Hard Drive Harvesting

A quick tip. Before you throw out an old hard drive, open it up and take a look – you could learn a thing or 2 and get some useful parts!

You’ll need an small hex screwdriver as these things aren’t really meant to be opened casually. For those as old as me, you might remember when you put a new hard drive into your PC you had to go into the BIOS and set Cylinders, Heads, Sectors etc – for your hard drive to work. Well when you open it up you might get a idea of what this actually meant.

The shiny round things are the platters – there can be many of these and the thing that looks like an arm of a record player is where the heads are. Each platter has two sides so there is a head for each side – so in my case this disk has 4 heads. On each side there are sectors and cylinders (sometimes called tracks).

Anyway – what I am after from this hard drive is the magnets they are super strong and quite useful for hobby projects or just any old crazy science experiment. Beware – they are super strong, so don’t pinch your fingers between them and they clunk together. They are hard to prise apart and it’s a good challenge to set the kids to separate them (the trick is to slide….)

In my picture the magnets are at the top right, I had to unscrew a fair amount of hex screws – but in the end they were easy to remove. My son took the shiny platters and they are going to be part of some sort of robot costume he is making!

harddrive2  magnets

When you are disposing of parts like this – please do the right thing and take them to the electronics recycling place (most councils have them) rather than just throwing them in the trash and adding toxins to landfill. Also remember to wash your hands after recycling. Note: The platters are quite safe to touch and re-purpose as long as you aren’t scratching into the material – they make great mirrors!