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 Post subject: Homebrew drive enclosure
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 6:05 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2002 10:32 am
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Although suspension is good, I found that even a NIDEC Samsung is still the loudest component in my system. I've come to the conclusion that the only way to get rid of its insidious noise is by using an enclosure. I decided to make my own using easily obtainable parts and tools, with not a lot of precision or skill involved. I've had this setup for a few months now, and it is impossible to detect that there is even a hard drive in my PC.

EDIT: updated link (again)


Last edited by alleycat on Fri Dec 22, 2006 1:39 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 6:48 pm 
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Location: Ballina, Australia
Hey, nice work indeed!

What are the dimensions of your enclosure? Does the aluminium get warm? (ie, does the heat conduct effectively to the outside of the enclosure?)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:41 pm 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
The enclosure does get quite warm. I have it mounted in my PC so that the circuit board (warmest) side of the drive is facing up. The measurements of the enclosure are 222 x 146 x 55 mm. You can get them from Jaycar, but I've also seen them elsewhere. I think they're made in Japan.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 10:21 pm 
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Very nice looking project indeed. I may try that coolpak idea. Never thought of that. I was planning on sandwiching my HD the "traditional" way just simply between two slabs of Al with foam on the sides. Thanks! :D

Any chance we could get some links to large res pics?! FYI I've used www.photobucket.com for years now with excellent results.

Edit: Another quick question for you. Where did you find out about the coolpacks thermal conductivity? Or did you have a "stroke of brilliance" during some personal brainstorming? Just curious.

Thanks,
DrCR

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Last edited by DrCR on Fri Mar 11, 2005 11:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 11:16 pm 
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Nice work alleycat, this is definitely a step up from other methods such as artists block carving rubber that was used in one of the articles on this site. Excellent cooling as well. And I second the need for high res pics.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 7:19 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
The credit for the "stroke of brilliance" goes to another forum member, cruelsister, who about a year ago posted the idea of placing a harddrive on a coolpack to dampen vibrations. After experimenting with the coolpacks for a while, I realized that they also have useful thermal properties (which is not surprising considering their intended use).

Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted my original photos after they'd been photoshopped down to their current size. I'd prefer not to pull the enclosure apart again to take more photos. Sorry! I'll try my best to answer questions about any details which aren't clear from the photos, but there isn't a great deal to describe; it's a fairly simple setup, but I'll agree that photos make it more interesting. The final version is actually slightly different to the photos anyway, because I was able to squeeze in an extra coolpack which I didn't originally think would fit, using smaller pieces of foam as packing.

The most difficult part is getting the right size coolpacks to fit the enclosure. Here in sunny Australia we're quite obsessed about the outdoors and keeping our drinks cool, so there are a number of locally made coolpack brands. I had a few lying around at home that I could try. Exactly how those of you in other countries put together a similar enclosure depends on what is available locally.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 5:29 am 
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:( No hi-res pics. :(

Somehow I missed that cruelsister thread. I'm going to have to do a search for it...

Warning about Cool-Pacs (Gel-Pacs)!!!!!!!!!
Coolpacks for a cool and quiet drive!
Coolpaks- week 3

DrCR

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 8:08 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
I saw Bluefront's warning about the coolpacks, but he seems to be the only one reporting any problems. I've been using them for the best part of a year now under a range of conditions without any problems. I've also used them for their intended purpose (as ice blocks) and they've taken quite a bit of physical punishment (including high temperatures) over the years. They will eventually leak if they are kicked around enough, though.

Once again I apologize for the small photos, however there should be enough detail to get the gist of the concept.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 9:11 am 
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alleycat wrote:
Once again I apologize for the small photos, however there should be enough detail to get the gist of the concept.

Hey, no problem.

A question concerning your enclosure. Did you buy it, buy and mod, or just make it from scratch? Just curious.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 9:40 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
I purchased the aluminium enclosure from my local electronic components shop, but I think they are available in many countries. They are usually used to house electronic circuit boards, etc. The only modification I made to it was filing out the small slot for the cables, which was surprisingly easy.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 10:36 am 
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Awesome, thanks. No clue right off where I would find that here in the states though. I'll have to do some hunting. I'll post if I find it State-side for any other US residents that may be looking for something like it too.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 11:06 am 
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Location: Acton, MA, USA -- Folding for SPCR
Google is amazing. The first hit appears to have the exact same box for $30ish.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 4:28 am 
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Location: canberra, australia
man thats cool (no pun intended)

i love homebrew engineering! :mrgreen:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 10:29 am 
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Although it works really well, I would expect that a small amount of vibration would be transmitted to the case if it were hard mounted. I can't imagine any enclosure performing any better in this regard, however. Also, I don't think it will fit into a standard drive bay without excessive force (or a bit of machining perhaps), although others have said it would (height=55mm). I would prefer to have the drive as low in the case as possible anyway (difficult for multi-drive setups, I know). There have been a few attempts at this kind of thing using clay, etc as the packing material, but I think the coolpacks are probably more benign and better performing. I guess that drives surrounded by gel would be more impervious to shock as an added bonus. I should also emphasise the need to pack everything tightly (especially for whining drives) for the enclosure to work well. I thought that this might be bad for the drive at first, but no problems have shown up so far.

I'm going to try to do the same thing with a PATA drive in a more compact (but similar) enclosure. I think a lot of people are realising that the HDD is probably the most difficult part of their systems to properly silence, and I'm even thinking of putting together a kit for anyone interested. I just hate hard drive noise, even the supposedly 'quiet' drives. Or you could go for a slow and expensive laptop drive...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 4:03 pm
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Location: Albany, GA USA
Hello fellow silencers,

For many weeks I've wanted to copy alleycat's hard drive enclosure but I did not know that the unit could be acquired in the USA. Thanks to ilh's google link I found the enclosure online at Vetcosurplus. Although my sorbothane mounted spinpoint is relatively quiet, I am confident that this enclosure will be a great improvement. Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2005 11:42 pm 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
There are similar enclosures manufactured by Hammond which should be easily available in the US. The sizes might be a bit different, though. There is no reason why you need to use the exact size which I did. When I first thought of the idea I took my HDD and coolpacks to the enclosure suppliers to see which ones would fit. A bit of experimentation will yield the best results. Part of the attraction of this idea was that it could be done easily with locally available off-the-shelf parts. I was able to purchase everything within a twenty minute walk from home. Australians wanting to put together this enclosure should be able to easily find the items I used.

Michael, if you have any questions please ask. I will be interested to know what you think about the enclosure once it is complete.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 12:31 am 
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Location: Albany, GA USA
Hi alleycat,

I ordered my enclosure a couple of hours ago and it appears identical to yours and is the same size. I am a bit slow and deliberate and it may take me a while to get the enclosure set up. My case is an Antec SLK3700BQE which does not have an easily removable HD cage. When everything is finished I will report my impressions.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 12:09 am 
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Alleycat, I like the combination you came up with for drive silencing.

alleycat wrote:
I saw Bluefront's warning about the coolpacks...


Bluefront found condensation on his drive. In your case, you have a water tight enclosure. How about putting a couple of moisture absorbing packets (desiccants) in with the drive? Like these:

http://www.uline.com/Group_21.asp

Regards,

Wayne Sherman


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 6:36 am 
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Yes, I'll have to admit that despite there being no evidence of any moisture buildup in the whole time I've used coolpacks, out of paranoia I did slip a pack of silica gel into the enclosure after reading Bluefront's comments. I don't think it is necessary though, unless the enclosure is assembled in an atmosphere of incredible humidity. I can only imagine there being a problem if a coolpack were pierced, and if that happened you'd need more than a packet of dessicant to mop up the mess! The ones I used have a pretty thick skin, and as I mentioned earlier, they can take quite a bit of punishment.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 10:09 pm 
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Location: Albany, GA USA
Today I received my enclosure which is the same size as alleycat's. Initially I was concerned regarding installation in an Antec SLK3700BQE, however the unit fits comfortably on the floor aft of the HD cage (if no PCI cards are in slots 4 or 5 of my MB). I plan to copy Wayne Sherman and add silica gel for moisture control after I find some good gel packs.

http://www.roshgo.com/

The link above appears to be a good source for gel packs.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 1:41 am 
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Location: Albany, GA USA
I finally completed my copy of Alleycat's HD enclosure. The unit sits of the floor of my SLK3700BQE behind the HD cage. My Samsung 160GB SATA is now stable at 39 degrees centigrade. Temperatures previously ranged from 41 to 43 degrees when the HD was installed in the stock location (I use no front fan). I also realized some improvement in noise but my HD was very quiet before using an enclosure.

I was able to fit two 8 by 6 inch gel packs with one below and one above. The following USA sources were used for parts. The gel packs were from Roshgo.com and cost around $12 with shipping. The enclosure was identical to Alleycat's. The enclosure cost $35 with shipping from Vetcosurplus.com.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 2:31 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
I had hoped you would get more than just "some" improvement in noise level. I achieved a dramatic drop in noise level from the Nidec Samsung, both in terms of idle 'whoosh' and seeks. I need to put my ear against the enclosure to hear anything.

As I have mentioned before, the enclosure needs to be quite tightly packed to be effective. Also, I wrapped the gel packs around the sides of the drive as well as placing one underneath, as these are the hottest parts.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 2:58 am 
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Location: Albany, GA USA
Hi Alleycat,

I am not at all disappointed with the amount of noise reduction achieved but I think I may need to pack the drive tighter. By the way, do you remember the size gel packs you used?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 5:56 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Sorry, I don't have any on hand at the moment. From memory they are a little longer than the drive, about the same width, and about 2cm thick. I did try a few types before I found the right ones - it's worth experimenting. I purchased them from my local supermarket, but you can get them from places like K-mart etc. There's really nothing special about them - the cheaper the better! I've never tried the medical type coolpacks which some people have mentioned. Note that it is the addition of foam packing that makes the difference (see pictures in my original post). This is especially important when trying to silence whiny drives (eg JVC motor Spinpoints).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 2:09 am 
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Sorry for bumping such an old thread but i need some opinions.
Standard hard drive dimensions are 146 x 101 x 25mm.
What do you guys think, will a SATA spinpoint fit in a 171 x 121 x 55 Aluminum Die-Cast Box Sealed with some gel packs around it?
I plan to use two of these on my slk3000b's floor, one next to the other and not one on top of the other (clearance issues :x )
2x222 won't fit in the slk and a custom made model which i think would be perfect (195 x 140 x 55) i can't find.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 4:09 am 
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I am planning to make another smaller enclosure using the 171x121x55 die-cast box you mention, which may prove to be the optimum size. As long as you can get the right gel packs, you shouldn't have a problem.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:11 am 
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Thanks alleycat! If The answer comes from the "mind" then i rest assured :wink:
I was thinking though... what about the power and SATA connectors?
146mm hard drive + ~ 2 cm the SATA connector = tight fit :?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 6:17 am 
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Location: Suomi Finland Perkele
Wont fit... Take a look at this, i bought a couple of these Hammond(made in Canada, ooh :lol: ) 168x119x52mm boxes and the drive just barely fits sideways, in fact it touches the screw-mountings in the middle because they get wider at the bottom.. not good.

Now look at the picture of the enclosure you posted, it might be wider on the outside but the screw-mounting in the middle are much wider so you actually have even less space inside, you would have to dremel those away almost completely.. :(

I´d say 180x140mm would be optimal, if you can find one that is....

Image

Image


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 6:54 am 
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Tzeb, good point, those connectors are cumbersome. Now that I think about it, I remember using a right-angled SATA connector which came with my motherboard. I don't know if they are common, so you're right about this potentially being a problem. We also need to take into account that the box dimensions are external, with 3mm thick walls. That leaves 165mm for the drive and connectors. Also, it is undesirable to allow any of the HD to directly touch the box, as this would transmit vibration. If you could get an exact measurement of the HD + SATA connector, then you can determine if you've got a few mm to spare. Unfortunately I don't have another SATA drive to play with at the moment.

Nici, that's a bummer, I would find that immensely frustrating. I don't recall the screw mountings getting wider in the box I used. You don't want the drive touching those. Looking at the Hammond website, it seems that they make their boxes differently, with the sides slightly angled. The boxes I get are probably from a different manufacturer.

I've got an old PATA drive which I'll take to the box supplier tomorrow and see what kind of clearance it's got in the 171x121x55 box.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 7:19 am 
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I think this place is where all the enclosures come from :lol:
http://www.industrial-enclosures.com/ht ... sures.html
http://www.industrial-enclosures.com/ht ... sures.html
The perfect size would be a 180~185 x ~140 x ~55 as nici said.
I have mailed industrial-enclosures.com about a custom sized box and they can do it...trouble is you have to buy 1000 :shock:
The person who finds such a box deserves a statue 8)
Edit : alleycat, please take pictures if possible.
Here is an aloo2 withou middle screw mountings.
Image


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