[SOLVED] Sharing multiple hard drives AND a mobile hotspot?

May 9, 2020
I spend most of my time traveling. I have a small colony of external hard drives (currently about 16) attached to powered USB hubs daisy chained together.
My internet connection, when I have one, is through my Samsung S7 Edge.
I have two laptops, both running Linux Mint, plus a couple of tablets.

My thought was that it would be nice to set things up with the hard drives set up in a plastic toolbox with a wifi router instead of having to plug into one or the other of the laptops (the physical port suffers extra wear and tear due to vibration while moving) and that it might be better to share my phone's internet via a USB cable rather than run a hotspot 24/7.

Additional hardware I happen to have on hand is a lynksys wifi router and an older Raspberry Pi I never got around to doing anything with.

My goal/hope is to be able to connect any of my other devices to the wifi router and be able to access the internet or the hard drives. I don't want the hard drive access dependent on an internet connection as that isn't always available.

I'm hoping someone here can point the way, preferably in simple steps as I'm merely a monkey holding a mouse. 😁
I can't imagine having 16 external drives, connected to powered hubs, all at the same time, connected to a laptop. There's something very wrong in your workflow...

You can build "NAS and WiFi Access point in a box" with your RPi, the router. Use RPi as NAS brain, and WiFi access point - talking to your phone over WiFi, and WiFi router over Ethernet.

There are plenty of guides how to do these tasks separately, you'll have to spend time and efforts making it work for you. I would ditch these external drives and aggregate them into couple of larger ones.