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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]

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson is a Brooklyn-based creative technologist, Contributing Editor at MAKE, and Resident Research Fellow at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.



  1. dan says:

    Probably one of the geekier articles I have ever read.

  2. dan says:

    April Fools! I get it.

  3. [...] MAKE has the details on this sweet Floppy Autoloader, built around a floppy disk duplicator and an Arduino; as it processes and copies each disk, it takes an archival photo. I appreciate the hackery involved, and the utility of easy hard drive access, but there’s part of my brain that still misses that distinct chunking noise the Amiga floppy drive made while accessing… or for that matter, spiralling into a Guru Meditation Error. [MAKE] [...]

  4. Nice machine but the same could be showin in under a minute.

    1. Dweller says:

      Heh, what can I say.. I’m better at building it than shooting video..

  5. Did you happen to put a floppy disk drive cleaner disk in there for about every one hundred disks read?

    Great project!

  6. rocketguy1701 says:

    I thought I had old media problems…

    Wonder if the solenoid is erasing the floppies as it releases them?

  7. William Hay says:

    Love it! Now you just need a machine to pick up all the disk…arded data now strewn all over the floor!

  8. Susan McLean says:

    Love it! So clever! I’m impressed! What a relief to be able to use the space for other purposes.