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Going Mod: 9 Cool Case Mod Projects

Going Mod: 9 Cool Case Mod Projects

Russ Caslis

ISBN: 978-0-764-57374-3

Nov 2004

456 pages

Select type: Paperback

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  • Get cracking! Here's the hardware hacker's guide to banishing boring beige boxes
  • ExtremeTech readers aren't timid about cracking the case and voiding the warranty, and they'll love these detailed instructions for PC extreme makeovers that add lights, shapes, windows on the works, and more individuality to standard PC cases
  • Modding is hot; a multimillion dollar industry has grown up around the hobbyists who modify their computer cases with way-out windows, neon and lighting displays, custom cooling systems, and more
  • Modding is also mainstream-major computer retailers now stock light kits and fan kits, while some PC vendors offer out-of-the-box cases with personality
  • Written by a serious modder who took a Dremel to a computer case long before it was fashionable, the book provides materials lists, identifies necessary tools, and supplies all the directions for over a dozen cool case mods

1. Getting Started.

2. Cooling.

3. Cable Management.

4.  Light Up Your Case.

5.  Making Holes.

6.  Creating Exterior Finishes.

7.  Soldering Skills.

8.  Electronics.

9.  Common Mods.

10. Advanced Skills.


11.  Matrimony Mod.

12.  Scientist.

13. Picture Frame PC.

14. Framed 8.0 Custom PC.

15.  miniMAME.

16. $3000 Fishtank.

17. UFO PC.

18.  Millenium Falcon PC.

19.  Aircraft Carrier PC.


Appendix A:  Overclocking.

Appendix B:  Resources.


A collection of color images from the text of the book.

These images are stored in a ZIP format archive. If your computer is unable to open ZIP archives, you can download a trial version of WinRAR.



Modding Sites and Forums

As stated in Chapter 1, the single most important resource available to a modder are the other modders out there. Whether providing advice or encouragement, they will be there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Where do you find them? The following table includes some good jumping off points.



GruntVille (

One of the better modding sites, including general modding news, an active forum base, excellent guides, and some friendly folks. This is where I tend to hang out the most and have been made to feel most at-home.

HardOCP (

Great daily source of general modding news, and some good modding forums. Their forums can be directly reached via

Bit-Tech (

Another great modding site with very active forums. Home of some great modders and projects. (

Yet another good modding site with some news and one of the best forums around. The forums, the best part of the site, can be reached directly via

Overclockers Australia (

This site boasts a good front page with tech news, and good forums as well. (

Simply the best collection of wonderful and weird small form factor mods.

MetkuMods (

An interesting site that includes the usual news and reviews. Their specialty, however, is the relatively cheap but inventive mods they do.

HiTechMODs (

The original site that introduced me to modding with their baybus project, although the site has changed owners since them.

Build Your Own Arcade Controls (

Perhaps the largest collection of home arcade cabinets and controls, and a great place to get ideas for your own arcade cabinet.

Online Modding Stores

All of these sites cater to modders of one sort or another. Some stores are specialized in a particular area of modding, while others are broader in appeal but all of them are very useful to an aspiring modder.



Frozen CPU (

Excellent source of modding supplies.

Crazy PC (

Another good source of modding supplies, along with a few exclusive modded cases.

Silicon Valley CompuCycle (

Low-cost lights, plus many other modding supplies.

Xoxide Modifications (

Yet another modding store. Be sure to check out their weekly X-Hour sale.

So Trick Computers (

Another online modding store run by a modder himself.

Neon Trim (

A good source of EL-wire, including the rare 5V inverter that fits inside a keyboard.

Lizard Tree (

Home of Chameleon Springs wire management.

Think Geek (

Toys for geeks, and some limited modding supplies.

Dome (

If you are old school and want one of those traditional unlighted case badges, this is the place to go. Besides a good collection of case badges, they sell do-it-yourself kits.

Online Computer Parts Stores

These stores do not specialize in supplies for the modding community but for the computer enthusiast in general. However, without cheap and reliable sources of equipment modders would have nothing to mod.



Newegg (

A great selection of merchandise for reasonable prices.

Zip Zoom Fly (

Another source of cheap components, and a decent selection.

Computer Geeks (

Good prices as well, and the occasional great deal.

LSDiodes (

Modders go through ultra-brite LEDs like popcorn, but they are expensive at around $2 per LED. But not here. Limited selection, but prices that are typically 1/4th of most sites.

All Electronics Corp (

A great source of electronics components online, with an excellent catalog.

B.G. Micro (

A good source of electronics components online, including the occasional great deal on large VFD displays.

Ebay (

Like it or not, this is the 500 pound gorilla of online auction sites and can be just the place to get some components cheap.

Non-Computer Suppliers

Modders, by definition, think outside the box. As such, they shouldn't and can't limit themselves to just stores or sites that specialize in computer parts. Here are some sites that carry tools and supplies that are not typically thought of as related to computers.



TAP Plastics (

If you want something acrylic, or tools relating to plastic, this is the place. If they don't carry it or can't get it, there is a 99% chance it doesn't exist.

TAP Plastics (

If you want something acrylic, or tools relating to plastic, this is the place. If they don't carry it or can't get it, there is a 99% chance it doesn't exist.

Sears (

A general department store, widely respected due to their Craftsmen line of tools with lifetime warranties.

Home Depot (

A large home improvement store chain with many of the raw materials or tools needed for modding.

Lowes (

Another large home improvement store chain.

Dremel (

Home of every modder's best friend, the Dremel rotary tool. Visit the Web site to view all the different attachments they make.

Exotic Links

These links are important for specific mods mentioned in this book. While limited in scope, they are certainly important and contain valuable info often found nowhere else on the net.



Specific mods

VFD World (

Home of the famous VFD Thinger, a great program for controlling VFD (and some LCD) displays. The site and the program are maintained by a great modder as well.

Used for the mod Scientist as seen in Chapter 12. This site is maintained by the modder who created the $3000 Fishtank mod from Chapter 16.

Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (

Perhaps the most ambitious emulation project ever, this site contains the software you will need to build you own arcade emulator.

Used for the mod miniMAME as seen in Chapter 15.

Happ Controls (

A good source of real arcade components such as joysticks, buttons, and trackballs. Also note the real price tag, but the quality of components can't be beat.

Also used for miniMAME in Chapter 15.

I-Appliance BBS (

A great source of information about Internet appliances and various other fascinating and unique moddable hardware.

Source of some info for Picture Frame PC in Chapter 13.

Virgin Webplayer info (

One of the better collections of Webplayer info on the web. WARNING: Use a pop-up blocker before going to this site.

Extensively used for Picture Frame PC in Chapter 13.

Select Products (

One source of grille metal, such as is used to cover speakers and other components. Finding a high-quality source of small quantities of grille metal can be difficult.

Used in both miniMAME (Chapter 15) and Aircraft Carrier PC (Chapter 19)

The LED Museum (

Everything you ever wanted to know about LEDs and much, much more. You will be amazed that so much can be written on this topic.

LEDs are covered in Chapter 4 and used in almost every single mod.