Electronics with passion: amplifiers and power supplies, FET's and vacuum tubes..

Silent computer: DIY leather suspension for 3.5″ HDD

Recently I got myself couple of cool big CoolMaster computer cases. Anodised aluminium, plexiglas side panel and convenient block of USB-Sound-ESATA connectors... Being very pragmatic about computers I anyhow moved my current machinery into the new temples. The main goal of this move was to make them QUIET. Indeed, the monster cases had huge (read silent) fans, plenty of space for proper heat-sinking and arranging the air-flow. I even decided to glue some dumping material on that enormous back-cover.
The day passed, everything has settled well and the machines ran much, much quieter than it was before. Till I sat to work a bit at night. There was that endless "RRR" sound. Not very loud, but it was something new in comparison to the old clunky sharp-edged iron boxes. Perhaps this "new" sound was always there and simply masked by the old little fans hissing aloud. Who knows, but that night it was unbearable. I soon realised the "RRR" was about 120Hz. No need to measure the frequency - you guess it quickly: that was the beat of 7200RPM hard drives. Most probably the big case made much better low frequency resonant chamber for them.

I did a quick marketing research, that yielded that thingy (20 euro a piece while I needed 4 of them).
Honestly, it did not look reliable at all. The worst thing about that rubbery spider-net was that I would have had to drive some 50km one way to the computer parts shop that had these in stock, if I wanted to get that any time soon.

So I had to "sleep on the problem" literally. I could not continue working in such a vibrating environment.The solution came to me almost in a dream - while the little one was sleeping in my hands and me being somewhere between the reality and the dreamland:

Anti-vibration HDD leather suspension system (c) bezza-bot 🙂

I must admit it would hardly make the top 1000 of computer parts sales due to its DIY look. Who cares! It has many benefits:
- does the job really well - with this suspension you do not hear your HDDs any more;
- reliable - one can plug/unplug 40pins IDE and 4pins power connectors without holding the disk;
- simple to make - took me slightly more than an hour to produce four of them;
- costs pennies - usually nothing if you are like me and have some spare parts box(es).

BOM (Bill Of Materials):
- old CD-ROM case (don't you have a few sitting in the garage?)
- 2" x 1" stripe of leather (I do not have a big belly - usually I have to shorten my belt)
- 4 x good M3 screws + 1 old rusty screw - all with cone-type heads
- 4 x M3 nuts
- 4 x bigger computer screws (the ones that fit into the bottom of 3.5" HDD' case mounts)

- Drill with a 3mm bit
- Scissors that can cut 1mm iron sheet
- as an alternative to scissors: a small electric cutter (a.k.a. Dremel etc.)
- optional: a hole puncher
- optional: sand paper or a rat-tail file

The tool depicted below is not necessary. But trust me, it makes life so much easier! This can be found in a shop that sells needles and pins and all other stuff for sewing.

First of all you'll need to empty the CD-ROM case.
Then... I did all the hard work of thinking and creating the usable layout for you already 🙂 Let's just copy the mark-up (in mm) symmetrically on both sides. Here is the back (connectors) side:

Click on the picture to see it full size.

The front side of CD-ROM case shall be shortened, otherwise it might not fit into the standard 5 1/4" slot in the computer case:

The metal they use in computer parts like these is really soft and easy to cut. Anyway do not forget to soften the edges.

Let's first centre-mark the future holes:

After the holes were drilled, they needed to be formed so the screw's heads would not stick out above the surface:

Leave some space underneath the hole
The proper use for rusty screw
How it should look like, left-hand hole is still to be formed
View from the inside of the box - right-hand hole is ready

Cut and punch the leather stripes. I used 4 x 52mm-long 8mm-wide stripes. Make 3mm holes at both ends leaving roughly equal clearance from the edges:

Ok, we are done. Let's assemble "the system":

Only leather stripes matter.White Foam squares were convenient too, but not needed in the final installation.

The hard-drive is mounted as follows (pictured upside down):

There's only one disadvantage of this project: since it was installed - I want to run my computers completely fan-less now.

1 Comment

  1. Umit S.

    very well. sensible

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