Introduction: How to Make a Tablet Pc From an Old Laptop

Picture of How to Make a Tablet Pc From an Old Laptop

Check out my other projects:
Xbox Hackintosh casemod
DIY Spy phone

In this project i used an old Fujitsu Siemens life book S series laptop. It has got a 1 Ghz processor and 256 Mb ram, (not sure about the graphic card but i know its between 8-32 Mb). In this instructable i will show how to do tablet pc the easy way(and the cheapest) , and how to do it hard way (including "touch" screen etc). I personaly did it the hard way about half way and run out of materials and  i decided to finish it the easy way.

In this project you will need: 

1.Old laptop
2. Soldering iron
3.some wires
4. Basic tools to open up the laptop

And if you are doing the hard way you will also need:

6.Lots of straight plastic
7.Something to melt down the plastic
8. And for the touch screen i would have used device called Minio Xi (look from google)(and buy from Ebay)  . It is mostly used to make projektor sceen "touch" screen. This device uses infrared to map out where the pen is moving on the screen. I will talk about it later in the quide.

The skils you will need to make this are:

1. Soldering
2. Plastic soldering
3. Basic knowledge how things work
4. Lots of patience

And of course for the hard way you will also need:

5.Problem solving skills
6.Serious knowledge how things work
7.Way to know how to make "special" tools
8. Huge amount of patience :D

And sorry for my English its not my main language but i will try to make it readable :D

Step 1: Tearing Up the Laptop

Picture of Tearing Up the Laptop

This is just basic demolition of the laptop.
Decide wich parts you will use in your project and wich you will modify.

Step 2: Building the Tablet Pc (easy Way) Part 1

Picture of Building the Tablet Pc (easy Way) Part 1
rememberthat youare working insensitiveelectronic equipmentinvolved.Make sure to groundyourselfbefore you start working.Remember alsothat the LCDmonitor uses veryhighvoltagewhenturned on.Thisdoes not killyou, buthurtsa lot.

The basic idea of the easy way is to flip the screen upside down on the laptop chasis.
This can be a easy job to do but there is always something that wont fit, work. so you have to make it work or fit or both.
For examble in my case i had to find out how to make the power button to work and fit in so i can power up the pc.
As you can see in the seacond picture i had to solder two wires to the pins in order to get the ON/OFF switch to the other side of the laptop.
After i did that i had to modify the heatsink to fit under the screen
as you can see in the picture number 5. Without the heatsink the laptop overheats and shuts down
after that i put all in their own place and installed speacers and other things i needed and did a test run as you can see in the last two pictures

Step 3: Easy Way Part 2 (plastic Soldering)

Picture of Easy Way Part 2 (plastic Soldering)
when you'reat the pointwhenyouputall theparts on their the screens original frame on the LCD screen, andtrywhether it fits right.If you arepleasedyou can start  plasticsoldering.

Heat up the soldering iron about 240 degrees celsius and start welding the plastic together.


Step 4: Easy Way Part 3

Picture of Easy Way Part 3

and now its ready.  use USB mouse to operate it and on screen keyboard to write

Step 5: Now for the Hard Way

Picture of Now for the Hard Way

afteryou have extractedthe wholecomputer, fit thenecessary componentsonyour computer screento seehow much spaceyou need and howmuchextrathere is and how to make more space.
I had to tear up the battery plastic chasis in order to fit it in the space i had. Use flat screwdriver to do that.
when  done everything needed proceed to the next part.

Step 6: Hard Way Part 2 (Making the Tablet Pc Body)

Picture of Hard Way Part 2 (Making the Tablet Pc Body)

This is the part where i had to stop building this one. Mainly reason is that i run out of materials and the seacond reason that i'm too lazy :D But i wil show you how to take it to the end but you will have to use your own brain and imagination to do that.

First of all i started to make the frame to the tablet. i cut the plastic the way i needed it and folded the plastic the way i had to in orded to make the frame to the tablet. the frame is about the size of the screen.
this is where i drop out. You can use plexi glass to make the top and bottom sides to the frame.

And for the touch screen part. I would have used Mimio Xi to do that. It uses one USB  port to power and to work. it uses infrared to map out where the pen is moving. the pen sends infrared to the mimio xi and the mimio calculates where the pen is moving. the pen is like computer mouse but instead moving it on the table you can move it on the screen. The mimio xi Is very expensive to buy but you can find it from the Ebay cheap. and you don't have to buy the whole thing you will only need the same parts shown on the last picture. there is the pen and the receiver. But make sure first that it works on the laptop before building it, because it needs drivers and the software to work. I have one mimio xi my self and its on my video projector screen so i can operate computer from the wall if i have to, and let me tell you. IT IS useless but so cool to use :DD

So this is it this is all the information you need. Have fun Building your own laptop tablet. and Make a post if you did the hard way to the finish. Please RATE AND COMMENT and if there is something bothering PM me and i'l do something about it. Happy building!


mkarvonen (author)2012-03-14

if you would like to do this but dont want windows or apple software try this
it is android made for pc. you can install it from cd or via usb.
this works best and its light to use

AsadS25 (author)mkarvonen2016-02-27

Man thanks for a great innovative idea i am thinking to start a project on this i have anlysed the project but there a problem with that big batteries behind on my acer v5 131 netbook is there anyway to replace them with some small batteries or like some kind usb charging! Please help me on this

JoshMods (author)mkarvonen2014-03-14

is the touchscreen compatible with Android?

JoshingStone (author)2016-11-25

I'm building this as just a little side project. I messed up the screen on the second one, but luckily i had 2 laptops. I don't plan on building a case for it yet since the components I'm using are a little slow, but i do have a spare motherboard i can use. Feel free to email me for updates on mine.

ElizabethC42 (author)2016-08-14

Any guides for dell xps m170?

SeanT33 (author)2016-04-07

Hi. I got to the part where I have everything arranged like the LCD and such, but my laptops power button is on the keyboard, which I have to remove. Putting the keyboard so that the power button sticks out is out of the option because the only place where the short cable allows the power button to protrude is in the way of the LCD cable.

sefvan (author)2016-03-23

whats the cheapest old laptop you can get

NejcF (author)2015-09-08

great idea to turn a laptop whit windows into a type of computer that originaly doesnt support windows OS, pay respect to this guy, he deserves it

mkarvonen (author)NejcF2015-09-09


TanmoyMitra2504 (author)2015-06-01

Hey guys,there is another cheaper way to build a laptop under $70-$100.


1.grab a cheap tablet (with atleast 8gb internal memory.)*(any android smartphone/phablet should do it) "Change my software 7 edition (for win 7) or change my software 8 edition(for windows 8)

3.master reset or backup all app data.

4.connect the tab/phone(**android only) via pc cable supplied or buy it under$2

5.launch the app and make sure if internet is on.

6.waait for few hours(**depends on internet speed) as it will download drivers + 2 gb of the operating system.

7.after installation plz restart or let it do automatically

8.enjoy(first login takes time)

There you go .experience windows7/8 like as if in a pc.

9....(optional) after lagon go to taskbar,right click on it,Select toolbars and select touch keyboard so it is eay to type in.

Download it from here: (depens on platform. alternatively transform android tab to ipad,windows tablet,some blackberry sort of os and vice verse(description over the website)

**tried it on miromax tablet and over Galaxy tab 10.1

An alternate for touch keyboards for tablets over fine with all tabs especially in samsung

Sparkfist (author)2015-05-15

I'm going to do this with my zv6000, RAM is maxed and just needs a new hard drive. I'm starting out with just rotating the screen. if it works out I'll see about buying a touch panel for the screen so I have more functionality.

ZeroP (author)2015-03-06

This doesn't make sense.. if you can just flip your screen around melt it, and switch to an on screen keyboard.. I dont see how any software tracks the touch aspect from a backwards screen.... why turn the screen around and melt it?

He meant use the on-screen keyboard using your mouse. Not your hand, as no touch-screen software/hardware has ben built into the laptop yet.

thaipham101 (author)2015-01-08

about the thin, tape-like connecting wires that connect most parts of the laptop to its mainboard, how can you expand it?

mkarvonen (author)thaipham1012015-01-08

There isn't really a way to expand the cable. It's too fragile. But you could try to search a longer cable from the internet. like in example .

thaipham101 (author)mkarvonen2015-01-11

now I see, thanks a lot :D

heylinksu (author)2014-12-25

They also sell touchscreen conversion kits I believe so then it could be a true touch tablet, last you can install windows 8 since it's designed for touch :3

hamishtheawesome (author)2014-02-21

what you can use any screen as touch screen???

rzv.sai (author)hamishtheawesome2014-11-26

no unless you add touchscreen kit (touchscreen overlay) which would cost around $100 - $200, which beats the purpose of this project . I guess the OP is using mouse to type on on-screen keyboard.

PrestonH1 (author)2014-11-21

would it be possible to dissassemble a mouse (wired or wireless doesnt matter) and build it into a pen? though you would have to drag the mouse across the screen to get where you wanted to, it would add a touchscreen like feel to it. Then you wouldn't have to pay a few hundred for a kit, but could still enjoy your DIY tablet.

rzv.sai (author)PrestonH12014-11-26

your best option would be using the following item, either on its own form or dismantling and transforming it to a marker mouse (would be bit big for pen LOL).....

lancer1234 (author)2014-06-06

Hello, i have an all in one gateway ZX6800, and it is old and the motherboard wont work anymore.

I was thinking about using it only as a monitor. Can you help me out?

Can you make a tutorial or explain to me how can I do it to use it as a monitor for another pc that i have?

bdaniel7 (author)2014-03-13

This "tablet" doesn't have a touchscreen, does it?

susanjohn (author)2013-12-29

There is a very useful and easy method to make our tablet PC from an old laptop for all of the users.
ASUS laptop tablet

5001120 (author)2013-12-26

thank man, you give me some ide for my old laptop

awesomeepiceli (author)2013-04-01

My panosonic toughbook has a touchscreen built in. It doesn't have fans though, it is supposed to radiate heat through the keyboard( which now would be the screen). If a screen was there would it get in the way of the heat radiating out?

Don't do this to a Panosonic Toughbook.

mkarvonen (author)awesomeepiceli2013-04-03

i think it should be fine, but the screen might get very hot. i suggest that you find some free spots from the side panel of the computer and drill small holes to allow the air to escape from inside the computer.

awesomeepiceli (author)mkarvonen2013-04-03

Should I install anew fan?

mkarvonen (author)awesomeepiceli2013-04-03

If there is room. but if not, hope for the best.

mjohanassan (author)2013-07-16

Do I need to use the pen that mimio gives or just a stylus or our fingers

mkarvonen (author)mjohanassan2013-07-16

you need a pen that is made for the mimio.

mazmi1 (author)2013-06-06

Hello sir,
I want to ask:
1. Is able to use another laptop?
2. If I use a laptop as you,
    Is his ability can be upgraded?
    (HDD, RAM, ETC)
3. A sort of Is Mini Xi That?
4. In place of your country,
    What is the price of laptop is (the former)?
    (PLEASE given the link to email me)
5. Proccessor what is embedded in the Fujitsu Laptop?
(Pentium 1, 2, 3, 4, DualCore, Core2 Duo, etc)

Sorry if most,
because I was a junior high school,
Thank you
Please answer sir,


mazmi1 (author)mazmi12013-06-06

oh yes sir,
1 again,
6. May I know the link on Ebay to buy Minio xi?
Thanks again :).

mazmi1 (author)mazmi12013-06-06

If the 12 Inch Laptop / 14 Inch Can?

mkarvonen (author)mazmi12013-07-04


You can do it with any laptop. Dont buy this type laptop im using. it's old and slow(=no upgrades)

Not sure about the proscessor anymore. I Think it was a pentium 4. The price of the laptop was when i got it was about 20 euros. but i got it for free. My basic idea in my instructables is that i dont use hardly any money to my projects. The parts i get i found from internet for free, Giveaways. And for the resistors and other components i get from my school. mostly from earlier school projects that i harvest at home.

awesomeepiceli (author)2013-03-29

Nice my panosonic toughbook Hawaii touchscreen function built in, but it is like2" thick

wombat_boy (author)2013-03-06

Is it possible to make it a touchscreen tablet?

mkarvonen (author)wombat_boy2013-03-07

yes it is. check the links above.

mkarvonen (author)2013-02-22


jkirby3 (author)2012-12-15


Super Cronk (author)2012-07-30

I've started planning recently to try this out with an old laptop of mine. I've been trying to figure out how i would make the case for it. Where did you get the plastic that you were going to use?

Super Cronk (author)Super Cronk2012-07-30

I also have a question for anyone with extensive knowledge of computer hardware and networking. one idea I'm curious about is linking two laptops together to share processing power. I've heard in the past about using old computers to build a "super computer" by linking them together and using software so that they pool their processing abilities. One thought I had on this is to use a second laptop to connect to the tablet to be used as an external keyboard that would also increase the processing power and file storage. Any ideas?

mkarvonen (author)Super Cronk2012-08-01 maeby this link will explain something... i once saw a one post that some dude had something like 10 ps3 wired together to be somekind of supercomputer.... i have to try myself.
The plastic is from old computer lcd monitors back panel. nothing too classy but it does the job. But i suggest to make the case from fiber class. its very easy to use and its solid.

pantherman14 (author)2012-06-18

I was looking into doing this project and was wondering how to integrate an accelerometer into this and use it similar to how it is used on tablets and cells phones.
I have been trying to look into this and there seems to not only be a lot of options with accelerometers so what type would work the best

jlawrie (author)2012-04-30

I found 14.1" Capacitive touch screen kit here:

It is however a Chinese supplier but after exhausting all of the USA Suppliers I was refereed to them by a company called North American Semiconductor.

I will be posting my Tablet build after i get all of the other components collected. Am having a hard time finding a way to Encase it all after.

Like how this guy did his, but i just don't know...

mkarvonen (author)jlawrie2012-05-05

you could also make the casing out of fiber class. its easy to mold and easy to use and very light.

Markie BOYY 15 (author)2012-04-06

so were does the the Minio Xi come into play here..that's the only thing i have a question about

GameNox (author)2012-03-08

Really cool! It would be cool if you made a custom OS so whenever you touch a textbox, an on-screen keyboard pops up like a IPad. But, I guess that ruins the idea of a tablet PC!

About This Instructable




Bio: I am 27 years old engineering student from Oulu in Finland. I make these projects as a hobby, and it would be fun to also ... More »
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