I received an email from myself a few weeks back with the subject "Lost iPad". "Are you missing your ipad? I found it on the hwy, has been run over, but somewhat working," read the message.
I had not written that message. It was written by a kind driver who happened upon the site where my 16 GB first generation iPad had parted company from the roof of our Honda as my wife drove away from my work.
The "somewhat" that was working turned out to be everything except for a stripe of 1/5 of the pixels on the button-end of the LCD.
My wife pledged to give up her Americano's for a year to replace the device. Instead,with iFixit's resources and heady encouragement, I decided to explore the innards of my glass and aluminum sandwich.
The most time consuming part of the repair was just researching the parts I would need and waiting for them to arrive. After a visit to my local hardware store-- "Torx T5? That's really small! A lot of cell phones need a T6, that's probably the one you need." --I was happy to invest in the Home Tech Toolkit.
I decided to replace my dinged-up aluminum back shell, as well as the damaged LCD. I found both parts on eBay quite easily. The parts were actually cheaper together (plus clips, plus the toolkit) than the winning bid on a non-functioning iPad 1.
There isn't currently a guide for replacing the back shell, but the battery replacement guide got very close. The biggest challenge turned out to be the removal of the side button assembly (volume and screen-lock/mute controls) because none of the guides appeared to remove it. I took some pictures with the thought that someone else might find it useful-- the volume rocker is held on from inside by a cleverly-puzzling interlocking with the switch bracket.
Stripping out every last clip, Torx screw, and circuit board from the iPad's back plate was a complete thrill-- like building a new Lego model in reverse.
I had the idea as I got into the guts of the iPad, that it would be fun to have a sticker to leave inside to greet any who ventured inside the case again. (This might have been inspired by the "glider" symbol shown in the MacBookPro with Retina tear-down a few weeks ago). Perhaps I'll come up with something for my future repairs.