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This awesome mod was built by Peter Dickison and is of course meant to look like a nuclear bomb from your average action movie.

The metal working is great, let’s take a look at it in more detail, shall we?

Here’s one of the many plans shown on the site used in the making of this incredible mod. You can tell he really put a lot of thought and planning into this, which is good because when you’re working with metal it’s kind of hard to make adjustments “on the fly”. Better to plan it first and right ahead of time.

One thing I appreciate about this mod is the variety of tools used. Some parts were done with a plasma cutter, yet others were fashioned with old-school benders like this. While a computer is great for designing stuff, you still need to think about how to build the parts in the real-world. Be careful not to design something that looks good on-screen but can’t actually be built… know your materials first, design second.

This is the first project in my series that involves welding, as far as I know. I am jealous as I do not know how to weld. However if you choose to make a project involving metal you can also obtain good fastening results with screws and even in some occasions glues / epoxies.

Grounding weld clamps and calculators, these guys mean business!

This part is great. It’s a plasma cut plate for the slot-loading DVD tray. When designing things such as holes for discs, USB ports, etc, be sure to allow some “slop” in the measurements. Never make something *exactly* the width of the part that needs to go inside of it, because quite often by the time it all goes together there will be some variance that might throw you off. I usually use a “slop” of .01″ in my designs.

Here’s the case in the first assembled form. The use of bolts and fasteners is quite good in this project. Here are some guidelines I typically follow when it comes to screws:

  • Either have a lot of visible screws or none at all. Keep the design consistent.
  • Keep all screws as symmetrical and even as possible. Not in the above photo that every screw on the circular end plates are the same distance/angle apart from each other. Also be sure you have enough to keep the case together!
  • If something looks like a mistake (or IS a mistake) then repeat it elsewhere until it doesn’t. Then the mistake becomes a “design feature”.

If you are any bit serious about doing mods and custom cases, you need a caliper of some kind to measure things. They are my favorite tool, I have 3 myself. It’s like a tape measure for engineers. Also fits in the pocket for those trips to the hardware store to find parts. Using the 3 parts of the caliper you can easily measure outer dimension, inner dimension and depth. Plus the pointy edges can easily open shrink-wrapped CD and DVD’s.

Note the threads in the wholes in the above picture. If you’re working with metal such as this you’ll probably want to tap the screw holes ahead of time. You can buy a drill bit and matching tap to make pre-threaded holes in material at the hardware store. For going through thin metal or softer materials you can usually just screw the screw into it to make the threads as you go.

Close-up detail of one of the mounting bolts. Peter fabricated these himself – good job! If you can’t find the right screw type or length, don’t be afraid to grind it down to do the job. Not using stock materials is what makes projects like these special.

End cap assembled. Notice how the large outer screws are on the same angles – nice.

Here’s a good example of non-stock parts. He’s taken these fittings and chopped them up to fit the coolant reservoir. Don’t be afraid to wander around the hardware stores for hours on end trying to figure out what you can make with what they have!

You can read all about this project in painstaking detail by checking out this site.

-Ben Heckendorn
http://www.benheck.com


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