Fresh cotton candy is one of those rare treats you find only at county fairs, ball games, and carnivals, because for most of us it's just too frivolous to buy an at-home cotton candy machine. However, if, like most tech-savvy people, you have a few old hard drives sitting around that still spin, you can build your own cotton candy maker on the cheap.

All you need is an old hard drive that still turns, six bicycle spokes, a small metal tin, an empty soda can, and a plastic bowl. The bicycle spokes connect the hard drive's rotating disk and the metal tin that you fill with sugar. Once you turn on the rig and light some fuel below the metal tin (held by a chopped up soda can), the hard drive will begin to spin and fling melted sugar in all directions. The plastic bowl catches the sugary goodness and, behold, cotton candy.

The hacked setup isn't too different from a normal cotton candy machine: A small container holds the granulated sugar and spins rapidly while a heating element melts the sugar. The melted sugar flies out in thin stands, creating a sugary mesh that a larger bowl catches. Wrap a few layers of that mesh around a stick, and you'll have the sticky-sweet treat we know and love.

Building your own cotton candy machine is hardly as easy as buying one, but at around $30 a pop, this is a cheaper option. That said, we warn you that hard drives contain metals such as cobalt, ruthenium, and aluminum, which you wouldn't want to ingest. Either attempt this hack at your own risk, or admire that someone would build such a thing from the safety of your browser window.

To get the full step by step instructions, check out Chinese gadget site M.I.C Gadget, which translated the tutorial from Chinese site

[ via M.I.C Gadget and Gizmodo]

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