Moleskine Mobo Upgrade




About: So many ideas ideas...So much wasted time:(

Awhile ago I acquired several Moleskine notebooks(for a buck each) and after seeing a few different things to do to said Moleskines here on Instructables, I decided to venture forth into the great big world of modification for the, uh,sake of modification.

Herein I will Destroy two Mother Boards and two pristine Moleskine notebooks for which the sum of the two will only be judged worthy as a new whole by you the Instructable peruser.

In other words is this cool or not?

Whatever your decision, I found this to be a satisfying way to spice up my notebooks.

Thanks and Enjoy

Step 1: Assemble Tools and Components

Gather some supplies:

2 and a half mother boards. My neighbor threw out some computer parts and I did a little judicial curb side reuseification. You could probably do this project with just one Mobo, I used more just so I could pick out what I thought were the most interesting visually appealing parts. This project is entirely open to modification on your part. Use whatever you would like to my friends!

5 minute Epoxy. I used two packs..87cents at Harbor Freight.

Dremel and bits
Various pliers and cutters
Sharpie and or Pencil
Screw drivers(err, I mean little pry bars. For removing unwanted components)

Step 2: Decide Which Parts of the Mobo to Use.

Lay the Moleskine or whatever notebook you are trying to improve on, on to the mother board. Try various areas until you find the area that is most appealing to you.

Step 3: And Cut!

Once the layout has been determined, grab the nearest marking device and trace around the Moleskine to get your cut lines.

OK, now grab your diamond cutoff wheel enabled dremel tool and cut!

Step 4: Determine Visual Appeal and Take Corrective Action on Any Deficiencies.

If you find that the pieces you have cut and fit to your Moleskine are perfect as is then disregard this step.

I found that my mother board pieces, hence forth referred to as Front and Back, needed some sprucing up. I added two bits to the Front and four bits to the Back.

Epoxy these bits to their respective Fronts or Backs.

Step 5: Time to Bring It All Together, With Some Time Spent on the Spine!

Now we come to the end or nearly so anyway.

What was I to do about the spine on the Moleskine? I knew I could not leave it alone, it just would not look right. I felt a pen holder was in order but not for just any old pen it had to be for one of those flat type pens. I think you can find them at Barnes & Noble.

I folded a floppy drive cable into what I felt was the proper shape. I then tested it only to find that it required a cut in the ribbon cable so it would bend right where I needed it to, so the mighty pen would fit properly.

So once you have the spine of your notebook situated in whatever manner you deemed appropriate, EPOXY time!

I had to preform the spine but you may have chosen a easier cover for your notebook. Once you have your spine ready mix up some epoxy. Work fast here but not too fast as you will find you have a couple of minutes to work things into shape.

I did one side at a time being careful to**PUT NO EPOXY ON THE SPINE OF THE NOTEBOOK**this is to ensure the proper functioning of the notebook i.e. no binding upon opening. So back to the epoxy, put a thick line of epoxy down the edge of the front of the notebook, place the spine in position. Temporarily clamp in place using a couple of rubber bands while another batch of epoxy is mixed up.

When the next batch of epoxy is ready put two big glops of the stuff on the Front of the Moleskine, remove the rubber bands from the spine and lineup the Front panel with the front of the notebook sliding it around until it is seated firmly in the place that you want it.

Whew.... Break Time....

The epoxy should now be set(cures completely in 24 hours, but for our purposes 5-10 minutes is long enough)and we can move to the Back panel. Mix up the rest of the epoxy(I used approximately 1/4 of the epoxy on the spine the rest of it on the Front and Back panels) again put some epoxy along the edge of the back near the spine. This will hold the other side of the ribbon cable to the back of the notebook. Now put the rest of the epoxy on the back of the notebook in two glops as we did on the Front panel. Slide the Back panel onto the back of the notebook holding it firmly in position while one handing the rubber bands into position to provide clamping force. Let it cure for awhile.


Step 6: The Final Product

Hopefully you enjoyed destroying your perfectly good notebook.

In use the prototype I made works OK. It does not open quite as far as I would like, but this does not prevent the jotting down of notes and whatnot. The one I made for Instructables works much better and though the photographs may not show it clearly it does layout flat and is quite conducive to writing and drawing.

Were I to do this again I would integrate a LED light just for kicks...Hey why don't one of you fine folks do it(or not) and then drop me a line on how it came out. Good luck in executing all the instructables you find drive you to make and create!



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    15 Discussions


    This is really cool. I have just had the issue of that kind of stuff cutting into me, or cutting into my bag, so I wouldn't want that on my notebook.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     I want a cookie too! I made a necklace with a stereo transistor and the floppy drive motor!

    Photo on 2010-01-26 at 22.58.jpg

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I am insanely surprised at getting moleskines for a buck. But incredible idea, well done.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I think the ribbon cable binder is great. I may just do one, but I think I'll leave stuff off the back cover. Not exactly something easy to carry, but a nice Instructable. Good work.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Cutde, but seems like more of a prop. How would you actually use it? It'd be all lumpy and wouldn't lay flat would it? Still, grate cover for a finished notebook. Sit that on your shelf or coffee table and people will flip through it.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Initially the covers would not lie flat, but once I placed extra components on the boards they did in fact lie flat thus resulting in a acceptable surface to write upon.


    The Moleskine notebooks were purchased from a discount book store that was in the process of changing hands. They had oodles of stuff for really deep discount prices. If your in Michigan it was the bookstore in the Tanger Outlet Mall off of I-75 Exit 133(I Think)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    That looks freaking awesome. Great job, and how did you get those for a dollar each?! (Yes, I'm surprised as pyelitegamerro76.) +1 rating. (added to favorites)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice, good job, works a treat! i wouldnt want to keep it on my pocket tho!! It would be neat to de-solder most the componants off.