Clear AirPort Base Station

Like the first Dual-USB iBooks, the snow AirPort base station has its casing made of clear plasic painted white on the inside. And like many have done with iBooks, with a little work you can also make an APBS clear (or any color you want, if you repaint it). Here's how you go about making your own ClearPort.

Tools:

1. Torx T8 screwdriver
2. 16 ounces of the strongest isopropyl alcohol you can find
3. Electrical tape
4. Scissors
5. Watertight plastic container, large enough to hold the APBS

Here are the steps:

1. Open up the base station by removing the three screws from the bottom. Lift the top off, remove the port cover on the back, and lift out the metal electronics pack. Set the pack aside; you won't need to touch it until it's time to reassemble the APBS.

2. The only two pieces we'll be working on is the top and bottom casing. The rear port cover is solid white plastic.

3. Find an out-of-the-way, well-ventilated place in which to work. Set the top cover of the APBS upside down inside your plastic container -- you will, simply enough, be filling it with isopropyl alcohol as you would a bowl. The plastic container is used to help hold the piece upright (if you get the right size container, the top should fit snugly between the sides) and contain spills.

4. Exactly 16 ounces of isopropyl will fill the top casing to its brim. If you're doing this hack on a graphite base station, you'll want to use electrical tape to seal off the port access hole (you'll want electrical tape because it's waterproof). Fill the top casing and let it sit for at least 4 hours, so the alcohol will have sufficient time to break down the paint.

5. While the top casing is soaking, mask off the bottom casing. Use electrical tape to cover over the two screw holes and also seal off the port access hole (without the screw and port access holes sealed, the isopropyl will leak out of the bottom casing during soaking). If you care about such things, mask off the sticker on the bottom of the casing, otherwise just write down the MAC addresses listed there in case you need them in the future. I recommend just making off the sticker.

6. After at least four hours have passed, dump out the isopropyl from the top casing into the plastic container. Don't get rid of the isopropyl, as we'll reuse it for soaking the bottom casing.

7. Get a soft kitchen sponge and, under running water, rub off the paint from the inside of the top cover. If the paint is hard to remove, soak the cover in alcohol longer. DO NOT use an abrasive pad, as this will leave visible scratches in the plastic (trust me on this one). A soft kitchen sponge should be all the more you need.

8. Once all the paint has been removed from the top cover, set it aside to dry. You may also want to wash your hands at this point and/or apply some lotion, as isopropyl has a nasty haabit of drying out your skin quickly.

9. Soak the bottom cover using the isopropyl you soaked the top cover with. Even though it may appear to be thick with paint, the isopropyl is still strong enough to remove paint.

10. Rub off the paint from the bottom case, as you did with the top.

11. After thoroughly drying the two pieces, simply reassemble the AirPort. If you got scratches in the plastic while removing the paint, try using a polishing agent such as Brasso. While it may not remove deep scratches (like the kind I ended up with after mistakenly using a scouring pad to help remove the paint), it will, with patience, remove light scratches.

And here's the finished product: