Few things are as satisfying to watch as a good retrocomputer restoration project – we’re always happy to see someone bring a rusty old Commodore, Apple or Atari back to life. The goal is typically to get the machine as close to its original state as possible, except for perhaps a few non-intrusive mods like memory upgrades. [Drygol] however, had already done this so many times that he thought it was time to take a different route for once, and apply some creativity to an old Amiga 500 case. Originalists may shudder, but we quite like his funky blue-and-yellow A500 mod.
To be fair, [Drygol] wasn’t the first one to modify this specific Amiga’s case: one of its previous owners had already applied a rather shoddy blue paint job and defaced it with some stickers. [Drygol] decided to stick with the basic idea, but do it right this time. First he removed the old paint using concentrated lye, then gave it a fresh coat of blue. He also applied glow-in-the-dark paint to the Amiga logo embossed in the case and added a fluorescent yellow laser-cut circuit board ornament. It took a bit of experimenting to get all these elements just right, but the end result definitely looks the part.
The insides of the Amiga also needed some TLC: [Drygol] competely cleaned and lubricated the floppy drive, gave the motherboard a good ultrasonic scrub, and replaced dodgy capacitors all over. He expanded the RAM from 512 kB to 1 MB and added a Gotek floppy emulator, which can work in parallel with the original disk drive. To make the Gotek easy to operate, [Drygol] placed its OLED screen and a pair of touch-sensitive buttons in a cutout on the front of the case.
A matching blue mouse and gamepad, both connected through the MouSTer adapter, complete the setup. The result is a good-looking A500 with some modern conveniences that’s perfect for exploring the Amiga’s extensive software library. If custom colors aren’t your thing, you’ll be happy to know that the original shade of grey or beige might be available for your retro console, too.
The conveniently tiny logic board of the M1 Mac mini has lead to it giving the Mini ITX format a run for its money in case mods. The latest example of this is [Luke Miani]’s M1 Wii. (Youtube via 9to5Mac)
[Miani] chose the Wii as a new enclosure for this Mac mini given its similar form factor and the convenient set of doors in the top to maintain access to the computer’s I/O, something he wasn’t able to do with one of his previous M1 casemods. The completed build is a great stealth way to have a Mac mini in your entertainment center. [Miani] even spends the last several minutes of the video showing the M1 Wii running Wii, GameCube, and PS2 games to really bring it full circle.
A Microsoft Surface power brick was spliced into the original Wii power cable since the Wii PSU didn’t have enough wattage to supply the Mac mini without significant throttling. On the inside, the power runs through a buck converter before making its way to the logic board. While the Mini’s original fan was too big to fit inside the Wii enclosure, a small 12V fan was able to keep performance similar to OEM and much higher than running the M1 fanless without a heat spreader.
Despite the seat of honor it enjoys in literally millions of households, the official Nintendo Switch Dock is certainly far from perfect. For one, it’s not milled out of a hefty block of aluminum. A less apparent but no less important issue is that the ports are positioned kind of awkward – [Kevin] from Modified believes that the USB ports should be facing the front side, while the HDMI, Ethernet, and charging inputs should be on the backside — a reasonable position. He set out to fix both of these problems at the same time, and tells us the CNC-heavy rebuild story in a short but captivating video.
The original dock consists of two PCBs, and these two boards are the only thing [Kevin] didn’t redesign from scratch. As they’re connected with a flexible cable, he could freely rotate and thus completely reposition the ports-equipped board without soldering. He added some standoffs to secure this board to the case, and after 3D printing a few iterations for test-fitting, the milling went on for all of us to marvel at.
The resulting dock is pretty, functional, and even has some extra features — for instance, the “i” in the embossed Nintendo logo lights up when the dock is in use. In no small part due to the Nintendo logo, we don’t expect this one to grace store shelves, but we hope that it provides inspiration to other makers to do their builds. If you like this rebuild and crave more, whether you’re looking for inspiration, CNC work insights, or pretty milling videos, [Kevin]’s milled Xbox case project is an excellent “Watch next” choice.
The world of console modding has delivered us some amazing projects over the years, usually rendering an original into a completely different form factor. [Modified] has done a special bit of console modding on an Xbox Series X, with the unusual result of keeping exactly the same form factor. What makes it special? His Series X has been given a new case, almost identical to the original, but instead of molded plastic it’s machined entirely from a single billet of aluminium stock.
From one perspective it’s a slightly crazy endeavor — pushing the limits of his mill to remove 90% of the stock. But from another it’s an interesting tale of how to approach such a project, of the challenges in reaching further into a workpiece than the tooling is designed for, and also of the cooling for the Xbox itself. Sure he could have made it from aluminium plate and screwed it together, but in doing so he’d have denied us the chance to follow a machining adventure.
The result is an Xbox that’s nominally the same as when it left the factory, but which looks so much cooler. Oddly the aluminum doesn’t act as a heatsink because the console is air-cooled, but particularly on the bottom there are more holes than were found in the original. On the front is an engraving of Master Chief from Halo 2‘s cover art which really puts the finishing touch on the build — though we wonder whether it might benefit from a little resin to make it stand out a bit.
Hungry for more Series X case mods? They don’t come bigger than this one!
Case modding took off in the late 90s, and taught us all that computers could (and should!) look awesome. Much of the aesthetic went mainstream, and now tons of computer cases come with lights and windows and all the rest. [WysWyg_Protogen] realized those simple case windows could be way cooler with a neat LCD hack, and set to work.
The concept is simple. Take an old LCD monitor, remove the backlight and extraneous hardware, and then install it to the window in a computer case. When lit from behind via LEDs in the case, the screen creates a ghostly display through which the computer’s internals can still partially be seen. It’s a really compelling effect, and in theory, quite easy to achieve. All one need do is mount the stripped-down screen to the case and pipe it video from the graphics card.
In practice, it’s a little tricky. Disassembling the screen and removing things like the anti-glare coating can be tough to do without damaging the delicate panel inside. The windows typically used on computer cases can dull the effect, too. However, [WysWyg_Protogen] is continuing to tinker with the project and the results are getting increasingly impressive with each iteration. It doesn’t photograph too well, but it looks truly amazing in motion.
To have a proper gaming “rig”, you need more than a powerful GPU and heaps of RAM. You’ve also got to install a clear side-panel so lesser mortals can ogle your wiring, and plenty of multicolored LEDs to make sure it’s never actually dark when you’re up playing at 2 AM. Or at least, that’s what the Internet has led us to believe.
The latest project from [Michael Pick] certainly isn’t doing anything to dispel that stereotype. In fact, it’s absolutely reveling in it. The goal was to recreate the look of a high-end custom gaming PC on a much smaller scale, with a Raspberry Pi standing in for the “motherboard”. Assuming you’re OK with streaming them from a more powerful machine on the network, this diminutive system is even capable of playing modern titles.
But really, the case is the star of the show here. Starting with a 3D printed frame, [Michael] really went all in on the details. We especially liked the little touches such as the fiber optics used to bring the Pi’s status and power LEDs out to the top of the case, and the tiny and totally unnecessary power button. There’s even a fake graphics card inside, with its own functional fan.
Even if you’re not interested in constructing custom enclosures for your Raspberry Pi, there are plenty of tips and tricks in the video after the break that are more than worthy of filing away for future use. For example, [Michael] shows how he fixed the fairly significant warping on his 3D printed case with a liberal application of Bondo and a straight-edge to compare it to.
Those alive during the 1990s will remember the clear or “crystal” versions of various home consoles. Made with the usual injection molding processes, they usually came out somewhere closer to a smoky translucency and didn’t reveal much of the insides. [BitHead1000] likes to do things right though, and has busted out an awesome acrylic case mod for his NES.
The build starts with the disassembly of the original console, naturally, and the RF shielding is discarded in order to provide an unobstructed view of the internals. The acrylic case is then built up piece by piece, using the original case as a template. Flame polishing is used to treat the edges, and everything is stuck together using what appears to be acrylic cement. For a nice finishing touch, the cartridge door gets a frosted Nintendo logo, thanks to some careful work in the sandblasting booth.
The final product looks stunning, and the transparent case lends itself excellently to edge-lighting thanks to a few LEDs. We’ve seen [BitHead1000’s] work before, with the stunning flamethrowing N64 build. Video after the break.