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Hard drive magnets, and the stuff they're mounted to

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So, has anyone pulled apart a hard drive recently?

I did a while back. I heard that hard drive magnets were mounted to a metal that, essentially, blocks the magnetic field from passing through it, in an effort to save the hard drive disks. This may be completely wrong.

From what I understand about these magnets, the poles are arranged quite oddly. On a flat surface, when placed on a table, one side of the magnet is north and the other is south - but they repel each other straight away from the table.

Anyway, the magnets are weird. Hard to describe.

They're attached to these pieces of metal. On the other side of this metal, it is nearly impossible to get the magnets to stick to each other, as if the metal blocks magnetism.

So, my first question is, do hard drive magnets have a material that blocks magnetism, or is this a fancy trick of how the magnets are placed?

My second question: Does such a material exist, able to block magnetism?

So... it's not a special type of metal? It's just steel?

I'm more concerned about it than the magnets. Magnets are cheap.

Do you know if there is a material that can block magnetism?

http://www.kjmagnetics.com/blog.asp?p=shielding-materials

Sorry to disappoint, but not special.

Here is a link to some folks that make it their business to know all about magnets. Literally, it is their business.

I have taken apart far more that my fair share of hard drives. I have a big tote full of magnets.

The plates are just metal. The magnetic field finds it easier to travel through the metal plate than free air because the metal is more permiable than air.

You can cut those magnets with an inexpensive wet tile saw from Harbor Freight into any size shape you want.

To get the plates off give the whole thing a sharp wack on a table or with a hammer.

The magnets will slide free of the metal plates.

Do not try to pry them off.