FreakoutITGeek's Blog

Random IT postings from Freakz

No spudger? No problem

On occasion I need to open laptop cases (like Apple’s iBook) , printers etc for repair, but there can be quite a few clips that hold the case together after all the screws have been released ( which is a sign of a good case design, in my opinion).

If you go to a website like iFixit.com, they suggest using a ‘spudger’ to get past these clips.. but what if you can’t get your hands on one?

A simple and cheap alternative is to pop down to your nearest stationary shop and pick up a plastic folder (like the one I have pictured – £1.69 from WH Smith). The plastic cover is pliable, so much so that you could even bend it into a tube, but it’s still thick enough to return to a flat state when released.

Next take a card (credit, ID, etc) out your wallet, place on the folder and trace round it using a permanent pen.

Using a Stanley knife or sharp scissors, cut round the outline to leave you with a card shaped flexible plastic tool for sliding down the side of cases to pop those frustrating clips, without damaging them.

Using an A4 folder you should be able to get 10+ of these cards from each face of the folder, making it a cheap alternative to a spudger.

Important notes:

I prefer to use clear folders as they are less likely to leave transfer marks on light coloured laptops, printers etc.

Remember to wipe off any excess marks, left from the permanent pen, to prevent transfer to any device you are using it on.

You can easily carry this tool with you in your wallet and it might even come in handy if you lock yourself out your office 😉

Update:
A smaller and easier to make alternative could be a plectrum? I have noticed that FireBox (£20), play.com (£30) and ThinkGeek ($25) have the PickMaster Plectrum Punch, which allows you to create a guitar plectrum from an old store or credit card or other plastic. As long as the plastic is thin and pliable enough it may be of use where the clips are close to the opening [so not so handy opening a 2006 iMac 😉 ]

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3 responses to “No spudger? No problem

  1. Notebook Laptop Reviews September 25, 2011 at 07:25

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  2. shubham May 15, 2013 at 10:41

    I want to open my ipod shuffle third generation for which this alternative won’t work. can you suggest any other alternative?

    • freakoutitgeek May 16, 2013 at 13:12

      I’ve had a quick look at the iPod shuffle 3rd Gen on iFixit.com and they advise to use a metal spudger to open the case. As I have not opened the device myself I can’t advise specifically, in relation to the device, but here are some thoughts…

      The alternatives that come to mind just now are:

      Metal nail file (I have one that has a rounded end, which I have used successfully in the past) As long as it is thin enough and can take the pressures involved it’s the safest option I can think of (and you can tidy your nails after) [ NOTE – Use of your mom’s, Girlfriend’s or wife’s nail file is not recommended incase you break or bend it – most pharmacies stock them cheaply so buy your own)

      The blade from a pencil sharpener ( WARNING:
      There is a risk you may cut your fingers or scratch the case – use with upmost care )- If you find a metal sharpener you should be able to unscrew the blade and replace it later to so you can still sharpen pencils with it. Some of these blades also have a rounded end making them very useful as an ad-hoc tool. [I used to use such blades to open things when I was in high school, many years ago].

      Finally (and probably more dangerous than the sharpener blade – Not recommend for anyone due to the risk of physical damage to the device and yourself !! ) is the blade from a Stanley Knife (removed from the knife ).
      The Stanley blade may be able to pop the case but you do risk either badly scratching the case and/or cutting your fingers – only use with upmost care and attention !! – not recommended for anyone – you have been warned !!

      As iFixit advise, please be careful not to scratch or bend the case..

      Disclaimer: Use of these suggestions IS AT YOUR OWN RISK and I will not accept responsibility for any damage you or the device may receive in attempting to use any of these suggestions.

      NOTE: I have personally used all three methods when I have been short of tools, with knowledge of the risks and taking extreme care for myself and the device (which I have owned). I personally do not mind getting the odd cut or scrape and I am capable of dealing with, and fully accept, the probable medical risks involved.

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