11. Hard Drive Array

Step 1. Cut Acrylic Parts

Cut all acrylic parts, adjusting for kerf as necessary.

Step 2. Test Fit Box with Case

  1. Test fit the outer box of the array. It should fit tightly, but not so tightly that you crack any of the parts while you’re assembling it.
  2. Try sliding the outer box into the case in its appropriate slot. It should slide in easily, but there should not be much play between the case and array when it’s in.
  3. If the array is too tight or too loose, adjust the top, bottom, front, rear, and drive rails in the design and recut them, then test fit the outer box again to make sure it fits properly.

Step 3. Glue Parts

  1. Glue one set of drive rails to the top, making sure to orient them as shown in the file. Note that the top has an inside and an outside. If you’re unsure which side is which, compare the tabs to the tabs provided on the front and back. Attach the rails to the part of the top that will be on the inside of the box when it’s finished. As you glue the rails, you will need to tack about an inch of the end of each rail and let it dry for a minute  or two before moving on to the next. If you’re very careful, you can probably do 2 rails at once. Glue the entire rail assembly before moving on.
  2. Glue one set of drive rails to the bottom, making sure to orient them as shown in the file. Note that the bottom has an inside and an outside. If you’re unsure which side is which, compare the tabs to thee tabs provided on the front and back. Attach the rails to the part of the bottom that will be on the inside of the box when it’s finished.
  3. Glue the entire outer box together. One good technique for doing this is to start by fitting the bottom, rear, and a side together, then gluing them. Without stopping for them to dry, attach the other side and glue it as well. Then, do the same with the top. Finally, glue on the front as well. Hold the whole thing together tightly for a few minutes, then put it down to cure for an hour or so before continuing.
  4. Glue in the drive clip stop. Allow a few minutes for the adhesive to soak in.
  5. Glue the drive clip tabs. Take care not to let any adhesive get under the levers.
  6. Leave the entire assembly somewhere for the adhesive to cure. Let it cure for another hour before disturbing it again.

Step 4. Prepare USB Adapters

All you need from the enclosure kit is the adapter and cable. Recycle the aluminum cases. Some of my adapters also weren’t glued tightly. If yours aren’t glued tightly, fix them with a small drop of hot melt.

My USB adapters were also too wide. If yours are as well, you’ll need to sand the edges until they’re each about 12.65 mm wide or less. Use your caliper to test their width. Additionally, they’re likely to be centered poorly. You will probably need to sand some plastic from the top or bottom of most of them. Use compressed air to remove dust from the adapter each time you’re about to test fit it with the array, to avoid getting black dust on the array.

The finished assembly should look like the one in the following photos:

Hard Drive Array Assembled Hard Drive Array - Rail Detail Hard Drive Array - Depress Release Lever Hard Drive Array - Depressing Release Clip Hard Drive Array - Populated Hard Drive Array - Populated

Some kind of handle on each USB adapter would facilitate removal of the drives. However, I haven’t found that to be necessary yet, since the drives don’t need to be pulled very often. If I end up designing a handle for them, I’ll post the design for it here.

10. Ethernet Jack Mounts 11. Hard Drive Array 12. Ethernet Cables

2 thoughts on “11. Hard Drive Array

  1. Brooks

    Hey David,

    I’m curious as to how you connect your hard-drives across the boards. Any tips on doing this?

    Reply
    1. David Guill Post author

      Without serious hardware mods, you would need some form of file sharing or distributed database set up. Given the intended function of this build, I’d recommend going with a distributed database for at least most of the shared storage.

      Reply

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