Picture of The Incredible Paper Calculator Mod (Oh my!)
In this howto of howtos, I will demonstrate how to take an ordinary, boring $3 calculator and turn it into a piece of art and give it the potential of limitless self expression.

The final product is more proof-of-concept than practical, but with each version it has gotten more usable.

I was inspired to make this one day in Earth Science a couple of years ago when i took a piece of cardboard and drew a calculator on it and thought, cool.

Sometime in May I decided that I would go right to my room (then sans computer) and get to work on something productive. Instead, I made v1.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
1. One appropriately thin, cheap calculator (solar is best)

2. Thin pieces of cardboard. I used the material from the back cover of an old spiral notebook and some other bits of thin cardboard I found lying around my basement.

3. One "faceplate". I followed a 3x5 theme so I used a piece of lined 3x5 notecard with numbers written write on it. You can use whatever you like.

4. Foil for the contacts. I'm thinking about getting some aluminum tape, but is fine.


1. Glue

2. Hobby knife

3. Clean, non-smudgy hands
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darman125 years ago
 This is so awesome! I do nerdy things like this all the time and my parents just laugh and shake their head! lol
jick8 years ago
has anyone seen these:


you can just draw a calculator on a plain piece of paper and it works. it's like a computer in a calculator.... i'm assuming i'm just late to post this seeing as how obvious it is...
ConcorX jick7 years ago
i want one. They look so cool!
They look awesome offcorse, but over time you'll realize that it's pretty much next to useless. Trust me, I own both the original and the Fly Fusion, both of which I haven't touched for a year or two. So it's best not to get one, just so you'd know.
dombeef jick7 years ago
i have one! :-)
Ds HaKa jick7 years ago
its called a fly pentop computer but u need special paper
casey321b7 years ago
i did the same thing but with a keyboard. just take out the guts and shove it all together. I'll get a pic up or an instructable
Um I'm gonna go out on a limb here and ask why make a paper calculator when you already have a working one that you bought???
ya its way cooler
crabezoid (author)  CerealKiller7 years ago
um because it's fun
Darkshot8 years ago
so....let me get this straight.......you take apart a calculator...and put it into a non waterproof non-living wrapper that can die within seconds if you drop it or enything rite? well...im sorry if im being to critical =/ maybe if you um......used somethin else that would be cool :] OHHHH COOL IDEA I COULD PUT A CALCULATOR INTO A ALTOIDS CAN!! brb :]
...That would be awesome. I'll work on it... Possibly.
hey man if you make an instructable on it i want credit XD
Okays. I will.
"...that can die within seconds if you drop it or enything rite.." I've dropped mine tons of times and it works great...
k cool :)
temp7 years ago
embrace your inner geek!!!=)
Kuhan7 years ago
hmm... I'm going to try this with duct tape
I feel somewhat critical of this project. It simply converts an inexpensive and highly utilitarian wonder of the modern world into a less reliable version of same. Case mods are superfluous and absurd because they sacrifice potential performance (for example, the money one could've spent on more RAM) in favor of neon-and-acrylic bourgeois aesthetics. We've been making this sort of mistake in America for a long time and we never learn. Anybody familiar with the "streamlined" aesthetic of yore? Well it had nothing to do with actual aerodynamics - objects with streamlined designs merely looked aerodynamic. So when they "updated" the trains in this country with new "streamlined" designs, they did absolutely nothing to improve the performance of the trains in any way. They merely stuck the same old trains inside of new "streamlined" case mods. Not even the trains' drag coefficients were significantly affected! Asinine, utterly. How much time, money and energy was wasted on such tripe? I don't know, but no intelligence was wasted, that's for sure. But this project goes a step beyond usual case mods because it actually DETRACTS from the calculator's utility and reliability! It's like giving your computer a shiny copper case and then bashing the case with a ball peen hammer for that lovely hand-hammered copper finish. Or giving your trains that "battleship gun-bombarded" look. But I guess everybody takes apart a digital calculator at some point, just to see what's inside, and that at least is a good thing. And anybody who does this project will at least walk away with some understanding of how the buttons on their calculator work. (Now you know as much as some low-skill assembly workers!) Conceivably, this project could be a repair job for a calculator with a broken plastic case - that would be commendable, if relatively unlikely.
You could have said that in a lot fewer words, you know.
Waste of time and money twards a hobby, for pure entertainment, i dont think calling america's hobby life a mistake would such a good idea, this guy obvously likes taking things apart, and customizing them, to look cooler, something i think a few of us here, desiging the case, having fun, thats why its a hobby, not a way of life, i dont know why you gotta bash the guy out of his hobby, i doubt people attack your dixie cup creations, i mean, he drew the freakin buttons, that would look killer in my notebook, and ill go to the store and improve upon the design, because thats my hobby.
i bet you're a single 60 year old guy who has nothing to do but criticize others
And your dixie cup creations keep the world spinning.
I take mere Dixie Cups and make something better than a bunch of Dixie Cups. This project takes a functioning calculator and makes something less of it. One time I made a calculator out of Dixie Cups. It did square roots and long division very, very well. It was most impressive. I called it the numberslut math-whorebot6000. We dated for a little while.
:) Speaking of wasting time and energy.
:) I didn't waste my time and energy - I was thinking, and arguing a point. so nyaaa!!
mmzdaniel8 years ago
its cool but a bit pointless... but still nice job!
MichaelS8 years ago
I made one, but it is sort of, oh whats the word... A piece of shit.
thats funny rite ther michaelS
samando8 years ago
nice idea sorry bit if i did that to my calculator my mum would OWN me and why not try with one of those scientific calculatrs
i made this a few months ago and its ausome know one could figure out how i made it out of "card board and paper" thanks the Thexas Instruments Ti503 sv (cheep 10 bucks works realy good) is the easyist one to mod
Neodudeman9 years ago
That's freakin sweet. Freakin MacGyver Sweet.
no, thats not MacGyver sweet, thats taking apart something and making it less useful, the bic pen crossbow is macgyver sweet...
now all i need is some seditive darts, and i can go terrorist hunting.
crabezoid (author)  Neodudeman9 years ago
I'm honored
slyfox1178 years ago
Wow, nice i liked it. Simple yet strangely cool. To all the haters, he states that "The final product is more proof-of-concept than practical" Its not practical. Thats not the point. Its fun. You can make your own calculator truly yours.
brazilian8 years ago
Good idea to be different!
k_arquette8 years ago
Nifty. All my nieces wanted one. Thanks!
Detonator8 years ago
..um, I think the original cover looks more decent.
hey this is cool....can anybody here possibly come up with a way to turn a old school gameboy into a calculator? that would be cool. if none of u come up with one soon i will post on how to do it
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