Hack Mac Laptop to Be a Mac Tablet in 15 Minutes or DIY Cintiq




About: dad hacker tinkerer maker
I've had lots of questions from places where this has popped up:
1. yes it is pressure sensitive
2. it only works where my wacom sensor is... basically that white block in the video.
3. i used the g4 because it has a broken motherboard and was virtually trash anyway. it only boots some of the time. Any laptop should work.
4. yes, it could be prettier. I know. I don't care.
5. yes writing on an lcd is bad for it. If it were to be used more often I would place a small plexiglass or lexan sheet over the screen.

There are many many people who want mac tablets. Also, many artists like to be able to draw directly on the screen. Wacom offers a product that does this, but it is $1,000 - $4,000 depending on size.

There is also a company that modifies mac laptops to be tablets here: modbook

While both are fantastic products and far superior to what I've made I can't afford either of those. So, I took an old mac laptop and a wacom intuos2 tablet and hacked them together. It was fun and serves its purpose well enough for me.

Step 1: Disasemble Laptop Screen

Follow the diagram below.

1. first remove the white casing. It is held by 4 allan screws.
2. Remove the metal shielding from the back of the panel, it is held by a few small screws.

Step 2: 5isassemble Tablet

5 screws hold the case together, simply remove them and pull out the panel guts.

Step 3: Mount the Panel on the Back of the Screen.

place the panel so that the sensor area is not blocked by any circuits. Fasten into place. I used duct tape.

Step 4: Tweek in Software.

In the wacom software, you can specify the screen area to be effected by tablet input. make the effected area match the shape, size and location of the sensor. this will line the cursor up with your input. This will require a lot of trial and error to get right.

Step 5: Enjoy!

I really felt that this needed some drawings. Really the one you saw on there was the only one I did with it before I took it apart. So, I'll include other stuff I've done with the tablet and just assume you didn't read this paragraph. Enjoy!

Step 6: Visit Links of Better Made Versions.

These are others I have found on the intertron. They are all better than mine. But they all required more than 15 minutes to make.

The original DIY cintiq.

Some guy that did a powerbook mod. Just found this while looking for images for my instructable. His is pretty nice.



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    79 Discussions


    11 years ago on Step 3

    Duct tape is awesome... but there must be a more proffessional approach to this.... Great idea, to bad I don't have any money or parts.

    6 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Step 3

    yeah, there are many more professional approaches. This was a proof of concept. It has been disassembled and put back to normal since then. I think the most professional solution would have been to mount the back panel back on. Also, someone posted a clear acrylic back panel that might have fit without modification.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 3

    HI My wife has an old ibook and im trying to convet it for her  but in all honesty we dont have money. I would like to see if i can create it for her. I am not able to see this diy due to the pro subscription which we cant afford. can someone anyone please email me the pdf to give me this oportunity see this diy and try and create it for my wife



    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I don't understand your request. While you need a subscription to download the PDF file yo don't need a subscription to actually view an instructable. The fact I'm responding to a comment you made to the instructable means you can view it. In the event you want to do is be able to study the instructable off line, most if not all browsers will save a web page as a file. Simply save each step as a web page. No not as handy as being able to download a single PDF file, but that's life for us who can't afford premium services, and have to make do with free or lower cost options. Good luck with it...


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Better yet, each time you elect to view the 'next step' in an instructible, direct that step to open in an adjacent tab (browsers now pretty much universally allowed tabbed browsing, but they vary in how they implement the 'open in new tab/window/' option). You should be able to work out, via the Preferences/Settings/Options for your browser, how to modify a click of a link to have that link open in a new tab. In any case, you can almost always use the contextual menu (or right-click + menu) to arrive at the same result.

    When you're done opening all the steps (each in its own tab), you're left with a window that has multiple tabs arranged, left-to-right, in sequence for the 'ible you're considering. Passing quickly through the steps--whether in forward order, or reverse--is just a matter of clicking on the next tab in sequence.

    If your browser allows for it, you might then save the tabs currently open as a set e.g. 'bookmark all tabs' or 'bookmark tab group' or something similar.

    Questions about how, in particular, to do any of the above will be loudly ignored.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 3

    p.s my email is sawnsu@gmail.com


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Hello from mex.

    Well Im a disigner and actually I work in a G pen 450 the prize is very good cause are the first line, round prox the $45 dollars. 


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    man.. that's great! Thanks for sharing! Is it possible, in your opinion, to make a 100% fullscreen version? Or the parts will not fit?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    there are also usb touch screens that are claimed to work with mac.

    i was planning to buy one till i broke down and got an actual tablet. screens come in various sizes and can run from $50-$100 more or less.

    some are even infrared requiring no touching at all, just gesturing in air.


    8 years ago on Step 6

    Any thoughts on doing this with an iMac?

    Take it off it's stand and it's basically at Cintique size already, or mount it at an angle like a drawing board, and it's perfect!

    I'm selling mine for cheap. iBook G4 white 1.2ghz with latest OS 10.5.x email me if u want it. Linuxjuicer@gmail.com

    tinkerCMarble of Doom

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I have a 12" screen, G3, 500 MHz iBook, and it works like a charm. Just hope you don't like high power games, but you like the web, and watching videos.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    The best that you can do is go to a apple store and talk with the technical suppor so they will repair your mac to become a touch mac!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    You must tell me where you got the touch screen guts!!! Look at what I did to my poor ibook

    I even had to laugh at the fact that my ibook and your ibook both are held together with duct tape around the lcd bezzle. Hilarious.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    fantastic! I'm working this project for myself since finals are over-great little item.

    DJ Radio

    11 years ago on Introduction

    why is this featured? I dont understand it from the pics