Kindergarten Laptop

by Tim Moser


This Christmas marked my mother’s 26th year teaching. Over those years she has taught every elementary grade and has settled on kindergarten. So, this christmas season I picked up a Powerbook 540 and was looking for a good use for it. My mom, being the tech junkie she is, is still using my father’s old SE/30 to do all of her newsletters, PTA letters, and testing materials. Therefore I thought the 540 would offer a great upgrade for her needs. And with a new computer for her I can add the SE/30 to my collection!

Well, giving her a "new"? computer is a great gift idea, but I wanted to really personalize it. The first thought I had was to make the top of the screen into a frame. Then, while at the local Walmart I found this great fabric on sale for $1.00/yard and the "Kindergarten Laptop"? was born.


Front of completed laptop. The picture is of our family at her college graduation.

First thing I did was remove the screen from the laptop, and take the actual screen out of the shell. Here it is important to remember what came from where, so if you try a similar project, I suggest drawing a diagram so you can look back on it later.

Also, a quick note, on Apple's Powerbooks: you’ll be needing a torx screwdriver for most of the screws. That little issue stopped my project dead for a few days while I tracked down one from the local hardware store.

Next I took out all of the circuitry on from in the shell of the screen assembly. I chose not to cover the "inside"? section with cloth so I left the speakers and whatnot attached to the shell.

So, after the screen was torn apart I selected the "perfect"? photo and cut a hole in the shell in that size. Then I cut out a piece of Plexiglas that fits inside the hole. From there I moved onto the body of the computer.


Looking at laptop while closed. The picture is upside-down so that it can be seen easily while open.

This computer luckily was perfect for this project mainly because of the way it was built. The top and bottom of the body are separate from the middle. Once you have it apart you’ll have to remove all of the innards. Most are attached to the bottom section. Really all you need to take out is the hard drive and the floppy drive, and on the top section you have to take off the track pad and button.

So, after every things apart all you have to do is put on the fabric. I used spray adhesive to do this. You just spray the outside of the casing and lay the fabric on top. Just be careful as to not put to much adhesive on because it’ll seep through the fabric and look ugly.

Once it’s glued on you just cut out the holes, and around the outside. I left about 3/4"? around the edges. You use this in order to wrap around the edges of the shell so that it wouldn’t fray anywhere visible.

After you wrap all of the sections you just have to reassemble the laptop. Of course you want to be extra careful putting together the computer, but once it is reassembled you’ll be left with a fun and interesting laptop.

By the mom loves it and can’t stop showing it to everyone she knows.

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