Where To Find Scrap Magnets

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Magnets are a scrappers best friend, and are necessary when performing THE MAGNET TEST! With a magnet, a scrapper can pretty much sort all of the ferrous from non-ferrous metals. But where can you find them?


Magnets are such useful tools, and if you know where to look, they can be aplenty! These 5 places are a  ”must-check” whenever I need magnets for a project.
  1. Hard Drives

    Hard drives are worth quite a bit simply as scrap hard drives because they are made of aluminum and non-magnetic stainless steel. But, if you take the time to pull them apart, you will find 2 large neodymium super-magnets!

    hard drive magnets Where To Find Scrap Magnets
    Proper disassembly is recommended, and this often requires a precision
    Torx bit set, found easily and cheaply on eBay. 

    These magnets generally have a magnetic field strength of 1 Tesla, and that means they are really able to show some pulling power. Nowhere else can you get such large free neodymium magnets!

    Each magnet is coated with nickel, and then epoxied onto a magnetic shielding super alloy. This ally is called permalloy, or mu-metal, and is approx. 70% nickel.  What makes this alloy so special? It literally stops the magnetic pull in its tracks. Try it next time you have a chance: stick something to the magnet, then pull it off and try to stick it to the other side of the magnet (where the shield is) and be amazed!

  2. Magnetrons in Microwaves

    These magnets are my favorite when sorting scrap metal via the magnet test. If you pull apart a microwave, you probably see notice the large transformer right away, and maybe even the fan motors or wires, but do you ever look at the magnetron?

    magnetron Where To Find Scrap MagnetsMagnetron+magnets Where To Find Scrap Magnets

    After doing a write-up of How To Scrap a  Magnetron, I heard more about how much people love the magnets from these things then about the copper! And it makes sense; they are big, easy to hold onto, and strong enough to get the job done! Each magnetron has 2 large ferrite magnets, and although they are weaker then a super magnet, they often prove more useful!

  3. Speakers

    All speakers have the same main components: a head, some copper windings and a magnet. Some speakers are hard to take apart, others are not that bad. But be careful, if a speak magnet is glued into place, it may not be worth trying to pull out. These magnets are ferrite (like magnetron magnets) but don’t require ripping open a microwave.

    The downside of these magnets is that they are harder to pull out ( in my opinion). And the biggest magnets are found in big speakers, which I don’t run across all that often, unless I seek them out.
     

  4. Electric motors

    There are many types of electric motors, and all of them rely on magnetic force. Many motors have permanent magnetic fields made by permanent magnets. The more permanent magnets you have in a motor, the more powerful it is (generally) so this makes electric motors a great place to look for magnets.

    To tell which motors have permanent magnets, they will be the ones that give resistance when you try to spin their shaft. If the shaft spins freely, then there are no magnets in the motor.

  5. Electro Magnets!!!!

    You see big versions of these magnets every day at a scrap yard. They convert electricity into magnetism, and are used in everything from door bells to washing machines.

    Making an electromagnet is simple; you just need electricity, wire, and a steel rod of some sort.

    I made my own electromagnet by gathering some of the necessary materials. Grab a scrap phone charger (or computer charger, ect… You just want scrap power supply that will turn your AC outlet into DC current) and cut off the end (not the plug). Also, grab a steel nail, bolt, or rod.

    Twist together the two severed ends of the charger, and split the two lines apart so you have one large loop. Then, wrap the nail/bolt/rod, so it looks like the picture below.

    Simple electromagnet2 Where To Find Scrap Magnets

    Once you plug your charger in, you will notice the magnetic pull of the rod.  The rod will become more magnetized if you have more DC current running through the wire (by using a different charger), or if you wrap it a larger number of times.

    I made an electromagnet just like this, wired it up to a light switch, and mounted it above my work bench.  Now I have an extra strong magnet that I can shut on and off!

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave September 12, 2011 at 2:30 am

I keep a few “odds n ends” magnets stuck to various metal surfaces around my work area and even my truck bed,but thanks to your articals,i have been less “embarassed” at the scrapyard when i bring in my sorted/processed non ferrous that has be previously checked with your recomended neodymium super-magnet from a hard drive,-if something’s got a hint of ferrous,it will find it.

Reply

ScrapMetalJunkie September 12, 2011 at 2:46 am

Definitely! The magnets out of hardrives have very strong magnetic fields. Sometimes if your not careful, you can pinch your self between two powerful magnets (and it really hurts!).

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Colin McAllister September 12, 2011 at 4:24 am

Who buy`s scrap Mu-metal

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ScrapMetalJunkie September 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Most scrap yards do not buy mu-metal specifically, but many scrap yards specialize in nickel alloy scrap. If a yard doesn’t want your “mu-metal” (aka “permalloy” among other things) then find another scrap yard that does. Unfortunately, if there are not many scrap yards with your area, then there are not many options for you.

Best of Luck!

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Rob December 26, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Are there places that buy magnets for better prices than scrap? I haven’t found any and am wondering if I should just add them to my steel loads or not. Obviously, not the ones from the hard drives:)
Thanks.

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ScrapMetalJunkie December 27, 2011 at 12:05 am

Not really, at least not as scrap… Even the rare earth magnets are not extra valuable as scrap. The only way a magnet will be worth more than shred price is if you sell it as a used/old magnet for crafts, projects, etc. eBay or craigslist would be a good option.

Some magnets are made of a high nickel/cobalt alloy called Alnico (aluminum nickel cobalt). These type of permanent magnets are worth much more then shred price.

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Jeremy April 20, 2012 at 11:21 am

Are you still looking for magnets because I have a mmats juggernaut speaker I can’t use anymore

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Joke August 5, 2012 at 11:02 am

Hi,
Sure! Yes, I’m interested in your Juggernaut speaker!
(it’s probably gone though, eh?)

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David Wayne Sturdevant January 31, 2013 at 3:33 am

I was noting the comments regaurding the ideal of selling old magnets as scrap, and…I wondered if you had ever considered salvaging them to be used in constructing your own wind turbine generator. All you need is an axis that the magnets could be mounted to and could spin on, that rotates round a copper coil base (easy to “design” yourself actually), and then having a DC to AC inverter to harness the energy which is generated from the electromagnetic field when the magnets discharge to the copper coils. Of course it would only be good for charging batteries…UNLESS you have a DC to AC inverter between the turbine and the bridge. But, my point is, you do NOT want to be just trashing old drives, no matter how crappy, small or old they may be!

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JERRIS February 23, 2013 at 8:40 am

I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO BUILD A WIND TURBINE GENERATOR, BUT I DONT WANT TO JUST CHARGE BATTERIES ! I PURCHASED A DC TO AC INVERTER YEARS AGO , I HAD A NEIGHBOR I WANTED TO TEACH ME HOW TO ”REALLY” USE IT, BUT HE HAD TO RELOCATE BEFORE HE WAS ABLE TO . I HAVE MANY DIFFERENT CONVERTERS, INVERTERS, AND ANYTHING U COULD THINK OF TO CHANGE ELECTRCITY AROUND. I AM SO INTERESTED IN ELECTRICITY I CONSTANTLY LOOK FOR NEW GADGETS. I COULD PROBABLY LIVE OUT OF MY CAR WITH ALL THE COMFORTS ELECTRICTY PROVIDES, BUT I DID NOT BUILD THEM. IF YOU KNOW OF A BOOK OR OTHER SOURCE WITH SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS FOR A WIND TURBINE GENERATOR OR ANY OTHER TYPE OF POWER SOURCE I COULD MAKE, I WOULD LOVE IT. WHEN I TRY TO GET PROFESSIONALS TO TALK TO ME , THEY JUST LAUGH BECAUSE I LOOK LIKE SUCH A ”LADY” THEY CAN’T BELIEVE I AM SERIOUS. FRUSTRATING, BUT NOT DISCOURAGING, I DON’T GIVE UP EASILY, LOL I AM NOT TECH EDUCATED AND THEREFORE HAVE A LITTLE TROUBLE WITH SOME OF THE TERMS, SO INITIALLY WILL NEED SIMPLICITY PLEASE, I AM EXTREAMLY MECH. INCLINED FOR A ”FRILLY WOMAN” AND HAVE A NATURAL ABILITY FOR THIS . (was tested for ”NATURAL ABILITIES” AT BCC IN FLA. and went off the chart for women) . Any info you could provide would be Greatly Appreciated. I live in Brevard county , Fla. if you know anyone that might be into ”inventing” I would be very interested in talking, working with or being a partner, Inventing is a part of my life.

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Steven March 13, 2013 at 4:07 pm

That is pretty awesome! I also want to learn how to make a generator. I even took basics of electronics but I need to learn a lot more than just the basics of what it is. Unfortunately, getting parts of what I need is a bit complicated. I have always been fascinated of motor and generator functions. Now I know where to find magnets for free! This article or blog has useful information that I would have never known about! Kudos to JERRIS for having the parts I wished I have and for having a natural ability of interest in electricity, and thanks to ScrapMetalJunkie for this great information and familiarizing others like me!

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Jason September 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Ok, which washing machine brands and models use neodymium magnets. I retrieved a plastic wheel that had eight large and very strong neos that I seperated from it. I was told at the scrap yard it came from a washing machine but not many use them I am finding out. I have access to all brands and models of machines but do not want to take them apart for nothing. I even found a government recycle program talking about neos and listing the items that have them so you know which items to keep which list washing machines. Any info would be great :)
Thanks,
Jason

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Mary September 9, 2013 at 4:14 pm

I currently have many pounds of magnets from a recycling project that is on going. The material used in this magnet is Neidymium-iron-boron. Do you know where I could take this product for recycling?

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Saud Khashan, October 13, 2013 at 9:20 pm

I appreciate your help in finding where can I find (recycle) permally (78% Ni, 22% Fe) wires or pure Ni wires smaller than 0.2 mm in diameter. I need them in a research project and most supplier request a minimum order of many kilograms where what i need is 1.0 m or less. I have a feeling that it must be around somewhere; old laptob. computer accesories or other electronic devices

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adlogan August 19, 2014 at 1:55 am

Hi if anyone could tell me if neodymium magnets are used in speakers id love to know . i have so many speakers down to the magnets but i cannot get the magnets off the inner metal?any suggestions would be a great help. i am thankful for this site a thanks for any information
Logan

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