Introduction: Laptop Housing Mod "DRAGONWARE"

About: Electronics geek, Openwrt, Linux, hardware hacker, maker, SF fan.
My old laptop was screaming for a new paint job and the fujitsu-siemens logo was boring, so i made my self a new logo, carved it with my engraving/multipurpose tool and filled the void with some epoxy resin and LED's (light emitting diodes). It was quite a hassle adding the resin, and  keeping it in place(I needed to paint  it again because of it). The resin was very thin  for the first 24h, even though the instructions said its fully cured in a day.

So to get to the point, here are the things that you need:

Laptops differ one from another, so I will not tell you how to disassemble your laptop. If you are not comfortable and confident enough don't  try this mod.

After a few tries I figure the best sequence of steps for this project is:

2. Putty and Sanding.
3.Molding and infusion of the resin,adding lights.
4. Primer and the actual paint job .

  • Logo
  • Paper
  • Exacto knife
  • Multipurpose tool
  • Spray paint

Paint job:
  • Spray paint
  • Putty (for filling the damaged parts of the housing)
  • Paint primer
  • Sandpaper Nr. 600 (waterproof is better)
  • Trowel or something similar for evenly distributing the putty.

  • Epoxy resin
  • LED-(light emitting diodes)
  • Tip31 transistor(if you want the housing to have a music light show)
tnx to:
Glowing-paw-sound-reactive-laptop/ by the user zack247
Music LED Light Box project by the user motadacruz
I'd like to use this opportunity to thank  for thinking of me with the Halloween postcard ,and for the Leatherman im waiting for. TNX guy's/girls i appreciate it.

Step 1: Carving

First of all i needed a logo to carve in, so i went to the world wide web and found a suitable logo tnx to deviantart user RiderB0y.
But i was thinking it needed a bit of trimming to suit my needs, so i edited it and asked for the permission to use it.
As you can see  the final product is not identical to my  version of the logo, but I'm quite satisfied with it.


1. Printing or drawing the logo on paper
2. Copying the logo to the laptop surface
                      You can use the exacto knife to make the template, and  then just paint it over with a thin layer of paint.
3. Cutting the plastic. I used a thin milling cutter bit, but anything similar will do.
                                         Be careful, its better to cut into the part that needs to go out then into the rest of the housing :) .
4. If you lose an part (like my dragons eye) it can be added again later when you add the resin, but its just an additional waste of your time and resources.

Step 2: Putty and Sanding

If your laptop wasn't new , its very likely it has some scratches, you must fill them with putty and sand the excess off.Follow the instructions for the putty. Keep in mind that the more putty you apply, the more you'll need to sand.
The finished surface needs to feel smooth, and it needs to be clean and dry for the painting.

Step 3: Epoxy Resin and Painting

You have two choices to make about the epoxy/paint job  step order. You can:

1. First paint the housing and then add the epoxy, but then you risk the epoxy overflowing the edge of the logo or dripping on the freshly painted housing, in addition the epoxy might dissolve the paint on the edges of the logo.

2. You can first  add  the epoxy, cover it up with duct tape, then paint everything over and remove the tape from the logo later and wash the residue glue with WD40, than finally wash the WD40 with liquid dish detergent, ore some other kind of  fat dissolving  detergent.
I tried them both on this  project ;) and I must say I like the second choice better!

I tried two ways of making the base for the resin to make it stay where i want it to.
First time I placed   nylon CD case under the carved logo and  consolidated it with sticky tape.I was not very satisfied with the results.The layer was thicker in some places, and a part of it leaked out  :(
On the second try I piled thick layers of sticky tape as the base.In my opinion it's a better technique, but a bit still leaked out.
The best way i can think of is combining the two techniques, in the reverse order, but if you have a good idea or a better way of doing this i will add it here too.
A few notes:
  • Using an spirit level is an must, i ruined my first paint job when i just left the whole thing to cure under my desk.
  • Avoid vigorous mixing of the two resin components and you'll spare yourself of the "bubbly resin" problem.
  • If you do find a few bubbles you can gently blow on them to make them go away.
  • Use the prescribed hardener/resin ratio.I used just a bit more hardener , but don't exaggerate, the hardener is only a catalyst.
  • In my( Gedeo resin's) instructions it said the resin is fully cured in 24 hours, but at least in the Gedeo resin's case the number was closer to 48h then 24h, and i found similar experiences on the net.
  • If the epoxy is to thin when its made, you can wait for a few hours, and than pour it into the housing/mold.
  • You can position and hold in place the additional component's (eye's, LED's) with wires, in the mold i used wires from an CAT5 cable, the wire from the eye LED's was enough to hold the eye's in place.

Sand it all with sandpaper Nr. 600 , than fill any damaged parts with putty and sand it all again when the putty cures.
On a clean surface(wash it all if u need) spray a thin layer of plastic primer, wait for it to dry for a few minutes and than paint it all with the spray paint  of your choice.

Step 4: Wireing

Once again,I won't tell you how and where to hook it all up to your laptop.Every laptop is a bit different, so don't add the lights unless you are not comfortable, confident  and competent enough :)

I encountered a problem with the soundcard drawing the power from the same source, i'm thinking of the workaround and will update  the project here.Until then here's  a simpler circle,without the tip31 too:)
[solved] One additional LED between the sound-card ground wire and the negative battery wire did the job(i had extra 2,5v potential between them). I added the actual circuits image, i know its messy, but it works.

(The tip31 does not let the full 12v, so i placed only 3 diodes, but it really depends on the power consumption  of the diodes and the power output that you taped in)
The bigger cicuit  is made up of two parts, one lets current trough the upper 3 diodes when it gets the signal from the sound card (i tapped the rest in series with the on-board speaker ), and the second one is composed of the lower four diodes directly connected to the 12v  .

There is two pairs of wires crossing from the motherboard  to the display housing, one pair is the sound output from the speakers, and the other two are the power line 12v connected to the battery trough a on/off switch.

The idea for the first Music LED Light  circuit came from the Music LED Light Box project by the user motadacruz

In my opinion maybe it is to bright , and 4 good LED's would be good enough.
Also if you have a spare/broken  LCD display from a big enough pda or a gps navigation, the backlight panel would be perfect instead of my LED's.

The second picture is circuit switch on the motherboard, the slot was intended for the 56k modem input  but there's no modem inside :)

Step 5: The Final Product

I hope you like this as much as I do :)