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Tips & Tricks

How To Build A DIY Card Reader/Hard Drive RAID Enclosure For Speed

By Kishore Sawh on January 14th 2016


What’s your process like when you’ve just finished a shoot, and it’s time to giddy-up and get to and through the post processing? Typically you’ll take out all necessary memory cards from their respective cameras of which there could be a few, and a few cards per camera. Then it’s loading each card onto a hard drive for current editing, and hopefully, you’ve implemented a system that will see all those files drawn down onto the computer, and then backed up using, at least, a single redundancy measure.

If you’ve got a system in place for this, that’s great, and if you don’t, you should get a move on that. However, whether you do or don’t yet, the video here by DSLR Video Shooter could be of great interest to you. It gives an example of how the workflow of a process explained above could look, and then walks you through how to make a DIY memory card reader and RAID enclosure with which to facilitate the process.


Why would you want something like this? Well, if you’re a wedding photographer, for example, you likely are going through many memory cards on a shoot, and this setup allows you to draw that information down onto drives quickly, edit those current files, all while being backed up by a separate set of drives. ‘Breaking’ the drives apart into a RAID 0 is crucial and having it all together like this is pretty interesting.

It’s a DIY project, so that tends to suggest you’re looking at a price savings. In this scenario, the build (sans drives) come to $112, which according to Caleb, is almost $200 less than you’d be able to get the same or similar functionality for in a pre-built package.

backup-sd-card-storage-RAID-hdd-ssd-photography-slrlounge-3 backup-sd-card-storage-RAID-hdd-ssd-photography-slrlounge-5

[REWIND: How To Use An HDD/SSD Docking Station For Inexpensive & Effective Backup]

Speaking of saving some cash on your back-up solution and even how to get more speed in your current project editing, you may have some interest in a previous post of ours where I get a bit into how to use an HDD/SSD Docking Station. How I have it set up (two drives included), should still come in under $200. It’s worth a look.

You can see more from DSLR Video Shooter here.

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Terms: #Card Reader

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Shona Nystrom

    Awesome! Thank you. I am going to try and give this suggestion a go!

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  2. Vince Arredondo

    Thank you for Sharing!

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  3. Matej Fabianek

    Would not recomend this for anything but temporary files. To many points of possible failure. Is the RAID working on any computer without problems?

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    • Joseph Wu

      I don’t think this was designed to be used as an always on storage solution.

      General rule of thumb is, you should ALWAYS have backups of any data you have, even if it’s placed on a gigantic RAID-6 / ZFS Z3 array.

      That said, this solution seems like the RAID handling is abstracted on your dock / controller, so any computer should be able to read it without any issues.

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    • Matej Fabianek

      I’m pretty sure the RAID is software based from the computer. The dock is just a usb hub.

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  4. Joshua Herd

    Good suggestions. Thanks

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  5. Joshua parker

    ohh yea. i am definitely making this

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