How to get neodymium magnets from a hard drive

Dismantle hard drive_featured

Neodymium magnets are the strongest in the world, that’s why they can be pricey. If you have an old hard drive (one you won’t ever need again), you can dismantle it to retrieve the neodymium magnets inside. Here I will give you a step-by-step guide for taking apart a computer hard drive.

First of all, you need to remove your hard drive from your computer. Assuming you know how to do this, I’ll skip to the interesting bit.

Step one

Once you have the hard drive out, you need to clear your work area and get out your trusty screwdriver! The screws are very small so you will need a screwdriver with a very small head. The screws in this particularly drive have a ‘torx’ star-shaped head, which you can get from all good DIY shops.

A screwdriver unscrewing the screws on the outer casing of a hard drive.

Carefully under all the visible screws

150gb hard disc drive removed from a computer

A hard disc drive freshly removed from a computer.

Step two

Remove all the visible screws from the outer casing, they may be really tight so make sure you are using the right  screwdriver and give yourself plenty of room.

Hard disc drive with screws removed

Hard disc drive with screws removed

 

Once you have removed all the visible screws it is likely there will be more pesky screws concealed by stickers on the outside of the drive so remove any stickers that might be concealing screws and unscrew these too.

Hard drive with stickers and screws removed

Remove all the necessary stickers

Hard drive showing concealed screws

Concealed screws

Step three

Carefully remove the cover to reveal the polished discs and read/write mechanism.

Hard disc drive with the outer casing removed

Remove the cover

Step four

The two magnets in a hard drive are under the bracket that covers the read/write arm. You will need to remove any further screws holding this in place. As the magnets are quite substantial the assembly may feel like it is being held by more screws, however, if you have taken care to remove them all the force you will be able to feel is magnetism. You will need to get a sturdy screwdriver under the triangle-shaped plates and prise them out.

Hard drive read/write head mechanism

The magnets are under the triangle plate

Step five

Once you have the two separate metal plates the next bit can be tricky depending on the size of your drive and the thickness of the plates and magnets. The magnets are very brittle so any degree of bending or sharp impact will break the magnets. There are many tutorials on line for separating the magnets, but the safest way is to use two sets of pliers or pincer grips to hold the plate at either side and bend it until the bend of the plate pops the magnet off. Always use goggles when doing this as it is possible that the magnets may break or chip.

Hard disc drive with two magnets removed

Both magnets removed

Hard disc drive with one magnet removed

One magnet out, one to go

 

There you have it. Two free neodymium magnets from your old hard disc drive!

About Matt Newby

Matt Newby is part of a group of people that have a passion for magnets and their endless possibilities. As part of the marketing team at first4magnets.com Matt's aim is to create great magnet-related technical content and help people understand how magnets can be used.

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