take apart computer for kids to play with?

I have an old imac that is pretty useless as a computer, I don't want to throw it away. What parts are safe for kids to play with? (i mean no hazardous materials) to play with if any? Any dangerous pieces when I do take it apart?

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Joe Martin8 years ago
Put it on craiglist, Whatever you do... DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN PLAY WITH IT, Computers are not meant to be opened and then used as toys. Imacs have a CRT monitor which contains nasty chemicals and high voltages. Just please don't, Children should be kept alive, well and safe.
Joe Martin is right. Old computers (and new ones) can contain lots of bad stuff like arsenic. Instead, donate it or sell it at a yard sale. Or you could load Linux (I suggest Debian) onto it and use that. Linux is good for resurrecting old computers. Hope this helps! ;)
To be honest there is not much in a computer that is not poisonous or dangerous, however the only real danger is electricity and I assume you are not a muppet and letting kids play with anything plugged in, so that is fine. As for the poisons again I assume you will not be letting the kids suck on the components....hummm again comes down to parent supervision... like so much eh?

If you watch over your kids they can do almost anything they want...within reason...if they are wondering what would happen if they put a cat in the microwave you may want to step in... Seriously, though, about the only dangerous will be sharp corners of the case or the solder points of the motherboard...I would not let them take the motherboard off the case, just because it is sharp on the back, and there is no need as everything plugs into it anyway.

Good luck and have fun....and watch your kids, way better than TV
miiwii38 years ago
forget them i have been a tech savy since birth and took apart my first pc at age 6. just take out the power supply and dont opn it up for about 2 days after last runtime to allow cappasitors to discharge. i impressed a guy from dell when i told i know how a computer worked and showed him the pieces of the computer and explained what the did. explain it like electricity is cars, resitors are traffic ic's are junctions, capaciors are like red lites. keep the parts for later and as the get older start explaining more and more. oh and the drives hold information for when the red lights go on or off. i presume they are young. you can gadually explain more and more. thats how i learned. and yes putting it back together is really fun and easy. tell me if u need more help.
I was always tech savvy, but I have never taken down a computer before. At the age of 7 my cpmputer broke down my dad promised I could dismantle it, 8 years past and finnaly we broke it, I used the RAM in another computer the hard drive was just rubbish/
miiwii3 miiwii38 years ago
sry about spelling mistakes answering at 4:00 am a bit tired
knex_mepalm7 years ago
If you sand down the RAm and then masking tape all over the head, and then electical tape all over it at least 1 inch thick, Im sure it is safe to play with...
I am Silas.8 years ago
I play with very dangerous things like blackpowder, knives, and high voltage items but, I still agree.
karnuvap8 years ago
Depends on the ages of your children. Any small parts present a potential choking hazard to the smaller kids. The battery backup cell probably contains mercury and so shouldn't be given to children who might eat it. Some of the metalwork could have sharp edges so watch out for that. The circuitboards might have sharp protrusions on the back side and, of course, any reasonably old PC will have been made before they introduced lead-free solders and so they should wash their hands after playing with it before eating anything.
appolo8 years ago
Well how about just removing the hard drive and dismantling it. You'll find really powerful magnets here from which youngsters could have hours of fun with.
karnuvap appolo8 years ago
Except that those magnets can present a serious nip hazard - they can trap little fingers. Or even big fingers. But the discs make nice mirrors.
Jayefuu8 years ago
I think it could be quite fun to take it apart and explain to them simply what each bit does. If it's almost no good as a PC now, can't be any harm in getting them to take it apart and put it back together if they're under supervision.
lemonie8 years ago
Sell it or donate it? It's not really suitable to be turned into kid's things excepting the plastic-casings. L
Would the RAM sticks be safe enough for use? I can't come up with particular hazards there, except perhaps a pair of potentially sharp corners...
What are kids going to do with RAM? The issue of suitability isn't just about safety. L
cdubnbird8 years ago
yeah it's really just dangerous not exactly a toy unless your kids are old enough and smart enough to play with the high voltage things using an instructable on here. the CRT screen is under immense pressure (really a huge vacuum or lack of pressure but anyways...) those can explode sending flying glass all over the place. the capacitors can store a charge for years and have enough juice to electrocute someone if you touch it. some very small and/or specific parts are often encased in polished rounded stainless steel enclosures. you could take that off it and they could play with the shiny piece of metal?
and7barton8 years ago
Most of what's inside a PC is pretty toxic, or will prick little fingers. It will also be coated with greasy filthy dust.