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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:50 pm 
Reputable Seller

Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:22 am
Posts: 737
Recently, I've gone through a huge pile of hard drives and I want to share my findings on scrapping them for max profit. Some of this has been shared in the past on this forum, but I'm reposting here for new members here and to make the information easier to find on the forum.

Tools needed:
Precision screwdriver set - $8 at Harbor Freight. Slightly more elsewhere. Must have the following size bits: Torx T4-T8, Phillips P000-P1
Hammer
Flathead screwdriver for prying
Drill and 5/16" bit (preferably one designed for metal) - For destroying platters on bad drives.
Magnet - for testing different metals found. You can find one inside a hard drive.

As always - safety first! Wear protective gloves and eyewear, especially when hammering or drilling.

These instructions will assume that the drives being scrapped are not in working condition to be reused and have data on them that needs to be rendered unrecoverable

1: Use the precision screwdriver set and remove the controller board from the bottom of the drive. Toss the board into your pile of stuff to sell to Boardsort.

2: Continue using the precision screwdriver set to remove all the screws holding the top cover of the drive on. There is at least one screw that is hidden under the drive label. Use the screwdriver to poke around the label until you find any round holes that may be covering up screws. Remove any hidden screws that you find.

3: Pry off the drive cover. Place it to the side and wave a magnet over it. If the magnet sticks, place with your steel. If not, place it with your aluminum or non-magnetic stainless steel.

4: Move the read/write head to one side and use a drill and 5/16" bit to drill a single hole through all the platters. Use one hand to hold the platters still.

5: Use the precision screwdriver and appropriate bit(s) to remove all other screws found inside the drive.

6: If held in place with a flathead screw, use a flathead screwdriver to remove the spindle from the read/write head. Otherwise, check to see if the head is held in place by a screw on the bottom of the drive.

7: Remove the platters from the spindle. Test the top ring and spacer rings for magnetic attraction. Toss as aluminum if no attraction. In some drives, the top ring may have a thin tension wire wrapped inside the ring. Use two pairs of pliers to remove the wire by holding the ring with one pair, and bending the ring with the other to release the wire. Toss the platters into a separate pile if selling to Boardsort, or place with your aluminum if your local yard takes them as aluminum.

8: Use a flathead screwdriver to assist with removing the magnets from near the read/write head.

9: If the spindle is a separate piece held in place by screws, use the appropriate screw size bit to remove the screws. Toss the spindle with your electric motors. If the spindle is part of the drive shell, do one of the following:

* Desktop hard drive: Use a hammer and screwdriver to tap the core of the spindle from the bottom while the drive is placed in a vise grip or other type object that will keep the drive still while you bang on it.

* laptop hard drive: Place the drive shell on top of a vise grip or other object that will allow the spindle to be over the gap between the sides of the vise. Hold the drive still with one hand and strike directly at the spindle. Being that the shell is thinner on laptop drives, it will break more easily. Toss the piece of the drive with the spindle with your electric motors. Toss what's left with your aluminum.

10: You should be left with an empty shell. Toss it with your aluminum.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:15 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:57 pm
Posts: 3063
Location: Low DOS
Great write up.
I'll mention one more tip and one word of warning to this
ALL hard drive covers excluding the plexi (see through) variations are TWO ply. Even if it sticks you should probably give a try on separating the two pieces one will always be aluminium.
The other is usually stainless but /could/ be nickel for $4+ per pound.

Older shells and some laptop drives will often use manganese or magnesium for the large shell.
Always check for an MG or MN or M in a triangle stamped into the case.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:23 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:57 pm
Posts: 3063
Location: Low DOS
Revised to be more precise .
One other note.
I've said this before; drilling through your platters does not delete your data
It will stop most people from being able to swap them into another drive though.
All else aside if you're not taking it apart drilling is a good safeguard but if you've got the thing open use a magnet!

You've gotten this far; so take some swipes across those platters with your free high grade magnet from the drive. Centre out. Much as you would cleaning a cd or DVD. This method in this angle pulls the stored "bits" out of alignment so even if you don't completely erase all the data any remnants would require far more in the way of servo programming to create new offset tracking than ANY data thief is going to go through.

I can (and have many a time) recovery a good 90% of the data off a drilled or punched drive in a commercial setting on proper equipment.
But have never gotten anything off one that used the magnet tricks, which is why I push it so hard.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:50 pm 
Reputable Seller

Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:22 am
Posts: 737
lostinlodos wrote:
One other note.
I've said this before; drilling through your platters does nothing for protection of your data.
You've gotten this far; so take some swipes across those platters with your free high grade magnet from the drive. Centre out. Much as you would cleaning a cd or DVD. This method in this angle pulls the stored "bits" out of alignment so even if you don't completely erase all the data any remnants would require far more in the way of servo programming to create new offset tracking than ANY data thief is going to go through.

I can (and have many a time) recovery a good 90% of the data off a drilled or punched drive
But have never gotten anything off one that used the magnet tricks, which is why I push it so hard.


I assume you own or have access to the high dollar equipment to do data recovery off bent or damaged platters.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:26 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:57 pm
Posts: 3063
Location: Low DOS
Me owning personally, no. But I worked for a company for a number of years that did. And I can buff out a single punch and swap the platters and recover a good bit of data. (Granted I've the experience to do so).
And they weren't all that expensive either.
As I've noted in the past mr scrapper in the pickup isn't going to spend out but your still vulnerable to a targeted attack.
At $1 per gig (specific revive) or $100-$500 per platter (mid range blanket recovery no rebuild) ...
It's a good safety key for Super Office Store and BAnk of Bufu when dumping a few drives.
Given the vast users of boardsort I like to keep everything safe for everyone ;)
You've got the drive open; do both!
That and drilling glass platters is dangerous.

But you did an awesome writeup and I'm going to hyjack it later today with a post of pictures I'll add.
I pulled apart and photographed a seagate drive to add to this.

[I give you permission to do so. The goal here is to educate your average scrapper on proper methods of destroying drives in a secure manner so no sensitive data is compromised.]


Attachments:
File comment: Your tools
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File comment: Outside all #7s
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File comment: Scratching; finding the screws
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File comment: I see you
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File comment: Lord of the rings
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File comment: Remove this, there's pellets in it
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File comment: Clean shell
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:13 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:57 pm
Posts: 3063
Location: Low DOS
In photos


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File comment: Silver connector and aluminium motor
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File comment: Mixed stuff here
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File comment: From the middle
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File comment: To bottom
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File comment: Two ply
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File comment: Snip it
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File comment: These rings vary; nickel, copper, silver, etc
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File comment: Silver wire or nickel wire
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File comment: Dirty al
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-- my grades are my own and do not represent an offer from boardsort, nor are they guaranteed. Please keep that in mind.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:21 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:55 pm
Posts: 161
Location: Texas
I feel like such a dummy, I have scraped a a lot of HDD's and throwed the heads in with my dirty aluminum assuming that wire was aluminum.

That brings me to another question.....for silver I can get an acid test kit, but what about for nickel short of an XRF gun. Is there some way to tell the difference in low grade magnetic SS and nickel?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:28 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:57 pm
Posts: 3063
Location: Low DOS
Nickel is magnetic
Silver is not

You almost certainly won't get stainless here; at least I never have.

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-- my grades are my own and do not represent an offer from boardsort, nor are they guaranteed. Please keep that in mind.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 8:47 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:27 pm
Posts: 45
Location: Sacramento CA
Lostinlodos wrote:

Remove this, there's pellets in it

I have always wondered what those pellets do (anti-vibration?) and what they are made of.

Thanks.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:25 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:57 pm
Posts: 3063
Location: Low DOS
Supposedly it's part of the filtration. I've found carbon by accident but with all the strange stuff out there I'm not sure on I do my best not to break them.
I just toss the whole thing sealed pellets plastic and all in shred
Someone smarter than me may be able to tell you exactly what it does.
Filtration makes no sense in a SEALED plastic strip bag.

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