Introduction: Fitting Electronics Into Altoids
A lot of effort on this site seems to go towards fitting stuff into Altoids tins, so I thought I'd give it a try.
Step 1: Initial Problem
Here in New Zealand, we don't have Altoids, so when we want to fit things into little tins, we use "Eclipse Mints," which are pretty much the same concept.
But there is a second problem! The tins are pretty small. I wanted to fit an analogue PWM controller into one, and as you can see from the photograph above, there was no way that the circuit board would fit.
Folding it in half wouldn't work either, and after that, neither would the circuit, so I had to come up with an alternative.
Step 2: Change of Plan
Since the electronics would not fit into the mint container, perhaps the mints would fit into the electronics container.
I obtained a dead Nokia flip-phone.
Step 3: Pulling It Apart
Dismantling the phone was fairly easy.
Thin plastic coverings for the facia were held on with a contact glue and could be prised off with a penknife.
Circuit boards and hardware like screens or hinges were held on with very small Torx screws or Phillips.
The only tricky step was that the cover for the hinge area was assembled by sliding a U-shaped piece over the join, which then clicked into place. The photograph above shows how it slides off.
Once all the components were separate, I washed them with dishwashing liquid, scrubbing the little corners with an old toothbrush.
Step 4: Peppermint?
Reassembly is an edited version of disassembly, with all the electronics thrown away.
The screen on the inside of the lid was quite heavy, and unbalanced the case when it was open, so I threw that away and replaced it with a slip of paper.
There were a large number of small openings in the base of the unit, so I ran a bead of hot-melt glue around the inside to seal out pocket fluff, and then coloured that black with a fine point Sharpie. This also served the purpose of retaining the battery cover.
Then simply pour in half a tin of mints, and you're good to go. Final result, a useful handful of mints, and some very odd glances from people.