Is there a way to use the sata hat without the usb bridge, maybe some usb cables (really shorter ones) and a good extender? I’m thinking of putting the pi and its own cooling on one side and the drives laying flat as they should be with their own cooling on another side and make a custom acrylic case or 3d print one with it’s own 80mm fans
Yes, you can use regular A-A cable.
Yes, but I have bought many with no luck, can you point to some cable that works?
Making USB cables is probably cheapest and quickest. Cut any old one you have around - who doesn’t - close to the connector or even through the back end of it and use a short length of Ethernet cable, heat shrink etc
I am doing exactly what you are doing, btw, for the same reason of cooling.
By extender I assume a gpio extender, right?
By the way @setq, do you know which gpio pins to extend?
Yes, the extender is for the gpio