Today’s yuletide pick for PC Mod of the Day is the Aperture Science PC, built by “Willsonman” as seen on the [H]ard|Forum. I like this mod because instead of building a case inspired by a videogame it builds one to emulate a prop found in the game.
Let’s take a look at how he put this nice piece together…
The mod began with this normal looking PC. Well to be quite honest it looks a little more homely than normal, so any mod to it will be an improvement.
He also painted the keyboard to match the one in the game, as well as the mouse. A nice touch, since quite often you’ll see a heavily modded PC but with a standard keyboard and mouse attached that kind of “throw off” the look.
Keyboard is complete with a reproduced logo – nice work. He did what he must because he can.
This part was a little bewildering… he removed the side fan ports and filled them with Bondo, then sanded it down to a smooth surface. I’m not sure if this was more or less work than rebuilding the side panel but the effect is the same.
I guess if you can use an existing piece it’s probably easy than building a new one, the “if you can buy it you can’t afford to build it” philosophy.
New side panel with a fan hole mounting that matches the one seen in the game. Very clean, white and simple.
Even the unit’s hard drive fan/cage has an Aperture Science logo on it. It’s good to be consistent with the mod, but of course without going overboard.
This modder even went so far as to build a custom button to match the kind on the front of the in-game model. Looks like he used an existing switch, some plastic and an LED. See the heat shrink tubing on the wires? This is a very clean and efficient way to insulate and bundle wires, just be sure to slide it on before you make the connections!
You can get heat shrink tubing in a variety of sizes at the hardware store in the electrical aisle. Typically it can be shrunk down to half its size. Some people use heat guns but personally I find using cigarette lighters to be a faster and more isolated shrinking method.
Here’s the front view. The DVD drive is now mounted sideways and an 8″ diameter piece of PVC pipe forms the top curve. Mounting the DVD as such works well with the design because the case is mostly vertical. Having the DVD horizontal as it normally would be would clash with the overall look, so it’s great they took the time to do it like this. See how the outer shape, inner shape and DVD look like concentric shapes? That’s a great touch.
The case further along. A nice Aperture Science logo has been plastered onto the side. We can see the 5 1/4″ bays that have been gutted to fit the vertically-mounted DVD drive.
The finished unit with drive open. Looks pretty good! Note the custom button in the lower right hand corner.
The unit is now complete, ready to run sadistic experiments on the Enrichment Center “volunteers”. This is a neat-looking PC case regardless, and the fact that it’s modeled after a prop from one of the best games of 2007 is icing on the cake. Even though the cake is a lie!
…or IS it? To celebrate the completion of this mod Willsonman made up an authentic Portal cake. I hope he ate it while using the computer, only seems fitting. You can read more about this mod by visiting this site.
-Ben Heckendorn http://www.benheck.com