How to Separate the Magnets From an Old Harddisk




Harddisks have a pair off very strong magnets in it, Unfortunately, they are placed on a metal plate for fixing them in the drive. It's very hard to remove them from the metal without breaking the magnet.
But if you know the trick, it's very easy...
This is the trick:....

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Step 1: What U Need

You just need the magnets you want to seperate from the metal and two large grippers, the bigger the better

Step 2: Holding

Now take the Metalplade on both ends with the grippers.
Be careful just to put the gipper on the metal, not on the magnet or you will berak it for sure!

Step 3: Bending

Bend now the metal until the magnet is only held by its on force.
Just take it off and you have a very good and strong magnet
Be careful not to bring the magnets to close together, because they could snap and break!

Step 4: Finished

You're finished.

By the way: Sorry if my english isn't that good, but english is not my native language...

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    57 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    All of these magnets are apparantly chrome plated, but chrome isn't magnetic, so why does the chrome plate pieces stick?

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Here's to hoping that you'll see this at some point and/or that it will help someone else who was pondering the same thing to grok the electroplated coating!

    The coating is nickel usually and nickel is actually type of ferromagnetic metal (who knew that metals that weren't Iron based were also FERROmagnetic ['ferro' of course referring to Iron] right?). No, a magnet doesn't stick to a block of nickel; however, you can wrap nickel in wire and make an electromagnet with it. Also, you can directly magnetize nickel as well, which is why it was used in older permanent magnets of the "AlNiCo" type which were made from an alloy of the metals Aluminum, Nickel and Cobalt which are all ferromagnetic metals.

    As far as if they for some reason had actually used chrome to plate them instead of nickel, they would still work just fine. The main problem would be how brittle chrome can be and its proclivity for flaking easily under stress. Nickel performs MUCH better in this regard.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I tried out your method and it worked great. I was about to try some hazardous chemicals before I performed a google search and landed on your instructable.

    I find that the ones that have the flat metal backing are useful just the way they are because they lay flat and they are easy to mount with screws. That said, I think the ones with the bent metal are good candidates for magnet removal because I can't find any use for them in that configuration.

    My little locking pliers and my short-nose pliers don't work with the thicker metal backing. I'm going to look for some "big boy" tools. A table vise and plumbing pliers should prove more useful.

    Thanks for solving the how-do-I-separate-the-damn-HDD-magnet-from-its-mount mystery.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    That would have destroyed them sinc higher temps will soften (demagnetise) the neodymum magnets.


    6 years ago on Step 4

    Thanks so much man, there was recently an e-waste collection by my local council, and I managed to get 43 hard-drive magnets, while snapping 3 screwdriver heads


    7 years ago on Step 4

    This is just what I needed, thanks man!


    8 years ago on Step 4

    Glad to find this post. Just extracted 2 pairs of magnets and will do what you did


    9 years ago on Step 4

    wow.. this is good tip..
    i tried your method and it works lie a charm

    wanted to try the dental floss method but mine was epoxied


    9 years ago on Introduction

     I have been taking apart a bunch of junk hard drives from my school and i am wondering what metal the plates are that hold the magnets?  


    9 years ago on Introduction

    A few thoughts after working with hard drive magnets:  Magnets lose strength when heated or shocked too much.  Keep away from heat and avoid dropping them or hitting them with hammers. Wrap magnets in duct tape, they'll have more friction if used to hold things to metal and will be safer if they break. Put a bunch in a PVC pipe to pick up metal pieces in a shop or garage, then slide the metal away from the magnets to remove. A couple of magnets in a metal dish is great for holding nuts and bolts.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I found it much easier after my first try...didn't see this article until few days later and this way seems way harder.

    Don't try to *lift* the magnets apart. you need to *slide* them apart.
    Many have a bit of glue. I used a thin edged chisel, (though it had a dull point, -- dull might be best, not sure) positioned at corner between metal and magnet. Then used hammer to tap on the wedge, and I EMPHASIZE, *tap* -- gently, until the magnet moves. My first magnet, I hit it a bit too hard and had crumbled magnet.
    But after that, I realized a gentle tapping, gradually weakened the glue, until the magnet becomes unglued/detached from the under-side metal. I used Lockjaws or vice-grips to hold the metal while I tapped. You will have to position the end of the chisel by holding the tip until you get it into place.
    Be careful not to move it -- it's likely to jump up to the surface of the magnet, and you'll have to reposition.

    After that...if you have steady firm grasp and a good set of pliers: recommendations:
    1) for pliers -- Crescent, w/blue&grey rubber on handle -- they have a 2:1 force multiplier (grip part moves 1/2 angle for ever 1-unit of handle angle), so that really helps in any holding on, and virtually zero risk over over tightening -- but they can slip, so it takes steady grip.
    2) Lockjaw adjustable grip-pressure pliers -- these are great, you can set the pressure of the grip -- and it will be the same grip-pressure no matter what size item it locks onto. my friend was amazed when I set it to the lightest tension -- showed that they closed all the way down to zero -- but then stuck my finger in them and closed them -- same tension --next to nill on my finger! Try that with the better known but third option:
    3) Vise grips. Whatever kind you are comfy with. I like the newer easy release/no pinch variety. They have the screw on the bottom you adjust for the each exact width -- taking many tries to get it right, but when you do -- dang -- they can crush things (including your magnets if you use them on the magnet.

    I'd suggest the lockjaws or vice grips on the metal part. that way you have a firm grip on that and they won't be going anywhere. Then use the force-multiplier Crescents. Position the ends to one side of the magnet (as opposed to putting them over the center or lengthwise). Put them over a side closed to an edge of the metal. Then rotate the magnet so the edge sticks off the edge of the metal. Once you have that done, most magnes can be pried off by hand -- if not, use the piers. But the idea is to slide it off of surfaces -- not pull it away.

    And a note of WARNING -- while _most_ of the magnets are not super powerful (though they are alot stronger than household magnets) beware of 15K RPM SCSI magnets from 3.5" disks -- I had a pair separated by thick metal spaces and used a screwdriver to pry them apart. Upon removing the screwdriver, they snapped back together and caught the tip of my finger -- instant blood blister -- *OOWEE"!... Put a cramp in my typing for almost a day after...It could have been worse from what I've heard..

    Good luck, have fun, and be careful!


    10 years ago on Step 4

    Thank you, I had broken too much hdds magnets. Your English is fine.


    10 years ago on Step 4

    great :-) I think your English is fine.