iBook Repainting for Fun & Profit
(Well, for fun, anyway.)

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Here are the photos! These are iBook modifications that Stan Rabu and I made to our iBooks a few days ago. Feel free to e-mail me and ask questions. I should have some more information up here in the near future.

Update May 29/2002:
Stan came across this link to another couple of interesting iBook modifications. The key lime model strikes me as gaudy, but to each his own.

Update April 20/2002:
Here's a few links to some other interesting iBook mods which I've seen around the web. The TronBook mod was the one which sparked most of this activity.
1. TronBook
2. Skeleton iBook
3. steelBook
4. Clear iBook (pics only)
5. Clarus iBook
6. Blue iBook
7. Flower Power iBook
8. Six-Colour iBook

Update April 15/2002:
Well, I plan on putting some more information on this page once finals are over, but for now this is all you're going to get. =)

I'll see if I can explain the method here (click on the photos for bigger images).


Fun with iBooks! Maybe they think they're French?!?

First step is to remove the plastic case on the outside of the iBook. There are photos and instructions on how to do this around the web, so you should be able to find them. Inside the top cover is a white (or clear, in Stan's case) plastic insert which must be removed. It's glued in pretty well, so we used a screwdriver to pry apart the glue joint. Be careful not to mark the plastic - screwdriver dents trap the white paint very well and make it hard to remove. Also a problem in the top case is the clear apple in the middle. It's glued in, so the only way to get it out is to force it - don't be too shy, but be careful not to snap the case in two. The bottom case has no glued in parts, but all of the spacing tape down there must be removed as well. The clear plastic on the battery case is glued down over its whole surface and takes quite a bit (lots, to tell the truth) of force to remove. It makes a horrible *snap* sound when it finally comes apart, so be prepared.


Top lid photos. Sorry for the reflections - I'm a hacker, not an artist.

Removing the white paint is pretty simple. We put the iBook case parts on a clean counter and let them soak in methyl hydrate for about ten minutes. Then we used paper towels to gently scrub out the paint. if you're careful, you can leave the manufacturing information and the gray locks on the bottom case intact. This step is *very* important, because once the iBook is repainted a different colour, the white paint will show up right where you don't want it. Both Stan's iBook and mine had some plastic defects which trapped the paint pretty strongly, so we used a 3M pad to scrub the living crap out of those parts. The 3M scuffs up the case a lot - because of some errors made in the first paint job, Stan's case is completely opaque when unpainted. Don't worry about the scuffing, when the paint is applied, it will fill the microcracks and they will become invisible. It's much the same as how modeling glue cleans up all the scratches you put in your model car's windows if you're bad at assembling it (like I am).


Bottom view. Note the grey text and locks are still intact on the red model.

Ok - so now all the tape and glue and paint is out of the iBook. Next up is masking the parts of the machine you don't want painted. Do a good job here or you'll be sorry later. It's important to carefully mask over the hole where the apple insert goes on the top of the case, so that paint won't leak underneath while painting and discolor the top of the case. This is more of an issue for some paints than others (more later on that). The bottom is much more difficult to mask, but you'll get it eventually. Make sure the screw holes are all masked for the same leakage reason. We used a sheet of paper to cover the bulk of the area on the top and bottom to save time, but make sure to first mask the critical areas.


Batteries. LEDs are original in both cases - they look different because of the translucent paint.

Once the masking is completed, you can begin painting. I don't have a brand name with me, but we used glassware paint that we bought at Wal-Mart for about CDN$5 per can. Each machine took 2 cans by the time it was completed (well, not two full cans, but more than one). Stan's book was done with "stained" glass paint, and mine with "frosted" glass paint. MAKE SURE YOU TEST YOUR PAINT FIRST. We tested Stan's for application and removal on a piece of plexiglass, and mine only for application. This is where the problem arose. We applied the first coat a bit thick on the top case of my iBook, and when the paint dried it cracked. We tried to remove it, and most came out, but it had had some chemical reaction with the plastic and turned it pink. The result is that my iBook has two faintly visible cracks in the paint. These are nearly unnoticeable now, because we applied 5 or 6 very light coats to the top case in order to cover up the blemishes. The "stained" paint was removed as easily as the original white paint. Stan was unhappy with the initial job he did on his machine, so he took all the blue paint out of the top lid when we were doing mine. He used the 3M pad to scrape out all the paint, and the plastic was *very* scuffed. Certainly no way to see through it - sort of shower glass texture, I'd say. Reapplying the paint covered all the scratches, though. I would recommend doing very light coats of paint, and having several coats to reach the desired shade.


Machines open and running. I've also modified the system resource files so that my scrollbars, checkboxes, etc. are also red.

Once painted, we windexed the plastic inside and out to clean off the paint surface before reassembly. We also turtle waxed the machine while it was apart. Replacing the apple logo and the white (clear) top plastic insert was done with an *amazing* product called "Household Goop". Find it, use it, love it. We let the glue dry overnight, and then reassembled the top. Goop was also used to reglue the battery case. The spacer tape on the bottom of the machine is half of double sided tape. We stuck the tape to a sheet of paper, and then sliced it halfway in between the glued sides. Then we peeled the remaining sticky side and attached it where the original tape had been. This stuff was the best thickness match we could find.


Machines running from behind. You can see part of Ken's head, too. His iBook is one of the two white ones above.

While we were inside the case, we removed the white sleep LED from my machine and replaced it with a red one. This part is pretty simple, and I think anyone comfortable with the rest of this mod will have no problem figuring it out.


My sleep LED. It's actually red. None of the photos turned out. Sorry - maybe some photographic genius out there has hints on how to take a better shot?

The chrome vinyl sticker of Stan's name came courtesy of his brother, who works at an auto trim shop. It's applied directly to the metal shielding under the top lid. My biohazard logo is printed on a transparency. We cut it out and used metallic tape to place it over the the diffuser by the backlight.


The last photo {tm}.

I'm pretty sure I've covered everything here... Let me know if you need any more information or if you have any more comments!

-- Carl Norum (carl.norum@usask.ca)

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