Owen McGarry’s hack was ambitious: He cut his iPod in half and added a hinge to tilt the screen to a 45-degree angle. Now he can set his “iTop” on a table and watch movies, or play games running off the Linux operating system he installed.

iPod trick of the month

1. With a pen knife or small screwdriver, carefully pry off the faceplate.

2. Remove the hard drive.

3. Disconnect the battery and the hold switch/headphones module. Be sure to remember where they connect. Put the back plate aside temporarily.

4. Unscrew the screen. Cut off the little parts that have screw holes—they will only make it harder to fold later.

5. Cut or break off the frame that goes around the screen. You should be able to do it with your hands.

6. Make a cut at the bottom of the black area on the back of the faceplate to allow it to fold with the screen. Carefully repeat the cut on the back plate.

7. Take the top section of the back plate and cut right below the battery and headphones. Keep all the wires safe. Now you should have a top case and a bottom case.

8. On the inside of the two faceplate parts, glue a strong wire to hold everything in position.

9. Reattach the hold switch/headphones and the battery.

10. Almost there! Check to make sure everything works.

11. Take the motherboard and screw it back onto the faceplate. Don’t forget the center button.

12. Attach the bottom part of the back plate to the bottom part of the rest. It should click into place.

13. Fold the top part of the plate up and place the corresponding back plate onto it. You will have a large empty space that the backplate used to cover—try covering this in sheet metal.

14. Add a sheet metal case to protect the hard drive.

15. Install iPod Linux (