Hard Drive Clock

My upcycle project began when I decided to use paper as my recycled material. Half way through I felt that using fresh paper wasn’t really considered upcycling, and it was more like crafting something from scratch. So instead, to be more in the spirit of upcycling, I chose to recycle old electronics that have been in my basement for over ten years now which I haven’t bothered to have properly recycled. I’m choosing electronics as my upcycling focus since it would be possible to make something based on the modern aesthetic.

With some Googlin’, I decided that I wanted to make use of the hard drive platters and to re-purpose it into a clock. The image below shows a hard drive with its outer shell removed and exposes the platters, which are the discs that contain the harddrive’s data. At this point, the hard drive is most likely unusable since the screws used to fasten the back plate onto the shell are precisely torqued to ensure zero vibration, and it would be near impossible to find those torque values without any documentation to go off of. Furthermore, any spec of dust will ruin the platters. Since the hard drive is only 30 GB and was made in 2001, I have no concerns about trashing it.


These platters can be removed, which will allow me to install the clock mechanism. The clock mechanism I’m using is found in pretty much all cheap clocks, and they are from a brand called Quartz.


These Quartz clock mechanisms are super easy to use and all it requires is a single AA battery, the second hand, the minute hand, and the hour hand. The second hand is installed on a tiny brass shaft that connects to the Quartz clock. However, the minute hand and hour hand are connected to the white shaft as shown in the picture above.

Currently, I have disassembled an old clock and took out the Quartz clock. Pictured below is the current state of the upcycling with the hard drive still in tact. I ran into an issue of not having the right screw driver, which uses a star pattern called torx. I’m hoping to find one at the ITLL or Idea Forge, or I may need to go to Harbor Freight or Home Depot for one.

I think the platters themselves given off a very modern look. Once assembled, I may consider repainting the housing from black to a flat white. The image below is the inspiration I got for this project, so hopefully I can make it look just as good. What I would do differently than the one below is to clean it up more so that there isn’t so much going on. In this way, the look I’m going for is more modern and minimalistic.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Shoot, none of my comments saved, sorry!

    Really excited to see how yours turns out. These ideas above are pretty cool too. Let me know if you still need a torx drive set- I’ve got a bunch!

  • This is a very cool idea! It is amazing to see how you turns those materials into a real clock. The only concern I have is that all the components to make this clock is really small, finding a suitable tool to assemble them is critical.

  • Super cool aesthetic. That bottom picture is so sleek, it almost has the same feel as the inside of a watch or something like that. I’ll be curious to see how it turns out with the disassembled hard drive, there may be significant cleaning processes required with that.

  • So you can hook up an audio signal to the read head motor. I’m not sure how it’s done, but my friend made a hard drive speaker he could play music off of. If you can find the guts from an analog alarm clock, you could totally rewire the speaker to the read head.


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