How to Disassemble a Hard Drive


If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time, you’d know that hard drives have lots of excellent components inside of them. Unfortunately, disassembling one isn’t that straightforward, so here’s my “How to Disassemble a Hard Drive” guide.

As seen in the video, the most important tool required to get into one of these devices is a hex driver. If you don’t have one, here’s a review of the Wiha screwdriver set that I use. Additionally, you’ll need a flathead screwdriver, and, in my case a vise, hammer, and chisel. Usually you can get away with just a screwdriver, but the magnet decided it liked being attached to its base.

As for what you can do with these components, the magnets work much better than traditional ‘fridge paper holders, or you can use them to hold a GoPro camera, or even to attach reflective safety material to a backpack. the platter motor looks useful, and the read-head comes with a nice bearing. Of course, the platters themselves are very cool. Lots of people (including myself) use them as clocks. Here’s one that I engraved with my favorite college’s logo!

Of course, this isn’t my first post about HDD disassembly. This article takes a somewhat more destructive path, using a drill and a screw extractor. I’d recommend following the video seen here.


Removable Magnetic DIY Backpack Reflector Strip

For Christmas, my wife was nice enough to get me a new backpack. This was welcome, since I haven’t had one since college. I assume it’s around somewhere, but one that looks like it’s for an adult is probably best anyway.

DIY-backpack-reflectorThe pack is by Marmot, and is their “Pinecrest” model. Featuring a spot for a laptop as well as two water bottles, it should fit my needs well. The only concern I had was that it’s black, which looks cool, but could be hard to see at night. To help with this, I decided to buy a length of retroreflective fabric/tape from Amazon, thinking I’d sew it on the backpack for a permanent “DIY backpack reflector” solution.

After thinking about this for a while, I decided I didn’t want to potentially ruin a new backpack with my marginal sewing skills, and began to search for an alternative. At some point, my mind went to the lot of broken hard drives that I had purchased for a previous engraving project. Besides a really neat metalic disk, these drives come with an extremely powerful magnet, as well as metal pieces to stick them to. Thus I decided to glue the metal pieces inside the backpack, and embed two magnets in the reflective strip as shown in the gallery below. Note that hot glue was used to keep the magnets sealed inside in the last picture.

I’d debated on what to use for the metallic backing, but, as it turns out, the hard drive provided two ideal pieces of metal to attach them to. As an important bonus, when the magnet is attached to either of these metal pieces, the magnetic effect seems to nearly disappear on the other side. I still need to test it with electronics inside the bag (so try this technique at your own risk), but this makes me feel much better about it from that point of view. Here are a few shots of Read more »

DIY Reflective Dog Leash

reflect-6As it’s January, and things get dark quite quickly, sometimes I have to take the dog out for a walk after dark. I always wear a light, but after buying three meters of reflective fabric strip (less than $5 as of this writing on Amazon) for another project, I had a ton left over, and decided to add retro-reflectivity to Evie’s leash.

The photo below (three vertical dots) shows the leash hung from a tree with a light source reflecting off of it. Quite visible compared to the rest of the leash.

reflect-11As for how this was made, as shown in the gallery below, it wasn’t too hard. I just Read more »