Since I have actually built exactly 1 PC case mod in my life I figured I should show it during this series. It was built in early 2004 when I needed a portable computer to do the looping for my independent film but was too cheap to buy a laptop.

Check out more pics and a description of the guts after the break!

Here is the de-manufactured CD-ROM writer drive. As you can see it sort of sticks through the side of the case. Using a separate beer box that I just *happened* to have, I cut matching pieces out to “skin” it.

The CD drive from the side. The CD spindle magnet is held in place by a makeshift hinge.

In the photo we can see the top portion of the CD-ROM drive that was remove, and how the spindle magnet is held in place. I usually don’t re-manufacture disc drives in this fashion, though I just recently did for a new Xbox 360 portable.

The inside of the box was reinforced with metal L channels and plastic sheets. Hardware store hinges were added to latch it all together.

a) CD-ROM drive circuitry. Note the amazing heat sink I applied to one of the chips.
b) Original PC power supply. It has been broken down a bit allowing it to fit in the case.
c) Hard drive and ribbon cables. Typically the sound recorded off this PC was obtained by burning a disc or using a USB thumb drive.
d) Blazing fast K6-300 processor. Again, this PC was built to do one thing, so speed wasn’t as issue. A cool side effect was that I could play Duke Nukem 3D on this thing, which I haven’t been able to since moving to Windows 2000 or whatever I was using on my main PC at the time.
e) Old school ISA slot Soundblaster 16 card and AGP VooDoo 16 meg video card. I have found that when recording analog audio the built-in laptop plugs are fairly noisy, so at the time this was a better solution.

A whopping 4 gig drive. Those were the days.

Close-up of the power supply. I wouldn’t recommend poking around in there while it’s running!

End view of the unit, which is the “business end” that was used most of the time. All ports are present for easy access.

Ben Heckendorn
www.benheck.com