Despite having a sizeable gap between updates after the project's beginnings in 2009, Martin Neilsen, who goes by the forum name Angel OD, kept working on his Wii project and finished it just a few weeks ago. It's undoubtedly one of the most amazing-looking Nintendo Wiis on the planet, and the only Wii we've seen that has its own water-cooling system. Martin's project has already proved hugely popular outside of bit-tech, but he's not finished yet - here's an exclusive walk-through from the man himself about how one of the best console mods we've ever seen came into being:
My name is Martin, I’m from Denmark and I'm 32 years old. I'm a machinist by trade, and I work at a university, mainly building prototypes. About five years ago I stumbled across bit-tech. After a couple of hours spent reading some of the amazing project logs in the forums, I was sold.
The name Wii UNLimited Edition actually came about while searching eBay for parts for my car. There are so many limited edition products out there, which made finding the parts I needed difficult. I thought this was also a fantastic concept for a modding project - there would no boundaries; no limits to what I could do with it.
Something that featured quite heavily in the planning and fabrication stages was the CNC mill we have at work. I used it after hours, and it proved incredibly useful, although sometimes I wished it was larger. Several sections had to be made from numerous milling runs, as the project was so large. Besides this small snag, I had all the tools I needed, both for the project and my daily tasks, such as manual lathes, mills, drill presses - you name it.
I didn't actually own a Wii at this point, but soon acquired one to help aid the design process. However, when it arrived, it just sat there staring at me. I wasn't quite sure where to start - even a search online revealed little else but translucent cases that other modders had made. I started working with different designs using a CAD program, and all of a sudden it hit me; no one had ever water-cooled their Wii.
The most common question I've been asked about this project is 'Why would you water-cool a Wii?' The only answer I can come up with is 'Because I can.' After the initial steps of modding - cutting acrylic, installing lights, for example, I focused on the water-cooling aspect of the project. I decided to use custom-made waterblocks in the early stages, so these had to be factored into the equation too.
The first step was to completely strip down the Wii into pieces. I’m not going to lie; I was a bit scared about this. This was mostly because I’m not the most organised person when it comes to putting screws in one bag, parts in another and making sure I know where everything belongs.
As soon as the concept and the parts with which I had to work started mingling in my head, several factors started playing on my mind - how am I going to fit a radiator, will the pump look too unattractive and just how much cooling is actually required for a Wii? Thankfully, my initial concerns about the power requirements for the cooling system were quickly laid to rest - the pump uses about 18W under full load, so at least I could really go to town with the cooling system.