Steampunk Laptop

Steampunk Laptop

This is my heavily modified Steampunk Dell Mini 9 which I call the Net Libris.

Besides the casing mod, I’ve also added a touchscreen, an internal FM transmitter, in internal micro SD card reader with a 32GB sd card, upgraded battery, and an upgraded solid state harddrive (16GB).

Hope you like it!

  • 9″ Screen (1024 x 600)
  • 1.6ghz Atom Processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB SSD Drive
  • 32GB Internal SD Card
  • Wifi
  • 3G
  • Resistive Touchscreen
  • FM Transmitter
  • Upgraded battery.

  • More Pics of the Steampunk Laptop

    Just adding a few more recent pics of the steampunk laptop in better light, and also a couple of it side by side with an original (unmodified) Dell Mini 9.



    Net Libirs

    Net Libris


    Steampunk Laptop with an original Dell Mini 9

    Steampunk Laptop with an original Dell Mini 9


    Steampunk Laptop with an original Dell Mini 9

    Steampunk Laptop with an original Dell Mini 9


    Steampunk Laptop with an original Dell Mini 9

    Steampunk Laptop with an original Dell Mini 9

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    December 26th, 2011 by sephiroth

    Internal FM Transmitter Mod

    Decided to add an internal FM Transmitter to the Steampunk Dell Mini 9 aka Net Libris.

    The transmitter will allow me to transmit music from the netbook to my stereo :) No more tinny music for me!

    Sure, I could just plug it into the stereo but can’t be bothered with more cables going everywhere.

    This was actually harder than I thought it was going to be.  I found this USB FM Transmitter from Keene Electronics in the UK for £14.99.

    Plugged it into the netbook and it worked fine with Ubuntu so set to work dismantling the USB stick.

    Once out of the casing it looked like this.

    USB FM Transmitter

    USB FM Transmitter

    Next task was to remove the USB plug. Removing the metal casing was easy enough…

    …but I screwed up when it came to removing the whole plug :( I accidentally tore off the track of one of the pins!

    Fortunately I could follow the track up to a tiny resistor on the board and very carefully soldered a very thin piece of enamel coated wire directly to the resistor then soldered wires onto the other USB connections.

    Had no idea if it was going to work on not but thankfully it did! :D Wired it up and it worked without a problem.

    Well, almost without a problem.  It seems the casing on the USB stick was acting as a kind of sheilding so without it the transmitter was picking up loadds of interference from the netbooks components and if I stood in the wrong place it would block the signal completely.

    To get around this I soldered a length of quantum tunneling cable I salvaged from another netbook’s wifi antenna and wrapped it around the edges of the monitor to make a better antenna.

    This worked great, and the Steampunk Netbook now has a working internal FM transmitter :)

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    October 3rd, 2011 by sephiroth

    Finished Dell Mini 9 Steampunk Netbook

    Finished the steampunking :D


    Added the leather to the base of the netbook and removed the leather from the bezel and replaced it with cloth with a few brass rivets.  Also swapped the leather on the battery to copper.  Think it looks pretty cool!

    To make it look a bit more antique I gave the whole thing a light spray with black spray paint and rubbed it off around the edges.

    Then the brass “Net Libris” letters are just brass coloured stickers but look pretty good as well!

    So there we go.  A complete Dell Mini 9 Steampunk Netbook!


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    September 1st, 2011 by sephiroth

    Day 3 of Steampunking the Dell Mini 9

    I used copper sheet on the corners of the lid, and around the keyboard and trackpad.  Started aging the copper using a combination of salt, tabasco sauce and atomized iron.  We’ll see how that looks tomorrow.

    I mixed the salt, tabasco, and atomized iron into a paste and then left it on the copper parts over night.  Don’t rub with this solution since it will make the copper shinier instead!

    Not really keen on the copper around the screen… might get rid of that.


    oh, and I “glued a gear on it”… sue me!


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    August 24th, 2011 by sephiroth

    Day 2 of Steampunking the Dell Mini 9

    Finished putting the “leather” on the lid and the bezel of the Mini 9 :) The lid came out quite nicely, but not too sure about the bezel. :/

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    August 23rd, 2011 by sephiroth

    Day 1 of Steampunking the Dell Mini 9

    The leather-look sticky back vinyl arrived today.  Began adding it to the Dell Mini! :)



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    August 22nd, 2011 by sephiroth

    Touchscreen Now Works With Ubuntu!

    Wooooo!  got the touchscreen working with Ubuntu!  Took a fair bit of effort but it works!

    The drivers and instructions on Enac’s website worked great!

    Can’t get the multitouch working but I’m happy enough to have Ubuntu with single touch.

    Thank you Enac!!!

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    August 1st, 2011 by sephiroth

    Touchscreen Works with Windows 7

    Mixed feelings about this.  The touchscreen works on Windows 7.

    Not only that, but it works beautifully :(

    If only I could get it working on Ubuntu.  I’m not sure if I’m willing to use Windows 7 just so I can have a touchscreen.

    [jwplayer mediaid="137"]


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    July 17th, 2011 by sephiroth

    Not Much Luck So Far

    Not having much luck getting the touchscreen to work under Ubuntu 10.04 :(

    When I touch the screen the cursor just jumps around, but at least I know it is wired up ok.  Must be a driver issue.

    Think I’m going to have to try Windows 7.

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    July 16th, 2011 by sephiroth


    Dell Mini 9 with Capacitive Touchscreen

    Dell Mini 9 with Capacitive Touchscreen


    Managed to get the touchscreen physically installed and reassembled the Dell Mini 9 but couldn’t get the touchscreen to work.

    Emailed the seller again and NOW HE TELLS ME it is only compatible with Windows 7!  Absolutely no mention of that in the ebay listing!

    Not a fan of Windows anyway.  The netbook currently has Windows XP on it, though I’ll take it off and put Ubuntu 10.04 on it… might find a way to get it working with linux.

    Bloody windows.

    Anyway, in case you’re wondering the touchscreen adds about a millimetre to the thickness of the screen.  I secured the bezel in place with some black electrical tape which doesn’t actually look too bad, but the lid didn’t close properly because of the extra thickness.

    To fix this, I removed the hinges from the base of the netbook and added about 1mm of fibreboard under the hinges and screwed them back on.  This has raised the screen up by a millimetre and now the lid closes fine and if secure.

    Now if only it worked!!!!

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    July 15th, 2011 by sephiroth