Hey guys, I just wanted to share my quickie project modifying my work Surface I have an old Microsoft Surface which is quickly running out of storage space. I didn’t think I’d need more than the 64GB, given it’s light usage. But as I found out how versatile the machine really is, I started adding more and more programs.
Unfortunately the unit is well sealed, so official upgrades are out of the question. Even the pro guys over at iFixit ended up cracking their screen when trying to open up the unit. But that’s what experimentation and learning is all about, right?
This hack is not new and has already been done and documented elsewhere, but I wanted to show how easy it is to do with the X-Carve. I think others have used a hand dremel, but I was afraid of depth control given the battery and important connectors were directly underneath the cut-out.
The first step was to find the precise location for the cut-out. Using a 1:1 scale print-out of the internals, I was able to locate the SSD exactly and marked the cut perimeter. I drew up the cut-path in FlatCAM and exported the Gcode to Chilipeppr.
I used a 3/64" carbide end mill to make the cuts through the Surface’s aluminum back.
I started off with shallow cuts because I wasn’t exactly sure the thickness of the chassis. I knew that I didn’t want to go all the way through because the battery and connector pins would have been cut through. I ended up making about 6 passes and at around 0.045" is when I finally started seeing a through-cut, and it left just enough material that I was comfortable just removing the rest by hand (most of the remainder was paper thin).
I kept a vacuum on the cut to grab all the flying metal flakes. Even a single metal flake could short something out on the motherboard and permanently damage the unit.
I want to make another warning that I could have easily killed the device if I went too deep. The cut-out runs directly on top of the SSD’s connector pins and the battery on the other side. I knew the risks, but also realized the reward and satisfaction of getting more space was worth it
Once the SSD was exposed, I just had to cutaway at the top bracket holding the device. The SSD is meant to be removed from the front side, not the backside. So that’s why I couldn’t re-use mounting holes and brackets.
The circular hole you see in the cut-out was for a mounting screw. Once you do this modification, you need to figure out a new way to secure the SSD back to the surface. Luckily it’s a pretty snug-fit, so it won’t take much to keep it safe and secure.
In the end, I have a ton more storage space in my Surface, and it runs good as new!