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The "Falcon-ITX"
By Russ Caslis - Posted on May 28, 2003

Introduction

The basic idea was to place a complete computer inside a toy/model of the Millenium Falcon. I had several items that I decided I must have:

• All components had to fit inside... all peripherals had to plug into the outside of the toy/model just like a real computer.
• The basic toy/model had to be painted accurately, within reason. This meant researching the models used in the movies and making a "best guess" as to the colors and spacing of some parts.
• The system must have a unique power light. This was accomplished via a special LED that flashes and fades through all the primary colors of light (red, green, and blue in a single LED)
• Through one of the "holes" in the hull, you must be able to see the inner workings of a real hard drive, preferably accented with blue electrical "sparks" when there was drive activity.
• It had to have hard drive activity lights placed into the front "headlights" of the Falcon.
• Working engine lights... need I say more?
• It had to have adequate cooling...

Construction


First, I had to acquire the basic body. Kenner used to make a toy of the ship for the action figures many years ago. Thanks to ebay, I was able to get one of these. It wasn't in the best condition (the plastic was yellowed from age) but that's OK.


Nothing like a good bath, and after over 20 years, this toy certainly needed one! Of course, this also helped get rid of the stickers and adhesive... but that was just coincidence...



Here, I glued the lower hatch onto the main body. For my needs, I need it closed all the time. Also, I glued the two halves of the main gun together. Unlike the toy, my ship won't be able to rotate it's laser cannon. That's OK... I have lots of other surprises in store that will make up for the lack of a rotating laser cannon.



Now the first of several scary parts. I actually opened the hard drive to install a window. You might have heard of crazy people who have actually opened their hard drives to install a see-through window. Yup, I'm one of them now. Basically, this entails opening the hard drive, cutting a hole in the case for the window, installing a nice bright LED inside, and closing it up while not getting a single particle of dust inside. The difference for me was that due to space limitations, I had to use a laptop hard drive... not much space there... Oh, the bright blue LED I installed in the drive also lights up whenever there is hard-drive activity on that IDE bus.


Probably the right time to test it to make sure it works. Success! I was a little shocked, but happy!



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