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Old 5th July 2008, 11:45 PM   #1
Bismar Thread Starter
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Default Project Code: Tabeee MK 1

Project Tabeee Mk-1

The Beginning……

So back at the start of this year, I’ve contemplated getting an e-book reader for use while travelling to uni aboard public transport.
This was under consideration for a good 6 months, and through much research I realised that only one model laid in my price range, the Sony e-book reader.

However due to typical Sony, this was only available in the good old us of a and although I could purchase it, this entailed ridiculous shipping costs, and difficulty in having the product repaired/ replaced if damaged. This option was well, frankly not acceptable at all.

Thus we have the beginning of the Tabeee .

With the 9” model of the Asus eee pc being released, numerous 7” models were being sold for bargain prices in OCAU’s trade section. I bought such a model coming to approximately $255 AUD, which is much much less then the Sony e-book reader which came to $430 AUD with shipping.

Now this would save me almost $200 AUD, and as a an advantage I have a color screen instead of B&W, ability to surf the WWW, wireless connection, ability to do more then read books, be used as a pad to jot down uni notes.

All this with only 3 disadvantages, the weight, size and the battery life. But this was a small price to pay, as the weight is negligible when you are sitting down on a bus, size is still smaller then most full size paperbacks, and well battery life… yeah umm, well ok, that’s a major disadvantage.

So well, if you are still awake from my ramblings, I present to you Tabeee in all its glory in a Sketchup design. One of the simplest yet most frustrating program at times I should add.

This design shall be composed of 3 parts, the base made of aluminium, the cover, made of fluro orange Perspex, and the lcd mesh, made of steel mesh.

Materials and Cost to Date (All prices in AUD)
1 x Salvaged Aluminium Lian Li case

1 x 500mm x 500mm Fluro-Orange Mesh from GAMMODS
$41.00 (inc shipping)

1 x 500mm x 500mm AC Ryan steel mesh from PCCASEGEAR

1 x 7” Touchscreen (From ebay, no name listed as service was horrible and product not as advertised)
$60.15 (inc shipping)

1 x Powerbook button (From ebay)
$16.04 (inc shipping)

Note that logs will be separated by sessions as I’ve been on this project for about 2 weeks, and don’t have exact dates with the camera date being constantly reset.

Session 1

First the disassembly of the eee pc for measurements, won’t bother providing too many images as you can find these easily on the WWW.

After much measurement, the design was done in Sketchup as seen above.
Further detail will be seen in following construction sessions.

Session 2

First piece was purchased from PC case gear, the AC Ryan Mesh. Now this product was fairly annoying as no one knew what sizes the holes were, thanks to a helpful member of the AC Ryan forums, I found out it was 2mm holes.

This mesh is really strong even though its only 0.7mm thick, bending this without proper tools will be fun.

Also found a old Coolermaster heatsink, made of copper, will be an excellent heat-sink for the 3 chips (cpu, gpu and northbridge) on the eee pc.

Session 3

Fluro Orange Acrylic from GAMMODS finally arrives, paypal seems to be taking longer to clear with banks these days, took me about 6 days! No pictures, as well it’s a piece of acrylic which is covered by a protective sticker, which I am unwilling to remove.

Kapton tape arrives from Dealextreme, about 5 times cheaper then Farnell, and considering its shipped from HK too, it shows how much of a rip-off Farnell is. And yes I know Farnell tape has higher specs.

Session 4

Now that most of the materials I needed have arrived, its time to start cracking.

Here’s a pic of my source of aluminium, an old Lian Li case.

Ensuring the aluminium is protected by using tape….

Cutting to size with a saw

Pasting a template printed from Sketchup on to the aluminum

The square things in the middle of the template are locations to paste the copper heat-sinks. This will probably be done through some sort of thermal adhesive so the entire bottom aluminum section acts as a giant heat-sink.

Session 5

In order to make the bottom base a single piece, I had to find a way to bend aluminum. Googling around soon found a simple way without buying an expensive metal brake, giving this.

This pretty much just uses a few pieces of wood and some hardwood.

Another view

The last time I bent aluminum, I was unfortunate enough to have it crack on it, luckily this time it bent nicely!

And finally the end product

That said I am not too happy with the curvature of the bend, the hardwood I used was Tasmanian Oak and its one square edge has seem to be warped by the force of the metal and rounded into a corner, giving me a curved edge on the aluminum.

Due to this and the imprecision of my cuts as I only have a jigsaw (no circular saw ☹ ), I have thus relabeled this project Tabeee MK 1, so that when I have better tools I shall build a better and more accurate one.

Anyways back to the project at hand, more cutting pics.

As can be seen in the below pic, there’s about 3mm extra near the top end of the board, to the top of the base. This was meant to be a snug fit, but I seemed to have bent the other ends too far out ☹. Still should be fine though.

Session 6

So my touch-screen package from ebay finally arrives after 2 weeks and luckily it wasn’t broken! Unfortunately the seller’s description of ‘solderless’ well…. was false.

As you can see not only is the required wires not provided for the touch-screen controller, 2 of the wrong wires he provides don’t even have the connectors attached. Luckily I believe I have some lying around somewhere.

Also anyone mind explaining to me what that green triangular piece of plastic is?

Anyways back to cutting stuff. Cutting a piece of acrylic to size.

Surprised the jigsaw gave such a clean cut with the acrylic, perhaps my jigsaw ain’t useless after all.

Filing the metallic base with an indent for the acrylic.

Now to bend it with a heatgun borrowed from work.

And here the fun begins, using my method above it seems to be impossible to bend a piece of acrylic along a line.

First attempt, too short :/

Second attempt, too long :/

Fixed that with some filing along the edge of a ruler to ensure straightness.

Last edited by Bismar; 13th July 2008 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 5th July 2008, 11:50 PM   #2
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Excellent stuff mate, i will be following this with interest.

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Old 5th July 2008, 11:50 PM   #3
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Here it is against the plate.

The corner however is not quite 90º, so back to the heatgun. Unfortunately that made the acrylic warp, and several attempts at correcting that only got worse.

I think that’s about it for today, will probably think about how to device a more accurate way to bend it.

Here’s a few pics on how Tabeee will be held while in use, by the battery. The battery will be elevated by an additional mm more than on that pic.

There ends this part of the worklog. Dam these things take a while to write and host the images, took me about 2 hours 0_o. Do you uys think i'm over doing it with the pictures? First worklog here so i'm just throwing everything in.

Session 7

So after my last failure to bend acrylic properly I went out and bought myself two hinges and constructed a simple bending jig.

And here’s a piece bent.

Much better this time.

Not too sure how I’m going to replicate the position of the ports (usb, vga etc.) accurately, so decided to start working on the heatsinks.

Taking a break as copper is sure dam tiring to cut.

Will need to sand those later and glue them with some sort of non conductive thermal adhesive so as to prevent ionic reactions from copper and aluminum from happening. So no arctic silver adhesive unfortunately ☹

Session 8

Called up some 5 stores looking for J-B Weld with little luck, reason I’m after this is due to it being different from other epoxies as it contains metallic particles allowing it to be machined after it dries. Most common epoxies turn rubbery after drying and isn’t great for filing/sanding. Anyway, after a long drive and just when I was about to give up I managed to find some at autobarn! Hooray ☺

Also picked up some 6mm untapped M3 spacers and M2 screws from Jaycar. Funnily enough they didn’t sell M2 nuts and those are from my model helicopter. These 6mm spacers will filed down to 5mm and be glued to the aluminum base to support/ secure the motherboard.

The spacers were for holding the nuts as I couldn’t find M2 threaded spacers. Pic explains all for this. Talk about luck finding spacers that gave an interference fit with the nuts ☺

Here’s a pic showing the spacers at work, clearing the motherboard from the aluminum base. Note they haven’t been filed to size as of yet.

As can be seen in the following pic, they are not quite flush with the 3.5mm jacks casing (silver bit that houses the 3.5mm jacks), once I’ve shortened the spacers they will be. The aim of the mod was also to minimize the height of the eee pc and thus the fan will not be included, they copper heatsinks (and the giant aluminum base) should theoretically be able to fully dissipate the heat from the 3 chips.

Will host the next session asaicbb.

Session 9
Ok, now that I’m in the worklogging mode, lets try and get as many sessions as I can out of the way. The following sessions may cause much boredom, as it doesn’t seem that I get much done, but in reality that’s a few hours of work :/ .
Ok, shortening the spacers, this took me a good 5 mins to think about how I would go about it, and I ended up with finding the closest drill bit I can to the outer diameter of the spacers, drilling a piece of wood with it, and hoping the spacer fits.
Used some random 6.something imperial bit, but the spacers wouldn’t fit :/ Pushing it against the pedestal drill bit while in motion, soon widened the hole a little. I wonder if that wrecks the pedestal drill, anyone know?
Anyway pic for it.

Filed it down, then screwed a screw into the nut in the spacer it to yank it out.

Seems that I am about half a mm off. Will see how it goes though.

Here are the 4 test spacers I made.

Spacers mounted onto the 4 extremes of the eee pc mobo. As can be seen it clears the ports and any other components of the board nicely.

As usual, I’m still not satisfied and I reckon I can probably skim another mm off that, but that’s for later.
Meanwhile, I’ve managed to get a Asus logo, as seen below. This will be mounted on the acrylic somewhere, not too sure how am I going to attach it though. Was thinking of using the heatgun to indent the logo onto the acrylic before gluing it.

Session 10
Now that I got my J-B Weld, its time to work on the metal base frame again. Cutting a piece of aluminum, and filing to shape, and pasting it on a wooden block to get it at right angle to the base.

Applied J-B weld and clamped it into position, no progress pics of this as I didn’t want to risk getting epoxy on the camera.

J-B Weld takes 24 hours to cure, so whilst that’s happening, I worked on how to get the ports nicely cut out from the acrylic. First I needed a template, and 2 photocopies later of the eee pc case I get this.

While I’m thinking of that, its time for some grunt work, ie more filing, this time of the copper. Here’s a pic of what it looked like before I begin working on it.

Last edited by Bismar; 13th July 2008 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 5th July 2008, 11:51 PM   #4
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Session 11
A day later, and its time to see if this J-B Weld stands up to its name.

It seems strong, but that said I wasn’t about to go crazy ripping it out to prove it otherwise.
Here’s the other side, which I’m still not too sure if I should epoxy too.

Finally decided on how I should do the ports on the mobo. Gluing the template on a piece of acrylic.

Here it is after cutting.

And filed.

Here’s how its going to be. It’s a little too high on the usb ports section atm though.

This will allow me to easily install and remove the mobo and still maintain a snug fit between the acrylic and the mobo.
Anyway, back to the aluminium base. Was doing the side pieces for the frame when I noticed that the eee pc battery isn’t perpendicular. Its liked the designer sneezed while creating it. At least it’s the same on both sides of the battery.

Cutting and filing a piece of aluminium to size was tedious, as I could never get the corner perfect. Here’s one of them.

J-B Welded both tabs to the frame with the battery in it to correctly space them, and get the weird angle right.

Now to create the mesh part which houses the lcd and the touchscreen. Starting with one 500mm x 500mm sheet.

Taping it to the size of the bigger piece, which is the touchscreen.

Cutting it to size with a jigsaw.

And as usual its bent.

Bending it like I did with the aluminium frame. We get a nice bend as its thinner, but the black paint seems to have chipped off :/ . Not sure how am I going to patch that up without sanding the entire thing down and respraying it.

Bending the other edge.

Here it is, nicely fitting the touchscreen.

Here’s the other side of the bent mesh.

These worklogs take way too long to host/type :/

Last edited by Bismar; 13th July 2008 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 6th July 2008, 8:32 AM   #5
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Oh wow. This mod shall be pretty sweet when it's done.
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Old 6th July 2008, 12:26 PM   #6
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Woah, that is incredible. I'm looking forwards to some updates!
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Old 6th July 2008, 1:54 PM   #7
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This looks awesome, I cant wait to see the finished result. If everything works out, I may try my hand at this one too!
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Old 6th July 2008, 2:50 PM   #8
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I'm also looking forward to when this is finished.
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Old 6th July 2008, 4:00 PM   #9
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Nice project

Those fingernails need a bit of a trim
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Old 6th July 2008, 4:10 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by DNX View Post
Nice project

Those fingernails need a bit of a trim
Haha yes they do, they are however useful for aligning a saw though and taking stuff apart :P

Was wondering how many posts before it would crop up

I'll also upload another session tonight if anyone cares, it will mostly be whining about how no one mentions acyrlic is a pain to bend accurately. Piccys will be included of course :P
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Old 6th July 2008, 8:47 PM   #11
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Thats lookin pretty good so far, will be keep a lookout for this to be completed
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Old 6th July 2008, 9:34 PM   #12
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Guy at my work bent some acrylic by putting it in the oven to soften it up first.
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Old 6th July 2008, 10:00 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by seb View Post
Guy at my work bent some acrylic by putting it in the oven to soften it up first.
yep thats how its done, If I remember rightly keep the oven a tad under a 100c and place it in there for @ 20min and then she'll bend up just fine
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Old 6th July 2008, 10:26 PM   #14
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Interesting way to build a tablet PC. Asus should already build one from the EEEPC.

I was also looking to buy a Sony reader, eventually ended up buying a Compaq TC1000 tablet PC from these forums for much the same reason you are building your custom pc.

The TC1000 is almost identical to your design - If only there was a way to install the EEEPC's O/S onto the Compaq PC.

I'm watching this thread with great interest.
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Old 6th July 2008, 11:12 PM   #15
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dude this is sick!

cant wait to see the finished product!
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