Thanks again all, and for the amount of interest shown in this thing as well.
Ya buy a breadboard , and I've been tinkering with electronics for awhile now. If I could get the hang of programming PICs or MCUs you'd see some right wild things though, like taking a 200 disc CD changer and turning it into the 360 drive, which would be my next 'adventure' in altering the DVD drive if I take it. The hardware part of it I don't think would be that big of a problem for me, though it would have it's moments of suk, but getting the thing to act like a tray loading DVD drive would require some coding for sure, it's just way too big of a mess to get into with basic Logic circuits and 555 timers, so for now I just have that idea off to the side and try things like this slot loader out.
Have you ever looked into the basic stamp, or Picaxe? they are super easy to program (they use variations of Basic). you can even program them with a flowchart if you are not one for coding.
if you do know a bit of C or other similar languages, you can also get C compilers for the microchip Pic chips even for free. I played around with SDCC a little on a pic 16f628, which was lot faster than a basic stamp
programming in hardware like you do is cool.