Original post by: Dan ,
OK, lets backup here... Using your other Mac via the SATA to USB adapter can you see the drive using Disk Utilities? Correct? If you can reformat the drive and create a new GUID partition map as well as create a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) partition. Once done from this same Mac, follow these steps: [https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202796|How to install OS X on an external drive connected to your Mac] While this TN is assuming you are using it as a spare boot drive the steps are the same for setting up a fresh drive for another system. Jump to the 'Install from your normal startup disk"