Need Suggestions: What to do with neodymium magnets? (and other hard drive parts)


#1

So I recently came into a stash of hard drives. They’re all ancient things that my company was going to just pay to have destroyed. I have been in the process of harvesting parts from them for various projects.

I’ve got a ball of ~35 neodymium magnets now and I will have a lot more when I’m done taking all of the drives apart. These things are STRONG. I struggle to pull them apart.

The question is… What do I do with it all? I want to make crafty stuff to sell (or keep around the house) and I’m drawing blanks. I’ve got a few ideas like a nice hard wood magnetic knife block for the wall but other than that I am not entirely sure how to use all of these magnets to their best potential! I have done some googling around and was left kinda disappointed by how few projects I see around using all of these cool parts.

(ball of magnets, still attached to their bases for show)

Along with this… what do I do with the rest of the bits?
I’ve got a ton of mirror finish platters, the spacers from between the platters, write heads (which are fairly useless to me except they have a bearing I can salvage), the hard drive motors themselves, about 15 tiny torx screws per drive and the drive casings.

I’ve seen the few tutorials around for wind chimes, grinders and the like but nothing has really stuck with me.

Anyone have some inspiration for me? I figure these will keep me busy for a while!


#2

i’m a fan of hiding magnets or magnetic materials; it makes things seem like magic. like, i hang our beer opener by sticking it to the metal corner bead on the wall. likewise, incorporating magnets into small items you move around a lot can come in handy.

useful for mounting things to your laser bed, and for keeping things held down if you’re eating out on the porch.

game pieces, keeping a door closed, incorporating them into sculpture or other art…


#3

This!


#4

Having worked with cotton candy machines before, this concept terrifies me hahaha


#5

The magnets in a TB drive are really strong, and I have used a few as anchors for Chuck keys on the drill press and lathe. Also to keep scroll saw blades together with the saw. They are also strong enough to flatten bowed 1/8" ply to the honeycomb.
At a loss for a use of that many, but I would save them for future inspiration for sure. The platter bearings are also too good for a landfill.
The discs make good inspection mirrors.


#6

I would have never thought of using one for chuck keys! I know my dad always told me how important it was to keep the chuck key around for the drills. He had his electrical taped to the power cord.

These magnets are STRONG so I want to see if I can maybe cut down a few to smaller sizes and use them in other magnetic crafts.


#7

The magnets could be useful for portable puzzles.

I havent tried cutting them but I do know they will chip/break easily when dropped or whacked with a chisel, because I bond them into socket extensions and ratchet drives to make magnetic hex head sockets.

You can make physics toys that demonstrate magnetism, kinda like those toy models of the Back To The Future DeLorian. :slight_smile:


#8

Bend the metal (next to the actual magnet - which is shaped like an arc) to expose the edge of the magnets (on both ends of the arc) and it will break the glue bond and allow you to separate the metal backing from the actual magnet.

These magnets will make great hold down in the GF :glowforge:


#9

Just be careful with them. If you get two stuck on either side of the skin between your thumb and first finger you won’t be able to get them apart without help. Not that I would know anything about that. :scream:


#10

Thanks for that! I had an idea on how I would remove the magnets (I was thinking bar of metal, vice and small hammer taps) but the bending tick would work great!


#11

Make your own magnetic badge/brooch clips like @henryhbk did for his nurse’s flair pin. The really small square ones would be perfect to set in a wood or acrylic backing plate.


#12

honestly i wouldn’t bother trying to cut them. magnets are brittle, NdFeB magnets especially so, though fortunately they are resistant to demagnetization through physical handling.

you can get small magnets in just about any form factor very cheaply from aliexpress or similar. save these for something you don’t need to cut them up for.


#13

oh, ouch


#14

I’m sure you will get better ideas, but I put mine in a mobile…and it hangs in my laser pantry. Reminders of technology. Difficult to see, I know…with the busy background.


#15

As @jrnelson says, don’t try cutting them. They are super brittle and once the nickel coating is damaged they rust very easily. Even letting them snap together on a sharp point is often enough to damage the coating. If you do manage to cut one you will find that the fragments and dust are (proportional to mass) just as magnetic as the original piece. They stick to things and are really hard to get rid of. :rolling_eyes:

Fun fact, the dust is flammable!

https://www.kjmagnetics.com/safety.asp


#16

I have taken LOTS of drives apart and can say that the magnets in the different types of drives vary. The SCSI drives hate the biggest and best magnets. SATA drives which are popular now are have good magnets, but the old IDE drives have 3 magnets. The third magnet is hard to find but is about 1/8" cubed. It is also very strong. It is located on a plastic post where the heads park. I use a screwdriver to just touch all around inside the open drive to easily find it.


#17

I took apart about 20 IDE drives the other day. I saw all 3 magnets in some. Some only had 2 and there was even one that only had 1 magnet.

I just took home a box (must be between 50 and 75 pounds) of SCSI drives. The one I took apart yesterday had 4 platters, two super strong magnets and a few bearings I’d like to salvage


#18

Those are the really good ones. So you did find some of the tiny ones?


#19

The local makerspace received a box of magnets /w brackets (identical to your handful photo). Folks used them (brackets and all) on the bed of the Rabbit laser. In doing do, they almost completely destroyed the wimpy honeycomb it used.

I’m really impressed by the GF bed. Very, very sturdy. I use a set of ferrite magnets (2 x 1 x 0.25 inches) covered with gorilla tape in such a way to leave a tab that I can use to lift & separate them.


#20

Thats a great idea!