Over the Top: Hack a Hard Drive into a Working Microphone


So you need a microphone. You could always buy one, or in a pinch I’ve seen headphones used for this purpose. If, however, you want something truly unique, you could build your own using parts from a hard drive and an old paper speaker like “Rulof Maker” did.

I’m not sure what the inspiration was for this, but the end result looks great. After the hard drive was opened up, he disassembled and sawed into the base of the hard drive. This left a portion where the arm can be mounted and set upright.


He disassembled the paper cone off of an old speaker (saving the copper wire) then attached it to the end of the arm using a metal section, a circular piece of rubber, and a strip of metal. A section of the copper wire was sanded and attached to each terminal on the hard drive arm, then the arm was attached to the sectioned base using the original magnet.

This assembly was then attached to a wooden base, and springs and paper clips were used to keep the hard drive microphone arm suspended in the middle. Wires from a normal stereo connector were soldered into the copper wires, and a microphone was born!

If you’re wondering, yes, this contraption did work, as seen in the video below around 4:00. He explains why it is recording lower frequencies a few seconds into his “Hard drive-powered” monologue, but ironically, I can’t really make out what he’s saying. This is definitely one of the more unique projects I’ve featured here, although I wouldn’t want to record a podcast using one!


This is a neat build, however Rulof also built another version found here. Unfortunately for me, it is not in English (Italian maybe?). Of course, if building a microphone out of an old hard drive has no appeal to you, don’t forget that they are an excellent source of rare earth magnets, and the platters are interesting to engrave (maybe for a clock?).

[via Hackaday]


Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

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