Finally after nearly a year of working, i have finished my masterpiece; I have racked up more geek points by creating a backpack from an old macintosh SE computer c. 1988. I know everyone is saying either A.) why did you destroy a perfectly good macintosh? Or B.) Why didn't you spend that time making floppy disk plate mail like you promised? Well to be truthful/ in my defense, The mac was dead and I tried all I could to find the necessary system software, and I didn't want plate mail armor, however geeky, as much as I wanted this. Let's move on to the actual instructions:

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Step 1: Acquire

I've had this Mac for almost three years, it became a decorative object after one. Good lord how I loved the noises it made, the initial ping as it started up, the whirring of the hard drive, the enevitable struggling and breakdown because it didn't have a fan. I was reared on this computer (not this exact one mind you) and will always revere them.

Step 2: Disable Firewall

Unless you are fortunate enough to own the apropriate sized star drive you will not be able to unscrew these screws, however there is an alternative: Hex keys (or maybe they will be found under wrenches, Allen.) The first two screws (not shown) will be easy enough to find and render harmless; however, these two, crammed way in the back, are situated in such a way as to make you unable to properly align and turn the wrench. You need either an extremely long wrench or to just make your own tool.

Step 3: Fire Macguyver

Take some long object that is also thin and drill a hole in it (I used an extender for a socket wrench because it pretty much already has a hole in it) then insert the short end of the hex key in the hole and secure with glue, rubber bands and/or hair from an orange cat caught on the full moon.

Step 4: Skin and Gut Your Catch

after removing those two pesky screws remove the casing. The front slides right out. Then remove everything. The best way to do this is as follows: if you see a screw, unscrew it. and do not force anything, there will be pieces along the way you will want intact.

Step 5: Save Our Scrap

You will run across a component like this, save it. Also save the circuit board with the SCSI and serial ports that fit in the holes seen here. Important: Save all knobs and dials so you may glue them back into the shell, some models have a brightness knob on the front that would leave a gaping hole if misplaced. Save also the power switch and power plug in.

Step 6: Plied Plastic

On the front panel are tiny pieces of plastic designed to structurally enhance the seam with the back piece of plastic. Break them off using pliers or cut them off using wire or tin snips. when breaking the plastic use a swift motion to break it off, like how you break taffy. A slower motion may result in a blemished or torn exterior.

Step 7: Hardware

Using glue, apply the hinge on the top and the latches on the sides. Use tape to clamp down the bond until fully cured. Use an apropriate adhesive! I used both a clear plastic strip hinge and clear plastic latches so I needed a good glue for bonding plastics to plastics.

Step 8: The Screen: Part 1

Find the image you want displayed and resize it to the size of the CRT (roughly 8.25" x 6.25".) I used the splash screen from Mac os 3.0

Step 9: The Screen: Part B

Adhere the paper to a piece of thick clear mylar, with the printed side towards the mylar (note the ensuing reflective qualities.) leave about a half inch extra mylar on all sides

Step 10: The Screen: Step 3

Align and adhere the "screen" to the front plate

Step 11: Remember These?

Take the metal sheet and circuit board I asked you to save earlier and saw off a strip of circuitry that contains the ports, then adhere this to the metal sheet and reinstall.

Step 12: Software

Salvage the straps from the backpack, get as much fabric as you can.

Step 13: Secure the Perimeter

Seal the edges of all wounds created while acquiring the straps, depending on the fabric and amount thereof, you are usually able to cauterize the edges with a soldering iron or an element from your stove. I however found it necessery to sew the edges, using my beigest thread to match the Mac

Step 14: Nuts Ifs Ands or Bolts

drill two holes in the plastic and two holes in the strap, apply glue and two bolt/nut combos. the bolts will apply clamping pressure to assist the gluing process.

Step 15: Drill and Fasten

Drill your holes and secure your straps with some bolts and glue, this time on the sides. be mindful of where your interior components are.

Step 16: Foibles and Key Fobs:

I initially saved the CRT so that I could make a mold of it and enevitably a casting in clear plastic that would be rigid and fit the curvature of the screen hole perfectly. I tried all that I could for months before finally settling with sheet mylar: I tried two different plastics, latex and a poly-urethane RTV system (room temperature vulcanization) and even plaster. Nothing gave me a sturdy blemish and bubble free mold I could work with. I spent over eighty dollars trying to get it "perfect" when I could have gotten fairly satisfactory results by using some scrap mylar I had nearly forgotton about. I guess being a pack-rat is just as dangerous as not saving anything, you lose some really valuable materials amidst piles of other treasures.

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    50 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    you could take this project and mix it with your floppy disk messanger bag, and you could take like an old vic-20 or a c64 or a atari home computer and gut the computer then hinging on end for a bag configuration :D


    8 years ago on Step 2

    You need a T10 and T15 torx driver about 10 inches long. I got mine from Sears.


    thank god for facial hair. at least now i don't get mistaken for a lady anymore.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I know this is an older ible now. But you really need to make a point about discharging the CRT.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    it would be cool to do this with an old crt monitor


    12 years ago on Step 16

    Acrylic matching the colour closely (or clear/smoke with the rear side sanded) and a heat gun or monster hairdryer, make sure the screen part is facing upwards (like if the computer was on it's back) lay the acrylic sheet over and heat evenly until the shaped is replicated, This will work with any thermoplastic plastic acrylic is just handy.

    1 reply

    Thanks for that, Killerjackalope. I was looking for a way to do something like that, and you just helped me out. I have the heat gun, the plastic, and now the knowledge to do it right. Thanks.


    this thing looks like an industrial vacuum cleaner I mean come on cool idea but still I think you have a little too much time to think about stuff lol!


    11 years ago on Step 16

    one needs to vacuum chamber liquid rubbers and plastics to get them truely bubble free, though surface bubbles can be minimized by brushing on the first layer or two of mold material.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Is this possible to do with a non mac?? I found an old multisync XV15 (NCC) on the sidewalk... and wanted to make this backpack. Originally I was going to try to make it a fish tank... but it seems that it's going to need a lot of supplies i don't have. Advice?

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    the steps will essentially be the same, gut the computer, find a replacement screen, find a way to open and close it, then attach it to your back