Monday, April 19, 2010

Feeling Blue?

I'm back and somewhat rested after my milestone weekend, and among the many projects I tackled this weekend, I set out to finally distinguish my AlphaSmart Pro from the other two Pros we have kicking around the house. You might remember it from a post not that long ago:


You can see that I put a sticker on mine to keep it sorted out. Despite their age, the Pros see some use in our house, especially my son's. He needs a distraction-free place to type up essays and reports, and given the temptations of a wireless Internet household, the AS fits the bill.

Screwdrivers in hand, I set to disassembly. My digital camera ate a few pictures I had taken of the guts sitting on the table, but this is the one that matters: the three parts of the case with all electronics taken out and all stickers (and rubber feet) removed. (Tip: a hairdryer is great for softening up sticker glue.)

Shell Shucked

All shelled with the electronics set aside, it was time to take paint in hand and try it out. But first, a message of positivity from the AlphaSmart builders of yore:

AlphaSmart Easter Egg

Yes, let's hope so! I used a product called "Krylon Fusion" this time instead of the fabric/vinyl dye I used from my typewriter spray-job. I'm unsure about the Krylon. It certainly does stick to plastic as advertised, without priming or any prep beyond just cleaning. And the color choice is much broader. I went with blue: my favorite color, and one that would hopefully look good against the light grey keys of the Pro and the charcoal background. Things looked good as it dried in the garage...

AlphaSmart Pro, pimped

...and still better after drying overnight.

AlphaSmart Pro, with poppies and camera strap

Mercifully, I didn't zap anything when I had it apart, and the Pro started up like a champ, even retaining all my files (which I had backed up first, naturally.) I like the color, and now I've got a temptingly empty rectangular space on the bottom where the old sticker used to be that calls out for decoration... perhaps my free souvenir bumper sticker from the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot. I still think the vinyl dye went on thinner and feels less "painted plastic" to me when held, although it's possible that I just laid on a thicker coat of paint this time. My wife's already looking to get hers customized, so I'm sure I'll get more practice soon.

I'm pleased with the results, especially with the ease that everything came apart and went back together. It's like the AlphaSmart was made to be customized.

What kind of artsy stuff have you been up to?


Anonymous said...

NICE! That's a lovely color blue. :) I've always wanted to paint my neo, but I don't have the patience, or...the huge desire to risk ruining it by taking it apart.

The only artsy thing I've been doing is taking photos, which may end up of deviantart once they're developed, and if they're any good.

Elizabeth H. said...

Ooh, purty! I'm rather fond of that particular shade--my car is almost that color, only a bit darker and more metallic-y. Nice contrast with the keys, too.

What color is your wife's gonna be?

After that truly awesome birthday cake, she definitely deserves a pretty customized Alphasmart....

mpclemens said...

@LFP: the wife says she wants hers charcoal-colored, but I don't believe her. She's got hot pink bangs: I'm trying to get her to pick a paint that matches. Grey? Blah.

Olivander said...

I think that the Kryon simply bonds over the top of plastic, whereas the vinyl dye actually gets down into the polymers' molecular structure.

I've begun converting the Screaming Mimi from a bland, grey Royal FP to a bubblegum-pink homage to a bygone '80s TV show.

Duffy Moon said...

Very nice, clemens. I used Krylon on my Sears Achiever, and still have a can of it left.

Since I'm perpetually chasing you all over the place in your keyboard-mods, I reckon I'll have to follow suit now.

mpclemens said...

@Olivander, I suspect you're right. Comparing the two, and the dye job on the typewriter feels more integrated into the plastic, less "stuck to the surface" than the Krylon. If the wife is fixed on gray, I'll use the dye on hers and compare.

@Duffy: now, now. You're the one brave enough to tackle a Real Machine instead of a plastic beater-box like the Royal. You've earned casemodder-cred for that feat alone.