Introduction: DIY Magnet Toy

OK, I'll admit this is kinda lame as an "Instructable".. lets instead call it an "Idea-able"

FIRST:
DO NOT do this around where you keep your laptop, monitor, disks and such. the magnet is strong enough to cause potential problems. CRT monitors are particularly prone to long term damage from magnets.

We have all seen the magnet toys where you have a base, and then a bunch of nuts or metal pieces you can sculpt into interesting shapes. This Idea-able is an easy way to replicate that science experiment in your cube, and keep you neighbors wondering. (In the case of my neighbors, it's more a matter of an eye-roll and a silent thank you prayer that I am not blowing something up or starting a fire *again*)

You need:
1 dead hard drive
various tools to crack that baby open
hand full of metal nuts, bolts, or anything a magnet will stick to.

For those that are not aware, your basic computer hard drive contains at least one, if not several VERY strong magnets.

Strip the hard drive. Basically, just keep taking screws out until it falls apart. Find and remove the magnets around the base of the head. BE CAREFUL! some of them can be quite powerful, and I won't be responsible for any blood blisters that result. I have suffered nasty cuts when they snap together on my fingers. Although it is a great way to expand your (my) filthy ... filthy vocabulary.

Sometimes you get lucky, and the metal bracket the magnet is mounted to will be flat. If not, take two pairs of vice grips, or a bench vice and whatever (you get the idea) and clamp one on each end of the metal backing (not the magnet itself) and bend. The magnet should pop off. I have found it actually works much better if you can manage to keep the metal backing on, as it seems to concentrate the magnetic force to the other side.

place the magnet(s) under a your desk, or on the inside of a cabinet door. the magnetism is usually strong enough to radiate through to the top with no problem. arrange the nuts and bolts in impossible shapes. It's fun to play with during those long useless conference calls.
If you do this on a cabinet door, you can usually stack at least 4-5 nuts straight out before gravity takes over. It also comes in handy for holding papers and such.

You could also get or make a small wood platform and replicate the store bought toys by mounting the magnet underneath. Personally, I like the look of confusion until they figure it out. It also seems to make you do weird things. like slide your pen across the desk until it hits the invisible "wall".. I never get tired of that one.

Comments

author
chuckr44 (author)2006-12-12

Hey thanks! I already have 3 old drives and me and my son are going to do this in a few days. I just didn't know for sure exactly where the magnet was. It sounds like the drives use neo-dymium magnets. What do you think?

author
photozz (author)chuckr442006-12-13

well, judging from the amount of blood lost when they snap together on my fingers, I would say that is entirely likely.

author

Hard drive magnets are usualy rare earth magnets, not neo.

author

Aren't they the same thing? I really don't know.

author

The key term here would be "Rare Earth". The term "Rare Earth" refers to the Lanthanoid group of the periodic table. So putting the word "Magnet" after the phrase "Rare Earth" implies a magnet which has a lanthanoid as its main component.

author

Yes, rare-earth magnets are neodymium-iron-boron magnets. (also, sometimes, Samarium-cobalt)

author
ShampooRobot (author)photozz2008-10-03

!!!!!.....HAHAHAHHAHA

author
AlexTheGreat (author)2006-12-09

I think this instructable isn't bad, and is much better than those endless knex gun ones.

author
PetervG (author)AlexTheGreat2006-12-09

True. Not everyone has Knex lying around their house.

author
Vynash (author)PetervG2008-10-03

yeah but alot of people do like me and many others

author
Sidney Floyd (author)PetervG2006-12-12

firs off, i like this, it is a good simple 'idea-able' spose it would be a great way to kill time in class second i agree, how many knex guns have been posted?

author
matrix828 (author)Sidney Floyd2008-07-28

hundreds. and how many of these types of instructables have been posted? about 1-5 (i think)

author
tomonto (author)2007-01-16

it finally got it open it just took some 20 pound weight strapped to it and 4th floor window to concrete and run over by a truck and hit with a sledgehammer persuasion. and yes i do have to much free time

author
Derin (author)tomonto2008-03-22

hahahahahhahahahahhahahahahhahahahhahahahahahahahahahhahahahhah lmao and yes too much time

author
Grey_Wolfe (author)tomonto2008-02-16

Sledgehammers and magnets don't get along. Pound on a magnet and it gets weaker.

author
photozz (author)tomonto2007-01-17

it was a screw... wasn't it. :)

author
SSuperSSoldier (author)2007-07-08

lol ur hand, carpet, and tool look like they are my dads, he has that tool and carpet and ur hands look similar, i cant wait to see if i have a dead hardrive to try this on

author
That Hurt This Time (author)2007-04-14

Hey, your nieghbors are like that too. I went to talk to some people who just moved in and the second thing the kid says:"Youre the weird guy in the neighborhood, aren't you."

author
Brennn10 (author)2007-02-11

This is a great INSTRUTCABLE. It gives great instructions and intuitive ideas on what someone could do with the magnets. I just recently destroyed an old CPU with viruses and the CPU wont work, so know I will be looking for the magnets. Nice Work.-Brennn10

author
tomonto (author)2007-01-17

possibly, i cant find part of it, a few trips out the window and chips of it just go flying

author
tomonto (author)2007-01-15

any advice on getting it apart? i took out all the screws and threw it out a 2 story window. it wont open. and now its covered in dirt

author
photozz (author)tomonto2007-01-15

Step three: what ever you do, don't throw it out a....... oh... if it's the cover you can't get off, it's prob a hidden screw. they really love to hide them under stickers. Some are sealed with tape on the edge you have to remove or cut. If you have the cover off, but can't get the spindle or head off, they like to hide screws under the circuit board on the back. Some drives are just bastards and need some gentile persuasion with large beefy screwdrivers and a pry bar. Good luck. and.. I just want you to know we are all counting on you.

author
RaptorJeebus (author)2007-01-05

i just removed the whole read/write assembly and now the motor does not work. can anyone tell me y

author
photozz (author)RaptorJeebus2007-01-05

well, lets start with which motor from where, and how are you trying to get it to work?

author
RaptorJeebus (author)photozz2007-01-05

thanx anyway but i found out y

author
pryo maniack (author)2006-12-15

its ok i tried it last week i bet i lost a piant of blood.

author
AgentDanny (author)2006-12-12

DUDE this is by no means a LAME instructable. you just showed us how to make a magnetic screw holder. just attach the magnets under your work station and mark it as to not forget where it is. and use it as a screw holder just place the screws or whatever over it and it will hold it in place. i just did it with one of my old Hard drives and it works great.!!!!!!!!~~~!1111@23##

author
photozz (author)AgentDanny2006-12-13

......... Damn you for thinking of that. you just solved several of my problems at once :)

author
AgentDanny (author)photozz2006-12-13

Whoops. sorry

author
carbon (author)2006-12-09

Reminds of when I left my big, huge (honkin') magnet stuck under my desk and and forgot about it. I was very confused when my pen stood straight up all by itself.

author
FrenchCrawler (author)2006-12-08

Idea-ables should be in the forums...

author
photozz (author)FrenchCrawler2006-12-09

is that a rule of some kind? just asking...

author
FrenchCrawler (author)photozz2006-12-09

Kind of ... much like this other idea that was posted in the Collaborations section: https://www.instructables.com/id/EFEWSO4Y70EUSZOE68/

author
PetervG (author)2006-12-08

Ok. . Kinda obvious.

author
photozz (author)PetervG2006-12-09

Yeah.. hence the "lame" designation. it is fun though...

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