[caption id="attachment_102" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Old Simon & Shuster game + Server Case = Borg Cube?"][/caption]
The Borg case mod was my very first attempt at "extreme case modding". The project was an experiment that allowed me to determine what sort of tools might be required, and how well they might work for this purpose. It also was an excuse to get creative and integrate a variety of computer-designed lighting and other effects into the build. (For the record, the year was 2005.)
It's easy enough to find a fancy case and slap a motherboard into it. Not much more effort is required to install cold-cathode lighting or to swap out the fans for LED illuminated ones. If you want to change the colors of the LED indicator lights, you might actually have to pick up a soldering iron, although a number of these are just installed in small socket assemblies.
I have held off doing anything more involved than these basic modifications, if only because I have not had any particular idea for a more extreme makeover. Watching all the current shows like Monster Garage, Monster House, American Chopper, etc. may give me the urge to cut, weld, or "monsterize" something, but they don't exactly provide a plan or result for the process. This is something that all of these shows do have in common - a plan or desired result to be achieved.
Besides the excuse to hack something up, I came up with an idea that serves several purposes and provides a goal for a project. I wanted to explore several techniques for modifying the case, and at the same time, build a system with some different technology and effects that would enhance the overall theme.
The core concept for my case is a Science Fiction pseudo-technology look, but within a traditional case format. The initial thoughts I had for this case are loosely based on Paramount's Star Trek Borg with lots of yellow-green lighting, corrugated tubing, and with cables and hoses merging with the electronics or piercing the surface features.
A little bit of Star Wars "model bashing" will be used to further enhance the surface-mounted details on the shell of the case. Following the Borg approach of assimilating useful technology, I am be using all sorts of odd pieces and parts of toys, computer parts, wire, tubing and other items to create the effect.
[caption id="attachment_104" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="The "canvas" for the Borg mod is a double-wide server case."][/caption]
Rather than use a basic tower style case, it occurred to me that a server case would be more appropriate (it's a Borg "cube"), and give me more to work with on my project. The case I chose is a simple server case, which is essentially a double mini-tower on wheels. The motherboard mounts in one side of the case, and the power supplies (it can take two) and drives are mounted on the other side.
Basic Parts Placement
The case did not come with any power supply, but did include two 90mm fans, one in front and the other in the rear above the power supply opening (inside a 3.5" 4-slot drive bay.) The first thing I did was to move the rear fan to the front of the case and remove the hard drive assembly and a couple of other internal pieces. I then mounted two power supplies in the case, a heavy-duty one to power the system board and drives, and a smaller one to power just the fans, lighting and special effects.
I loosely mounted the motherboard in the case and installed a floppy, a SATA hard drive and optical drives. This is all necessary to determine placement of power and drive cables and to experiment with hoses and other water-cooling components.
Next: Modding Tools
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