Casemodding and… carpentry
20 years ago, when I was still quite active in the whole LAN-party scene, I always liked to take a peek at how well some of the PC case modifications or “case mods” as we called them, were done.
I remember even seeing guy who had turned his machine into part PC, part aquarium with live fish!
The whole thing of “casemodding” of course was nothing new, but it did seem logic if you wanted to spice up your dull grey PC on the outside. PC’s just seem to come in the same boring design – well there’s not much design in a “square” now is there? Also, according to Wikipedia, it all started when we wanted to overclock our CPUs, hence needed more cooling, hence needed special cases etc.
This is my humble opinion is incorrect as the idea of casemodding was introduced in the era of the home computer (see my article on casemods “Commodore style” of last year), when computers themselves were OK to look at with all their different shapes and sizes, but were not that practical to wield on the work floor. We all know the C128D(CR) with its separate keyboard allowing you to sit back in your chair, keyboard on your lap, and still be at work. Ah, how I do remember my days as a network administrator, gazing at diagram after diagram, screen after screen, with the keyboard on my lap. Yes, I don’t see myself with my A500 on my lap…
So, the first case mods were done out of practical considerations. This was certainly the case for Commodore, where the excellent peripheral connectors such as the user port made it an ideal instrument for analyzing data in laboratories and the likes. By opening up the breadbox C64, putting it into a 19” rack and extending the ports to the back, you had basically your electronics kit all ready to go.
But also for home use, casemodding came in vogue, with companies delivering the things like the “Compucase”, which was basically your C64 and up to two 1541 drives, converted into a PC like setup with separate keyboard.
That’s the non-geek part I’d say to home computer casemodding, but fur sure, it all turned a lot geekier…
Not long after that “transform-it-for-the-workplace”, hobbyists got to work on their machines, in a similar to today’s casemodding fashion, showing of their skills at electronics and well, carpentry. Yes, carpentry… many of the modifications were made out of wood, where some opted for the robust look and others for the more esthetical side of things.
In case you’re wondering, yes, this is a case mod… here an old Mitsubishi Galant functions as the “case” for the C64… the ultimate mod for playing Test Drive!
So, there, next time you gaze at some cool case pictured in a magazine or in your local computer shop, remember who did it first: the home computer!