Neodymium magnets are powerful rare earth magnets which are very costly to buy for a DIY project. It is however found in many obsolete and useless devices around us in varying sizes and shapes. So why not extract some from these instead of buying a new one?
PC Hard-disks are one of the biggest sources for such magnets. Anther device which has this is microwave oven, but its not quite often you find a broken microwave oven. So coming back, find an old hard disk which is useless. Any capacity ones will do. Any such hard disk has 2 neodymium magnets in them and you can follow this DIY to extract them out quickly. Beware not to do this to a working hard disk. In case you have planned to check it out after opening and close the working hard disk back again for normal use, sorry! As a hard disk once opened and in contact with the contaminated air, will never work again without failing! So use only useless had disks.
Tools and Equipments Needed
1. Useless Hard disk, any capacity.
2. Philips Screw driver
3. Torx Screw driver
4. Paper cutter
5. Ordinary Flat and strong screwdriver
10-15 mts maximum.
1. First get your hard disk. I have a 40Gb Quantum which is totally dead.
2. Start removing all the screws with the philips screwdriver. You will have 6 screws.
3. Even after removing the 6 screws, you will notice that the cover doesn’t come off. Its because we have 2 more to go which is hidden! So get the paper cutter and cut out any ‘warranty void if broken’ stickers u may see on the cover. The screws will be beneath it. Note that newer hard disks may have only one such screw, but some have 2 of them, mostly the older ones. If your hard disk has one big sticker on top and you cannot figure out where to cut, just flip the hdd over and you may be able to see a motor axis underneath. The screw will be opposite to that axis on the other side!
4. Get your torx screw driver and remove the screw(s).
5. Now you have an exposed hdd with the shiny platter like a mirror. You can see the read/write head on the actuator arm resting on the discs with its actuator leading to a metallic hinge. Our magnets are beneath those hinges! The arm wont move from place if you try to move them, because they are held by a safety lock to prevent disc surface damage by the head during transportation. The black lever near to the edge is the safety lock. Press the lever towards the hdd wall and the arm goes free. Remove the 2 screws on the hinge with the philips screw driver.
6. Now is the tricky part. The hinge will be very tightly held to the casing due to the extreme power of the magnets! So use the flat screw driver to get some leverage and lift it up and pull it out. Do not insert your finger beneath the hinge as soon as you lift it as the magnets are so powerful to jam your fingers! Use the screw driver itself to lift it well enough and then pull it out. One of the two magnets will be on the hinge! congratulations! you have your first neodymium magnet! Keep it away from metals or you will have a hard time pulling it out.
7. Now the actuator coil will be visible as well as the 2nd hinge beneath it. Unscrew the visible screw from the 2nd hinge.
8. Flip the hard disk over and remove all screw and take apart the controller PCB. Then remove the one torx screw which holds the actuator axis in place.
9. As soon as you remove it, the arm will come off. And so will the other hinge along with the 2nd magnet!
Now you have 2 extremely powerful magnets for any DIY projects! Try not to stick them together you will have one hell of a time pulling them apart! Save the rest of the hard disk as there are other projects possible with it! The head is useless though as it wont work without the magnets. There is a stepper motor at the center of the disks which will be used in forthcoming projects, so stay tuned!