Hacks that bring a vintage flair to modern electronics never get old, and [Jeffrey Stephenson] delivers with his Project Clean Slate inspired by vintage tube amps.
Thinking outside the traditional single box PC, [Jeffrey] built his computer into a series of component-specific boxes all attached to a platform housing the Micro ATX motherboard. The base is made of plywood with a birds-eye maple veneer and each of the component boxes features two different sizes of wire mesh to manipulate the viewer’s perception of the dimensions. Even the I/O and graphics card plates are custom made from aluminum for this build.
If you really want to dig into how this PC came to life, there’s a very detailed build log including every step of the process from bare board to finished product. We love when we get an inside look at the thought process behind each design decision in a build.
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.
Do you dream of building a curvy ergonomic keyboard or macro pad, even though the idea of hand wiring gives you nightmares? You can make it a bit less troublesome with a tiny PCB for each key switch, as long as you have a reflow oven or you’re okay with a bit of surface-mount soldering for the diode, LED, and capacitor.
As a bonus, these should make switches a bit more secure against movement, and you could probably even get away with using hot swap sockets if you wanted. [Pedro Barbero] has the Gerber files available if you want to get some fabbed. We sort of wish we had used these on our dactyl, though the case is awfully tight and they might not fit.
Ultra-Mechanical Keyboard Angles with Lifter Motors
Nestled in between the arrow cluster and the menu key of the Besides Studios M-One is a rocker switch that angles the keyboard from 3° to 7° slowly but surely, like an adjustable bed. This is going to be a bare-bones group buy, meaning that it won’t come with any switches, stabs, or keycaps, but that doesn’t mean it will be cheap at $299. [BadSeed Tech] got an early prototype and built it out with Gateron Ink Black V2 switches in the video below in order to give it a proper spin.
Every so often, console manufacturers release a crystal edition of their hardware that never really lives up to the hype. The manufacturing realities of producing optically clear plastic mean the expense is rarely justified, even for a special edition. Instead, we get hazy, smoky translucent cases that are comparatively underwhelming. Here to rectify that, [BitHead1000] delivers on a properly transparent PlayStation2.
While the title calls it a Glass PS2, the cutting tools used and the labels on the material make it pretty clear (pun intended) that this build uses acrylic. Regardless, it’s an attractive material all on its own, and much more suited for such a build. To get the best possible visual effect, the internal shielding is removed and tossed in the bin, with plastic standoffs used to hold things in place instead. The case is then assembled around the components, giving an unparalleled view of the hardware inside.
It’s undeniably cool to watch the optical drive doing its thing inside the case when it’s switched on, and a few internal LEDs only add to the spectacle. We’ve seen [BitHead1000] pull off other casemodding feats, too, such as the fire breathing N64. Video after the break.
The outlandish computers from 1995’s Hackers are easily one of the most memorable elements of the iconic cult classic. In the film, each machine is customized to reflect the individual hacker that operates it, and feature everything from spray painted camouflage paint schemes to themed boot animations based on the owner’s personal iconography. But what might not be so obvious is that the real-life props took a considerable amount of hardware hacking before they were ready for their big-screen debut.
A group of dedicated Hackers fans have created a website to document, and ideally recreate, all the custom work that went into the various pieces of tech featured in the film. As explained by [Nandemoguy], the group’s latest triumph is a screen-accurate build of Lord Nikon’s laptop. The final product not only looks just like the machine used in the film, but thanks to the internal Raspberry Pi, is far more powerful than the original computer would have been.
Unless you’re on the team over at HackersCurator.com, you might not know that the laptops in the film were handmade chimeras that combined the external cases of various PCs with (usually) the internals of an Apple Powerbook 180c. Why the prop masters of the film would have gone through so much trouble to create the character’s computers is not immediately clear, but if we had to guess, presumably it was due to the requirements of the over-the-top graphical interfaces that are featured so heavily in the film.
At any rate, the replica created by [Nandemoguy] is built in much the same way. At least for the parts you can see on the outside, anyway. He goes through the considerable case modifications required to replace the original keyboard on the Toshiba Satellite T1850 with a Powerbook keyboard, which as you might have guessed, has been converted into a USB HID device with a Teensy microcontroller. He even cuts the ports off the back of the Mac’s motherboard and glues them in place around the backside of the machine. But everything else, including the LCD, is all new hardware. After all, who really wants to go through all that trouble just to have a fancy Powerbook 180c in 2019?
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.
When folk at Origin PCs realized that their company was about to celebrate its 10th anniversary of making custom (gaming) PCs, they knew that they had to do something special. Since one thing they did when the company launched in 2009 was to integrate an XBox 360 into a gaming PC, they figured that they might as well refresh and one-up that project. Thus 2019’s Project ‘Big O’ was born.
Naturally still featuring a high-end gaming PC at its core, the show piece of the system is that they also added an XBox One X, Playstation 4 Pro and Nintendo Switch console into the same full-tower GENESIS chassis. For this they had to strip the first two consoles out of their enclosures and insert them into the case each along with their own (appropriately colored) watercooling loop. Unfortunately the optical drives got ditched, presumably because this made things look cleaner.
The Switch was not modded or even cracked open. Instead a Switch dock was installed in the front of the case, allowing one to dock the Switch in the front of the case, and still use it in a mobile fashion after undocking it. Meanwhile an Ethernet and HDMI switch simplify the interfaces to this gaming system a lot, requiring one to only plug in a single HDMI and Ethernet cable to plug in all capable platforms. The result is a pretty sleek-looking system, definitely an eye-catcher.
Since Origin will never, ever, sell the Big O to customers as it’s just a promotional item, it does tickle the imagination. Case-modding and combining multiple computers (often an ATX and mini-ITX) system into a single case is nothing new, but aspects such as having a dockable Switch feature, this clean aesthetic and overall functionality makes one wonder what an enterprising hobbyist could accomplish here.