CD scraper gets approval
- By William Matthews
- Apr 17, 2000
While most compact disc users exercise care to avoid scratching them, Roger
Hutchison has built a whole business on scratching and scraping CDs to the
point that they are unreadable.
Hutchison has built a machine that obliterates the information-bearing layer
on CDs so well that it has been approved by the Defense Department for destroying
CDs containing classified information.
Called a DX-CD, the machine is a steel cylinder that contains three abrasive
surfaces for grinding data off CDs in seconds fast enough, the military
hopes, to keep classified data from being captured by the enemy should a
military post, ship or aircraft be captured.
Sanding the face off a CD is not as easy as it sounds when it has to
be done to military specifications. The information-bearing CD surface must
be ground into dust particles no bigger than 250 microns about the size
of water molecules, Hutchison said.
Those exacting specifications are intended to make it impossible to recover
any information. In theory, at least, particles larger that 250 microns
could be photographed with an electron microscope, sorted by a powerful
computer and reassembled like a jigsaw puzzle. It would take a very determined
and well-financed adversary, but it could be done, Hutchison said.
The hand-cranked DX-CD, which sells for just less than $2,500, can
destroy a CD in 10 cranks, he said. The military recommends 30 just to be
More information on DX-CD can be found at the CD-ROM, Inc. Web site