There are several things that I’ve always liked: Computers, Guns and Secrets. This instructable allows me to combine all three. Today we are going to be making a “secret” hiding place for your gun or other important stuff… using a broken computer.
Since the grand prize in this contest is a Netbook, I thought it would be appropriate to use the Grand-daddy of the Netbook -The Handbook. Back in 1993, the Gateway 2000 Handbook was the end all be all of notebook computers. It was a blazing fast 33 Mhz 486, it had a color LCD, an external floppy drive and a massive 20 MB hard drive. On top of all that, it was small.
I have, in the past, made various things out of old laptops, mostly I would use this same method to make computer tool kits. I always thought it was kind of cool to make a toolbox of computer tools out of an actual computer.
With all that being said, lets begin!
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Step 1: Beginning Disassembly
Begin by removing the battery, cd drive, floppy drive, and what ever can be removed without taking screws out. Set these parts aside, you will need them later.
This particular computer (much like the new Netbooks) has no cd/dvd drive, it does however have a port for hooking up an external floppy drive.
Step 2: Remove the Screws
Turn the laptop over, you will see many screws and on some laptops you will have rubber feet and or plugs that will have to be removed to take the screws out.
Flip it over and remove any screws that hold the LCD to the main body.
Remove ALL the screws and set them aside. You are going to need some of them later.
Step 3: Take the Case Apart
Usually one of the screws near the center of the bottom the laptop will secure the keyboard and the keyboard will lift out. Next, CAREFULLY take a small flat bladed screw driver and insert it in the seam that separates the upper and lower halves of the computer.
Starting near one of the corners, sliding the screwdriver in the seam you should be able to find the little tabs that hold the pieces together. By applying some pressure, you can pop these tabs without breaking them (this will help later when you reassemble the two pieces)
Try to unplug any connectors that you can, you may be able to use some of the parts for another project. I'm sort of a pack rat, so I tend to keep anything I think I can possible use (my wife HATES that)
Step 4: Remove the "Guts"
Once you have the top and bottom pieces apart, begin removing all the screws that hold the other components in place. Not knowing what kind of laptop you will begin with, I can’t really tell you in great detail how to do this, it will vary.
You will be removing the motherboard, any switches, speakers and brackets. This will vary from computer to computer, so you will have to sort of wing it.
Remove the catch that opens and closes the lid, save it. Once you have the motherboard out, put it back in place.
Step 5: Keyboard Removal and Modification
Remove any screws that hold the keyboard to the top half. On many newer laptops, the keyboard comes off before anything else, in this case it comes out last.
Next, we are going to cut away the entire center of the top half using a dremel tool and a cutting disk or something like it. Use a file or some sandpaper to smooth everything out. Be careful, the plastic actually melts and you can get a pretty nasty burn.
Step 6: Plug the Holes
Since you have removed all of the outside connections (keyboard, VGA, PCMCIA Etc.) you are going to want to plug these holes. I used pieces of plastic that were taken from the center section under the keyboard. You can just hot glue these pieces in place. It will look relatively normal from a quick glance.
This is probably a good time to glue the other covers (memory, hard drive etc...) that were removed earlier.
Step 7: More Keyboard Modifications.
To get the keyboard to drop back in place without binding, you may need to file the edges down a bit.
You can pick up what is know as a mailbox lock and make this a locking case. I put the lock under the SHIFT key to hide it. You can skip this step if you choose, a lock isn't really going to keep out the bad guys.
Step 8: LCD for Some Extra Space
If you choose to, you can remove the LCD panel and all the electrical pieces and use this space for more storage.
I used some small metal pieces to hold the piece of plastic where it would look almost normal and some magnets as catches. Use hot glue to hold all this in place.
You can just paint it gloss black and it should look just spiffy!
I actually don't recommend doing this with the LCD, it took longer and was more difficult than doing the bottom, and I found that the space wasn't enough to hold much more than paperwork type items
Step 9: Reassemble the Case
Put the lower case back together and hot glue all the seams from the inside. Doing this will make the case more solid and not creak when you move it around. Using hotglue will also add back some of the weight, making it feel more sturdy.
Add the LCD and hinges.
I put some small metal "rails" inside the lower half of the case for the keyboard to rest on to give it a more solid feel like it had when everything actually worked.
You may also have to remove any of the screw posts that are no longer needed so you will have more space.
Step 10: You Can Even Use the Battery
You can take apart the battery and use it for additional storage. Just be careful when you take it apart and don't damage the battery cells. It should just slide back in place once you take out the batteries and electronics.
Step 11: Almost Done
Now, to use this for just a place to hide your stuff, you are done. But to use this as a gun case you will need to have some way to keep the gun and accessories from sliding around. You can use foam, or possible cast rubber. I have done projects like this in the past using latex mold making rubber in a two part mix, but it is rather expensive. I chose foam this time because it was fast, easy and cheap.
Just lay the gun on the foam and trace around it then cut it out with a razor knife. Do the same for any other items that you may want to store in the case along with it.
The gun that I'm using right now is called a Classic Arms Twister, it is a black powder gun that has been in a shadow box on my den wall for several years. I decided to use it because it is more flat than any of the other handguns that I own and I thought it might be somewhat ironic to use an antique gun in a more modern setting....I'm kinda strange that way.
When choosing a laptop for this type of project, the older the better. The older ones have sturdy hinges, and are a lot thicker than new ones.
Now go out and hide something!
Participated in the
Dead Computer Contest