View Full Version : Hard Disk Drive spindles useful as turret mounts?

10-06-2011, 02:52 PM
(Disassembly note: Be aware that opening up the case of a hard drive will void it's warranty, so undertaking such an activity is at your own risk. Both Phillips and Torx screws were encountered with the two drives described below, some of which where covered by circuit boards and/or stickers. Photographs included at the end of this post.)

30 sec version: I found some parts in some old computer HDD's that may be useful as turret supports/bearing plates (the two drives I dismantled had different spindle anchoring implementations from each other, so obviously designs vary), namely the platter spindle assembly of some HDD's and the platters themselves, respectively.

While considering additional parts and awaiting delivery of same for my bots, I decided to tackle dismantling a couple of old HDD's from computers I had laying around to see what was inside of them. Since I wasn't relating this to any robotic application I hadn't photographed the initial disassembly of the first drive I took apart, a 5.24GB Fujitsu but, on revealing the spindle assembly of this drive, I disassembled a 10.2GB Quantum drive and photographed it from the start.

Unfortunately the Quantum drive didn't have quite the same spindle mounting design as the Fujitsu, and therefore doesn't lend itself to easy use as a possible turret mount - although with simple machining it'd be technically possible, if not very feasible. On the other hand, the Fujitsu's spindle mount was attached to the case with just three screws and then could be easily popped out from a light press-fit mounting hole. It's incredibly stable and smooth, which makes sense considering the 10k's RPMs it likely endured. I'm sure the Fujitsu one would be fine for a light weight turret but beyond that it'd be anyone's guess without testing. The spindle has what seems to be a central pivot/sealed bearing, so it's unlikely that a center hole can be drilled through it for pass-through wiring and have it remain serviceable. Iif the turret (or whatever application) didn't need 360 rotation then it might be worth exploring. Just thought I'd share something I was excited to learn about and realized it might be useful for others.


The Fujitsu drive disassembled to the point of revealing the spindle assembly. The hard disk platters can be seen off to the right These are very slick against each other and I believe they would make quite serviceable floating bearings, although their longevity in such a situation is obviously unknown to me.
http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/5669/dscf065120.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/217/dscf065120.jpg/)

The back of the Fujitsu drive with the circuit board removed and some of the stickers still in place.
http://img262.imageshack.us/img262/2862/dscf065520.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/262/dscf065520.jpg/)

The Quantum drive with the top cover removed.
http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/3609/dscf064420.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/97/dscf064420.jpg/)

The back of the Quantum drive with the circuit board still in place.
http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/4391/dscf064720.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/62/dscf064720.jpg/)

The inside of the Quantum drive with the magnets assembly for the floating heads removed and placed on the hard disk drive platters. The magnets are fairly strong for their size and could pose a pinching "hazard."
http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/8417/dscf064820.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/412/dscf064820.jpg/)

The Quantum drive disassembled down to the platter spindle.
http://img600.imageshack.us/img600/8140/dscf064920.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/600/dscf064920.jpg/)

The partially broken down spindle assembly from the Fujitsu drive, removed from it's case.
http://img535.imageshack.us/img535/5738/dscf065620.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/535/dscf065620.jpg/)

A side view of the re-assembled spindle assembly, along with the accompanying magnets, removed from it's case.
http://img830.imageshack.us/img830/5347/dscf065720.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/830/dscf065720.jpg/)

PS: For scale, the overall width and length of the drives are essentially 4" (10cm) and 5.5" (25cm), respectively.

10-06-2011, 05:47 PM
Old VCR spindles also work well (heavier duty though, but have pass-through connectors too!).

I don't have any photos of the one I used, but check here to get the idea: http://home.solcon.nl/gjkool/brushlessE1.html