Free Texting 4 Life, or P.A.M. "Post Apocalyptic Messenger" Device

Introduction: Free Texting 4 Life, or P.A.M. "Post Apocalyptic Messenger" Device

About: See some of my work here and as always accepting orders for custom design and fabrication as featured on Discovery Channel, Wired Magazine, Gizmodo, Engadget, Geekologie, PCWorld, CNet and many more - Pinter...


"I created this very silly Instructable a while back, and its just been sitting in my draft collection collecting dust. Often if my pictures aren't perfect I will hold off publishing until I can get it just right. Sadly, my lovely P.A.M. was used in a school play and subsequently lost. So, what the heck. Here it is, in all it's non-edited, long winded, full of oddly linked glory. Perhaps it will inspire someone to make there own, and they will lovingly share some awesome photos to add to this one..., or just watch a couple episodes of Last Man on Earth"

But I digress,

Do you find yourself asking any of the following hard questions?

· How do I get free texting for life?

· How do I free myself of being a power grid slave, free yourself from the MAN?

· How can I not get bathed in Zombie inducing electromagnetic radiation?

· How do I capture the excitement of passing love notes to my first school crush?

· Zombies are everywhere, how do I leave a message for others to save me?

. Wait, I am a Zombie, how can I avoid having "Flesh-Breath" on a first date?

· I need to rebuild civilization and gather the last remnants of society, except I'm picky; how do I do this?

· Dang, It’s the Apocalypse, how do I still watch Cute kitten videos on my phone?

Well now you can, with a few simple steps you’ll be on your way to a better life. Yes, you may have to be a little savvy with office supplies, but even in the zombie filled apocalypse, post-it notes, like cockroaches are everywhere…

With the P.A.M. (Post Apocalyptic Messenger) Device, you can text to your hearts content. Free of contracts, proprietary technological platforms, Heck, not even having another phone to communicate with is a barrier; Beat that big telecom! It frees you from the confines of a traditional based phone, and can be had for zero dollars with a little savvy salvage and crafting! With no batteries, not only are you saving on your electrical bill, you are also saved from being bathed in brain mutating (potential Zombie source) Electromagnetic radiation!

What’s the catch? OK, you can’t actually call anyone, or receive calls; but I ask you, is that so bad? Didn’t think so. Who wants to be fielding a Zombie attracting phone call, just because you forgot to set to your phone to vibrate?

Speaking of Zombies, if you are one, or just have the breath of one, wouldn't it be nice if there was an App to get rid of Flesh Breath? I'd say yes, The P.A.M. unit has one built in, Brilliant. Lets say your on a first date, brought on by a little flirting, maybe a little note passing? Remember that excitement from high School? Perhaps it is the Apocalypse and your forgot there are no more surviving movie theaters to take your date to. What to do? Well, with your handy dandy P.A.M. and a flick of the wrist your breath problems are over. Need to break the ice, pass a love note, old school and watch the blushing begin. No good shows to see? Who doesn't like a kitten video? Activate your P.A.M.s media center, and all will be purr-fect.

Perhaps there are no zombies, just ask Phil Miller aka Tandy, from Last Man on Earth how his non-selective spray painted messengers worked out. He attracted all sorts of riff-raff. If only he had just left post it notes in “key” areas, he could have attracted only loyal supporters. Oh poor, poor Tandy, if only you had a P.A.M. tucked in your pocket, you could have avoided those embarrassing shenanigans by using a concise means of communication; P.A.M. its the new Analogue Twitter!

Avoid murder, cannibalism and awkward first dates, get a P.A.M. today! Just ask Tandy...

Step 1: Scavenge

They say when making anything, that prep work determines the final outcome. And, nothing could be more true as for such a project. I have lots of old cell phones lying around, some working some not so much. Finding the right one was tricky as flip phones are tending to go the way of the dinosaur. I also wanted a large enough flip phone that could contain a standard sized post-it note pad. Who wants to be running from zombies and be trimming post-it pads, I know I don't! After careful searching I found the perfect flip-phone. Not only did it have the deepest body, but the extending antennae was begging to be tweaked. Other then that, all i needed was a post-it pad, some donor pens to be turned into a stylus and some hand tools. Glues and other add-ons aren't even really needed, but they do refine the project.

Great places to get old phones are numerous.

  • Asking family and friends are usually a good bet.
  • Visiting recycling depots will yield hundreds of free dead phones, if they permit you to take them. Some are contracted that once they receive goods to recycle, they are now property of where they are to be sent.
  • One of the best places, if you work for a company that has a IT department that handles communication devices they usually have boxes of them slated for recycling.

The key of course is finding one that is big enough to hold a small post-it note pad. I have a drawer full of blackberries and other smart phone, but the "tablet" design doesn't lend itself well to this project.

Step 2: Gut the Body

Gutting your phone can be easy, but also tricky. You have to keep an eye on how the frame is held together as you take it apart, careful not to snip out something that holds it altogether. If this does happen though, some superglue or epoxy will make it right as rain.

  1. Start by removing the battery compartment, followed by the battery, sim/memory card holders and any labels you find. Often screws are hiding behind these labels.
  2. Remove all the screws you can find first. They will be surprisingly difficult to remove, but once they are turned a couple times they'll come out easy. Hold onto them though, and perhaps snap a picture of where they came out of. You'll need them later to put the phone back together.
  3. Even with the screws out, it will most likely be still held together with interlocking plastic clips. Gently work a very thin screw driver or blade in between the seam to free the first snap. Then use a piece of thin plastic like an edge of a credit card to ease the other snaps apart. The card will be gentle on the edges and not make it look like crap after. Keep an eye out for hidden screws as you pry it apart like a stubborn clam. Mine had a couple painted black that were hiding in speaker and power ports, very sneaky...
  4. In order to fit my post-it note pad I had to do a little internal trimming of the plastic holding the circuit chips in place. This was done with a razor blade to score the plastic first and some needle nose pliers to carefully chew the plastic away. Go easy, bonsai style. You want to keep the internal strength of the phone intact, yet make as much space as possible.
  5. Now reassemble, don't forget any switches you removed, you want this to look stock when complete.

Step 3: Gut the Screen, Carefully...

The screen take a little more care

  1. Carefully pry off the cover bezel, its double sided taped on. You don't want all your hard work to go down the drain if you snap it!
  2. Underneath I found 4 screws, remove them and the screen will just kind fall out.
  3. Clip the wires connecting the screen and remove any bits that might get in the way, mine required very little.

Step 4: Wall Papers

This is such a simple step, yet I had several techies scratching there heads trying to figure out how I got the screen to work again... Silly rabbit

  1. Pick out some pictures you'd like to use as a wallpaper for your phone. I was first going to use a picture of my daughter and I acting all loco, but went instead with a pic of my honey wife, yup shes that cute! She's often featured in my instructables including my R2D2 coffee maker.
  2. I also used the small screen on the front to display my Instructable username, iminthebathroom.
  3. For both just cut out and stick in place. I cut mine very close to the size of the screen with just a touch of overlap. The adhesive on the screen used to hold the bezels in place held the pictures too, easy-peasy!
  4. Now reassemble

Step 5: Snip

This stage had me vexed for a while. I wanted it to have a slide out pen where the antennae was, but I also wanted it to look stock. After hacking apart several pens i found what I was looking for. It was a pen cartridge that had its head smaller then the ink tube. eureka!

  1. Using wire snips i cut the antennae half way up. The top was now free, and the base popped out inside the case.
  2. Trim the antennae to about 1 cm
  3. trim the ink cartridge to about 5 cm, carefully squeeze out the bottom 1 cm of ink. This is messy stuff, be ready with paper towels.
  4. Seal it up a drop of crazy glue on the outside. Roll the sticky mess in some baking soda. The baking soda will react with the crazy glue immediately setting rock hard. I used a product called rapid fix, its basically crazy glue in one tube and slightly granular baking soda in the other tube.
  5. Sand away any excess glue

Step 6: Fit the Stylus

Now the antennae was very, very thin, while the new stylus is thin too, its just too thick. Fix it.

  1. Grab a drill bit the same width as your stylus, you want it snug
  2. Drill through the existing antennae hole
  3. Test if your stylus fits.
  4. Whoo-hoo,it does!

Step 7: Kitten Videos

What phone isn't complete with at least one kitten video, hello, Holla "KITTEN VIDEO". Just because its the end of the apocalypse doesn't mean you cant watch the latest kitten video, I mean come on, are we savages?

How to add video to a powerless phone? Old school comes to the rescue again, with flip style cartoons. Now you can do flip style the old fashioned way and draw a picture on your pad of post-it notes, turn a page draw it a little different, turn the page and draw it a little different,

turn the page and draw it a little different,

turn the page and draw it a little different,

turn the page and draw it a little different,

turn the page and draw it a little different,

turn the page and draw it a little different,

turn the page and draw it a little different, OK - you get the point. Frame by frame, or while waiting for the apocalypse to happen, download your favorite GIF file and go to a GIF converting site to turn it into a frame by frame printable file. Here on Instructables you will find several instructables that show you how to do this, or this website works well. Just upload your file to the site and they will output it into a PDF for you to print. I resized mine to match my post-it note size hole in the phone. Now cut it out and staple or glue the edge together. I have also attached a couple PDF's of flip books I found using my amazing Google skills. Just print out and start cutting.

Step 8: Options, or on Second Thought...

One of my earlier ideas was to use a reed switch from a an old piece of security hardware. It would complete a circuit that would light up a LED and watch battery to light up the screen. I snipped the switch off the perf board but then it dawned on me, I was trying to make this usable without batteries, what was I thinking. So instead of wasting valuable space on something that requires batteries, I'm using the space for other things. Back to the drawing board, the switch goes into my future project bin - waste not want not...

Step 9: Test Fit

Now test that everything fits. The post-it note fits, but could use a minor trim. I took my razor blade and dragged the blade across the plastic. You don't want the blade to cut into the plastic like you're whittling, this would gouge it and look horrible. Instead draw the blade perpendicular to the plastic, it will take off little shavings like a plane. slow and easy. Plus make sure your stylus/pen still fits. Mine did, hooray!

Step 10: Additional - As Space Permits - FLESH BREATH BLASTER!

I haven't thought of what to add to the screen section, but the post-it holder has lots of space. The top needs to be open, this allow easy removal of post-it tabs or activating the kitten video. The bottom though can be tailored to what ever you like. Use it to hold cash/change? Sure, though kinda pointless in the wasteland. What would really help negotiating with zombies, mutants and surviving IRS agents? Not having bad breath of course? Enter the breath mint! Nothing kills diplomacy like the breath of someone who may have consumed human flesh in the last 24 hours. Not to mention romance, how are you going to find your life mate in the future if he/she thinks you ate your last date! Ew, flesh breath... Curiously strong mints anyone?

Really though you could fill this with what ever floats your boat. Speaking of boats, how about some fishing line and hooks, or maybe a steel/flint fire maker combo. The possibilities are endless... Myself I just cut a small piece of plastic and glued it in place to help hold in the tiny mints, access is through the ear-phone port on the side. perfect. If you have access to a 3D printer, oh my - what shenanigans you could get up to...

Step 11: Switching Apps

Ok, perhaps this isn't really all that smooth of a transition.

For example:

  • When you activate your Media player, your taking the Kitten video out from below your post-it note pad, but with a little finesse; you can make it look easy. Think "slight of hand" like a magician...
  • Activating the Flesh-Breath Blaster simply raise the open phone to your mouth, and with a flick of the wrist, whammy - Mentos - the Fresh Maker
  • Switching from text mode to your illustrator you "DO WITH YOUR MIND" incredible, Neuro tech with no batteries, wow Beat that William Gibson!

Step 12: Real World Applications!

Quirky uses:

  • When electronics are not allowed at the D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) table, the P.A.M. springs into action. Delivery Taunts to your team mates, secret messages to the Dungeon master, or for delivering a silent D20 Death Blow, the P.A.M. is ready! Orcs beware, the P.A.M. gives any attack an automatic plus 5 on attack!


  • Breaking the ice by passing a secret note in class


  • Secretly sealing the deal in the Board room


  • Or, by simply texting someone you love them... yeah ok, kinda sucky, but... love makes the world go around.
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    5 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Good Instructable, and very creative re-purposing of an old phone! This will be perfect for my Zombie Apocalypse bug-out bag. Clearly my old flip phone isn't really dead after all, but is itself a "good and helpful" zombie, an undead Post Apocalyptic Messenger device for texting, mind-map drawing, kitten videos, and many other apps limited only by imagination and available space. No battery needed. What more could one want? This is a phone upgrade I can use! Thanks for sharing.

    Alex in NZ
    Alex in NZ

    1 year ago

    Neat. I made a drawing kit in a smartphone, and a mint box from a flip-phone, but you squeezed both of my cellphone projects into one! Thank you for sharing, and for making something useful from old consumer electronics. :-)


    Reply 1 year ago

    Thats awesome, part of my desire to reuse this was out of seeing pallet loads of phones like these slated for the garbage dump. It gets people talking about it; sure it won’t stop wasteful upgrades but if a percentage can be reused, it’s not a total waste.


    1 year ago

    This is a cross between the NoPhone and "I prefer hand-written sentements".


    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes, about sums it up. This was a fun but silly build. Not something I’d expect to get featured as the photos are low quality. Ironically my daughter just managed to get the phone back, so perhaps I can save it from the dust pile.