The rubberbands are rotting and breaking…time for another solution.

You have no doubt seen the new Mac Pro that Apple released this week. Due to the processors not requiring as much space for cooling, there is more room for drives…so Apple has made space for 4 drives. Drives that they claim that can be raided together for working with uncompressed HD. Which you can, but then where do you install your operating system? External firewire drive? Try to get a PATA drive into the space reserved for a secondary optical drive?

Anyway…I have an internal 2TB Raid on my G5. Four Hitachi 500GB drives. And I still have my main HD and secondary internal HD….for a total of SIX internal drive. I laid out my entire process when I built my POPSICLE RAID a few months back. As you can see I used rubber bands and popsicle sticks. I felt like MacGuyver. “If only we had a RAID we could get out of this situation!” “Don’t worry. I have six popsicle sticks, a bag of rubber bands and a swiss army knife…I CAN DO IT!” But, as Joe pointed out on LAFCPUG, rubber bands weren’t the best solution. He said that the heat would cause them to eventually break. I agree. This was meant to be a temporary solution until I bought an external SATA RAID case.

Well, that doesn’t look like it will happen anytime soon. I spent all my money on other things (including a production monitor)…and the Raid works very well. BUT…I did have cause to look inside my machine recently and yes, the rubber bands were indeed failing:

And in fact…a few were broken:

So I needed another solution. I didn’t want to get the G5 Jive. I really liked the idea of the popsicle sticks. The resourcefulness that my buddy Patrick had in coming up with that idea. So I needed to improve on the design. That is when I came up with the idea of attaching the sticks to the drives with drive screws. Then they are still attached to popsicle sticks, and there is nothing there to fall apart. Well, not for a LONG time. So off I set to get drive screws.

I had some difficulty. I went to Fry’s Electronics…a HUGE megastore that houses nearly everything electronic. It has a big section for computers, and sell all the separate components so that you can build your own machine. But they didn’t sell drive mounting screws separately. All they sold were small kits of screws and mounts for attaching logicboards to computer cases. I bought one, but realized that the screws that were included poked out too much. The drives were jammed in there pretty well with the rubber bands, they wouldn’t fit with the screws poking out. But I did use them on the top drive…the one under the optical drive. I used my Mikita drill and drilled holes into the sticks.

Then I had a thought. I could get screws at the hardware store. Beveled ones so that they could go flush against the wood. So I brought an internal drive to the hardware store (to make sure I got ones that fit…I doubt they know which size screw works on an internal SATA drive) and I found the size that would fit. Size 6-32 3/8″ screws.

So…I measured where I needed to drill the holes, then bound all the sticks together so that I would only have to drill once and made the holes. I screwed the first screw into the stick and…CRACK. It broke. Of course it broke. The beveling of the screw forced the wood apart. So I had to inversly bevel the holes on the popsicle sticks. Man, who thought shop class would come in handy when adding stuff to your computer? I used the Mikita again, this time with the phillips head screwdrive attachment and I beveled the holes:

I attached the other three sticks just fine…no cracking. But, I was short one stick. So I went off to the corner market to get a replacement.

After carefully removing the frozen outer coating of the wood support stick, I was ready to go.

Here is the result of my afternoon of driving around, drilling holes, beveling them, and removing outer coatings:

When I went to put them back into my G5, I found that it went in a lot easier. The rubber bands were bulkier than I thought. They sat into place well, and the fan slid right in…lickiddy split.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am off to get more replacement wood support sticks…to have around in case of emergency.