Modding my laptop

Open computer, beforeEvery time I handle one of our vintage typewriters, I wish my laptop were so beautiful. So, I’m going to take steps to have the pretty, pretty laptop I want. This is the sort of project that I don’t have time to do, and basically amounts to escapism. Since my laptop is my only computer, I can’t take it offline to do heavy duty modifications so I’ve just been fantasizing about it, until I found a link to Schtickers.com. For $25 they will print out any custom design on a reusable vinyl sticker designed to go on a laptop. Oh boy!

For a while, I have been coveting an oxblood red typewriter out at Ace Typewriter. It is a beautiful thing, so I decided that rather than going with standard black, I would use the oxblood typewriter as my inspiration. I thought about modifying the stylings of a Remington or Royal or Underwood but finally decided to create my own brand: The Kowal Portable Typewriter and Adding Machine Company.

My plan for modding my laptop

StickerI sent the jpg off to Schtickers and three days later got my lovely vinyl cover back. The website wasn’t as easy to use as I would have liked, I never did get a preview image but it does look exactly like my test print, so, yay! While I had wanted actual silver on the detailing, I knew I wasn’t going to get it so I used the emboss function to get some depth on the 30% gray I used. It’s not a bad match.

Open computer, after Here it is in its glossy glory. The sticker really is high gloss, too. The real computer logo sticks up a bit in the center, but not too bad. If I were doing it again, I’d probably use that as a design element.

My next plan is to design another schticker for the interior of the computer. The keyboard is presenting a challenge. I think I’m going to have to paint my keys black and use stickers on them as well. The key covers are only 1/8″ thick and, after popping a couple off, their connection is four wee little tabs that I’ll be able to machine. Before I do that, I’m going to try getting a couple of replacement covers and see if I can cut them to rounds, without losing the connections.

I’ll keep you posted.

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15 Responses

  1. Minister

    Oh, my. I thought this was the sort of project you didn’t have time to do? Someone clearly isn’t spending enough time writing on her laptop if this is the best use of her laptop-time she can come up with. *frowns severely, but the twitching eyebrow gives away the smile beneath* Okay, so it’s pretty cool.

  2. Wordly

    That is absolutely beautiful! It’s got so much more personality now, and looks so classy. Ya done good!

  3. Fabulous Girl

    OK, this is the second project I have waiting for your arrival in NYC. Be-yew-ti-ful!

  4. Hugh Walter

    Hi – greetings from across the pond;

    This is beautiful, have you found http://steampunkworkshop.com/index.shtml
    his stuff is so wonderful, but labour intensive and you would need to unplug for an hour or 2!!!

    What graphics software do you use for this sort of work? I’m a newbie to all this technology, using a compaq evo which was given to me as a leaving present, by colleagues who clearly thought more highly of me than the boss! however – although ‘born again re. the internet – I’m self teaching, using the tutorials in the loaded software (loaded by the tech guy at work), and despite buying a Volito tablet, I can’t get this kind of accurate graphic design, (in windows paintbox, office publisher, or macromedia freehand 10) do I need to get coral or autocad? (43 and keen to learn!

    I’ll do a damp green mossy one, just lifted from an alien primordial swamp! with corroded verdigris buttons, and rusty seams, with the odd bug peeking out? umm….hold the bugs

  5. Mary Robinette Kowal

    Hugh: I love his stuff and was initially going to replace the keys on this, but looked at it and decided that there was no way it was going to happen.

    I used Corel Draw, but you can also look at GIMP, which is a free, very good, open source paint program.

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