Editing Tip: DIY Slim Hard Drive Mount to Laptop using Sticky Dash Mat

Working on the new MacBook Pro with fixed hard disk space, pretty much forces me to handle bigger projects with external drives. I often work with a slim external USB 3.0 SATA Drive, and for larger files where I need more performance I can work with Solid State drives, and for the fastest speeds I switch to a portable SSD Thunderbolt adapter.

The problem with always working with external drives is having the drive dangling around. I was searching for a simple (non-permanent) way to mount a drive to the back of my laptop screen, and came up with a new use for these cheap Super Sticky Dash Mats.

Here are a few images below using my 'corny' dash mat mount. Obviously you want to work with a lightweight portable drive like the Seagate Slim (found here), but these mats are sticky enough to carry my Seagate Portable Thunderbolt adapter for true performance editing (found here).

Sticky Dash Mat Hard Drive Mount Laptop Macbook Cheesycam
Slim Seagate USB 3.0 Hard Drive Mounted with Dash Mat

Seagate Thunderbolt SSD Drive
Need Speed? My portable Thunderbolt Adapter for SSD Drives

Check out the holding power of these dash mats. That's a 5 pound weight (not even using full surface area) held vertically. That would be the equivalent of mounting 15 of my solid state drives together. [A Canon 5D DSLR weighs under 2 pounds] Definitely more than enough super strong holding power for just one drive.

These dash mats can probably be found at your local hardware or office store, but the cheapest is .99 cents via eBay (click here).

non slip dash mat temporary hard drive mount Macbook DIY
find-price-button Super Sticky Reusable Washable Dash Mat



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23 thoughts on “Editing Tip: DIY Slim Hard Drive Mount to Laptop using Sticky Dash Mat

  1. Travis

    I got a couple of these but found my hard drive slipping off easily.

    Right now I'm using this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Car-Mount-Holder-Bracket-Cradle-Stand-for-iPhone-5S-HTC-Samsung-Mobile-Phone-GPS-/321248977146?pt=US_Mounts_Holders&hash=item4acbee60fa

    There's ton of them on ebay and that one has been working great and is big enough to hold the average portable hard drive. It's a little clunky on the laptop face, but does the job and I keep it on and walk around with it all the time.

  2. Long

    Tried this solution and somehow my hard drive just keeps falling off every now and then. I ordered my sticky mats on ebay as well...

  3. Emm

    Post author

    @Ben - Not sure which ones you have, but my guess is that a 5 pound gym weight is a little heavier than a credit card... watch my video.

  4. Ben

    I order 3 of these and I'm trying them out now. They don't seem strong enough to hold a harddrive. Memory card readers and credit cards maybe maybe...

  5. MAGEtv

    I use velcro with mine and have at one time had 3 connected to my laptop...lately ,after heroically walking away from a bad client, I now use two...

    I love the use of the sticky pads and will try that this week...today if our render review meets spec.
    On a previous laptop I was removing the velcro and cracked the screen...so if you ARE using velcro, please be careful...
    this stickypad solution seems like a WIN!!

    Thanks again EMM!

  6. Emm

    Post author

    @Lee - Some cheap external USB 3.0 drives use internal drives that only spin at 5200 rpm with lower cache. For your drive, they don't list those specs on the product page. It's probably good for individual photos, but not for large individual file sizes. Get a good drive, take advantage of USB 3.0 and you won't have these issues.

  7. Emm

    Post author

    @Lee - The adapter is not just for specific Seagate drives. It works with most SATA drives, especially with my Sandisk. It just doesn't dock perfectly.

  8. Lee

    Sorry I just read your article again and realise that you used the adapter for THunderbolt speed. Too bad that adapter is only for specific Seagate drives.

  9. Lee

    @Emm I'm using a Macbook Pro from early 2013, from what I checked it both USB ports are 3.0. and I was editing with a portable Western Digital USB 3.0 external hard drive (one of these - http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=470 ) Not sure if they're SATA drives cos I couldn't find anywhere that said SATA. Anyway I kept getting dropped frames (using FCP7) until I switched to a FW800 drive. Maybe I'll try again with another hard drive..

    Btw what adapter are you using, why is it necessary?

    Thanks Emm!

  10. Editwizard

    Fantastic! Makes me think of additional uses like sticking something on a tripod that's dangling off like an extra wireless receiver or recorder or USB-battery thing.

    Love tips like these that don't require buying hundreds of $$$ of equipment!

  11. aaron

    @emm yea i use a lacie thunderbolt ssd for most travel/location but it's always nice to have a little more storage. and wow, those things can really hold some weight. thanks!

  12. Emm

    Post author

    @Lee - I am using a new Retina with USB sata drives. Never had an issue in FCPX or Adobe Premiere / After Effects. You sure you had USB 3.0 on your port? I think some systems only had one 3.0 port and the other was 2.0. They say USB 3.0 is faster than Firewire, twice faster than firewire 800.

    Just use good SATA drives and a good adapter like I have. Shouldn't be a problem.

  13. Lee

    @emm Somewhat related- do you use the USB3.0 drives for editing (Final Cut Pro)? I've tried to do that before with my Macbook Pro and somehow kept getting dropped frames. In the end I just used FireWIre800 drives..

  14. Emm

    Post author

    @aaron - For very large (individual) file sizes it makes a difference. For photoshop, lightroom, you may not notice a big difference. But you can use your thunderbolt drive for Time Machine, Scratch Disks, etc, so thunderbolt will give you the fastest speeds. Just added a new video to show the power of these super sticky dash mats to the article.

  15. @emm nice solution to a common problem when traveling. do the esata slim drives come in bigger capacities than 320? and is thunderbolt adapter really that much faster than the regular usb 3.0 ?

  16. Emm

    Post author

    @Billy May - you'll just have to try it and find out. These dash mats are 'too sticky' to use as a basic dash pad. I bet they'll feel a lot more secure than your velcro dot. If you're not careful pulling the drive off, sometimes it feels like I can break the disk yanking it too hard off the laptop.

    I just did a fun test, and lifted a 5 lbs. weight. That's equivalent to 15 Seagate Slim hard drives. LOL. I'll post up a video in the article.

  17. I like the idea, and it's almost exactly what I do, but I use Velcro on all my drives and have a 50ยข piece size dot on the back of the laptop to hold the drives. The sticky dash pad terrifies me in regards to dropping a spinning HDD...

  18. Emm

    Post author

    @careyd - Nice example of use case. I know some guys who edit on the train as they commute home. Mounting these drives to the laptop will prevent many issues, but yes it looks quite silly.

  19. careyd

    nice one em. looks a little ridiculous, but I edit video off SSDs in USB 3 cases with mine, and doing it on the plane in coach has been cumbersome with the dangling drive and cable. I'm gonna use this.

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