October 09, 2014
The "Restomod TV"
April 09, 2013
February 28, 2013
Building an XBMC 12 Home Theatre PC
January 25, 2011
XBMC Guide updated to version 10.0
August 06, 2010
Building a Green PC
February 15, 2010
Building an ION powered HTPC with XBMC
October 10, 2008
The "Cambridge Autonomous Underwater Vehicle 2008"
September 12, 2008
"Florian", the DVD burning robot
September 05, 2008
May 22, 2008
April 14, 2007
The "Digg" Case
January 19, 2007
December 07, 2006
The "Tortoise Beetle"
October 02, 2006
The "DOS Head Unit"
August 31, 2006
The "Janus Project"
August 05, 2006
The "Leela PC"
June 26, 2006
Nano-ITX in a Football
May 17, 2006
The "EPIA Alloy Mod"
April 11, 2006
Neatorama's Collection of Case Mods
February 18, 2006
October 24, 2005
The "ITX TV"
October 06, 2005
August 05, 2005
The "Waffle Iron PC"
July 21, 2005
July 18, 2005
July 07, 2005
May 25, 2005
The "Accordion ITX"
May 16, 2005
May 15, 2005
The "Mini Falcon"
May 13, 2005
The "Bender PC"
May 11, 2005
The "BBC ITX B"
May 10, 2005
April 20, 2005
March 09, 2005
The "Cool Cube"
January 30, 2005
First Nano-ITX Project?
January 17, 2005
January 15, 2005
The "Gumball PC"
December 15, 2004
The "Deco Box"
December 03, 2004
October 06, 2004
September 17, 2004
August 26, 2004
The "C1541 Disk Drive ITX"
August 25, 2004
August 13, 2004
The "Quiet Cubid"
August 06, 2004
July 14, 2004
The "Moo Cow Moo"
July 02, 2004
The "Mini Mesh Box"
June 17, 2004
May 24, 2004
The "ERN005PC" (KANA)
March 13, 2004
The "Underwood No. 5"
Full alphabetical archive on right hand side of page...
Why would I ever want to do this? Lots of people have asked me this,
and I really have no idea why. I may or may not be completely nuts.
I guess I've always been interested in making computers more
aesthetically pleasing than the dull beige-box. I started off in the
usual way, cutting case windows, doing silly things with uv-reactive
paint, and generally aiming for a mix of style and substance in my
hardware. Hey, if it doesn't go like the clappers, why bother making it
look like it should?
But that wasn't enough, and impressed by some of the work I'd seen on Mini-ITX.com, I was on the lookout for a real custom project to make a machine stand out. I was also, at the time, in the market for a small, quiet/silent server that I could leave in the corner of a room without it looking too obnoxious. It was around this time, I got shown the thinkgeek April fools joke of the George Foreman USB iGrill. Then I got thinking. The Mini-ITX form factor (170x170mm) was almost exactly the same width as a George Foreman "Junior" grill. One visit to amazon later, and I'd ordered the cheapest (£20) case I'd ever had. The rest, as they say, is history. And yes, like thinkgeek stated, it does have USB 2.0 support ;).
While I'd been musing the technical feasibility of this mod for a few weeks, before the build, I didn't really find out whether I was attempting something possible until the toys started to arrive.
Of course, the first thing to do when a new toy arrives is to
completely take it apart.
So 5 minutes with philips-head and pro-drive screwdrivers later, it was
down to the bare components. With hindsight, I probably should have
done this with some kind of due care and attention, as it took me as
long again to figure out which bits belonged where.
I had intended to use the original power cabling, and mod the psu to
use them, but this proved unfeasible, as I had to slice the cabling in
two just to open the damn thing up.
Once everything had been separated, the first crunch moment came.
Would the components fit?
Thankfully, my envisioned hard-drive/psu area (in the base of the grill) would work,
after a little work on the lower grillplate with a dremel.
Holes would have to be cut from the plastic base for ventilation,
and a chunk from the grill plate was needed to let the PSU pop out over the bottom plate.
But somewhat wonderfully, the motherboard almost exactly fit in the top section,
and would need only minor modifications to the top grill-plate for the final product.
The element would have to go, and a small lip at the front needed removing to allow cable placement,
but other than that, a promising sign.
The idea I had for the cabling was to route the IDE and ATX cables
through the hinge holding the top and bottom grill plates together. It
was wide enough, but would need a bit of work to open up a hole large
enough to accomodate those bloody huge ATX plugs.
Next up I decided I probably ought to test that all the components
worked together. Thankfully, power supply, RAM, hard drive, and
motherboard all played together nicely, and I was able to fiddle about
in the BIOS and perform an over-heating test.