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Posted on April 19th, 2011 by Mike Jennings

The Ideal 0101: a hard-disk destroyer with three tons of force

Hard disk crusherLast year we welcomed a DIY-style hard-disk destroyer into the Labs to wreak its havoc on some unsuspecting platters, but technology has evidently moved on – recently the Ideal 0101 HDP from Duplo (not that Duplo) has turned up.

While it looks like a kitchen cabinet from the eighties, it’s actually a serious piece of kit, with a heavy-duty punch that makes mincemeat out of both 3.5in and 2.5in drives.

Duplo International delivered the machine to us with a bin full of already-destroyed hard disks in tow, but we had to give it a go ourselves. Sure enough, the 3.5in disk we dug up from the bottom of the Labs – an IBM Deskstar sporting a capacious 185GB – was soon rendered useless thanks to a punch that pierces disks with between 2.5 and 3 tons of force, as the following video demonstrates.

That’s enough power, according to Duplo, to theoretically lift a truck, so you can be sure it’ll put a rather large dent in the average hard disk.

It’s not the quick cut-and-shut process you’d assume it is, either – instead, the 0101 seems to enjoy its particular method of torture. Press the power button with a hard disk in the slot and, once it’s illuminated by a green light, the punch emerges from the side of the bay, slowing piercing its way through metal, silicon and glass, before retreating once the disk is destroyed.

Once that’s done, a flick of a switch drops the hard disk into an obsolete abyss. Or, more realistically, a bin in the bottom of the cabinet.

Of course, punching a hole through a hard disk doesn’t necessarily render the data destroyed – I’m pretty sure NASA would be able to retrieve it, for instance – but it certainly makes it incredibly difficult to retrieve any information without specialist equipment.Duplo Ideal 0101 HDP

It’s a viable option for security-conscious businesses who need to ensure that data can’t be retrieved – and, as we’ve seen, it’s pretty satisfying to use, too. The catch? Well, that’ll be the price – £1,995 excluding VAT.

Would you shell out that much, or have you got a favourite – and cheaper – hard-disk destruction method? Let us know in the comments.

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54 Responses to “ The Ideal 0101: a hard-disk destroyer with three tons of force ”

  1. james016 Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Remove the casing and take a hammer to the platters. Cheaper than a £2000 device and a lot more satisfying.

  2. Lee Grant Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    james016 is right, you can buy a lot of hammers for £2000

    However, this one seems to do the same thing but with a little more gusto…

  3. Ryan Thomas Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    In the data-centre in which I used to work, a chap came in once a month, took all the old HDDs apart and used an angle grinder on each platter. Recover that!

  4. grub Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    NASA or NSA? :)

  5. Cody Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Thermite. Cheap and fun to watch!

  6. travis Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    yes, I have found a $19 4″ electric grinder with a metal cutting wheel to be about as fast. and much more satisfying. As all those sparks are flying off from sawing thru the matal, you can even make a good music video.

  7. Ken Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I just take them apart myself. I like the magnets and some other bits inside. ie I have a rock crystal ball sitting on a spacer ring. Very nice presentation setting.

  8. Jerry Carter Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    There’s a gent in the U.S. that removes the platters and uses a gas torch to melt them. No shards will be reassembled after that process, I assure you.

  9. Jon Wallis Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    A decent drill with an HSS bit is more satisfying probably more effective (as you can drill several holes) and much cheaper.

  10. sergio Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    This is very sad…I think that all working hardware must be recycled and donated. There are still people who can’t afford to buy technology in this world.

  11. Les Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Hello, you can use a standard drill and decent size drill bit and put 3-4 holes in a drive in the same time as it took that machine to punch one.

  12. Nick Goebel Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    I use our 55ton Ironworker in our factory to do the same thing…

  13. Vince Luce Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    chop saw – Harbor Freight.

  14. George Larribeau Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    A ½ inch drill bit in a drill press is most effective.
    For the ultra paranoid, Remove the platters and belt sand off the magnetic material.
    At that point, data retrieval will be most difficult.
    None of the above requires any exotic tools.

  15. Dave Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    That’s cool. I’ve always liked Ideal German shredders (aka Destroyit in the US).

  16. Robert Long Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Our favorite method was always 12 gauge shot gun slugs. All joking aside, it would plough about a 3/4 – 1″ hole through the entire assembly for less than 75c per drive… and well it’s just fun

  17. Steve Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    It’s unnecessarily wasteful to destroy drives this way. It would be better to recover the rare earth elements first, and destroy only the platters.

  18. Rob Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Springfield XDm in .45 caliber punches just as nice a hole. Fun too!
    (Yes, I know, you Yanks and your handguns)

  19. dakhran Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Thermite. Enough said.

  20. Bill Fitzgerald Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Our install/asset management team have a heavy duty Drill press that they gleefully use to put 3 nice holes through the disks. Fast and easy with no chance of recovery

  21. psuedonymous Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Free option: the ATA SECURE ERASE command. Standard on any HDD manufactured in the last 6 years or so, and any data will be absolutely unrecoverable.

    And no, NASA, the NSA, or anyone else will not be able to recover data from a damaged platter. That Shuttle HDD was only recoverable because the platters were intact and aligned.

  22. Rick Stanley Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    How about just a Drill press at least three times.

    Would also like to try a log splitter!

    At least get a degausser like ones used for erasing tapes. My client had one that I used to use on their drives.

    Then use the drill-press to complete the job.

  23. Dick Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    That’s it? One piddly little hole for $2,000?

  24. psuedonymous Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    To be more specific: with the introduction of MR heads (and later GMR, CMR and TMR) in the early 1990s, (1991 for IBM, and 1996 for most other manufacturers) it became effectively impossible to manually ‘read’ the data stored on a platter with even an Atomic Force Microscope, let alone read it after a single 0 pass. Don;t forget that data is written by cylinder, so if the platters are misaligned at all then the data is pretty much gone. Or that even if you could make a magical microscope that can read the nonexistent mythical ‘residual charge’ from the platter surface, you’re still manually trying to read data bit-by-bit. A measly 1Mb JPEG would take several thousand hours to recover that way, and you’d need to work over an entire set of platters (i.e. a few BILLION man-hours for a 1Tb drive) to find where that JPEG is in the first place.

  25. Steve O Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Donate in bulk to a close personal friend’s shooting range out on the Moors near where I live and work. It’s satisfying to see the Lads and Ladies paint luminous “X marks the spot” style crosses over the top casing and then go to town on them.

  26. Charlie Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Oxy-Acetylene Cutting torch – Curie point AND destruction! From a hire shop, a lot less than £2k!, as well as satisfaction from the act of demolition.

  27. Ken Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    I’ll stick to my thermite thank you. But pretty cool!

  28. Robert Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    As long as the disk is still operable, just overwrite the entire drive with zeros. It will not be recoverable, even by data recovery services. OnTrack has admitted as much.

  29. Adrian Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Send old drives through the post marked fragile is how I was told to leave them unusable.

  30. Conundrum Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I found a much more effective method.
    Obtain used induction cooker.
    Place HDD onto cooker.
    10 seconds later, not only the platters but the entire HDD is heated well above the Curie point, and any Flash chips on the drive are cooked by the induced current.

    Simplez :-)

  31. Dick's consultant Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    no no Dick! the hole is 5 quid, knowing where to PUT the hole is 2,000! :)

    That will be $2000 from YOU, please. Either that or an equivalent amount of Guinness, Harp, or Bass — say a couple cases and we’ll call it even.

  32. JDB Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    while the manual “tool” methods listed above would all work just as well or better for a LOT less money (and seem like a better solution to me), I can see the selling point of something like this being safety. For a large corporation, letting your average IT employee use a drill, chop saw, or 12 gauge is only cheaper until someone ends up with a metal shard in the eye, missing thumb, or slug to the chest. At that point HR is going to tell you that $2k sounds pretty reasonable, especially if you’re destroying a few drives every day.

  33. Eric Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    An article several years ago told of asking several data recovery companies to recover data after over writing a HDD full of data one time. No company offered even to try.
    So why not write disk full twice, then donate?

  34. Kawika Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Umm…. 2000 pounds for that machine seems a bit pricey.

  35. shebanti Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    I couldn’t all this , hard disks are precious surelly if you don’t want it use an eraser programme and resell it someone can use it,its kinda like recycling and you get a few pounds rather than all this violence against hard drives!!.

  36. Stop A Cop Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    I personally shoot mine with 12 gauge shotgun shells out at the outside shooting range.

  37. James H Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    It’s probably 3 tons per square inch, and that piercing thing doesn’t look anywhere near a square inch, so I don’t think that thing can lift a truck. Pressure is always poorly reported though I think.

  38. Fredjoebob Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    For just a few drives, assuming no contracts or regulations requiring physical destruction, download Darik’s Boot and Nuke ( It’s free.

    If you have lots of drives, or if physical destruction is required, a machine like this might be worth the money. (Or, to destroy just a few drives, you might try ferroaluminum thermite or a thermal lance for much cheaper.)

  39. Will it Blend? Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Will it blend? That is the question…

  40. Didier Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    It’s a lot more expensive, less effective, less versatile and a whole lot less satisfying than a simple axe. $39.95 at Sears, and you can also cut trees with it.
    I “retired” a dozen hard drives that were broken (could not erase them) with my axe, it only took a minute.

  41. Michael Betts Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Use a nail gun.

  42. Will Von Wizzlepig Says:
    April 19th, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    My usual is just a drill, a hammer, and a tap & die set.

    Drill a few holes in the casing, poke the tap through and pound on the disk inside a few times to bend it a little if possible. It’s unlikely much of use will be recoverable short of some government agency pouring thousands of dollars into the project, so, effectively it is destroyed.

  43. Dave Robinson Says:
    April 20th, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Do hard-disks contain any toxic substances that are released when they are destroyed? Angle-grinding would release a significant amount of material as airborne dust that could be inhaled. Destroying just one disk might be relatively safe, but destroying many disks might not be so safe.
    This device would seem to solve that problem for commercial use and satisfy H&S requirements. Any employer who had his staff use an angle-grinder to destroy a hard-disk would have to provide a safe environment for its use, such as ear and eye protection, gauntlets, face-mask and protective clothing.

  44. Ralph Hardwick Says:
    April 20th, 2011 at 10:38 am

  45. CBL Data Recovery Says:
    April 20th, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    While we’re quite happy using CBL Data Shredder to wipe data of hard drives — shooting them with rifles is kind of fun too:

  46. Stephen Says:
    April 21st, 2011 at 2:50 am

    I know we’re talking a very marginal difference in getting any data out of it but for 2 grand I’d just like it to put more than one hole in the drive.

  47. Rod Wallace Says:
    April 21st, 2011 at 9:10 am

    George Larribeau and Bill Fitzgerald have got it right a pillar drill. Cost £80.00 or so and once you get a bit cocky you could do three discs in one go!

  48. Jeffro Says:
    April 21st, 2011 at 10:10 am

    just for peoples info – NASA uses ONTRACK to recover their data! check this out!

    so a single hole is unlikely to kill access to all the data and as such its a very big price for something us techies use as stress relief! =]

  49. Wilbert3 Says:
    April 21st, 2011 at 11:10 am

    The Price of Gross Paranoia? Wasting precious resources and money to delete data on HD’s that are unlikely to be stolen, and less likely to be found – how many hundred-thousands of HD are thrown away, what likely percentage would be ‘investigated’, and how much ‘found’ data would be actually used? Anyone like to make a guess? If it’s only 0.000001 percent (bits thrown away/bits used nefariously), the industry paranoia is hugely exaggerated. So no HD recycling for the poor, no reusing precious minerals and plastics, and more manufacturing profit for the HD companies. What a waste, and how paranoid! Also very sad that so few comments even mention recycling too. As someone said above, just to find a JPG would take millions of hours sifting through data bit by bit, not even knowing if it is fragments of a JPG you’re looking at. Paper I can understand shredding because it is very easily readable – but even shredded paper is recyclable!

  50. Mr Gung Ho Says:
    April 21st, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Assemble metre wide row of hard drives on car park, and compact with 15Tonne Road Roller.


  51. mark wells Says:
    April 21st, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    vid about the “puncher”
    Germans! hehe

  52. Col. Panek Says:
    April 23rd, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Use Eraser then reuse, sell, donate through Cristina Foundation, give away on Freecycle, take apart and use the magnets.

  53. pendle Says:
    April 24th, 2011 at 9:14 am

    wouldn’t a TV engineer’s degaussing coil do the job without all the heavy stuff?

  54. asdf Says:
    May 12th, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    @ Mike Jennings
    Do you as a professional, honestly believe that data can be recovered from a platter that has had a hole smashed through it?
    The only reason NASA got data from that drive was because the platter is intact, also hte fact it was an older mere-400MB drive will have helped aswell, as the density of the drive is so much lower than a newer/larger one. So each bit is stored in a larger area ergo less chance of corruption.
    I suspect if you merely exposed a high density platter from a 2TB drive to air it would be toast.
    Also, @ everyone talking about how they smash there drives up…

    That is just silly, any DOD spec wiping prog’ will render the data comepletely unrecoverable. (and i suspect much less than DOD would do the job too)
    Alternatively, you can spin the drive up and place a magnet on top of it, if the drive is running an OS at the time you will see it crash straight away as all the data is corrupted.


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