fun with a TORX set
Wednesday, January 31 2007
I've owned a computer since 1983 and a Macintosh since 1990, but only today did I get my first TORX wrench set. You know TORX heads, right? They're the ones that look like little Stars of David. (Some versions look almost exactly like Stars of David because they have hollow centers.) The first device I ever had that was held together with TORX screws was my first Macintosh SE. I was poor in those days and wouldn't have considered buying a TORX wrench, so instead I filed down the tip of a smallish flat screwdriver so it would just fit inside a pair of opposite points in the six-point TORX hole. This allowed me to crack the Mac's case open and add memory, a hard drive, and even a second floppy drive.
More recently I've had a number of TORX heads in amongst my various collections of screwdriver points, but the sizes have tended to be just a little too large for the TORX screws that, these days, I most want to remove. These are the tiny kind used to hold together hard drives. I love old dead hard drives because they're full of great materials. When you consider how much a brand new hard drive costs (particularly the old ones, of which I have quite a few), they were so expensive that it didn't add much to their price for individual parts to be made of premium materials. The most spectacular of their parts are the rare earth magnets used in the head arm mechanism. (I use these extremely powerful magnets as stud finders because of how talented they are at revealing the locations of drywall screws). But I also like the aluminum platters that used to hold the data. Modern drives don't have multiple platters the way slightly older ones did, so you only get one per drive. I don't yet have a use for these platters, but I'm thinking one might look really good as the reflective surface behind a lightbulb in a lamp.
By the way, a new TORX set usually costs at least $30, but I got mine for only $15.
My new TORX set.
Fun things from several hard drives, including rare earth magnets (on the left), aluminum platters, spindle motors, and (on the extreme right) a big spindle motor magnet array from a 90 megabyte full height 5.25 inch hard drive made by IBM.
Molly Ivins died today, though she was only 62. I always loved her satiric wit, which was flavored by what seemed like a long tradition of earthy Texas bullshit detection and an impressive dash of fearlessness. When you don't care what the hell people think, when you aren't listening over your shoulder to hear what everybody else is saying, you can find your way much closer to truth. Thus she her wisdom was unconventional, and far better than the conventional kind. I'm sure George W. Bush is taking her premature death as a sign from God that He is still Republican, and that He will finally smile upon the great Iraq adventure.
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