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The PSP Faceplate Mod

If there’s one issue for which the iPod has repeatedly come under the gun, it’s the faceplate. While the design of the device is impeccable, for some reason you can barely touch the darn thing without leaving behind a permanent mark. Honestly, it took me only about five minutes of holding the thing in my hand to scratch the face.

What makes this more of an issue for me personally is that I’m a big PSP fan. One benefit that the PSP has over the iPod is that its screen is much larger, which is necessary for both movies and games. This also means that the faceplate for the PSP must be able to stand up to more abuse from its owner. Sony understood this, which is why you won’t find many people complaining about bad scratches, especially when compared to the iPod.

Thanks to some work I did with the PSP, I actually own two of them. One works just fine, but the second, older PSP has been through the ringer and parts of it are not functional (such as the LCD). In other words, I had a spare PSP faceplate that ironically was the exact size of the iPod faceplate. Hmm...well, why not?

There really isn’t much to say about how the faceplate was created. Figure 7 shows the original iPod before I got started on the mod. I used a dremel to remove the clear plastic plate from the PSP, and then used a file to shape it down to a perfect rectangle. I next removed the iPod faceplate and cut out a rectangular hole roughly the same size as the PSP plastic piece. Very carefully, I filed and sanded away at the remaining part of the iPod faceplate until the PSP piece fit perfectly inside.

At this point, I had a plate that fit. I now had to create a hole for the iPod dial. I again fired up the dremel, cut a hole in the PSP plate, and used a half-round file to create the perfect circle. Once I had a good fit, I smoothed the top side of the circle on the PSP plate and put it all back together. Figure 8 provides a shot of how this looked.

At this point, I needed to provide some way to connect the two pieces smoothly. I considered Superglue, caulk, and other methods; however, the final solution was just a long thin sticker that would cover the groove between the two plates. Figure 9 provides a final shot of my efforts.

Figure 7

Figure 7 The original iPod.

Figure 8

Figure 8 iPod during modification.

Figure 9

Figure 9 The final result.

I wish I could say that this was a quick and painless modification. Unfortunately, it took a very long time to file the pieces into perfect shapes. I also discovered that you can’t put nail polish remover on plastic (don’t ask). Regardless of these issues, the modification looks kind of neat because you can see through to the circuit board under the faceplate, and the stickers even manage to add some color. Ultimately, the value of the mod really depends on your tastes.

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