Picture of How to make a Macbook Tablet
iPad too small or too locked-down for you? Build your own Mac Tablet!

There are three excellent Mac Tablet builds on Instructables already, so what sets my build apart from the crowd?
- The build is self-contained within the original Macbook body.
- Instead of using a Wacom tablet such as c4l3b or tqbrady's build, this tablet uses a modified Wacom TabletPC digitiser and stylus from a HP TX1000. Its much thinner and easier to modify.
- The optical drive, keyboard and trackpad get ditched for a USB hub and some funky peripherals...

The inspiration for this build came from the Axiotron Modbook (or nowadays, Modbook Inc's Modbook Pro), which turned a Macbook Core 2 Duo into a tablet. Whilst being the object of my affections for a few years, the price tag was just too great. 

On launch, the Modbook's RRP was a whopping £1,649.
My build is currently topping out at £240

The shopping list:
£150 - Macbook Core 2 Duo (2.16gHz, 80gb hard drive, 1gb ram) sold without battery or OS X, off eBay. 
£25 - HP TX1000 Wacom Digitiser with cable, off eBay.
£25 - HP TX1000 Stylus and spare nibs, off eBay.
£20 - Wire, solder wick, flux pen from Proto-Pic
£20 - Second HDD Caddy
(Several other parts and accessories have been collected over the years and have been reused.)

You're probably excited by the cheap cost by now, so before we begin, here's a word of warning:
During this build, you will destroy a perfectly good Macbook. It involves cutting a huge hole in the display lid, tearing the keyboard to its basic parts, cutting parts of the chassis, and soldering/desoldering tiny wires which connect to the logic board. This build is not to be undertaken lightly!

That's it, that's all. Let's make a MacTab!
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SaadA618 days ago

I have started following the guide with a 15 inch unibody mid 2009 core 2 duo macbook i had laying around (of course following with major compromises since there very loosely similar)
I am running into issues with finding a digitiser that works with my display size (assuming 12 inch is nowhere near big enough), so I was wondering if you could maybe suggest a similar model to me

MrQuiffster (author)  SaadA611 days ago

Hello! I assume its the 15.4" size, and that will be fun to tear apart! A lot of a metalwork involved, right?

At the cheap end (and probably the easiest to obtain) would be a Toshiba Tecra M4 digitiser. I believe these screens go up to 14" in size, so you'd still have some calibration issues. They are Wacom though, so the Wacom drivers should work.

At the expensive and possibly very hard-to-get is the Sony Vaio FIT 15A. This has a 15.5" screen, and an N-Trig digitiser.

It might be worth asking on the Bongofish forums, as they are more likely to know a decent enough digitiser! Good luck, and let me know if I can help you at any other time!

Coolvlad2 months ago
Smart that so cool
carldyke2 months ago

I like it alot you should do it to a white unibody with 8gb ram to make a more powerful one

awesome I would like one!
G9baum3 months ago
Would this work with a new macbook pro 2013 retina edition
MrQuiffster (author)  G9baum3 months ago

In theory, yes, but you probably want to check iFixit to see how to take the Retina Macbook apart, and how easy it would be to modify it to accept a digitiser.

I've had a look, and it would be very very difficult to do, but not impossible. Good luck!


smac746 months ago
MrQuiffster (author)  smac746 months ago

Confused by what?

Apologies, I believe that this comment may have been left by my daughter (she is only 9), she loves the Instructables site and uses my log in.

jeremy loa1 year ago

Can i make from other laptops such as samsung , acer or etc ?

MrQuiffster (author)  jeremy loa1 year ago

It should be possible to. It all depends on how the screen is fitted to the case, and whether the case is symmetrical or not!

You may also need to step down a USB supply to 3.3v too. Hope this helps!


puddingman1 year ago
Dude make me one
I really like this idea
cool app
benhacker1 year ago
ihave made a version like you said but used an old ipad screen and inserted a patch for multi touch capabilities now working on screen rotation
MrQuiffster (author)  benhacker1 year ago

Wow! Really? Can I ask how you managed to implement multi-touch and screen rotation?

roryg181 year ago
Where can u get the touch screen from for the tab u made
MrQuiffster (author)  roryg181 year ago

It's not a touch screen. It's a normal laptop screen with a pen digitiser behind the screen. The digitiser can be found on eBay.

ArborPress1 year ago
What type of soldering station is that? It's beautiful.
MrQuiffster (author)  ArborPress1 year ago

It's a Weller WHS40. 'Beautiful' is exactly how I would describe it too!

jelimoore1 year ago
What about a keyboard?
MrQuiffster (author)  jelimoore1 year ago
See the reply to Jovino, as they asked the same question.
pkarelia1 year ago
What about multi touch gestures and a multi touch capacitive touchscreen with on screen keyboard
MrQuiffster (author)  pkarelia1 year ago
There's only single-point on this device, and thats via the pen. I believe you can get a multi-touch glass overlay to go on top of the screen, but getting it to fit inside the casing might be a problem.
I'm also not sure about whether OSX allows multi-touch or not, and I would assume if it did, it may only be limited to mouse-gestures.
I'm working on it. Lately I have almost no time to invest. Patience.
I have been working a cuople of weeks with a similar project.
I have the solutions to make a macbook tablet with a calibrated touch screen.
I have used tx1000 and tx2000 digitizer. Both are calibrated in mac os 10.7. In a few days I'll publish the "how to".
Thank you MrQuiffster for the inspiration!
MrQuiffster (author)  dmolada rossello1 year ago
Fantastic, I can't wait to see the finished Instructable!
Hopefully you will inspire more people to give this project a go!
Link for the "HP TX1000 Wacom Digitiser with cable"? Will the TX 2500 work?

Looks like something like this?

1. http://www.amazon.com/HP-TouchSmart-TX2-1000-SUBSTITUTE-REPLACEMENT/dp/B003YBJDMI/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1380947906&sr=1-2-fkmr1&keywords=hp+tx1000+wacom+digitizer




Driver for the Digitizer?
MrQuiffster (author)  vinchenzo26111 year ago
I think the TX2500 will work, provided its a Wacom digitiser. Link 2, 3 and 4 would all work, but you can get just the digitiser on eBay, and stick it to the back of the Macbook LCD. If you're going to use the HP LCD, there could be some compatibility problems.

As for the drivers, the generic Mac OS X drivers work alright. However, these are Wacoms drivers closest to this digitiser: ftp://ftp.wacom-europe.com/pub/Mac/cons505-3_int.dmg

Hope that helps!
garrettgor2 years ago
Can I make it with a MacBook Pro
MrQuiffster (author)  garrettgor2 years ago
In theory, you should be able to with the A1211, A1226 or A1260 models because they were built with the similar processes to the Macbook I used. However, the motherboards are completely different and you would have to do some research on iFixit to see if it'll work.

If you're trying to do it with a unibody Macbook Pro, then thats going to be MUCH harder as the screen is glued to the lid, and you would potentially have to mill out the keyboard area.
If you do give it a go, good luck! It's a really interesting project and you'll learn a ton about Macs in the process!
You have serious skill man
Absolutely incredible:) wow
WillG17272 years ago
You should make more and sell them on eBay. I know I would buy one. :)
theargha2 years ago
Just engrave an Apple logo on the back. Really awesome :-)
sonicrz2 years ago
Epic dude just epic
MrQuiffster (author)  sonicrz2 years ago
Very kind! Thanks!
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