House of Amill - Serious Art, Stupid Logo

.:House of Amill:.
Serious Art, Stupid Logo

<First Project: The Evil Penguin>

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~ First Project ~
Evil Penguin: Total package mod
of an old Packard Bell tower

  1. Cleaning the case.
  2. Planning mods.
  3. Painting cases.
  4. Applying stickers.
  5. Adding components.
  6. Adding windows/extra fans.
  7. Final clean-up

1. Cleaning the case.

~ First things first, you Must clean the case before you work on it. A good rule of thumb is to remove any and all stickers or case badges you don't want to keep. This will save you the trouble of sanding them down if/when the time comes or having an ugly bump to deal with once it has been painted over. ~

The condition in which I got the case was very good. The last owner took care if it very well. The only thing that was needed was a quick cleaning of the case pieces that mattered (i.e. - the outside stuff). The idea here is to take the case apart before you do anything. The Packard Bell tower was a feisty beast, with pieces locked in by other pieces and metal attached to plastic parts.

Once disassembled, I took some multi-surface cleaner and cleaned off the minor bits of funk that are bound to stay after being used. After, I took off the stickers and popped off the case badge. Use some Goof Off or some other kind of solvent to remove the sticker snot left over. Trust, it's better to do this now than to deal with junked up sand paper later. Once this was done, I started in on planning the modifications for the case itself.

2. Planning mods.

~ Always plan your mods before you start. Work your ideas out on paper first to get a very basic plan of attack. You can change your mind later in the process, it'll just be easier to do it here than in mid-mod. ~

Now it's time to bust out the pencil and paper, the measuring tape and a calculator. Yep, it's time to plan the mod. I drew up a crude and quick design of the case how I want it to look overall. I did have some joke plans from before and I stuck with those basic ideas for the most part. I added some gear that wasn't available previously. This is how it all breaks down:

- Outside Mods:

  • Paint: Don't have a scheme just now but I am leaning towards black with navy blue trim.
  • Basic CD-RW: Key to having something else to play and burn CDs with.
  • Musketeer Multi-function monitor: A nice little device to keep track of and control fan speed, sound volume, and processor temp.
  • DVD-Rom: For movies and a spare reader for CDs.
  • Custom Stickers: Hand drawn images printed on sticker paper. Images will only be for this case.
  • Case Window: I may go with clear Plexiglas or Lexan for this mod. I'll frost in a little Linux window bug in the bottom right hand corner.
  • Rubber Feet: It'll be good to keep it from moving on me too much.

- Inside Mods:

  • Lighted 80mm Fan: I'm thinking blue for now. This will change with the color scheme.
  • Polished Tin: The case has tin lining the inside of the case. This shows the case's age a bit. I'll keep it, it'll make for a nice big reflective surface.
  • Holes: Yep, I'm cutting holes to increase air circulation and drop some extra weight.
  • Misc. holes for new motherboard and power supply: The old board can't be upgraded any farther thus it must go.

So far, I have yet to add the prices for the pieces. This will come later after all the measuring is done. Here's the Preliminary sketches in the meantime.

Alrighty, I've done the measuring and I have the stats. The area of the case (Without entering into the power supply/drive bay area) is 7" high, 10 3/8" wide and 14 1/4" deep. This is pretty good as it leaves plenty of play room towards the front. A quick trip to the site gave me the information I'd need for what board to get. Final decision: MicroATX. After deciding on the board size, I decided on the paint scheme. Since the project is called "Evil Penguin", I'll go with white for the trim piece. Since it is such a small amount of area, it should work well without clashing too badly. Various other small pieces will be white too, like the drive covers and the front panel items (On/Reset switches). Now that this is all taken care of... it's time to prep for paint!

3. Painting cases.

~ Sand. Clean. Prime. Paint. This should become a kind of mantra for you when you're about to paint a case. Sand the surface to smooth it down to your liking. Clean the surface off with mild soap and water to remove possible fingerprints. Prime the surface to make it ready for your final paint. Paint light coats to achieve a smooth finish and help prevent mess-ups. ~

The last bit of prep you do for a case mod is pretty much for posterity. It's really your choice if you want to take before and after pictures of the case. I'm going to do so because it would be stupid doing a step by step write-up of a mod without having images of the steps, right. So far, the case is in pieces with the bare computer running pretty fine on its own. I'll leave the computer be for now and attack it later. The actual casing will be the focus for now. Here are images of the front and the side of the beast before any prep has been done. I have primer now and I'm in the process of gettin g the sanding stuff I need.

It has been a while since I last worked on this mod. In that time I have bought the sanding supplies I need as well as started a quick little project on my main case. The Evil Penguin's plastic cover piece has been sanded smooth and primed. It is officially ready for paint. The front and back pieces are proving to be a bit more difficult. The front piece, though cleaned and sanded smooth, still has many inset items that have to be tracked. No visible holidays (Areas of thin paint or no paint) on this project. The back piece is having issues taking the primer. I have wierd areas that just won't take paint. This is after waiting until the piece was bone dry after wet sanding it smooth. 'Tis strangeness indeed.

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