Saturday, January 20, 2007

May the Mods be with you....

Case Modding. Heard of it? Know what it is? Well, if you don't, "case modding" is when you take an 'ordinary' computer case and modify it in some form or fashion. The most common 'mod' is to cut a hole into the sideof the case and then cover the hole with a piece of acrylic or plexiglass or something. This is called 'windowing' your PC (because you just added a window which allows people to see into your case). Modding is nothing new. I wish I had kept it, but once upon a time, I had taken an old IBM-XT case and modified my Commodore 64 parts so they would all fit in the case (the computer, a 1541 5.25" floppy drive, a 1581 3.5" floppy drive, and all their power suppiles). It weighed a ton, but I no longer had to lug all those parts individually! It was called....drum roll please..... XT-C (say it)... Yeah, silly, I know...

But, I digress... I was poking around, looking to see what modders were up to these days. What I found will make your head spin, make you throw up, or make you scratch your head in utter (or in at lease one case, udder) bewilderment... :-) Now, for my purposes, a case mod MUST leave the PC in working order. Some other day, I'll show you what some people are doing with old cases, which will also make you go "Hmmm..." Before we get started, I want to say that my original plan was to only talk about "standard-sized" cases (mini towers, mid towers, desktops, towers), but I got sucked into the world of mini-desktops during my hunt... Mini-ITX computers have a main system board that is only 170x170 centimeters. If you need a frame of reference (and you'll get plenty below, too), a Mini-ITX motherboard will fit in a lunchbox, an old-fashioned muffin tin, an Underwood 5 typewriter... Get the picture? Speaking of which - also fits in a picture frame (or more specifically, a shadowbox). Yes, I will show you the pictures because what some folks have done will simply boggle the mind.... So, we will have some 'traditional' case mods and some 'cutting edge(?)' mods for your optical amusement... Why? 'Cause it popped in my head! :-)

Paint Job ModDOOM-inspired major mod!
Hand-painted caseEtched drawing into black case
Etching on other side of same black case

As you can see, some modifications are 'simple' in nature. I dare not say 'easy' here because there is a lot of work that goes into every mod. Finding the right kind of paint, sanding, cutting, molding, etc... Some mods take a few hours while others can take a year or more. Of course, like many projects, the modder may never feel like their creation is ever truly 'complete!' Many times, cases will have LEDs to add light and color to the inside (or outside!) of the case. There are even modifications that can be done to CD Drives and Hard Drives that put a clear window on the drive with a light to give a pulsating, cool effect (plus you can watch you CD spin around, if that is your kinda thing...). To spare you from scrolling through a billion cases, I just showed a couple examples. There is a list or sources at the end of this post if you'd like to see more...

Now, let's look at some more... interesting case mods:

Yes, that's a PC in..umm.. there...

If your biscuits are burning, there may be a PC in your tin!

An old Underwood No. 5 converted into a PC!

I'm not sure this is what E.T had in mind when he needed to phone home...

Gotta love Star Wars mods! Here's the Millenium Falcon!

That's a Batman lunchbox running a PC! Talk about your fortified meal!

Watch what you plug into those udders!

Guess we know where Scooby is now, huh!?

It may be hard to make out, but there is a HAMSTER HABITAT in that computer!

This case is coated in 24k gold plating... Starting price?? $13000...

Please don't stick your Pop-Tarts in there!


Sources:
Neatorama's Ultimate Case Mod List
Mini-ITX, home of the ultra mini desktop motherboard
Museum of Modder Art - Popular Mechanics
MNPCTech
BlueSmoke Mod Gallery


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