Intro: Laptop Modification
I impulse bought this laptop for super cheap, the reason I got it was because of how industrial it looked.
Its hardware may be about 2009 vintage but with a slight upgrade I think it will be good enough to use as a basic machine.
It came with:
Intel core duo 2 (2GHz dual core)
2gb ram (1GHz but only one 2gb card install despite having two channels, easy upgrade)
80gb hhd (in a way im happy its only 80, would have made the machines price cheaper even tho this is something i will replace)
Mobile intel r 45 graphics (aka just about as much graphics to run)
The bulk of this laptop also means that cooling is probably pretty good.
Anyways, time to upgrade!
Step 1: Hardware Upgrades
I simply upgraded the RAM by adding another identical 2gb one I had laying around. This gives a total of 4gb at 1GHz per ram stick but because of the limitations of the motherboard it only uses 3gbs between the two. hopefully thats 1.5 each for best speeds but I have no idea.
Swapping out the old and noisy hdd was a lot harder then I first thought. At first I wanted to simply clone the hard drive using my external harddrive encloser. I have done this on a mac before with no trouble using CCC. That program is only for mac and I couldn't find a program that worked in the same way for windows. So I decided to do it in a way that wouldn't reply on any programs that were not already a part of windows 7.
The idea was to use a third hard drive as a backup drive (using backup and restore on windows 7), then install the SSD and boot from the backup, restoring the operating system to the SSD, then using CMD to force the computer to recheck the speed of the drive. A long way round but it worked well. This boosted the performance of the machine by order of magnitude in both efficiency and speed, even with the limitations of the old motherboard it got upto read and write speeds of ~250MB/s.
Step 2: Case "upgrades"
Because of the style on the machine, metal panels with hard rubber bevels, it very much made me think of a military/industrial or even scientific field equipment kind of machine and I wanted to push it further into that.
To do this I had to change the top panel to something else, im not sure what yet but i wanted to see if I could get the manufacture logo off it at the very least.
Because its a metal panel I tried using acetone but with no effect. in the end i resorted to scratching it off trying not to damage the panel. I did an ok job but it was visible were I had scratched and had to be fixed.
Step 3: Repainting
Luckily I had a little left over silver paint so I prepped the surface and covered over the panel and its scratches.
The paint looks a little lighter but we shall see once its fully cured.
Step 4: Logos
I was looking into sharpie art people have done on laptops for insperation but nothing really hit me until I found a drawn stencil painting on the side of a house. This I liked. Space like art ive always liked and would fit in with the laptop looking like rugged field equipment, but it still wasnt right so I kept looking.
Then it hit me, weyland yutani from the alien universe. I looked up all the different logos I liked the look of. The first black on grey logo would fit the front panel well, then the second two could be for under the screen, I havnt decided which yet.
Step 5: Photoshopping the Ideas
Using photoshop, or in this case painttool sai, is a great way to see how things might look.
The logo for the top looks pretty good and would be easy to draw on with a sharpie or maybe make a stencil for.
For the inside, the solid white logo would be easiest and could even be done with a silver sharpie but the other yellow and white one does look better. I also thought it might look even better if the coloured keys where different so i edited the blue keys to be yellow just to see how it looks.
I think if I where to mess with the colour of the keys I would need to paint them all white, then tint some a yellowish orange. for now I wont mess with the key colours since I dont have the right colours needed.
Step 6: Printing
I edited the logo to be just black and white and also added bridges so the stencil stays in one piece once its cut out, then printed.
Step 7: Transferring the Print
I did try to use these plastic light-diffusing sheets that came from an old monitor. The sheets where all a little difficult to work with however. So instead I reinforced the paper sheet by covering it in tape as you will see in the next step.
Step 8: Testing the Stencil
Once I reinforced the the paper print out I had to then use a surgical scalpel to get the right amount of detail and control when cutting out the stencil.
I had a cheap white tshirt so I couldn't resist trying it out. I did have a fabric marker but it was dried out so resorted to using a sharpie. didn't turn out the best but it wasn't too bad.
Step 9: Stencil
I decided to use the paper stencil for the laptop since it stood up well with the tshirt.
I strengthened it further by double-siding the tape which meant re-cutting the shape. I then added holes for tape to stick through, keeping the stencil to the surface close to there the pattern is.
Step 10: Spraying
I used the plastic sheets to shield the rest of the laptop when spraying.
I got quite a lot of over spray in the middle where the air brush lifted the pattern slightly. I should have used something to hold it down in the middle as I was spraying to avoid it but im not that picky about it.
The paint I used is acrylic so I had to seal it after. This also means if I went really wrong I could wash it off and respray.
Step 11: Finished
I kept the logo on the inside because I don't have the right colour paints yet. maybe in the future I could change it a lot more dramatically. Ideally I would like all the silver parts to be white too so I might do that if I ever get round to painting the keys.