Of blasters, and droids. (a work in progress)

Scrapping Hard Drives

One Mans Trash…

As the followers of my blog, (cough…nobody…cough) undoubtedly know, I have been spending quite some time smelting aluminum in my (patent pending) Easy-Blast Furnace. It’s like an Easy-Bake oven, but for boys! Or something…

Anyway, back on topic! As a part of this endeavor, I obviously need aluminum. Up until recently I have been using aluminum soda cans, however, those are pretty cheap aluminum and the printed image makes for lots of dross. So I thought to myself, what could I use that would be more pure, and I can get easily? After briefly glancing around my bedroom I noticed that I have a disgusting amount of spare hard drives lying around all with the word “BAD” lovingly Sharpied across the top.

Accidentally All The HDD!

Seeing as I didn’t have anything better to do until 3AM, I set to work. Disassembly is surprisingly easy. All you really need is one screwdriver from a precision screwdriver kit, specifically the T-8 bit. My cheap Harbor Freight kit had one. Unscrew every screw on the back and pop off the logic board.


Flip it over and get the screws on the front, usually about 6, with a 7th under the label.


Pop off the front cover and set it aside.


Oh Dear! That looks complicated! Well, not really to be honest. Just remove any screws you see with that same bit, and pry out the two neodymium magnets (top and bottom of the complicated bit),


the magnets usually hold themselves in place (with magic magnetness). Take out all the remaining screws and it should break down into individual pieces. You have your platinum platted aluminum platter(s) (and little ring bits),


Stepper motor (sometimes on newer HDD’s they do not screw out)


and drive head,

Pile of Heads

once you have done this way to many times, your table looks something like this!

Messy Table is Messy

There are lots of fun bits inside of old hardrives. I have been told that you can recycle the logic boards and get some money from the gold in the wiring. Or you could play with the crazy strong magnets!


And of course, you are left over with a nice solid chunk of qualityish aluminum for your furnace, by melting the cases and the disks. (Yay!)


Adventures in Fire (part 2)

Since my last attempt to smelt aluminum, I have done a little more preparation. New crucible, actual plan for carrying hot crucibles, and my first attempt at making actual casts instead of buckets of sand. Unfortunately, I still have a cell phone as my camera, I’ll fix that by the next update.

Time to Turn Up the Heat

(Note: If you do this at night- be careful)


If you are anything like me, you can’t really justify spending lots of money on a silicon carbide crucible I would recommend a thick bottomed steel pot from your local thrift store/garage sale. Putting a bolt in each side and buying some cheap tongs to hook those with is easy, cheap, and safe. (Pictures Coming Soon)

###Sand Casting Attempt //#2

My sand cast turned out much better this time. I buried a cube of foam (Hey- I’m lazy) and dumped my molten Aluminum down the shaft I made

This is about to get HOT!

I did not have enough molten to cast the entire cube, but it is a pretty good ingot nonetheless.

That is a nice ingot!

Dat Metal

Fancy Plaster Molds!

I also attempted to make a plaster mold following this method Which turned out to be pretty hard/messy in the dark.

Trash Everywhere!

The general idea is to encase one half in soap covered (To stop sticking) Play-Doh

Soap and Play-doh, Yum!

and to pour plaster-of-paris on top to create the first half of the mold.


Once that has set, peal the Play-Doh off the bottom, and coat that in soap.

Second Half

Pour plaster on that, and Voila! Two part cast. I need to work on refining this process (preferably somewhere with good lighting) before I actually have a decent mold.

Complicating the Nook Simple Touch

Nook Simple Touch

I’m going to keep this one kinda brief, their is already a lot of specific information on this topic elsewhere.

Back Story (Feel Free to Skip)

I have owned two Nook Simple Touchs (NST) in the past several years. The first one died of natural causes (Read: Negligence) and I could never justify getting another one until I needed to spend some BestBuy Giftcards. What else are you going to get for 50$ at BestBuy? A very small TV?

Why The NST is Cool

The NST is pretty average as far as E-Readers go. In a lot of respects it is inferior to other big name E-Readers like the Kindle. However, it has a touchscreen instead of buttons and that opens some interesting doors. How you ask? Well, underneath all that Barnes and Noble crap, lies a beautiful install of Android 2.1 Éclair. Okay, fine, maybe that is a little out of date, but you can still do all sorts of fun stuff!

Essentially, after rooting and installing Google Apps you are left with a relatively capable E-Ink Tablet. A tablet with extremely long battery life, that can be read in direct sunlight, with no eye-strain, and that cost you less than a meal at a fancy restaurant.

Obviously you are never really going to play Angry Birds on it (Although you can if you really want to). But it is great for catching up on your RSS feeds or checking your email on the beach. ALso I suppose it goes without saying that it is an amazing E-Reader. There are a lot of E-Book apps you can try, Aldiko, Cool Reader, and with a little work, Google Play Books.

Any Questions?

If anyone out there stumbled across this looking for a more detailed guide, I left a lot out. Shoot me an email or leave a comment and I can give you a lot more tips, or even do a little write-up of the whole process. However as always, Google is your friend, and there is already a lot out there.

Adventures in Fire.

Aluminum Foundry Mark 1

For quite some time I have wanted an Aluminum foundry. I am limited by time and resources, but after spending many hours on backyardmetalcasting and random instructibles, I produced my very own ghettofabulous foundry.


###Tips If you too feel a burning desire to melt and cast stuff out of aluminum you may want to keep reading.

  • Technically you should line your bucket with refractory to make it last longer. I’m too cheap/lazy.
  • Hair driers with the “cool” button taped down make for a cheap and easy bellows/air source but melt a little if your connecting pipe is too short (like mine).
  • Soup cans are not a good canidate for crucibles. The internet said I could get away with it, if I only used it once, but the bottom corroded and formed a hole. Buy/make a real crucible.


In conclusion, this is honestly pretty cheap and easy. A bucket, a (metal) pipe, and a hairdrier, is all you need for the main foundry. Scrounge up some charcoal and a crucible and you are good to go!

Oh and of course–be safe. I would recomend:

  • Welding gloves
  • Cool Goggles
  • Tongs

Safety First

Hello, world!

Hai! This is a post. I hope.

Well, we are off to a decent start here. This is so much more elegant than my Wordpress Blog! Quick shout out to my good friend Adam for helping me set this up. I have always been bad at journaling and worse at blogging, but I will give it another shot. For posterity.

I will be shooting for at least one post a week, if I can find anything blog worthy in my mundane life. No promises on the actual regularity, but that is the goal.

So if your reading this, and you aren’t a family member, staring over my shoulder, or Adam; shoot me an e-mail, and let me know what you think about my humble blog noah@noahschmitz.info