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Mini Parking Meter Change Box
Save money on tickets when you pack an easy-to-tote coin purse.
The iPod mini’s aluminum case makes a great shell for small objects, like our parking-meter change. While an iPod mini mint box seems like a fresh idea, we advise against putting anything edible inside—the solder and circuits that previously lived there might have left tiny amounts of contaminants that aren’t healthy to eat. Otherwise, fill up the mini box with buttons, high-end earbuds, or anything else.
Parts: iPod mini, ribbon
Tools: Hobby knife and/or guitar picks, dental pick (optional), tiny Phillips 000 screwdriver, ribbon, glue
Degree of difficulty: MEDIUM
You want to pry off just the plastic caps (top and bottom) first.
1. Pop the top.
Slide the switch to Hold, then pry off the plastic top and bottom caps. These are thin, slightly flexible parts held on only by glue. We’ve had the best luck carefully slipping a thin hobby knife or guitar pick between the plastic cap and the aluminum housing. Once in place, gently pry the cap back. Note that the caps are thin, and it’s easy to slip the knife or pick below that level and attempt to pry up the metal layer underneath—stay at a shallow depth to avoid this mistake.
Free the metal arms one at a time.
2. Remove the bottom plate.
The exposed metal plate on the bottom of the mini locks into place with its four curved arms. Those elbows fit into small recesses in the aluminum case. Use a dental pick or small nail in those parts’ holes, or gently push and pry each arm out of the slot. Work from the right side first, and avoid contacting the ribbon cable on the left side. Remove the plate. Gently lift the ribbon cable straight out of its socket with a dental pick or thin screwdriver shaft.
Once the teeny screws on the top end are gone, push the iPod guts right out the top.
3. Remove the insides.
Locate the two tiny Phillips screws at the top of the case (the headphone jack side). Remove them. Push the dock connector, sliding the screen and internal parts through the top of the case. Grab the sides of the circuit board and pull it the rest of the way out. Leave the clickwheel installed.
If you use ribbons for hinges, you won’t lose the top cap piece every time you want to open ’er up.
4. Reattach the ends.
Block the dock connector hole on the plastic cap. We covered it with a small ribbon glued into place. Then glue the cap back onto the bottom of the iPod. You may need to remove any remaining original glue from the part for the best fit.
At the top end of the case, glue two short ribbons to the inside of the aluminum and the plastic cap. These will become hinges. Give them a little slack, because the recessed design prevents the cap from opening fully if the ribbons are too tight. (Optionally, block the headphone-port hole with another ribbon.) Fill the iPod with parking meter change or any other small objects, and close the top.
Freelance tech journalist Zack Stern likes to apply Apple’s old “Rip, mix, burn,” mantra to the gadgets themselves. His interpretation is rarely literal.