Hard Drive Fridge Magnet

Introduction: Hard Drive Fridge Magnet

About: wannabe sculpture

This is a fun and easy way to make use of any old hard drives you have laying around.

Tools you'll need:

- A Medium sized flat head screwdriver
- A Small Phillips head screwdriver
- An Interchangeable bit screwdriver with Torx bits from sizes T10 to T5 (which sizes you'll use depends on the drive)
- Scissors
- Strong glue (something like Goop or super glue is fine, but nothing weak like white glue)
- A table vice and a pair of pliers, or two vice grips.

Step 1: Taking Apart the Hard Drive

In this step you'll be taking off the hard drive lid, exposing the important parts inside.

This step will require the use of your small Phillips head screw driver, and a few sizes of your Torx bit heads.

This step is pretty self explanatory. Simply remove all the Torx screws and regular screws you come across until you're able to open the lid of the drive. The lid is sometimes a little hard to remove due to the foam insulating the seal. Take the flat head screwdriver and pry it open from the side. If taking off the lid does not require that you dismantle the circuit board on the bottom, do so anyway, because sometimes the parts inside wont come out without taking off some screws from underneath.

The end result should leave you with an exposed hard drive.

(if you've begun on this step and donno what tools you'll need, see the intro for a list)

Step 2: Gutting the Drive

In this step you'll be taking the inner workings of the hard drive out for later use, sans the actual platters for now (that part is next).

You'll need your flat head and your Phillips head screwdriver for this step.

Same deal as last time. Any screws you find around the small circuit board and the read/write arm housing (donno if that's what it's called, but oh well) take out. Be sure to look underneath the drive in case any of the components are being held in from below.

The read/write arm might be difficult to remove, as the two metal plates covering the small motor for the arm are mostly held together by very strong magnets. Take your flat head screwdriver and wedge it between the metal plates from behind, then turn so it levers the plates apart. Then slowly pry the plate straight upward until it comes off. you might need to keep the screwdriver wedged in and holding the bottom plate down, because since you got rid of the screws holding it in, the bottom plate with the magnets will want to come with the top plate.

The electromagnet coil of the read/write arm should now be exposed. Removal of the arm is as simple as turning the arm so the read/write heads are on the edge of the platters and lifting the arm off the cylinder keeping it in place. The bottom plate should come out by tipping the drive upside down.

you should now have the read/write arm attached to the small circuit board and two metal plates, one of which should have the magnet (sometimes you'll get two small ones instead of one big one)

Step 3: Removing the Platters.

In this step you will remove the drive platters.

You'll need your interchangeable screwdriver with a small Torx bit or one of those small screwdrivers for use in repairing glasses.

Now to take off the platters, you'll need to unscrew the screws holding the top cap in place. Most hard drives use small Torx screws, but some use very small Phillips head screws, in which case you'll need to go to your local drug store and get one of those eye glasses repair kits with the very small screwdrivers in them.

Take your screwdriver with its appropriate size/shape bit, and place it into the first screw. Now the platters are on a motor, so trying to unscrew the screws without keeping the platters still will just spin them.

once the cap is off, the platters are free to be removed. To avoid further finger prints or scratches, simply turn the drive upside down again to let loose the platters.

The drive motor should now be exposed. How you get this out differs from drive to drive. Some pop out when the surrounding screws are unfastened, some are stuck to the drive case with adhesives and need to be opped out with force. However you do it, get the motor out relatively intact, you'll need it later. if you can't get it out for one reason or another (which has happened to me one or two times), your journey ends here, and you must seek another hard drive to gut.

Once the motor is free, take the platter parts and reassemble the platters onto the motor. This will consist of the body of your fridge magnet.

Step 4: Harvesting the Magnet(s)

In this step you'll be taking the magnets off the metal plate.

In this step you'll need either a table vice and a pair of pliers, or two vice grips. The magnets are generally held to the plate by its own magnetic force, but to make sure it doesn't go anywhere, the drive manufacturers have applied a thin layer of glue to the magnet, preventing you from simply sliding it off the plate.

Take one end of the metal plate and place it in the vice and make sure it's nice and tight. Take the pliers and grip the other end of the plate, and slowly bend it away from the magnet. The glue should snap away, and the magnet will be free to be removed.

If you dont have a table vice, you can you two pairs of nice grips. Simply clamp each end of the metal plate with the grips and bend the plate away from the magnet. This way is a little more cumbersome, but woks just as well.

Be careful with these magnets. They're strong but brittle. Taking two and letting them freely snap together will most likely break them.

Step 5: Attaching the Magnet

In this step you'll be attaching the magnet to the back of the drive motor.

You'll need your tube of strong glue for this.

Take your reassembled platter/motor piece and take the motor sticker of the bottom of the motor. The underside should have a few holes they use to solder on the power wires. Take your Goop or Super Glue and fill these holes. Then take the magnet(s) you've harvested and place them over the holes. The magnets conveniently keep themselves firmly pressed against the glue.

Step 6: Completeing the Fridge Magnet

In this step You'll be adding the final touch to the fridge magnet.

You'll need your scissors and your strong glue again.

Take your scissors and cut away the electrical strip holding the small circuit board to the Read/Write arm. Be sure to cut it as close to the arm as possible. Do not rip off, because the strip is attached to the wires in the electromagnetic coil, and the coil will get unraveled a bit and look messy.

Take the arm and apply a nice glob of glue between the individual arms right where the arms meed the pivot. Then carefully place the arm onto the platter, making sure the Read/Write heads of the arm go between the platters like they usually would. Then just move the arm inward until the arm and the platters are joined together by the glue. you might wanna press down on the arm on top of the platter to create a stronger bond.

Step 7: Your Fridge Magnet Is Complete!

Let the magnet dry for a few hours, then try it on your fridge. remember that the magnets are very strong, so be careful using it.

I hope you enjoy this little ornament, and my first Instructable!

1 Person Made This Project!


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11 years ago on Introduction

 Oops, I forgot. A lot of times. Forcing the magnet off the plate will bubble up the chrome coating or peel it off in spots. I found that soaking them first in a closed container of acetone (metal or glass) over night you can separate them much easier.

A couple of warnings...
-Don't let young kids play with them. If they swallow them they can get hung up in their intestines.
-There is suppose to be something harmful about the raw magnetic material also. I don't remember what. And I'm too lazy to look it up again. :o)


11 years ago on Introduction

I find this is a much quicker way to destroy a hard drive for a customer. I use to run a drive wipe utility but that usually takes about 10 hrs to run. I love the magnets. I use them for everything. There are a couple more small neo magnets in some of them. There is usually a tiny magnet in the park mechanism. 

I super-glue a slice of inner tube to one side of the magnet and trim it. Then I use your household goop glue to glue it to the dash of my truck. That glue is almost permanent. It can be removed if you want with out damage to the dash. With a small metal strip blued and glued to the back of my mobile phone I can almost throw my phone at it and it will catch and stay. No problems with road bumps either. (maybe I should make my first instructible with this topic) 


Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

Not my video, I'm trying to build me one of these.


13 years ago on Introduction

Pretty cool instructable. I've been wanting to harvest the magnets from some old drives I have around, but I like the ornamental fridge magnet idea better. Good job!


14 years ago on Step 4

man thats wird, thats how i harvested my magnets!!


Reply 14 years ago on Introduction

I don't see your magenets on a fridge, but I like the pictures more. L


14 years ago on Introduction

Ah, excellent - another use for the ancient SCSI drives sitting in my basement. Mwaa haa haa!