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.
Clear A4 Folder, can be cut into 10-20 credit card sized tools for opening the sides of cases (laptop / printer / etc)
Cut here 🙂
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 😉
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 😉 ]