Apr 27 2009
Some of the coolest things in popular culture attained their coolness by being
modified and customized. Think about the Millennium Falcon from Star
Wars, any gadget from any James
Bond flick or Ash’s hand/chainsaw from Evil
Dead 2. Modification rocks. I’m not going to teach you how to get your TiBook
to make the jump to light speed or outfit your PowerBook with machine guns but
I will attempt to detail the steps involved in preparing a 12″ Dual USB
iBook lid for a custom paint job.
Be warned that the first step in this process (removing the lid from the back
of the screen) is one that Apple has forbidden its technicians from performing.
It has the potential to damage the delicate wiring of the LCD, backlight, microphone
and Airport antenna. I do not recommend doing this, but I offer these instructions
for your academic pleasure. Also, if you are determined to attempt this project,
I recommend reading through this entire tutorial before
proceeding to dismantle and paint your iBook lid (translation: wait until I
finish writing the second part before you start on the first. Okay?).
As a final warning, let me advise those with little or no artistic skill or
those lacking in patience to seriously reconsider starting a project such as
this. Perhaps it would be better advised for these people to contact DrBott
about purchasing an iSuit.
They come in many
designs, both cool and hideous,and only require that you follow the first
three steps of this outline.
Assuming you have some artistic abilities and patience, you might still be
safer buying a used
iBook lid off of eBay and leaving your trusty iBook untouched until you
creation is complete. Just an idea. Just throwing it out there….
Enough of the warnings! Here’s your parts list:
What You’ll Need For Part 1:
Step 1: Remove the lid from the back of your iBook screen
taking your iBook apart, make sure it is off and that the battery is removed
(just in case). The 12″ Dual USB iBook screen lid is held on by four small
hex screws that can easily be removed using a 1.5mm hex wrench (save your screws,
they are easily lost and not so easily replaced). Then with your iBook sitting
open and with the screen facing away from you, place your right and left thumbs
on the lid near the top corners and use your index and middle fingers to peal
the lid clips out of position (be careful not to break them). Slide your hands
midway down the side and use your fingers to pry the lid clips on the side out
of position. Finally, a small amount of effort is all it should require to unseat
the lid clips at the bottom and remove the lid from the screen back.
Set your iBook aside in a safe place where its exposed innards will not get
Step 2: Removing the lid clip gasket from the lid
found this to be the most difficult part of the process. Have a look at the
inside of the lid and inspect you lid clips. Notice that they are actually a
thin rectangular frame that is held in place by some pretty heavy duty double-sided
tape. You are going to have to fight very hard to remove this gasket or you
will be unable to dissolve that white paint that lies between it and the lid.
If you can live with having a strange white frame around your lid design, by
all means, skip this step.
Assuming that you are going to remove the clip gasket, you must choose your
tools carefully. The trick is to find something that is strong enough to be
wedged forcefully under the gasket, pliable enough to follow the inner curve
of the lid and thin enough to slide under the gasket without breaking itÃ³the
goal is to remove the gasket in one piece without breaking it and also keep
the scratching on the inside of the lid to a minimum. Some have had success
using a toothpick for this job, I’ve found that the lid from a can of soda (the
part that folds inside the can when you pop the top) did the trick quite nicely.
Try to stay away from screwdrivers or knives as they are very likely to destroy
the gasket and the surface of the iBook.
your are concentrating on removing the clip gasket while not breaking it or
scratching the inside of your lid, try to be mindful of the outside of the lid
alsoÃ³don’t scratch it either. It is unquestionably a tricky job and not
for those without the patience to take their time.
Once the clip gasket is removed, gently rub off the adhesive from both the
lid and the gasket. This gummy tape is a bit like rubber cement and you can
easily use a clump of removed adhesive to convince the rest to vamoose buy rolling
the removed clump around the more stubborn bits.
If you are preparing to use an iSuit, place the gasket inside the iSuit
lid under the iSuit’s clips and attach the iSuit lid to your iBook by
properly reseating the gasket’s clips and screwing in the countersunk
Phillips screws that were packaged with your imported custom iBook lid.
Step 3: Remove the Apple
This is just like removing the clip gasket. Use the tool you improvised for
Step 2 to separate the Apple logo from the lid by sliding said tool in and around
where the Apple logo is held down by that same gummy tape stuff.
Clean off the Apple logo and the area on the lid from whence it came just as
you cleaned the lid and gasket in Step 2.
Step 4: AlcoholÃ³you’re soaking in it
Now it’s time to take your plastic container and place a few folded paper towels
in the bottom of it. Now place your iBook lid with the inside facing up on top
of the paper towelsÃ³this will protect the outer surface from getting scratched
while you scrub the inside. Grab your bottle of rubbing alcohol and pour enough
of it into the container to fill and cover the iBook lid. Leave it to soak for
After 15 minutes of soaking lift the lid partially out of the alcohol bath
and gently scrub off the white paint with that old toothbrush of yours. It comes
of remarkably easy, so no need to scratch the plastic. Soak your lid for another
15 minutes if there is any more than just a slight haze remaining and continue
to gently scrub the dissolved paint. This may take some time. Just be patient.
Once nothing but a slight haze remains proceed to Step 5.
Step 5: You’ll wonder where the haze went when you brush your lid with
…actually any toothpaste should work, I would maybe stay away from tartar
control varieties though. This tip comes from my friend George
from Dive & Sea Sports and it is actually a well known technique for
breaking in new snorkel masks. Just squeeze a small dab of toothpaste on any
hazy areas and use a wet paper towel to buff away the cloudiness. Again, take
Once you’re done the haze should be gone, but in its place will be some very
fine scratching left by the toothpaste.
Step 6: Now that you’ve used your toothpaste it’s time for Ice Creme
Ice Creme is a two part iBook refinishing solution from RadTech. Follow the
directions provided with the product to buff away the scratches that the toothpaste
left behind. Beautiful. Now just wipe the lid down with a paper towel dampened
with rubbing alcohol.
Conclusion of Part 1: Consider the following
You should now have a crystal clear iBook lid. Some might be content to stop
at this point to re-adhere the clip gasket to the lid, reattach the lid to the
iBook and proudly display their transparent topped iBookÃ³no
shame in that. But if you are tempted to paint your iBook lid, here are
a few points to ponder as you try to settle on your design:
- Since you will be painting the inside of the lid, your first coat will be
the outer most or foreground application of paint when the lid is reattached.
This is the reverse of the way most PC mod’s are painted and is why, if you’re
planning a design with many colors, this mod should be painted with your darkest
color first and working your way back to the lightest color. You should take
some time to strategize how you plan to approach this backasswards style of
- You have more than just common spray paints to consider. You could use
lamp color to add transparent hues to your lid. You could use a spray
matte varnish to create an almost sandblasted translucent effect. Have a stroll
around your local hardware or paint store to see what options are open to
you. If you find any really cool ones, email them to me.
- Do not overlook the Apple logo. Any design you conceive will have a large
glowing Apple logo in the middle of it unless you are prepared to opaque it
out somehow. Make sure your take the logo’s placement into account when designing
your paint job.
- Masking. If your design require you to mask off certain areas, do not underestimate
the pain and toil that will come with the process of creating that mask. Try
to keep things simple. The design I have settled upon comes under the “complex”
heading and rather than cover the inside of my iBook with masking tape and
the scratch it all up with an Xacto knife in an effort to cut my mask, I have
created my artwork in Adobe Illustrator and emailed it to a sign shop to have
it cut out of adhesive vinyl. I anticipate that this may be a nightmare to
apply, given the lid’s concave structure, but I would sooner deal with that
than have a lousy mask and a scratched up lid.
That’s it for this week…