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Friday, November 4, 2011

BIOSHOCK Case Mod, part 1

The BIOSHOCK case mod started with a very basic steel case. Over this, I added a shell of fiberboard to add some depth and to create an art deco construction
style, but it is the detail in the features that symbolize the essence of Rapture.

Side Panels:

A front bezel frame, top and side panels are cut from MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard)
and the edges rounded on the router. Layers of rounded MDF are used to create
the art deco style panels, and then additional detail will be added using a
variety of details found in the game as one fights through the levels of Rapture.












The BIOSHOCK city of Rapture is located under water, to continually reinforce
this idea in the game, the architecture is filled with many (leaky) windows,
skylights, airlocks, and other views of the ocean outside. I wanted to capture
as much of this feeling as possible in the Art Deco styling of this case mod.












For the system board side panel, I will cut an arched side window and install
a leaded-glass panel to simulate the floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights
that appear throughout the BIOSHOCK game. With the panel positioned over the
open case, I traced the approximate position of the arched opening. The edges
of the opening need to be positioned in far enough from the edge to allow the
panel to be anchored to the steel panel, and leave enough clearance around the
tabs that holds the panel to the case. I also want to conceal some of the internal
construction such as the front fan, rear expansion slot openings, and much
of the power supply and drive bays.

The second side panel has a circular opening that will have a Mr. Bubbles style
porthole attached. Using a circle cutter on my router, the porthole is cut from
a piece of 3/4" MDF. The opening is created from a single piece of MDF
using a straight (square-cut) router bit. First, a circle is cut around the
outside edge with a straight router bit, creating a large disk. Next, a wide,
flat step is cut around the outside leaving the full thickness of the MDF still
in the center, but a thin shelf running around the outside edge. The last step,
before rounding the inner and outer edge, is to use the circle cutter to cut
the inside opening of the ring. The final work with the router is to round the
tall inside edge and the lower outside edge of the ring. Any grooves or edges
left from the router are sanded smooth by hand.

"Bolt" holes are drilled around the outside shelf, and then enlarged
by using a flexible shaft with a round metal burr to accept some 7/16"
ball bearings. To achieve a rough sand-cast appearance, the MDF was not sealed,
but was just given a quick coat of spray primer. This was followed by several
coats of gold spray paint.

Once the paint was dry, the frame was aged by using black, green, and blue-green
acrylic paints; dabbing the color on and then wiping the excess off with a paper
towel. The last step was to glue the ball bearings into the holes with epoxy.

The arches and edges of the window opening were cut with a hand-held jigsaw,
and then filed and sanded smooth. (In this picture, you can see the steel side
panel before any opening has been cut for the window.)

The porthole panel has a circular opening cut to the size of the ring's interior
opening. The rectangular front door has a stacked accent panel of MDF and a piece
of ribbed trim running up the center.

To create a smooth surface on the MDF with paint, all panels must be sealed
with several coats of shellac-based primer. Only then can the final paint coat
be applied.

Next: Glass windows and accents.


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