Floppy Autoloader is Ten Years Too Late, Still Awesome

Paul Lilly

What do you do when you need to backup several thousand floppy disks from yesteryear? If you're a true geek, you build a machine to automate the entire process, which not only demands mad respect, but also will save you the fatigue and frustration of having to pop each disk into your PC individually as you go through the tedious steps to copy the contents off of each one. This is the precisely the type of task machines were designed for, and the Copypro CP-2000, while a little late to the floppy party, is still a marvelous piece of equipment.

A dude who goes by the Twitter handle OzzyDweller found himself needing to clear out his collection of 3.5-inch Amiga floppy disks. Dweller, as he calls himself on his blog, had been holding onto around 5,000 disks stored in large wooden crates, and before getting rid of them, he also needed to backup the contents.

"Around 3 years ago, I tried reading the disks manually," Dweller states on his blog . "I made it through a hundred or so, before I realized my brain had gone numb, and I was at risk of chewing my tongue off and needing replacement eyeballs."

Rather than go down the road of self-mutilation, Dweller fashioned himself a machine that would do the work for him. Inspired by a Lego Mindstorms kit and partially built from parts he tore out of a commercial disk duplicator he found on eBay, Dweller's contraption is rudimentary looking, but functionally awesome. It's also highly efficient. His home-brewed floppy autoloader only failed to fully eject a single disk out of 300 so far, and that was because of a torn and peeling label.

Check out his contraption in the YouTube video below:

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