Transparent Clamshell iBook Mod

I take the fantastic coloured Clamshell iBook and strip it back making it transparent.

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I have always had a fascination with technology you can see the innards of. There is something raw about using a computer or games console knowing those cables and circuit boards you can see are flowing with life.

Recently, I picked up a gorgeous Clamshell iBook G3 – first generation Blueberry model – and decided to strip away at it. It is actually fairly easy to do. For full instructions on stripping down a Clamshell check out the iFixit guide. To do the full job, you will need to remove everything right down to the logic board.

Let’s get started.

Top Casing

Once you have removed the casing that holds the trackpad, the silver shield on the underneath pulls away very easily. The only tricky part is the speaker and power button surrounds. Removing the shield broke off both the speaker and power button. This can easily be fixed by super gluing them back on – but be careful not to put too much glue on, as it shows on the clear plastic and could stick the button closed.

The underside of the trackpad is bare. I currently have nothing protecting it but may put back a small part of the shield just to protect it. It won’t affect its transparency.

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Screen Bezel

This is held on via the two screws at the bottom of the front of the screen and two small screws inside the carry handle. The two small screws will take off a small panel, and then the bezel will just lift off. Be careful when unclipping the sides, as underneath are the antennas.

Once removed the silver shield peels off.

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Screen Back

There is a shield covering the back of the screen where the large coloured Apple logo is. The back casing is held on via four screws under the carry handle. Undo these and the back should lift off.

The back shield will be a little trickier to remove, as it is stuck to the back casing. Pull it gently, and the tape will come free.

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Bottom Casing

The last piece is the bottom casing. There are a few of these mods online, but I haven’t seen anyone else remove the bottom shielding.

This is the hardest piece to remove, as it requires a complete strip down of the machine – including the logic board. It is more time consuming than difficult.

Once completely stripped down, remove the bottom silver shield. Doing so will pop off some small silver discs, which is fine. I discarded mine.

This shield has some pads and protective strips, which I assume are to keep the logic board safe. I removed these from the silver shield and placed them in the same place on the bottom casing. If you find it difficult to get them in the correct place, cut around them on the silver shield so you get the exact positions. The black strips are very difficult to get off, and you may not get them off whole.

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Job Done

Once completed and the machine is put back together, you have a fantastic looking machine. You can check out my YouTube video of the mod completed and the machine running.

Extra

For a bit of extra effect, you could remove the shield around the modem card. This just gives it a sleeker look, as you can see it directly above the keyboard.

I had already stripped down this iBook and cut away at the EMI shield that sits underneath the keyboard to give me easier access to the hard drive. So on mine you can see more of the drive through the clear plastic.

Shielding

There was a lot of metal shielding removed from this iBook, as you can see below. It is there to shield outside electrical interference, and I am sure it aids heat dissipation too. If this was my everyday machine, I might be a bit hesitant about going so far, but this is a side-project on a machine that will be used occasionally.

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I am very pleased with the end result. It is a gorgeous looking device.

Warning

I take no responsibility for any damage to your iBook either completing the mod or whilst using it afterwards. You do so at your own risk.


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