Hard Drive Stud Finder

Did you know you can turn your broken old hard drive into a stud finder? In fact, this can work better on plaster walls than normal electronic stud finders and also works well on drywalls too. What better way to repurpose an old hard drive than turning it into a stud finder. I call it poetic justice. It’s about time that that thing did something productive.

Ok, why make a stud finder? You know you secure your furniture from falling during earthquakes, and that you should attach your furniture to nice, secure walls studs, but how do you find those elusive studs? Sure, you can get an electronic stud finder, but they can be finicky, and they don’t work on the plaster and lath walls found in older homes. Besides, sometimes it’s just more fun to take stuff apart and make something rather than just buy a gadget.

Here’s what to do. Hard drives contain powerful magnets. You simply disassemble the hard drive, remove the magnets, hang one on a string and gently swing it pendulum-style across your wall. The magnet sticks to nails or screws that hold the wooden laths (in plaster walls) or the wall board to the studs. Find the nails or screws and you find the studs.

How to Make Hard Drive Stud Finder

Ok, that sounds pretty easy, and it is. But there are some important things to keep in mind first:

  • Taking apart a hard drive destroys it. Kids: no, you may not take apart mommy and daddy’s hard drive just to get a couple of cool magnets.
  • The magnets are powerful and will try to snap together or to metal. Don’t let your fingers get in the way.
  • The hard drive must be completely removed from the computer–you know, as in, no wires still hooked up to it. If your hard drive is still in a computer and you don’t know how to safely remove it please don’t try this.
  • Keep powerful magnets of any kind away from small children who are prone to putting things in their mouths.

Here’s my hard drive. It’s the 5.25″ size found in desktop computers. It’s filled with precious data, all of it unrecoverable. :-p To take it apart you need a special kind of screw driver, a Torx driver. They are available in hardware stores. Some of the screws are hidden under stickers to remind you that you shouldn’t take apart a hard drive you ever want to use again.

Stud finders will be useful when you are doing DIY improvements to your home to make it more safe during emergencies. One of the most important tools to have in your home during an emergency would be something that let’s you stay up to date with the news. Internet probably wont be working during an emergency which is where the best emergency radios come in. We have sorted through the best models in the market so you can choose one that is best for you.