Cd and DVD Drives, Their Treasures. Macro Pics All Round.

About: A Northern Ireland based maker with a propensity to cause trouble and freshly constructed family.

I made this little slide show in the hopes of helping answer alot of questions about where to find bits and also educate members that might not pillage stacks of obsolete computer equipment when they're bored (precisely why I have magnets of various origins covering one of my desk legs and an array of odd components and wires)

The most notable and appealing find for me was the disc magnet on top, noone ever mentions these so I assume they're not generally obvious. On top there's a metal disc that's thin and of little interest to most, pry it up before attacking the drive however and there are goodies in there. What appears to be a magnetically supported bearing for the spinning bits on top has a very powerful disc magnet with a hole in the middle.

There are the obvious motors, the tray mechanism one, near the front is usually DC and a handy size, the gears that come with are great, you could use the innards of several drives to make a complex gearbox for a light duty purpose I suppose. The one that slides the laser assembly back and forth can be either, in this case it's DC. The spinner motor that does the job of spinning CDs is always a complicated affair, it wont be a DC one but a phased one, some microcontroller stuff can be used for these...

The blue (in this instance) anti vibration washers are a useful object, use them to quiet down harddrives by isolating them from the case of your computer, they can be used anywhere in that way, they make great replacement feet for things missing them, especially speakers that are rattling about the desk.

The rails the laser tray runs on are amazingly handy to have around, even just as tiny pry bars, they make handy axles and any other purpose requiring small steel rods...

There are two magnets either side of the lens, underneath it, you may have to pry off a little metal cover... They're square and incredibly powerful, as I type one of them has attached to a metal bead on my bracelet, taking the big spindle motor board, several screws and a craft knife with it.

The little coils around the lens could be of use to people, in fact if the assembly was kept whole and the connection made right the assembly could be made in to a speaker, a dab of glue to the lens with a sheet of light paper on it could make an interesting project.

Save the screws and such from these, they come in handy for small projects.

The magnets are great for anything you fancy with magnets, the little square ones make great replacements for bike computer magnets.

Keep all the detachable ribbon cables, when you ruin one in something they're not repairable in most DIY cases, having spares is great, sizes and the amount of wires is job dependant but I've replaced the one for an MP4 player screen with one from a disk drive before, it was too long but it worked for another week... It died of natural causes after a ridiculously artificially lengthened life.

The shells are good sources of small but thick bits of steel sheet. Some of the components on the boards are of use as replacements in other stuff, the 1/4" jack for example wiil no doubt be a good one, there's a few LEDs kikcing around the front, a nice push button...

Inside that big spindle motor you'll hear something rolling around, they're ball bearings, which are tiny and have uses, however two warnings, they are difficult to get at without throwing everywhere and not very magnetic, as in they can't be picked up, making them quite impossible to recapture easily...

That's a quick rundown of all that's inside the common disc drive, though this is an older one so in a newer one you'll not get gears for opening the tray it's just a rubber band and two spindles...

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    17 Discussions

    I just took one of these apart today and also saw a fingerprint that wasn't mine. It intrigues me.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I've tore apart a few older and a few more modern CD-ROM drives, and the drive motor for the disc itself was usually a regular 5-6V DC motor, and so far it's only been the burner drives that had the stepper motor in them. Could it be a manufacturer thing that certain manufacturers use steppers for the disc's drive motor and certain ones don't?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Dang, you beat me to this slideshow! Great work though!
    Ill have to think of something else...

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Neat stuff, looking forward to if you post an instructable from the gizzards. Any idea what the specifics of the laser diode is? And what colour? That would be cool, but infrared lasers aren't real good to have around. -Kryptonite

    2 replies

    Laser is infra-red, can't remember exact wavelength but the ones in readers aren't much use for anything you want to see they'd still be useful in some projects but the eye damage hazard is the issue...

    Yeah, infra-red is pretty cool, but unless you have some of those special glasses (forgot what they're called, sorry) they're a real hazard. They could be used a security system thing, that's what they do with infra-red lasers in museums and stuff. Thanks for the quick reply!

    I just mindlessly destroyed something... I've ripped apart a whole load of disc drives, I can now disassemble one with only pliers or a knife...


    I suppose the laser module in DVD burners is good for kipkay's hack but in this CD rom you'll just get bad eyesight and nought to show for it...