Intro: Upcycle Old USB Floppy Drive Into USB Hard Drive Dock
So the other day I was rummaging through some boxes of computer and electronics stuff and I discovered a USB floppy disk drive. Now I can not tell you the last time I remember using such a device, nor can I tell you the last time that I recall knowing anyone who remembers using such a device.
This surge of nostalgia poured over me briefly; very briefly, right up until the moment I decided to tear it apart and make it "comtria!"(SG1 fans would know that means "better")
Step 1: Rip It Apart, Gently.
Without further ado, let's get started making it. The following is a list of components, tools and ingenuity that I used to bring new life to an old drive:
USB floppy drive
USB to microUSB cable (more on this later)
Controller board from USB 2.5" enclosure
Frame from same 2.5" enclosure
A dab of epoxy
Oh yes, a screwdriver.
I started by removing the single screw on the bottom of the floppy unit. It seemed a bit hard to pry the case apart after doing so, I searched for a doppelganger screw underneath the label. It turns out that there was not one, so the case was in fact hard to pull apart.
I got it though.
Step 2: Brainssss.
Inside we find the brains of the floppy drive in a neat little metal shell. Hmm, I may utilize this for something else, so I am going to set this to the side for another project.
Step 3: Disconnect
After removing the internals from the unit, I disconnected the existing USB cable from the circuit board by removing the single screw.
I am going to save this for a later project as well.
Step 4: Measure Up
I had salvaged a SATA to USB converter board from an old external 2.5" enclosure. I knew that I would eventually find a use for it, and this is it! Along with the board, I also salvaged the internal frame from the old enclosure.
I just needed to get a measurement and placement idea for the mounting and cutting to come. I knew that I wanted the HDD to extrude from the floppy enclosure about 2 inches, for easy insertion and removal. The drive will "lock" itself in place when inserted so anything shorter may make it difficult to remove it.
I lined up the frame where I decided would be a good fit, and placed a 2.5" HDD in the frame to get an idea of how it will "feel".
Step 5: Mark Your Measurement
After pre-testing the location and getting an idea of how things will look and feel, I marked out some cut lines and mounting lines.
Next, I cut the frame for the HDD down to size with a razor knife.
Step 6: Mark Before Grinding
I placed the cut frame inside the floppy unit, lining it up with the guide I had drawn earlier. The opening on the floppy drive case was thinner than the HDD that will be getting inserted through it, so I had to do some grinding on the front.
After a little Dremel grinding, I have a new drive slot. Just a bit of sanding to make it smooth and level.
Step 7: Wire Prep
I decided to go with a longer USB cord, as the original was only about 18 inches long. So I removed the boot from the original one and sliced it down the length on one side and slipped it around my chosen cord. This boot will help to keep the wire in place and it adds to the aesthetics of the project.
Step 8: Mount Up
After screwing the controller board back into its' original spot on the original frame, I mount it inside the floppy case. I make sure that it is lined up with my guide and test fit the new USB cord before epoxying it in place. Notice the boot. It is a nice fit, so I go ahead and epoxy the frame down to the case.
Step 9: Stuff It
I didn't want to leave the case feeling empty for several reasons, the main being that hard drives can make a bit of noise; a humming that after a while may get annoying. I decided that I would insulate the new case, but had to also ensure that I allow airflow to get to the breather hole on whichever drive may be inserted.
I had some anti-static foam leftover from some electronic component orders I had received a while back. This would be perfect for this project.
I started off by taking rough measurements of the space on each side of the drive frame, and at the connection end of the frame as well. Being that I am using foam, the measurements do not have to be exact, a bit over is fine, it squishes.
I fit strips of the foam down each side and then a wider strip at the connection end. I cut this one in half at an angle to allow passage of the USB cord; and like the boot, it will also help hold the new USB cord in place.
Step 10: Re-Assemble (Stephanie)
Well, OK; this is no Johnny 5, but I re-assemble the case by snapping the top cover back on the unit and then inserting the single screw back into place.
As you can see in the pictures, the fit is very nice. The new dock has a nice "snap" to it when you insert a drive, lets me know that it is locked in and ready to go.
I find myself very satisfied that I was able to upcycle a piece of computing history into a more worthy and useful modern day gadget!
Step 11: In Closing...
DOODLE APPROVES OF THIS 'IBLE!
I hope that you enjoyed the workup on this project. I am very satisfied with the results, and I think you will be too!