Shuffle Your iPod’s Look

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Shuffle Your iPod’s Look

What you need:
Gold, copper, or other plating solutions*
Wall transformer with power leads*
Metal wands for plating*
Cloth strips
Soft Scrub
Vinyl gloves
Eye protection
Philips 0 screwdriver
Hobby knife
Guitar pick


*Available as a brush-on plating kit from Caswell Plating or other sources.


iPods look good, but they all look alike. Make your working iPod stand out with a new metal backing. Just permanently cover the original stainless steel by electroplating a new layer on top. Choose from gold, copper, nickel, tin, chrome, bronze, or other finishes.


We tried gold- and copper-plating kits from Caswell Plating, for flashy and retro results. Be warned that gold can be difficult to apply, while copper is comparatively easy. We’ll explain the process for either metal.


Chrome is boring


Step 1: Split the iPod case
We’re working with a fourth-generation iPod. (Any stainless steel iPod should be similar, but the electroplating process won’t easily work on an aluminum Mini.) Carefully insert a hobby knife blade into the seam between the metal backing and plastic front. Aim for a point next to the fast-forward or rewind buttons. Point the knife down, flush against the metal backing, making a tiny opening. Insert a guitar pick in the small gap, and remove the knife. Work the guitar pick around the case, popping open the plastic tabs until the two sides release.


Be very careful removing the fiberglass plug


Step 2: Open the iPod
Open the sides slightly, identifying a fragile ribbon cable in the corner. Lift that cable out of its socket by its fiberglass plug; do not pull on the cable itself. Set the plastic front side away until reassembly.


Remove the three screws circled in red


Step 3: Remove the headphone jack
Use a tiny screwdriver—Phillips 0 or smaller—to remove the three screws holding the headphone circuit into the metal case. Leave the torx screws intact. Set this part aside.


Clean the iPod back thoroughly


Step 4: Clean the metal backing
Go over the iPod backing with some Soft Scrub to clean off any oils or grime. You’ll have the best plating results with a clear surface.


Safety first


Step 5: Stay safe
Put on some vinyl gloves to keep the plating chemicals off your skin. If you have latex gloves on-hand, those should work, too, although they might redistribute contaminated plating chemicals more easily. Wear eye protection.




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I really liked the ipod plater idea and I plan on trying it with my own ipod when it dies.



This is so much cooler than the silly iPod article in the February issue where they turned an iPod into a planter for a tiny tree or a coin holder. That was soooooo lame.


Susie Ochs

We wanted to include this with that, but couldn't for space reasons. Plus, the chemicals had to be shipped over Ground and so we wouldn't have gotten them in time for the deadline. We put a teaser in that article so people would know to look out for this exclusive.

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