Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hard Drive Laser FX

Right, well I had been looking around the net and found Hard Drive Laser Oscilloscope over at Hacked Gadgets and thought about trying to make one using two hard drives to give horizontal and vertical beams. So rather than an oscilloscope it would give me some funky visuals fx.

I got the stuff together:

Two Hard Drive (Dead Ones!)
1mw Laser Pen
Two Bits of Mirror
Multicore Cable
Other Odd Bits Of wires

Soldering Iron
AA Battery
And a ton of Hot Glue

First job was to open both hard drives, and remove all the unneeded bit, (ie. there was little plastic locks on the Read/Write Arms stopping them from moving, plus I removed platters and platter drive motor from one of the drives just to make the project a little lighter, since hot glue is not very strong)

Now I need to find out what pins on the ribbon cable connect to the Read/Write Arm Voice Coil, some people might use a multimeter for this but I find it much easier with 1.5v AA Battery and 2 bits of wire, then you can see the Arm move. Once they where located solder wires to them, then repeat on the second drive.
I took the two drive a hot glued them together, mounted a mirror on both Read/Write Arms then mounted the laser pointer. This took a few attempts to get the laser at the right height and both mirrors aligned.

This is what was projected, once mirrors and laser where aligned

And that's about it, All i have to do now it connect the two pairs of wires to the multicore cable, and run it off to a stereo amp, One pair one wires from 1 drives Read/Write Arm to the left channel, and the second drives to the right channel. An alternative approach would be to get a speaker cross-over out of an old pair of speakers, and wire the bass to one drive, and treble to the other.

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And Away We Go! Let's give it a try.....

This is the Read/Write Arms in Action

And The Final Projection Result :D

Slow Exposure Photos

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50hz Test Sine

Let me know if you try this project yourself, please send some photo's if you can also let me know if you can improve it in any way



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Blogger Will said...

Very Cool project.
As the laser seems biased to the lower right, you could try to build an interface circuit that biases the read/write arm to the center and the signal can go into a full X and Y axis instead of just one quadrant.

Very cool.. Now where did I put those 1 Gig drives??

7:32 AM  
Blogger fatalxp said...

I have been thinking the same think, i was going to try centering it using different volume signals, i'd generate some test tones with Cool Edit, Also could try get it to draw something. even drawing a circle would be a good.

btw. i used two 40gig drives :D

Thanks for your comment :D

Please digg this project if you can


8:13 AM  
Blogger upssidetown said...

Nice idea with this site its better than most of the rubbish I come across.

6:40 PM  
Blogger mobilemob said...

Your website has a useful information for beginners like me.

5:30 PM  
Blogger gavin said...

We did the same project, even the same kind of laser pointer!

You can make it more interesting by bouncing the projected laser off a few rotating mirrors. Just a small mirror on a motor. This gives you a spirographic type display, that when combined with the sound, creates some pretty weird 3d looking rotating shapes.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Vinod said...

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11:01 PM  

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