Working for a non-profit, I’ve gotten accustomed to using donated equipment when we get it. Recently, the credit union that Forest Home does all it’s banking through donated about 15 computers to us. They didn’t have optical drives in them (which makes sense, security wise), so I picked up 15 DVD drives for about $7 each (NOTE: it’s not easy finding old school beige drives anymore – go figure). I went to pop one of the drives in and found myself at a loss. The cases are the kind that use rails on either side of the drive to mount them. Since the systems didn’t have drives in them, they also didn’t have the rails!
After a little bit of brainstorming with some pretty smart guys in our maintenance department, we can up with a cheap, easy solution. I bought some 1” x 1/8” aluminum bar stock and some heavy duty mounting tape at the local Home Depot. We then cut down the aluminum bar stock into 5.5” pieces (the depth of the tracks the rails were designed to slide into). I marked the drives with a felt pen to make sure I knew where the new rail pieces needed to end up, and then attached them with the mounting tape. In our case, it took a double thickness of mounting tape to get the drive in about the right spot, but once they’re in you can’t tell the difference. I’ve got more pictures of the build at my Flickr site, here. Check them out if you need more detail. Check out the finished product!