Reusing Old Hard Drive Magnets





Introduction: Reusing Old Hard Drive Magnets

Old hard drives have a way of hanging around past their useful life. Recently, I found I still had a lot of 2 to 30 GB drives in a box, so I decided to take the magnets out and reuse them. The magnets are great because they are very strong Neodymium that will hold anything firmly in place. These magnets are usually mounted to some sort of metal bracket with holes which will help you mount them and gives strength to the brittle magnets.

To take apart hard drives you need a few small Torx drivers, usually T6, T7 and T8. Usually there are a few screws that are hidden under the stickers. Feel the tops of the stickers to see if there is a screw underneath and run a razor around the outline to expose it. Once the lid is off, you usually have to take the read/write heads off to get the magnets off. Careful with these magnets, they are very strong and will probably pinch your fingers if they get between them.

Step 1: Fish Tape Retriever

I find new uses for this thing all the time. Originally I made it to pull a fish tape out of a wall when it wouldn't come near the opening. It worked great for that so I wrapped it up and stuck it to my tool box. Since then I have used it to pull seat belts through poorly designed child car seats and retrieved a nail punch that got stuck inside a door jam.

The dental floss is great because it doesn't really knot up and its incredibly strong for how light it is. It also wraps up really tightly and doesn't unravel unless you want it to.

Step 2: Special Tool Holder

My table saw has a nice storage spot for blades and the tools to change the blades. Unfortunately, you only have so much room to store more blades. I plan to add a stacked dado set to this collection soon. Since my next purchase will probably max out the space I have left, I decided to maximize the space by epoxying magnets to the underside of the table top. This way I can store a few more blades and the tools never get in the way when you are fumbling through the stack of blades.

I used plumber's epoxy putty for this because its easy to use and doesn't require a bowl to mix it. You just kneed it together in your fingers and stick it to something before it starts to set up. Once I was done with that I traced the outlines of the wrenches on the tabletop so I wouldn't forget where I put them. These magnets hold the wrenches tightly in place and I don't have to worry that they will fall off.

Step 3: Special Tool Holder 2

I built this cheap router table for my radiator cover Instructable and I decided to do something similar to my table saw tool storage. Because the top is made of wood, I used the holes in the magnet's bracket to attach another magnet to the underside of this table top. I traced the outline of the router's wrench on the table top so I don't forget where it is. Now I have a neat place to store my router's specialty wrench.

Step 4: Worklight Cabinet Mount

I have this rechargeable LED work light that comes with a magnetic holder to clip it to a toolbox.  I decided to mount it over my workbench to give me a little extra light and store it where I could keep it charged. I could have used a piece of sheet metal, but I wanted to really secure it in place under the cabinet, so I used another hard drive magnet.

Step 5: Recycle the Rest

After I take the magnets out, I take the remaining hard drive parts to the recycling center and drop them in the e-waste dumpster. New Jersey has made it a state law that all towns have to accept electronic waste for recycling.



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    34 Discussions

    The most powerful magnets I've come across were in Seagate 23GB 5.25" full-height drives. The magnets were huge and skookum as hell! I had them hanging on the door frame of my office in an area that required a Top Secret clearance and a limited access card to enter, but they disappeared from my door eventually. :-( So no images to share.

    My 2 tb hard drive failed recently and i was wondering, how many magnets are in a hard drive?

    3 replies

    Yeah, I would say 1 or 2. You will usually only get about a square inch of Neodymium out of one of these drives, but if you are like me you probably have a few old drives hanging around.

    Most of the ones that I've taken apart had 2. Some of them have only one, and I think they are made this way because they want to annoy me!

    Keep in mind that laptops have pretty small ones, and HDD's from desktop computers normally have really big ones.

    Take the side of an old computer case. Make it flat and put it on the wall. [Use the holes to screw it in place if you wish].

    Then use the magnets as a holder for things.

    The case side now becomes a magnetic board.

    Great ideas here. I like them thanks :)

    1 reply

    Thanks! I've been meaning to put a couple new uses I've found together for a follow-up.

    getting magnets off is easy, place magnet holder in vise, not magnet, bent holder and it will peal holder away from magnet near edge breaking glue joint, remove with screw driver

    1 reply

    Nice! I have a few new uses to add to this when I get a chance.

    need to put shelves on metal desk?

    infinit placement possibility?

    magnets on metal angle awesome

    tired of screws falling off ladder

    put magnet under top step screws stay in place until needed

    1 reply

    how should i seperate the magnet from its holder ?

    some magnets getting out with a screw driver and hammer :D

    but some of them do not getting out!

    is there any other easy way to seperate them ?

    I screwed a bunch of them in a row on a piece of oak which I fastened to the wall above my kitchen counter now I can always find a sharp knife

    uncle frogy

    1 reply

    Great idea! I have one of those long tool strip magnets that they sell for holding your most used wrenches and other tools in your workshop, but if I had enough of these left I could definitely extend that further down my workbench.

    I like a lot of these ideas here.

    I like a lot of these ideas here.

    I like a lot of these ideas here.

    I like a lot of these ideas here.

    I've been using them for over 15 years since I had a computer repair shop taking them apart for the scrap one of the mags stuck to a table boy these things are strong. Now it's 2014 and I'm looking into building a magnetic generator and thought of them. If you can them close enough just before they stick together they push their self away so I'm going to put them on a bike rim getting them just right for the push to turn the wheel which will turn a motor. I just started the project and taking the hard drives apart now.

    Great ideas! You can remove the very brittle magnets from the metal keepers by clamping one end of the keeper in a vice and use a wrench or pliers to bend the other end away from the magnet, it will pop off in one piece. If you stack the magnets they'll be stronger. Use a router to make a pocket in the other side of a piece of wood where you want to hold a tool. Epoxy it in and it will stick to the wood. Glue a stack inside a 1.5 or 2" diameter PVC pipe. Use caps and elbows to make a long tool to pick up metal scrap or parts from the floor or worktable. Slide the parts away from the magnets to remove them. Wrap bare magnets in duct tape with a tail so you can remove them. The tape has friction that will hold paper or cardboard in place on a metal surface.