by Brett Thomas
Attractive acrylic mods and attractive metal mods litter our forums here on bit-tech. You don't have to go far before you can find something pretty impressive, but each build product really caters to a different type of taste. Because of that, modders usually stick to one or the other as their primary building tool - acrylic, using metal just for the most basic support, or aluminum that uses acrylic only for a window inside.
What is much harder to find is a modder with a design vision capable of truly fusing the two together. Indeed, only a few modders even really try to use both as major focal points in construction, and even fewer pull it off successfully. We can now add another modder to that list - Gavin Paul, aka sethnmalice.
Gavin's been modding for a while, but his latest project--FutureNen--is by far the most technical he's done yet. Of course, good talent is hard to keep under wraps - so though it was his first mod on our forums, it was quickly picked up for August's Mod of the Month competition, which it won handily.
Now, the project is finally finished - and it's time to show off the final results. And so, I'll pass this on to Gavin for the official worklog of...
The EFIJY case was the turning point in case modding for me, and that is where the idea for ‘future neon’ was born. I wanted to build a case completely from scratch - to take all those years of modding skills and pile them on top of each other to create an original case.
An original case...Now, that is pretty hard when you have an elite list of exceptional modders doing their thing. You have to try and place yourself somewhere in there - not to be "better," but to be able to say, "I built this with my bare hands, and that’s what I did - I built myself a custom case with my bare hands."
I don’t have the greatest patience in the world, so this case was the ultimate challenge for me - and through the trials and tribulations covered in the following pages, I have created something I’m very proud of.
The Idea: I need a plan…
I don’t have CAD skills and my attempts at using Sketch Up are appalling, so I went old school and bought myself some Draftsman Paper, a pencil and a ruler.
Nothing was set in concrete and it was all subject to change, but it was a starting point.
I took some time off and headed off to the country so I could really focus on how this project was going to take form, and after several attempts, I found something between the lines of the pages. My plan, or at least the beginning of it, was born.
Budgeting appropriately: Like that ever happens?
Well, it had to - I don’t have a lot of money, and having seen so many start with something simple only to spend way over their budgets because their imagination got the better of their wallets, this wasn’t a path I wanted to take. So, how should I make it cheap...really, really cheap? MDF - it's not expensive, and it's fairly easy to work with. So, I made a prototype of the whole case…
The basic structure, with some borrowed elements like a motherboard tray
[ External details were added, then drive cages and other tricky business.
I spent more time on how to attach the DVD-ROM drive than I wanted to, only because of the lack of experience. When modding a case where it's already there, there’s not much forethought about something you have no intention of moving - but when its not there and you have to think about it, it really messes with your head.