We’ve previously discussed ways you can upcycle your old hard drive, only how exactly practise y’all take them apart? And what do you do with the near valuable part — the magnets?
If you want to be absolutely certain that your information has been wiped before attempting this, make sure you lot check out our means to completely delete your hdd.
All mechanical hard drives comprise rare earth neodymium magnets. These can be expensive to purchase, but did y’all know just how hands hard drives can be harvested for these precious materials? Let’s leap correct in.
What You Need
Y’all only need a few basic tools to get started. Alongside some hard drives to disassemble, you will need:
Useful to pry open the example, and to undo the
Precision or Torx screwdriver prepare:
Necessary to undo the case and magnet screws.
Vice grips or pliers:
Needed to remove the magnets from their backing.
You lot may accept many of these tools already. The only really specialist tool yous demand is the precision/torx screwdriver set up. This is needed to remove the special star shaped screws. These are security screws, designed to stop people like yous and me from tampering. They evidently don’t work very well as a security deterrent though, since you can purchase the necessary screwdrivers on Amazon or from your local hardware store.
At present that you lot take everything you demand, allow’s make a beginning. First, place the front and back of your hard drives. The forepart commonly contains a label or sticker:
Whereas the back volition oftentimes contain a circuit board of some sort:
This is not always the case, as information technology can vary per model of bulldoze, only they will usually follow a similar format.
Get-go past removing the screws holding the top of the case on (you’ll need your Torx screwdrivers hither). You may have to investigate a flake for this, in my case there are half dozen screws
visible, and ane final screw hidden underneath a warranty sticker. This is a adequately mutual pull a fast one on, so make sure you bank check all over if things are stuck, and
underneath any warranty stickers.
Once all the screws are removed, it should exist easy to lift the top of the case off. You lot might need a apartment-head screwdriver to prise the hat off, if it’due south really stuck (call up to cheque for hidden screws).
In some cases, you may need to remove more than parts if the case still won’t come apart. Hither’s the circuit board removed, past but unscrewing it:
As a last resort, try removing each and every screw yous can notice. This should non be necessary for the majority of drives. One time the top is off, here’s what the guts look like:
Take notation of the various parts. The round part at the bottom is called the
— this is where your data is (or was) stored. The footling arm is called the
actuator, and acts a chip similar the tonearm on a vinyl record player (why should you collect vinyl). It moves backwards and forwards to access data on the various different areas of the platter.
The precious magnets you want environment this actuator, one in a higher place and one below. The first one should elevator off with no trouble, although you lot may need to use a flat-head screwdriver to remove it, as information technology will be magnetically stuck to the other components.
At present remove the actuator arm. This will often hinge on a single key apartment-head screw, and then remove that also. Information technology may take a small cable connecting it to a circuit in another part of the drive, only yous should be able to “fold” information technology out of the way with relatively trivial trouble.
One time the actuator arm is removed, you lot should be able to see the second magnet. This may be held on by one or two more Torx screws, which need removing.
Removing the Backing Plate
The final disassembly step needed is to remove the magnets from the backing plate. This can exist difficult, as not only are they magnetically held on (and are very strong magnets), but they are ordinarily glued on too.
The easiest way to separate the two is by using a vice and vice grips, just don’t worry if you don’t own a vice, information technology tin notwithstanding be done without one. Grip the backing plate with 2 pairs of vice grips or pliers. Advisedly bend it in such a way that the magnet will be slightly freed.
You lot don’t want pieces of metal flying into your eyes if it shatters, so wear eye protection!
Once sufficiently bent, information technology’s an easy task to remove the magnets.
The magnets are often glued onto the actuator, This will exit marks on the surface of the magnets, or may have removed their nickel plating. Advisedly cover the magnet with tape to avoid any metal shards going anywhere.
That’southward it! You can use these magnets for whatever task really, and they are much cheaper than going to the shops. I used mine for belongings paperwork to my shelving:
Now that you lot know how to extract rare earth magnets from hard drives, perhaps you could combine these with a microwave transformer (how to safely take apart a microwave) for the ultimate mad science project! Don’t get likewise mad though, equally yous could cause some serious damage if the magnets were big enough (practise you need to protect your computer from magnets?). Alternatively, why non make a magnetic cable organizer, or disguise a USB drive and use a magnet to hold it in a hugger-mugger location?
Will you exist taking autonomously your old difficult drives? What volition y’all exercise with your magnets? Do you have whatever magnet tricks to share? Let us know in the comments below!