make a PCB Board that all the HDD can plug into maybe a little hard but is possible, ill have a look around for you at a place.

    You can get oooollllldddd power suplies that have their own switch but then your talking 1990's stuff, i have a few but sadly they are 'as dead as a door nail'.

    I can get one designed for you but that would cost big bucks!!!

    Like hundreds, ($).

    Sorry, i think if you build one from scratch it would cost alot cheaper, By the way who is 'Woz'!

    i know a company who designs them. i think they have a branch in New Zealand and USA and South Africa

    But i would recomend building your own one or designing your own with a program called 'Eagle Cad....'

    If you are going to build this i would recomend using Serial ATA (SATA) HDD's.

    SATA's are quite cheap, fast and you can get a 250g for really cheap!!

    Also Sata would be easier building an adruino board for.!

    Adam Manick

    8 years ago on Introduction

    You can get a 256 gigabyte flash drive for around 650 US dollars. So much memory i that little thing.

    DIY Dave

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I'm planning to do this as soon as I get some more hard drives.