Step 11: Working, But Not Perfect

Wipe the sweat from your brow, crack open a beer or soft drink and pat yourself on your back. If you made it this far, you have my admiration! It took me just over a month of planning and diagrams, and a month and a half of build to get to this stage, and so I know it can be a bit exhausting!

At this point, I have been using the tablet in its current form for two months. Being a sailor, my MacTab has already had to endure some tough conditions (a bumpy flight to Hong Kong and a storm in the Pacific where it got thrown about a bit), and so now we should analyse our new tablet, and see where improvements can be made.

-Big 13.1" screen
-620gb Storage
-4 hours battery life
-Rather solid construction (i.e. feels good in the hand, and the plastic doesn't flex or deform)
-Wifi signal strength is very good
-Dual hard-drive means a rapid boot-up
-Sound quality is a lot better than expected!

-No driver for the Digitiser, and so no tilt or calibration settings. I'm learning Objective C and Cocoa, so hopefully I should have something by April 2013. Info here from Wacom on developing tablets for Macs ( http://www.wacomeng.com/mac/index.html )
-Screen can't be rotated. This is a problem with this particular Macbook, and hopefully I can work around this problem in the future by upgrading the screen and inverter board. Instructions how to do this can be found under the iFixit link given earlier
-Drawing on the LCD. Its not good practice to do this, but a piece of thin clear lexan or perspex between the LCD and the pen would prevent any damage.
-Heat. It gets quite hot as all MacBooks do. I've gotten around this by making a stand for it, and you can also install software to control the CPU work rate.
-CPU fan disrupts the microphone. The microphone (even though its been sound-proofed with high-density packing foam) can still pick up the sound of the CPU fan whirring below. A better location for the mic needs to be found.

-Dual Boot. I'd love to try Windows 8 on this. Being a TabletPC digitiser, it should work fully from the start.
-Pen caddy. The fan grill is the perfect size for storing the pen. Just need to find a way of making it secure.
-Integrated stand and screen protector. This has been on the drawing board since before the tablet was completed. I think a stand fabricated out of aluminium and a screen protector could be attached to the back of the tablet. At the moment I have a cardboard stand which works well enough though.
-Full Photoshop capability. Without the drivers, I can't use Photoshop with pen pressure or tilt. Hopefully this problem will be solved with the custom driver.

-Always a chance my soldering will fail, but it hasn't so far.
-Pressure on the LCD. Again, have been careful, but a sturdy screen protector could solve this.
-Intrigue. Everyone I have shown it to has been interested in it! Potential for theft, maybe…

If you give this a go, I promise you it will be worth it. My MacTab is not fully complete (i.e. Didn't manage to install the USB hub and peripherals in time) but even so, I love tinkering with it and have learnt a lot about the hardware and construction of Macs in the process. At the moment, it is working as a trusty iTunes jukebox, film library and data archive/networked drive for my Macbook Pro and its an impressive device for less than £250.

The best bit for me is you're saving one laptop and a load of other spare parts from landfill and obsolescence. That can only be a good thing!
<p>Hi there!</p><p>I realize it's been a long time since you posted this Instructable, but I'm hoping you can help me with some issues I'm facing as I try to work this out. How did you manage to solder those tiny wires to those even tinier pins for the power connector? I tried and tried (I'm very new to soldering) and got so frustrated because there was just too much solder and then the pins wouldn't fit into the connector piece, so I resorted to using the connector as a base to hold the pins (thus partially melting the plastic in the soldering process). Should I scrap this now and try to find a replacement connector? And when you chose wires from a stripped USB, did they have to be black for ground and white for power? Or will any of the different color wires work? I have more questions but I'll start with these. I really appreciate the help!</p>
<p>Hi, sorry for the late reply!</p><p>For soldering the pins, I lay the pin and the wire close, tinned them both (depending on how &quot;very new&quot; to soldering you are, tinning is putting a dab of solder on the wire to help when you solder the wire to something else) and then dragged the solder from the wire to the pin. </p><p>I had a lot of breakages too, but I eventually got good enough to get it to work. Having thought about it, one thing you might want to do is create a breakout-board for the connector. A breakout is where you create a small PCB to attach the block to wires. The benefit of this, that the strain on both the block and the wires is significantly reduced.</p><p>As for the colour of the wires, any colour will do, but its best to keep to the USB standard colours for troubleshooting purposes. There's nothing more annoying than soldering the connector block up perfectly, only to notice that you've switched Data+ and Data-! </p><p>I really hope you managed to solve your problem, but please contact me if you need anything else!</p>
<p>saw this, woder if it works</p><p>http://jxlcd.en.alibaba.com/product/1552861987-218557672/100_brand_new_digitizer_touch_screen_for_macbook_fro_A1286_15_4_glass.html?spm=a2700.7803228.1998738836.4.cVkllt</p>
<p>Hi <br>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) <br>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</p>
<p>Hello! I assume its the 15.4&quot; size, and that will be fun to tear apart! A lot of a metalwork involved, right?</p><p>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&quot; in size, so you'd still have some calibration issues. They are Wacom though, so the Wacom drivers should work.</p><p>At the expensive and possibly very hard-to-get is the Sony Vaio FIT 15A. This has a 15.5&quot; screen, and an N-Trig digitiser. </p><p>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!</p>
Smart that so cool
<p>I like it alot you should do it to a white unibody with 8gb ram to make a more powerful one</p>
awesome I would like one!
Would this work with a new macbook pro 2013 retina edition
<p>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. </p><p>I've had a look, and it would be very very difficult to do, but not impossible. Good luck!</p><p>https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/search/2013%20macbook%20retina%20pro</p>
<p>Confused by what?</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>Can i make from other laptops such as samsung , acer or etc ?</p>
<p>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!</p><p>You may also need to step down a USB supply to 3.3v too. Hope this helps!</p>
Dude make me one
I really like this idea
cool app
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
<p>Wow! Really? Can I ask how you managed to implement multi-touch and screen rotation?</p>
Where can u get the touch screen from for the tab u made
<p>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.</p>
What type of soldering station is that? It's beautiful.
<p>It's a Weller WHS40. 'Beautiful' is exactly how I would describe it too!</p>
What about a keyboard?
See the reply to Jovino, as they asked the same question.
What about multi touch gestures and a multi touch capacitive touchscreen with on screen keyboard
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. <br>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. <br>I have the solutions to make a macbook tablet with a calibrated touch screen. <br>I have used tx1000 and tx2000 digitizer. Both are calibrated in mac os 10.7. In a few days I'll publish the &quot;how to&quot;. <br>Thank you MrQuiffster for the inspiration!
Fantastic, I can't wait to see the finished Instructable! <br>Hopefully you will inspire more people to give this project a go!
Link for the &quot;HP TX1000 Wacom Digitiser with cable&quot;? Will the TX 2500 work? <br> <br> <br>Looks like something like this? <br> <br>1. http://www.amazon.com/HP-TouchSmart-TX2-1000-SUBSTITUTE-REPLACEMENT/dp/B003YBJDMI/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_2?s=electronics&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1380947906&amp;sr=1-2-fkmr1&amp;keywords=hp+tx1000+wacom+digitizer <br> <br>2. <br>http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Full-12-1-LCD-Screen-touch-digitiser-for-HP-Pavilion-TX1000-TX2000-TX2500-/260997467748?pt=GPS_Screen_Protectors&amp;hash=item3cc4a94e64 <br> <br>3. <br>http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-Pavilion-TX1000-Complete-LCD-Assembly-w-Digitizer-Lid-Bezel-LCD-Screen-/290973494955?pt=US_Laptop_Screens_LCD_Panels&amp;hash=item43bf5f2eab <br> <br>4. <br>http://www.ebay.com/itm/hp-pavilion-tx1000-12-1-laptop-entertainment-PC-/331037989086?pt=Laptops_Nov05&amp;hash=item4d1366d8de <br> <br>Driver for the Digitizer?
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. <br> <br>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 <br> <br>Hope that helps!
Can I make it with a MacBook Pro
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. <br> <br>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. <br>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
You should make more and sell them on eBay. I know I would buy one. :)
Just engrave an Apple logo on the back. Really awesome :-)
Epic dude just epic
Very kind! Thanks!
I've been thinking about doing this for a while, though I wonder if I could do it with a UC-Logic Digitizer? I've got one and I'm trying to make just the DIY cintiq with it, once I get that working maybe I'll feel a bit more adventurous and try making my old macbook into a tablet. <br> <br>Thanks!
Hi, sorry for the late reply! <br>If I remember right, the Bongofish forums have a fair bit of info on the UC-Logic boards, however, I'm not sure if it would be fully compatible with OSX. <br>Having said that, I wasn't sure my TX2000 digitizer would be compatible either, so have a bit of pioneering spirit and give it a go...or not! <br>Good luck!
What OSX can this run?
Its currently running 10.5, but with the chipset and motherboard, there's no reason it shouldn't run 10.6 or even 10.7 (I'm still running 10.6 on My Macbook Pro and have no experience of 10.7 Lion!)
Very creative and almost professional. Good job
You should show Apple that!
This was amazing!!

About This Instructable




Bio: Sailor in the Merchant Navy for work, hacking and modifying monkey on leave!
More by MrQuiffster:Staggered Pallet Planter How to make a Macbook Tablet 
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