Hello fellow tinkerers, in the beginning of summer I accidentally ran my Ipod Nano through the washing machine. Needless to say, it did not make any sort of recovery. So today I'm going to be showing you how I took my dead Ipod and turned it into a wearable piece of art; a belt. The materials and tools you'll need are listed below:Materials:
Broken Ipod Nano (or other Ipod of your choice)
Belt with detachable buckle
Picture to put behind Ipod screen*
JB Weld or other metal epoxy
Blue painter's tape
1 cotton ball
Small flathead screwdriver
Drill and drillbits
Small precision phillips head screwdriver
Dremel tool with cut-off disc and grinder attachment
This project involves disassembling an Ipod. The only reason I disassembled mine was because I had accidentally put it through my washing machine, rendering it a useless hunk of metal.
Step 1: Disassemble the Ipod
The first thing you are going to need to do is disassemble the Ipod. This is so we can go inside of it, take out the electronic components, and insert our picture behind the screen of the Ipod. This step may make the rest of the project a bit intimidating, and it is the hardest step. But with a little bit of patience and elbow grease, it is possible to take the Ipod apart.~Sidenote~
Ipods are generally composed of two pieces of metal: The front being anodized aluminum, and the back being polished stainless steel. The two halves are held together with metal clips that link together along the edge of the inside. There are exactly eight of these clips on the 3rd generation Nano.
What you are going to want to do is take your knife or very thin flathead screwdriver, and wedge it in the seam where the front and the back of the Ipod meet. This may take some patience, but eventually the two sides will begin to separate. Twist your screwdriver a little bit to further separate the two sides. Repeat the process all the way around the perimeter of the Ipod.
Step 2: Remove the Electronics
Once you have your Ipod in two pieces, you can begin to remove the electronic components (battery, board and screen). You will notice that these components are all attached to the front face of the Ipod via 6 very small screws located on the circuit board. Take your precision screwdriver and remove them. There is also a very small ribbon cable located toward the bottom-right of the circuit board which leads to the LCD display. Take your small flathead screwdriver and gently lift the connector's brown bar, and slip the ribbon out of the board. Once you've done these two things, the circuit board and battery should lift right up. When you lift the board up however, you will notice a ribbon wire attached to the clickwheel. Simply cut this ribbon with your scissors, since we will want to keep the clickwheel attached.
The LCD is simply attached with double-sided tape. Gently lift the sides of the display with your screwdriver to remove it. Be careful not to damage the display however, since LCDs can leak if they are broken.
If the board, battery and display are removed correctly, the plastic screen, clickwheel assembly, and hold switch should still be in place.
Step 3: Creating the Picture Behind the Screen
This step is optional, but I figured that since I had the Ipod taken apart already, I might as well put something behind the screen too look at instead of the boring old metal back. You can put pretty much whatever you want behind the screen, so my advice would be to go nuts!
Personally, I decided on a picture of a brain wearing headphones. I had one of the graphics guys in my workplace whip up the picture, and I printed it out on some nice photo paper. The picture is simply held in with a decent amount of blue painter's tape around the edges of the inside of the screen.
Step 4: Closing Up the Ipod
As mentioned in step 1, the two halves of the Ipod are held together with eight metal clips. During the process of trying to fit the two halves back together, I found that it would be a lot easier to simply take a grinding attachment for my Dremel and grind off the little clips on the back half of the case. Once I got rid of those pesky clips, the Ipod fit back together beautifully. The back should slide comfortably over a small edge on the front half. This is where you are going to want to apply your JB Weld
Once you get the two sides of your Ipod fitting together neatly, take it apart again, and place a small line of JB Weld along the inside edge of the top half of the Ipod.
Before you put the sides back together, I suggest placing a piece of your cotton ball on the picture for your screen. This is to hold the picture more securely against the screen when the Ipod is reassembled. Afterall, if your picture comes loose sometime down the road, there isn't much you'll be able to do about it!
Now you can press the two halves back together. You may want to wrap your Ipod in a microfiber cloth and use some clamps to secure the two halves together while it dries. If you use clamps however, make sure to only use a little bit of pressure. The clamps can still scratch the aluminum front through the microfiber cloth.
Step 5: Adding the Buckle Parts
To make your Ipod (or anything you want really) into a belt buckle, all you really need to do is attach two metal bars to whatever you are using to make the buckle. The parts you need to add are a horizontal bar for the belt to attach to, and a small protruding post to go in the holes in the belt when you wear it. There are a couple of ways to acquire the aforementioned parts: Fabricating some out of skinny metal rods, or simply cutting up another belt buckle to harvest parts. For the sake of saving myself some frustration, I went with the latter option.
Now that you have all the parts to make your belt buckle, it is time to glue it all together. For this step, I used JB Weld, a very strong steel epoxy. I suggest using tape or if you can, a clamp to hold the pieces together as the glue sets. JB Weld takes about 4 hours to set up and 12 hours to fully cure, so I needed the tape to keep it in place while it cured. Once the glue dries, you will have a fully functioning Ipod belt buckle!
Step 6: Adding Some Finishing Touches
To make my belt buckle, I needed to get a belt that had a removable buckle (I decided not to use any of my own belts for the Ipod belt). Since I got a plain black leather belt, I decided that I might as well make it my own by adding a couple of personal touches, such as some tendril designs in silver paint and then going over the leather with acetone to distress the leather a little bit. I also used a drill to make the holes in the belt wider so that it's easier to buckle and unbuckle the belt (I used a 1/8", 9/64", 5/32", and a 3/16" in that order to gradually increase the sizes of the holes).
So that's it folks, a belt made from an Ipod! I hope this tutorial was helpful. Happy tinkering!
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