DIY Magnet Toy





Introduction: DIY Magnet Toy

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

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.



    • Stick It! Contest

      Stick It! Contest
    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Planter Challenge

      Planter Challenge

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    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?

    6 replies

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

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

    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.

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

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

    4 replies

    True. Not everyone has Knex lying around their house.

    yeah but alot of people do like me and many others

    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?

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

    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

    3 replies

    hahahahahhahahahahhahahahahhahahahhahahahahahahahahahhahahahhah lmao and yes too much time

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

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

    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

    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."

    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

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