With about 5,000 3.5″ Amiga floppy disks stored in six wooden crates, Dwellers wanted to free up that physical space, but didn’t want to lose his archive of data. The process of archiving so many disks would be incredibly time consuming and monotonous, so he built the Floppy Autoader. The machine to automatically inserts a disk, saves the data from each disk onto a hard drive and takes a picture of the disk’s label. All Dwellers has to do is load up the hopper with a stack of disks and the machine takes care of the rest.
He originally attempted to make the machine with a Lego Mindstorms kit, but ran into problems and decided to hack apart a floppy disk duplicator he found on eBay. The process of copying each disk takes about three or four minutes and the machine has already copied about 300 disks, so there’s quite a way to go. In the mean time, Dwellers is writing software to browse and this trove of data. [via Hack a Day]