Fig. A: Hard disk drive with case opened. The neodymium magnet, upper right, is strong enough to require
prying. Fig. B: Clear space inside the case by removing
Fig. C: Pry apart the USB hub case and remove its
board. Fig. D: Memory sticks, cables, and USB hub
packed into the hard drive case. The external USB
cable exits a hole drilled in one end.
You can use a large screwdriver to pry loose the
magnets (Figure A, at top left). Any molded nubs
or mounting studs inside you can break off with
pliers (Figure B) and grind flat with a Dremel and
an abrasive wheel.
2. Mount the USB hub board.
With the drive’s case empty, I lined it all around with
insulating tape, to prevent shorts. Next, I pried the
USB hub’s case apart (Figure C) and found a way
to fit its board inside the drive case. I then drilled a
hole in one end of the case, at the edge next to the
lid, making it just big enough to tuck the external
USB cable down into.
4. Configure 3 drives as 1.
All 3 drives responded, so there was one more thing
to do. Rather than having to deal with 3 separate
drive letters, I navigated Windows to combine them
into a single letter. To accomplish this, start at the
Disk Management page, and convert each drive into
a “Dynamic Disk.” This isn’t hard, but it’s tedious
Now the 3 drives act like a single disk that gives
me a place to stash my most precious digital
possessions. I took an old disk drive, and in a flash
I converted it into a solid-state “drive” that holds
more data and runs faster than the original. You
can teach an old drive new tricks!
3. Stuff it all in.
Finally, it was time for the main event. I removed
the flash drives from their cases, used USB cables
to connect them to the hub, and packed everything
into the hard drive case (Figure D). It was a tight
fit, but there was enough room.
I then threaded the external cable out through
its hole, screwed the hard drive’s lid back down, and
plugged the cable into a computer to make sure
that my handiwork actually worked.
Brian Nadel is a New York-based writer and the former
editor-in-chief of Mobile Computing & Communications.
A 25-year veteran of technology journalism, he’s worked
for Popular Science, PC Magazine, and Business Tokyo.
Salad Tong Finger Saver
A cut-down pair of plastic salad tongs keeps
me from having cut-down fingers when cutting
small items on a band saw.
—Frank Ford, frets.com/homeshoptech
Find more tools-n-tips at makezine.com/tnt.
Photographyby Brian Nadel
160 Make: Volume 17