Recreating The IBM Thinkpad Case

Once upon a time, laptops and other computer hardware often came with a fancy leather case for protection. That’s not really the case anymore, but it was in the golden era of the IBM ThinkPad. [polymatt] found a rare example, but wanted another one, so he decided to try and replicate it from scratch.

Leathercraft was a new discipline for [polymatt], and so the whole build was a learning experience. He started out by measuring the existing design and creating a diagram to guide his own work. He then traced the design on to a large piece of quality leather, carefully rounding the edges and adding a plastic stiffening plates to support the laptop where needed. Additional layers of leather were added to seal these in, and the leather was formed over guides to take the right shape. A slight misstep resulted in the case being too long, but a cut-and-shut job rectified the problem.

The finished result is a clean, impressive thing. Throughout the build, [polymatt] showed a certain mastery of the leatherworking tools that belied his lack of experience, too. The project should serve as a great inspiration to any other aspiring crafters who have contemplated creating their own custom leather goods for protecting their electronics. Video after the break.

7 thoughts on “Recreating The IBM Thinkpad Case

    1. Indeed, though with the volume of quality instructional material and cheap tools these days I think its fair to say anybody with some making background can quickly produce something acceptably good on the first or second attempt if they do that research and spend that money for the ‘right’ tool. The more crafting skills (and in many cases hand-eye co-ordination) you already have the quicker to pick up another to an acceptable level of competence now the resources to learn how are so easy to find.

      p.s The problems IMO start when you have the tendency to go ‘that tool is sort of like this one I already own – lets create an addon to do this’, not that such a thing will ever stop me from giving it a go when I feel like it. You just get into that ‘was my homemade tool the problem or is it my skill at this task’ and playing around much more before you get a result.

  1. Been on this earth 44 years and never have I seen a laptop that came with anything more than the cardboard box it shipped in. One might could buy a case and it might even have a first party option but even the Tandy 100 didn’t come with one

    1. My high school graduation present from my estranged father in 1995 was a TI TravelMate 4000M (a rebadged Acer unit), and it came with a leather carrying case in the box.

      I recall my high school biology teacher had a 386 laptop that had a matching branded case, but I don’t know if it came with the laptop or if he bought it separately.

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