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How to: Make an iPad Booksafe Case

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By now you’ve likely seen my ‘iBook’ project. As I mentioned, I documented the process and now I’m here to post the guide in case anyone else is interested in making their very own. There is definitely more than one way to make a book safe, and if you have more appropriate tools, feel free to improvise. The methods I selected we’re based on low cost and simplicity and will at least give you a good idea of the process. Let’s get started.

Project cost: aprox. $10

Project time: this project can be completed in a single day, but you’ll definitely want to set aside a large chunk of time for page cutting (might want to grab your headphones for some music!)

Required materials:

  • A fitting book
  • Precision knife (Xacto, packaging knife, etc.)
  • Rubber cement
  • Scotch tape
  • Pencil
  • Patience (quite a bit of it)

Tips for book selection:

Local bookstores are likely to have very inexpensive used books. The one I used was $2. I bought three books of varying sizes to be sure I got the fit I wanted. I used one book as a practice first before doing the final one (lots of cutting!). I took my iPad to the store to size up several books. Things you want to look for in the book depth, be sure that there are enough pages in the book that your iPad will fit all the way in. This is probably the toughest part of the selection process because it can be hard to judge. You may wish to measure how high your iPad stands off of a flat surface before going to the book store, then find a book with page width that is equally or slightly deeper than the measured value. Be sure that the book has enough padding around your iPad. That is, make sure that when you cut out the shape, the resulting thickness of the pages is enough to support your iPad and withstand a fairly intensive cutting process. You don’t want to try cut the shape out with, say, 0.2 inch of padding, you’ll likely rip some pages during the process. There is about 0.75 inch of padding in my final iBook.


  1. IMG_4204 IMG_4205
    Remove the cover of the book (if it has one) and center the iPad face-down inside the cover. Use the pencil to trace an outline, you should hold the pencil perpendicular to the paper so that the side of the pencil pushes against the side of the iPad as you trace. The distance from the side of the pencil/iPad to the tip leaves a good buffer in your outline and subsequent cut to ensure a good fit. If you cut it a little too big you can always add spacers to increase the tightness, but if you cut it too small, you’ll have a hard time figuring out how to recut all of the pages…. (Note that the volume rocker and hold switch will be on the opposite site when the iPad is face-up in the finished product, cutting around them specifically would be too tedious, this is what the buffer is for.)
  2. IMG_4207 IMG_4209 You want your first several cuts to follow the rounded shape of the iPad’s corners. I’d recommend cutting the rounded corners for 10-20 pages. After that you’ll be cutting square corners (much easier!), but the top pages will give it a round corner look, which will give a more custom-fit appearance. Use your knife to begin cutting on your outline. I pressed very firmly with my knife to cut through several pages at once, then pulled them out until I needed to cut again (early enough that I could still see previous cut marks and knew where to cut). Finding the right number of pages to cut through and pull out before making more cuts its probably the most challenging part of this project. Just make your cuts carefully and eventually you’ll get into a rhythm. Don’t forget to square your corners after the first 10 or 20 pages and continue to cut them that way. Square corners are much easier to cut than the rounded ones. I used a paper clip to keep part of the cut pages closest to the binding out of my way while I continued to cut. They don’t like to fold back with the rest of the page because most of their support has been cut out!
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    While cutting, do occasional test fits to ensure that the cuts are coming out properly. If you aren’t through too many pages, put the iPad in face-down to get the best idea of how it will fit (the rounded back makes this deceiving when it is face-up and you don’t yet have a lot of depth.) Finding that you are having fitting problems would be much better in the first 30 pages then after 200 cuts! As long as you were careful with your outline (and added an appropriate buffer) and keep the cuts consistent, you shouldn’t have an issue. One thing to look out for. The more pages you cut and fold back, the further the subsequent pages will be pulled toward the binding (slowly misaligning the top cut from each one underneath). If you don’t correct for this, your page cuts will have a distinct diagonal shape on the left and right. You can adjust for this by slowly moving your cuts to the right to keep them in the same relative position as the first cut (be sure to do this on the left and right sides of the cut.)
  4. IMG_4210 IMG_4215
    Once you’ve cut deep enough to fully fit the iPad, you are going to use your tape to hold the pages in their closed-book positions. The first thing you want to do is to hold the cover of the book at a 90 degree angle (or prop it against something) while you use scotch take to make small wraps around the pages. In the picture above, I colored on the tape with sharpie so it could be easily seen. I picked up the whole of the pages and slid a piece of scotch under them to begin, then set them down and wrapped it around the outside to the top (do this for each piece of tape applied.) I folded the tape back on itself at the end to make a non-sticky tab that I could use to grip to remove the tape easily.
  5. IMG_4216 IMG_4219
    When you are satisfied with the way the pages are being held, flip open the back cover and apply rubber cement to the back of the very last page (yes, over top of the tape). Once it is covered all the way around, close the back cover, flip the book over, and open the front cover. Begin applying rubber cement quite liberally around the inside surface of the page cuts. Close the cover and rest some weights on top of the book for at least an hour while it dries. When you return, remove the tape (it’s glued in the bottom cover, you can cut it, or it’ll rip pretty easily.)
  6. IMG_4231
    Once the back cover and inside has been glued, flip the book face-down and slide a piece of paper or two between the block of pages and the front cover of the book to protect the cover and create a shelf for the rubber cement to rest on while you glue around the outside of the page block. Don’t worry about getting glue against the back cover as its already glued down to the pages!
  7. Once you’ve got it all glued up you should rest some weight (other books work well) on top of it to keep everything firmly pressed down as the adhesive dries. After a few hours of drying you can remove the weights and open up the front cover to allow the inside adhesive to air out and dry. Depending on how tightly your fit turned out, you may choose to add the bookmark/tab piece to assist in removing it from the case.
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    Enjoy your iBook case.

Jkk shows you how to put an SSD and 3G in the Viliv S5

viliv s5 mod While the Viliv S5 Premium Air might already come with an SSD and internal 3G, there is nothing stopping you from modding a standard Viliv S5 [Portal page] to include these premium options. Maybe you are doing it to save money? Maybe because you love to mod? Whatever the case, jkkmobile shows you how in this helpful video.

Beagle MID highlights ARM-based possibilities

BeagleLCD2 I feel sure there’s a few similar projects lying around on lab benches around the world as OEMs test out the capabilities of the next generation of ARM-based platforms and think about MID-focused products but it’s great to see a company, HY Research, take the time to write up such a project in so much detail. If you fancy making your own MID, you now have more inspiration then ever!

The MID uses the Beagle Board, $150 OMAP 3530-based development board and adds the interfacing, power, screen, buttons, connectors and casing to turn it into a fully working MID.

The whole project was done in around 80 hours of work. Information on the build process can be found here along with other Beagle Board projects here.

Via Slashgear and MAKE

Jkk helps you tune your browser for small screens

jkkscreentune Jkk has a great little video showing you how to squeeze the most visible page space out of your Firefox browser. As he mentions, there are lots of add-ons to help reduce the interface size giving you more space for viewing your favorite websites, but jkk’s solutions increase the size by a good deal without the use of any add-ons. He achieves this by moving a lot of the UI elements and getting rid of space stealing bars. All of it can be done in just a minute or two. Now if only Firefox would incorporate tabs into the title bar of the window (like Chrome does) you’d have about as much space as possible within a browser.

3G gets squeezed into the VAIO UX UMPC

ux3glog It’s been a long time coming, but someone finally managed to throw some 3G into their Sony VAIO UX ultra mobile PC [Portal page]. It is simple to use a USB dongle, but when you have the know-how, why not make it a challenge to fit everything inside the UX’s tiny case? I’m really impressed that there is even room to add anything inside the UX as the device is already so small and packed full of hardware.


User Oginger1 of MicroPCTalk has managed to put a Huawei E169G USB 3G Modem inside of his UX for internal 3G goodness. The US versions of the VAIO UX come with a built in EDGE modem, but Sony never refreshed the line with a 3G capable model. Oginger1 wasn’t even able to use the slow EDGE connection as he owns an international model (UX50) that comes with a CF slot instead of an EDGE module. He documented the process and gave a rough guide of how to do the mod (definitely not for newbies). To understand just how small the modable space inside the UX is, you should note that he had to cut out one of the back hand grips and raise it up 2mm, then epoxy it back into place to be able to squeeze the unit inside. Head over to his thread to see the whole process.


Taking the iPhone 3G for a swim

iphone This weekend brought some relatively nice weather and I thought it would be a good time for a hike. With some friends I went out to a local preserve, hiked up a large hill, and we had a mini picnic and enjoyed the warm weather. On our way back, we decided it would be a good idea to not go back the same way we came (which involved using a bridge to cross a river), but instead walk down the length of the river and find a downed tree or thin gap that we could cross. We came to a ‘good’ crossing point that had a pretty lengthy jump to a lower bank, but it would get us across. A friend leapt across and I tossed him his gear. It was my turn to jump and after a nice running start I was about to go flying through the air to the other side, when the bank gave way. Short story even shorter, most of me ended up in the water. This included my iPhone 3G which was on my belt. My first mistake was not tossing my phone to someone on the other side, and my second mistake was trusting the edge of the bank to be a good jumping point.

Anyway, the iPhone shut itself off immediately and wouldn’t turn back on; I wasn’t surprised. The phone was only submerged for a few seconds, but it was plenty of time to short some important connections. After a wet drive home, I knew what needed to be done. I pulled a bag of rice out and poured it into a bowl, then buried my iPhone in it. The rice quite readily absorbs water, and if there was any hope for the phone, the rice bath would be the thing to bring it back to life. After several hours in the rice spa, the iPhone powered on! This was a good sign, but it wasn’t completely functional yet. The hardware buttons were shorting out, and the phone constantly thought someone was holding the volume down button and the power button. I used the included SIM ejector key to eject the SIM card from the SIM slot on the top of the phone. This was good because there were visible water droplets covering the SIM card which would have caused problems later. I dried the SIM card and SIM card holder separately and put the iPhone back in its rice bath to try to continue to extract water from it, and hopefully get the hardware buttons back to a working state.

By some inconceivable occurrence, there were two grains of rice in the bottom of the SIM slot several hours later when I checked the phone again. I discovered these after the SIM would not go back into the phone. The SIM slot is a very slim space and it was really hard to see inside. I had to close one eye and line it up with an LED flashlight to be able to see the rice down there. The SIM card contact points are springy and jut out into the middle part of the SIM slot, trapping the rice and making it very hard to remove. The slimness of the space made it hard to get tools down there and around the SIM contact points to remove the rice. All-in-all, I spent at least and hour and a half looking into the slot with a flashlight, then trying to get the rice unstuck using a pocket knife and a paper clip. This was not a fun process, but after much toiling, I finally freed both grains of rice from the SIM card slot.

By this point, the phone’s hardware buttons were functioning fine. I did a restore of the software just to be safe, and had to reload all my media, which took a little while, but it was much better than being without a phone for several days and having to buy a new one.

The moral of this story? Rice not only tastes good, but can bring a soaked gadget back to life. If you are ever in a similar situation, get your device into a bowl of rice ASAP and leave it for several days to give it a fighting chance.

So that was my weekend, did any of you do anything fun?

Aspire One gets modded into a slate PC

This story made its rounds about our end of the blogosphere a few weeks ago, but after seeing someone mod a device so well, that I recently enjoyed reviewing, I couldn’t help but share it anyway.

Check out this very clean DIY project that turned an Acer Aspire One into a touch screen slate PC:

aa1 slate aa1 slate 2

(click to see larger)

I only wish there were some videos of it in action, it looks very impressive from the images. Swing by the todoultra mobile PC forums to see all of them.


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