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

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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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    9 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Hey man, Very useful tut. I had a broken vaio laptop, and your instructable came out very handy. Actually very simple and just complete. I'd just add one thing, for those who, like me, don't live in the US, the adaptator is very expensive to import. Check on eBay, I got one for 10€...instead of 40. Btw, check out what I did with the screen ;) Have a nice day, and thanks once more

    3 replies

    "mini ITX dvd usb adapter" are keywords that should get you something. Good luck !


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Truly, the $50 for the shipment wrecked my motivation.. Searching now on eBay ;) Very nice tutorial, I'm about to buy a new netbook and I'm going to install Linux on a dual boot and the dvd drive makes it that easier, and I have an old DL DVD writer sitting here, so this was just the thing i was searching, thanks!


    9 years ago on Step 5

    i was wondering if you could post a link to a guide for how to get power through a usb, im having a little trouble finding a straight answer from google.



    10 years ago on Step 5

    This instructable worked for me. Thanks for the tip on the Centrix part. It worked great with an old optical drive from a Powerbook G4 12-inch.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    could you explain how to "hack in" that 5v adapter into the USB cable. I theorized on how to do it, but didn't want to try it until I knew someone that knows how to do it, would show me.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    You need a USB cable and the correct barrel plug. Most plugs require the "center positive" configuration. Clip the female end (device end) off of the usb cable and strip off the outer layer. There are 4 colored wires, and often a braided shielding. Ignore the white and green wires, they are the data. You may want to heat-shrink these individually so they don't contact anything. Strip the red and black wires, + and - respectively, and connect (solder) them to the adapter barrel's leads. Use a multimeter to verify whether the center is positive, and which wire that corresponds to. Often there is a white stripe running the length of one of the two wires to help you identify them. Use heat-shrink tubing to cover each solder joint and then a larger piece to conceal the entire connection. Most USB ports supply 100mA. Don't try to use this cable for anything that will draw more tan that, it will damage the USB port or the motherboard. Okie


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Its funny I got a VAIO laptop DVD drive today for free and was thinking could I hack this. I google for the ports and what they do... then it comes to me Instructables and BAM An awesome hack thats so easy and complete its not even funny. The only thing I'm going to try different is to get a broken VAIO frame cut it and cover it in aluminum or epoxy. Thanks for the links You rock