The Black Stripe

by Ben McCorkle

Okay, so I'll be the first to admit that this isn't the most ambitious case mod, but I wanted to make a simple yet bold artistic statement that didn't totally disrupt the strong Snow White design language of my Powerbook 170 (sounds better than outright confessing to being a slacker, doesn't it?).


I wanted to do something that established a family lineage to my newer latop--a G3 Powerbook Wall Street --so I opted for an off-center stripe of semi-gloss black spraypaint to echo the color and texture of the G3.

No real tricks here. I masked off the area I wanted to paint with--of all things--masking tape, giving the book a few light coats rather than one heavy one--this is the cardinal rule of spraypainting, by the way, as it minimizes runs. Of course, you should exercise patience and let the paint dry in between applications. Afterwards, I removed the masking tape and noticed there was slight bleeding in spots (tip: use quality tape or suffer the consequences). I cleaned up the edges rather nicely with some Goo Gone , an all-purpose gunk remover and, as its label touts, perhaps the most effective combination of scientific technology and citrus power thus far offered to mankind. I gave the same treatment to the Powerbook's AC power adapter.



For the piece de resistance, I slapped a white Apple logo sticker on the inside next to the trackball. After a week or so of staring at it, though, I began to get a little restless. The stripe didn't seem "finished" to me...the black and grey contrast was a little weak, so I talked myself into giving it a pinstripe job. Armed with a Testor brand paint pen I picked up at a local hobby store, I carefully made a racing-style pinstripe design around the black paint--a narrow stripe on one side, a wider one on the other. Still not entirely satisfied, I did a Google Image search for a good flame design, made a template, and traced it onto the front edge of the black stripe. I hope the irony's not lost on anyone.

powerbook_after3 powerbook_after4

The PB 170 is now a sleek and sophisticated member of my Apple fleet, and one that I actually use a good deal of the time--for page layout and wordprocessing mainly, but what do you expect from a machine that's close to 15 years old?

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