Of course there is Windows/DOS software that could help you with this task, but it's certainly much more "pure" if all of this can be done under our favourite OS, Linux, and of course it can be done. Here's how.
The AKAI low-level format on floppy disks is unlike what a standard MS-DOS formatted floppy disk has (80 tracks, 2 sides, 9 sectors/track). Instead, AKAI choose to format them with 10 sectors per track, which gives a total of:
80 tracks * 2 sides * 10 sectors/track * 1024 bytes/sectors = 1.6 MB
Now, the following line reprograms the floppy controller:
$ setfdprm /dev/fd0 sect=10 hd ssize=1024 cyl=80
(assuming you are using /dev/fd0 as you floppy drive). After this you can read the entire floppy contents into a file with a command like this:
$ cat /dev/fd0 >imagename
Please note that as soon as you put another floppy into the drive, the drive controller is reset to the standard parameters; this means you will have to re-issue the setfdprm command each time you put a new floppy disk into the drive.
$ superformat /dev/fd0 sect=10 hd ssize=1024 cyl=80
That's all there is to it. After low-level formatting, superformat will usually also create a MS-DOS filesystem on the floppy (which you don't really need, as the AKAI filesystem is nowhere near MS-DOS filesystem format).
$ cat imagefile >/dev/fd0
With these steps, you should be able to create backup copies of your important floppies (System disk etc) and recreate such disks from these images once the floppies become "worn out".
Frank Neumann (franky at users dot sourceforge dot net), Dec 16th, 2001