Blue Ice G4

By Kent Salas

blueicelogo

Welcome to "Project: BlueIce G4" - the begining

Project BlueIce G4 first started as a concept I had shortly after I saw the first iMac released by Apple a few years ago. I thought color customizing was cool but what if I wanted another color to match my current mood and I didn't want to buy half-a-dozen Macs to do it? Then I thought, what if you could make the make the case light up with a certain color, you could just change the color via bulbs or even a switch. Hmmm, eww moodMac.

A year passed and I started to see a few Mac Modifications that were pretty kewl. Like drive light, case mods. Then I started to see PCs modded with window cases, blow holes, custom LEDs, Neon lights, etc.

After I saw a web site, editthispage.com, where a guy made the case skins clear on a G4. I started to put some ideas together. The following is a "Sum Up" version of what I did to my friends G4. Yes, a friends Mac G4! With the understanding of course, I screw it up, I bought it Wink I was going to buy just a G4 case for obvious reasons but found most cases costing upwards of $400 to $500 dollars! I could almost buy a refurb G4 for a couple of hundred dollars more. And yes I did check ebay but did not find the digital audio G4 case listed.

I would also like to say I have never "Mod'ed" a computer before and know very little about electrical formulas and components. Most of what I did was borrow ideas from other peoples mod's and apply them to my own. And before I get started please do not use the following as an "official" guide to mod'ing your own equipment, I am not responsible for any unique and undesired results from your own mods, that's why I used my friends Wink

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The Subject: A 533Mhz G4, time to plan and prepare.

Now, lets start the project . . .


"Project: BlueIce G4" Page 1 - preparation

I decided to turn my friend's G4 into a see-thru "BlueIce G4" with blue neon, cathode ray and LED lights. Before I began I figured out what I would need to complete this mod. Some things I picked up or made sure I had were:

1. Basic tools (i.e. screw drivers, standard, phillips, hex wrench, wire cutters, sharp knife - careful! I sliced my finger real good, band-aids for sliced finger, exacto knife, dremel, drill, hand saw-which sucked).

2. Electrical tools (voltage meter reader, metal tape, 12 volt battery, alligator clips, soldering iron, soder

3. Mod items (neon light-blue, cold cathode light-blue, LEDs - varity all blue, usb 5 port 3.5 internal bay bus, toshiba R1102 cd-rw/dvd drive, 4 molex y-connectors, heat shrink tubing, switches).

4. Other hardware/items (91% alcohol - 4 regular bottles, 1 ripped up wash cloth, q-tips, 12 inch ruler, latex gloves - I know what yer thinkin).

5. Below I included some links/info of where I purchased some of the items for this mod.

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Inside the 533Mhz G4, grab a screw driver and start pulling components.


"Project: BlueIce G4" Page 2 - dismantle

When I took each part out of the G4 I put notes on a sticky referring to it. I did because everytime I have worked on something whether it be the vacuum cleaner or my car I always end up with extra screws/parts left over :-\

After I pulled all the pieces/components out of the G4 to get the the bare chassis. I started planning my mod attack. Hmm would a window go good here or here, can I put one here or here. Let me say the G4 is engineered very "tight" and I had to triple check my locations for window holes and placements for lights and wires and such. It's not at all like the PC cases where you can practically slap a window mod anywhere.

Time to put my measurements into action. Onward . . .

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Inside the 533Mhz G4, grab a screw driver and start pulling components.

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Every component I pulled I marked with notes on a sticky. Yes, that is a Power Computing Mac clone in the background.

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The bare chassis/skelton of the G4. Time to measure and mark what I will cut and drill. BTW, no, I do not have a work bench, hench "the bed" :-\


"Project: BlueIce G4" Page 3 - surgery

First, I started on the case covers. I put the case covers on a black towel in my bath tub and poured the alcohol into the inside letting it pool in the middle and soaking the cloths on the edges.

While the case covers were soaking I started to cut the G4 chassis with my pre-determined measurements. I first tried a hand/hack saw but went through 3 busted blades. I then switched over to a dremel which was slow going but more accurate and met my desired results. If you go the dremel route make sure you wear eye protection as tiney metal pieces fly everywhere.

After going though 4 cutting wheels on the dremel I was done mod'ing the case with its new portal windows.

I then checked on the case covers and the paint was disolving nicely. The middle of the case goes first and then the edges take a while longer with some needed help with q-tips.

back to the chassis i began filing the edges of the newly dremeled G4 to prevent cuts while handling it and for esthetics.

Back to check on the alcohol bathing cases. With more help with q-tips cases are now transparent, kewl!

Lets see if my sticky notes will work putting it all back together . . .

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The G4 case covers soking in alchohol, a long slow process.

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With dremel in steady hand I let the sparks fly. I tried a hand saw but busted 3 blades before I switched to the slower, but better dremel.

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After a couple of hours the paint on the inside finally starts to disolve reveling the clear cover.

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The G4 chassis with the pieces I dremeled off. Time for edge sanding/filing, a vacuum and cleaning.

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Back to the Bed, the G4 chassis case feels considerably lighter now.


"Project: BlueIce G4" Page 4 - reassemble

Time to test and see if all my sticky notes worked. And luckily they did! I fixed up my lights, wired connections, etc., and final checks/installations on switches, velcro etc.

I also used some chrome wire covering to clean-up/organize all the electrical mess I made inside the G4 with the newly added lights/switches and such.

I installed a 3.5 inch internal 5 port usb bay bus and replaced the internal cd-rom drive with a toshiba R1102 cd-rw/dvd drive.

I removed the internal speaker, who uses that thing anyways, and made it the light switch.

Ready, Game On!

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A few drilled holes in the front for LEDs and a power switch for the neon/cathode lights.

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After I reassembled all the parts back together I viewed the sleeping BlueIce G4, kinda kewl looking at all the internal components. Now to hit the power button and finally test the mod, ready . . .


"Project: BlueIce G4" Page 5 - final results & links

I hit the power switch and boom, half my room glows electric/icy blue.

I would love to take this to work and put in my cubicle as fellow workers follow the blue beacon of light.

I still have more mods and ends to complete, such as mounting the CPU fan via velcro, reducing some of the cables for the lights, changing the front usb bay hub red LEDs to blue LEDs, Getting a 3.5 inch bezel cover etc. Right now though my next mods are to illuminate the Apple Pro Keyboard blue and put a blue LED in the Logitech Mouse.

Now I can even make some inserts to put inside of the case cover with specific patterns like ovals, stars, lightning bolts, etc., that light up.

I also may buy some red and or ultra violet lights to see how they look in the case. Get ready for RedHot G4 and FarOut G4 baby!

I have run the BlueIce G4 for two days straight with lights on and all and have not noticed any abnormal heat increases. CPU stays around 69 to 87 degrees, (No not Celsius, the other one Wink, mostly due to the surrounding room temperature.

I am also planning to mod the mouse and keyboard with blue lights/LEDs. More on that later Wink

My friend is happy with the results of my mod, his G4 still works and he said he should perform a lot better when he goes to UT LAN parties now, i.e. blinds his opponents Wink

BlueIce G4 config notes:
533MHz Graphite G4 (digital audio)
1GB RAM
110GB Hard Drive space
System Mac OS 9.2.2 & 10.1.1
5 port usb 3.5 bay hub
cr-rw/dvd Toshiba R1102 drive
Lots of blue lights

Thanks for your eyes n' ears. Hopefully I can inspire some others to do some kewl mac mods!

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Hit the power button and woah, this thing lights up! And most important, it boots up too Wink

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A front shot.

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Open sesame, the wire covers look nice!

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Nother shot inside.

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One more shot, k scotty beam me down now. Note: these pictures are kinda harsh, G4 glows a nice bright blue, must be the cathode tube messing with the camera's optics. Anyway you get the idea.

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impressive

this is an impressive mod.
very nice indeed.

smykes24's picture

One of the best.

This hack has been updated since with a small color LCD in the front. Kent Salas is one of the best hardware hackers I have ever seen.

westieg3's picture

lcd?

whats the lcd for? i oculd see temperature readings of course, but this sounds more like a screen from a pocketpc or something. oh well i love it anyway. i would do something like this, but i dont hav a dremel. anyway im not the type to gash myself of jagged metal. i do like it though. i get to tear apart a donor computer for my project though...

you could make a great bezel for the usb ports by cutting out the plastic that once covered that expansion bay. just a thought.

westieg3's picture

hinge

now is the hinge on the chassis like a piano hinge? ive doodled some clear mac designs that require a clear pc case and just wondered what the hinge was like.

now are you also going to do this to a cube? you could cut everything off of the metal box that fits in the clear case thats not necessary so that it appeares the chassis is the only thing holding the computer together.