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17" Monitor Case Modding -- The "iMike" 381

Posted by timothy
from the lots-of-time dept.
greyrax writes "So what does a Canadian cabinet maker who's a closet techie do during those long winter months? You modify a 17" monitor case to house your computer (think iMac). The blow-by-blow descriptions and pictures outline this three-month project. The only question that I'm left with is 'What is that antenna for?'"
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17" Monitor Case Modding -- The "iMike"

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  • Completed pictures (Score:4, Informative)

    by cascino (454769) * on Saturday June 07, 2003 @10:55PM (#6141039) Homepage
    Completed pictures here [members.shaw.ca].
    Also, does anyone else think the green paint looks hideous? IMHO, he would've been much better keeping the factory grey.
  • The antenna (Score:5, Informative)

    by macemoneta (154740) on Saturday June 07, 2003 @10:58PM (#6141048) Homepage
    Looks like an 802.11b/g/a wireless unit is in the box too.
  • If you use a Mac... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dopefish128 (516350) on Saturday June 07, 2003 @10:58PM (#6141052)
    I saw something like this a while ago on Apple Fritter [applefritter.com] where a guy built his classic iMac into a 21" monitor. He didn't go the easy way and use an LCD screen, though.
  • by MsGeek (162936) on Saturday June 07, 2003 @10:59PM (#6141057) Homepage Journal
    ...of Macintosh envy.
  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Zach Garner (74342) on Saturday June 07, 2003 @11:02PM (#6141066)
    Just what I wanted! The size of a CRT and the quality of a LCD!
  • Antenna? (Score:5, Funny)

    by inertia@yahoo.com (156602) * on Saturday June 07, 2003 @11:02PM (#6141068) Homepage Journal
    What is that antenna for?

    That's the gear shift, you insensitive clod!
  • Actually in North Van, where this guy lives, not single snowflake fell this winter ... well maybe one or too. But it can hardly be considered a long winter.

    The conversion is very cool and its one of the most involved mod projects I've seen. Definitely going on the "to-do" list.
  • by FearUncertaintyDoubt (578295) on Saturday June 07, 2003 @11:14PM (#6141111)
    ...from John Deere
  • One word... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by doppleganger871 (303020) <nothanks@nocontac[ ]rg ['t.o' in gap]> on Saturday June 07, 2003 @11:14PM (#6141113) Homepage Journal
    ...nice.

    That has got to be the best monitor/case mod I have ever seen. Not my choice for colors, but I am really impressed with the quality that went into this. I'd like to see a company start making cases like this, with the LCD already mounted in the front. I do think there would be a market for it.

    • Re:One word... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ddbsa (526686)
      I agree, especially if it were manufactured for ease of parts access / upgrade.

      The sleekness of the original form imac/emac all-in-one, with the power and versitility of commodity hardware.

      If people pay 2-3k for alienware machines that could be parted out for less than half the retail cost... im sure there is a niche market for something like this.
    • I agree, though he'd have to switch the monitor chassis to one from a flatscreen CRT to avoid the gap along the edges of the LCD, plus he'd have to make a black mask to cover the gray metal edge of the LCD if the LCD is smaller than the CRT.
    • Re:One word... (Score:3, Interesting)

      While I like the workmanship and effort that went into it, although it looks very functional, I would have gone with a more asthetic design.

      The biggest thing that throws me off of this design is the number of fans and the noise that it would make. Personally, I'm tempted to put the CPU in a closet and have a USB floppy and dvd in a noise and vibration dampened drawer for occasional use. ...then again, I'm probably just wanting some silence because I have 2 rackmount servers, two desktop boxes, and three t
    • Re:One word... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by marauder404 (553310) <marauder404NO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @01:10AM (#6141456)
      Actually, I think he picked the completely wrong design. You couldn't offer to do that to my computer for free. I'm impressed by his ability to solve various problems and make a working unit and he did a great job of being thorough, but I don't want it. For me, the biggest reason is that the whole point of the iMac and Macs in general are for understated elegance of design. The point is to actually remove everything that you don't need immediately. All those ports and drives and access ports should be off to the side of the monitor, not right in the front. It gives the whole thing a Battlestar Galactica look that I'd prefer not to have. I only want to see the display and I'm willing to live with a CD tray. I look at my computer, with my mid-tower is underneath. My only interfaces to the computer are the monitor, keyboard, and mouse, with occasional access to the CD-R drive -- a computer should be built with that in mind.

      Companies already make all-in-one machines that are smaller footprint (not much bigger than just an LCD monitor). It doesn't have everything as roll-your-own, but the trade-off is small enough that I'd prefer to have form over function.

  • in a retro setting, with these. [klipsch.com]
  • that's all that I've got to say, just nice
  • Live Drive (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    With all those ports above his screen, he's going to have a hell of a time looking through all the cords plugged into them.

  • Does anyone else think that it looks like the monitor has cancer? Yech, what a horrible design, but definitely different!
  • What A Great Idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Fenis-Wolf (239374)
    This is the coolest, most complete mod i've ever seen. I'm very impressed. The skill required to put this together was really cool. I wish i had half this guys skills.
  • For some reason when I saw the finished unit, I thought of the TV show "Convoy"... Maybe you could have it play the M.C. McCall song during startup. :-)

    Gotta go, Good Buddy!
    Keep the pedal to the metal - and watch out for Ol'Smokey! ü

  • Interesting, but ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cthefuture (665326) on Saturday June 07, 2003 @11:37PM (#6141199)
    The antenna must be an 802.11 antenna or something, this person obviously likes doodads and gadgets all over his machine. I mean, damn, look at all the drives, bays, and other assorted crap on the front. Tacky. Look at all those fans! Egads! Blech.

    I'm by no means a Mac fan, but one thing they are is quiet. Either no fans or very quiet fans. This machine is old-sk00l, large and loud. Again, blech.

    The paint looks like an old boat or something. Hehe. The problem is that it's real hard to paint computer equipment and make it look good. It almost always looks amateurish. I think that's why a lot of people use aluminum, new or original plastic, and/or plexiglass instead of paint. Airbrushing might look OK if you're good.

    With that said, this person seems like a good fabricator. I really like the workmanship. Quality work, but the overall design is too clunky and bloated for me.

    But they certainly didn't ask for my opinion so I'll STFU now.
  • by Brento (26177) * <[moc.razotnerb] [ta] [otnerb]> on Saturday June 07, 2003 @11:41PM (#6141209) Homepage
    I understand that he's got skills, but the difference between this and an Apple product is that Apple products reek of sex appeal. You know, they have gorgeous curves, feminine touches, and the colors work together really well. When a woman walks into your home office and sees a bunch of Apple gear, she says "Oooo, pretty. You've got great taste." When she sees this, she's speechless, and not in a good way.

    This thing is a farm implement. It's a high-quality farm implement, and I admire his work ethic, but it's still a farm implement.
  • bah! he's cheating (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Astrorunner (316100)
    Shiiiiit.

    Lets see him do that with a regular CRT. This mod ranks up there with the guy that encased his mboard in foam insulation.

    Seriously though, he may as well put it in a lunch box or something original. Maybe I'd be more impressed if he put a CRT in his old PC-AT case.

    Go ahead. Mod me down. You know you want to.
  • by zakezuke (229119) on Saturday June 07, 2003 @11:54PM (#6141260)
    Apple should take note of this. The use of lcd screens in their imac would resolve the following issues...

    1. Extra heat your monitor. Let's face it CRTs and computers don't mix.
    2. Degausing doesn't just demagnatize the screen but anything and everything. let's face it, CRTs and magnetic media don't mix

    ----

    Now the obvious question... is there a market for this sorta design? Personaly i'd say yes. I wouldn't nessicarly go with a traditional monitor layout, but there is a sorta apeal with lugables. Anyold joe can hookup a keyboard and mouse and plug it in the wall.

    Something like this could in theory house batteries, a fuck of alot more then your average laptop. Also I like the idea of a cable run for my keyboard and mouse from my monitor. If i'm not mistaken Xerox did this in their workstations way back when.
  • One complaint... (Score:5, Informative)

    by shivianzealot (621339) on Saturday June 07, 2003 @11:58PM (#6141274)

    I've had to explain to people more times than I would like to have had to that opening up a monitor without understanding which parts can hurt you has the potential to hurt you. I'd like to say this is common sense, but it really isn't.

    So PLEASE warn visitors on any monitor modding site you build. Its an extra two seconds and might save someone a trip to the emergency room.

    And manafacturers, how about a sticker warning "DEATH MAY BE IMMENENT IF OPENED," instead of "No user servicable parts?" :)

    • Re:One complaint... (Score:5, Informative)

      by adamfranco (600246) <adam@adamfranco.cBOYSENom minus berry> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @12:21AM (#6141333) Homepage
      For those that "may try this at home" (like the article): which parts can hurt you are those which are plugged in (or any high V capcitors). To be safe stick to the following guidelines:

      1. Unplug it! Keeping a grounding wire connected is cool if you don't want to damage you or sensitive parts, but if the thing isn't plugged in, it can't send 5 amps through you.

      2. Use one hand All of the good (and alive) electricians I know tuck one hand into their pocket/coat while working. This provents current from traveling accross your chest (and heart) on its way to ground. I have one electrician friend who was trapped (hanging from the ceiling by an arm stuck in an electrical conduit) while 220V AC ran from his fingers to his shoulder. He is alive today because current didn't pass through his chest.

      3. Re-Read #1
      • Re:One complaint... (Score:5, Informative)

        by deranged unix nut (20524) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @12:57AM (#6141425) Homepage
        4. Discharge the capacitors if you are going to touch anything
        Take an old screwdriver that you don't care about and either use it to short directly across any capacitors. Those things can maintain a charge for months, and that charge can kill you if you aren't careful!

        (Yes, I have done stupid stuff like replacing a contact switch in my microwave, and I am not licensed to do such a thing, but I *STRONGLY* urge anyone to be very careful with high voltages.)

        I have felt 220V AC run from my index finger to my ring finger, luckily both were on the same hand. It only made contact for less than a second, left a 1/8th inch white burn mark on both the entry and exit point, my arm was flailing for several minutes, and my hand was jittering for several hours.

        Even the lower voltages in a phone system, I think the ring tone hits up to 48 volts, can cause a tingling sensation.

        Also, remember that while your skin normally acts as a good insulator, if you are sweating, or it is damp, the resistivity of skin drops to almost nothing and even a very, very small voltage across the heart can kill you.

        If in doubt, ask for help from someone who has some experience with TV or computer monitor repair.
        • Let's not forget that the CRT tube itself is a big high-potential capacitor.
        • BzZZzzZZT! (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I used to be a TV Broadcast Engineer -- fancy words for "I fix everything in this station." I probably took a good shock from something, something like a cap, once a week. After a few years of that, I've got this to say: it's painful, but if it's not plugged in, you guys are largely making this out to be more dangerous than it really is. (Pacemaker-laiden folks aside. :-)

          What put it in perspective for me was that I also worked on giant godzilla-sized tube-based 25kW RCA transmitters out of the 70's, an
        • I damn near got a black eye from a shock... I stupidly touched an (hot) AC circuit in school. I had _just_ realized that I needed to pull my hand back when I made contact. Between my reaction, and my muscles contracting, my arm jerked back and I hit myself in the face...
        • "Even the lower voltages in a phone system [snip] can cause a tingling sensation."

          I can vouch for that. In college I had occasional work wiring telephone and computer systems when companies moved to new locations. I was in the habit of stripping the inner insulation from the phone wire with my teeth until the day the wire I had just stripped touched my eyelid right as the phone rang with the other wire in my mouth...

          Who says I learned nothing in school?

    • On the other hand, this guy removed essentially all the monitor internals and pretty much just reused the plastic case. I didn't see anything there that was more potentially harmful than any other sort of mod work.

      Yes, there are parts of a CRT that are at high voltage when plugged in, and yes, the tubes are at high vacuum. If Slashdot readers need to be warned not to disassemble monitors while they are plugged in--or that hitting them with a hammer is a bad idea--then they deserve to be removed from the

      • The most dangerous parts of the CRT are still dangerous when NOT plugged in... monitors have EXTREMELY high voltage capacitors that hold a charge LONG after the monitor is unplugged...
  • Keyobard? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Atmchicago (555403) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @12:04AM (#6141290) Homepage
    The whole thing is really cool, but what about a keybaord? He shows two mice but no keyboard, I guess you can just paste stuff from the character map.
  • (My personal fave was the foam blob from a few months back).
  • Now the 17" powerbook small and compact by comparison.
  • by molotovcD (626566)
    ok, so computers have been made smaller, and they have been made faster. But what mde this so cool was how it all came together in the end. The final product was quite well refined. I am impressed :D I like the choice of colours too.
  • Awesom... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by infonick (679715)
    I think it's sexy and new! Personally, i like the antenna, heck, i like it all! Add a few case lights and it would be the hit of any lan party. oh, and immagin : Dual-Monitors! >:)
  • It's kinda strange looking in the end but I was rewarded with a rather funny picture on page 6 where you see the finished monitor, but in the background you see one of his speakers sitting on top of a monitor swing arm. ie. something else to use your monitor stand for?
  • It sure looks like the quality is there, but the thing looks, well, like Frankenmonitor. I would bet the odds are 10 to 1 he doesn't live with a female to complain about ugly green things laying around the house.

  • Couldn't you acheive the same effect, by sticking an LCD monitor on the side of a 17" case?
  • Did you count the # of fans? Two on each side, FOUR on top. EIGHT FANS total!

    So much for the "silent" part. It's a shame he couldn't have just gone for one large 120MM fan- they can move a lot of air, and in terms of dB per CFM, they do so more quietly than 80+90MM fans.

  • WoW! Those colors, hell the box itself, makes me think of Veritechs and the other big robots in Robotech.
  • Why in the world did he install no less than 8 fans? I didn't see a whole lot in there that really needed heavy duty cooling. I realize he has them all speed-controled so most likely they aren't all on, but still. Why install 8 small 80mm fans, when two or three larger sized fans would move as much or more air with a lot less volume? Those small case fans are hardly efficient in terms of moving air, as far as fans in general go.

    That aside, it's certainly a good display of great craftsmanship.
  • You'd think all those fans would make for a bunch of noise. Can't help wondering why he placed the audio/video interface ports *above* the display ... when you plug anything in there you have to fold the wires back down and around or they'll be dangling down in front obscuring the screen. I'd have settled for one drive for such a device (you need a second drive, hook up something on firewire externally). Fan control shoulda been fully automatic.

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