Friday, September 19, 2014


I have been known to distract myself with projects.  Sometimes, (most often) they involve some form of technology; at other times, craft.
Well, now I have two linked projects that involve both.  A while ago, I received a 10.1" Netbook from my sister, who hadn't used it in three years and no longer needed it.  I'm a sucker for old computers, and I love taking them apart and rebuilding them.  Not much taking apart and rebuilding on the Netbook, mind you - I've taken apart larger laptops than this and they have always been deucedly fiddly to put back together.
This one, an Acer eMachines eM350, is a decent enough spec - Intel Atom N450, 1Gb RAM, 250Gb HD, Windows 7 Starter.  However, I can't leave it at that!  I've already replaced the 3 cell LiIon battery (the one it came with is dead - not entirely surprising, given that the last time it was used was 3 years ago!) with a 6 cell one, which should mean a longer use time once fully charged.  Next, I have to get around the Windows 7 User Password (which no-one can remember - I'm working on that, just as soon as the replacement power unit and cable arrive)  Afterwards, bump up the RAM to 2Gb (reasonably priced on Amazon and other websites), and see if Win7 Starter can be upgraded to something a little more flexible (No, not Win8!)  Trickier than you might think, given there is no Disc Drive (Though not impossible - I DO have an external DVD drive...)  Once all that is done, I should have a nice, extremely portable, laptop.
Portable brings me to the other, more crafty, project. A Laptop case.  Yes, I know you can buy them, but I have reasons for wanting to make one of my own.
When I was at the London Transport Museum Depot Open Weekend at Acton last week, I saw this Tube train car, with seating I vividly remember from when I worked and travelled in London in the 80's and 90's
 One of the stalls at the Depot was selling offcuts of the original material for £5 each - remnants of stuff used in the train cars - so I bought a piece:
The material is called "District" and was designed by Sir Micha Black in 1978. It's made of Moquette - a wool/polyester (mostly wool) mix that is particularly hardwearing, consisting of very short 'tufts'; if you ever travelled by Bus or Tube in the 1980's, you'd know this stuff!

It was only when I got it home that I realised it was almost the right size to cover a Netbook (It's slightly too narrow to sew together and then fit the Netbook, so I will have to sew something into the moquette, using it is the decorative outside.  Not worked out the finer details yet - I'll probably try to get a couple of cheap neoprene sleeves of the right size, stitch them together inside the Moquette, add some edging to the Moquette to prevent fraying, and some sort of clip or Velcro attachment for the flap.
Whatever I decide to do, it will still be a lot cheaper than the District Moquette Laptop Bag on the LT Museum website shop (£79, if you can't get the link to work!)

I'll update the blog when (if) I finish the bag.
In the meantime, here is a picture of a fridge magnet I made out of one of my other Acton Depot purchases - an enamelled London Transport "Fire Door" sign (£3 plus £1 for the self-adhesive magnetic strips!):


Anonymous said...

We sat on the same tune train seats, Paul. I remember that pattern very well.
It was from those seats I memorised the whole tube map - being able to recite every line from one end to the other. Your next challenge :-) Although perhaps you can already do this.

Paul Bines said...

It's been a while, Sean, but I can still remember much of the Central London map (though they keep adding lines...)