iMac G5

When it came out in 1999 I bought an iMac G3/350 Blueberry. I was very happy with this machine all the years. Then some day the Modem didn't work anymore. Then some weeks ago I got an iMac DV 400 board from a friend in Sweden. He didn't know if it will work but He sent it to me anyway. I got it and put it in. And what wonder it worked!! So I have a full working and upgraded iMac now. But what to do with the board?? eBay?? No way man... But what else to do with it?? Some months ago I saw that PowerMacintosh Cube hack from a japanese guy who put a Cube Core into a self made G5 styled case. Yeah!! Thats what I want to do!

One thing was to get the G3 cooled. In the iMac it is placed onto the big alloy plate. I simply bought a Pentium cooler and milled it a bit so it fits on the iMac board.

iMac G5 Heatsink bottom
Heatsink mounted

After that i googled for a bit to find out how the iMac's connectors work. I found out how to connect a common Micro-ATX Power Supply and how to connect a VGA connector.

Finally all the adapters were made and the machine itself worked.

wiring of the board

After that I tried to place the parts to get an idea how big the casing will be.

First try of placement

And now for the casing itself:
I used 2mm and 1mm thick Polystyrene plastic sheets. I got them in sizes of 2x1 metres from a local reseller and I use it to build accessories for my model planes and dioramas.

The beginning of the case
the first parts are done

Then I placed the mainboard inside it and built the case around it.

the case grows
and grows

Another thing were the perforated front- and back covers. Luckily i had a piece of perforated stainless steel plate that I used as a template. This way 2x half an hour of drilling and the holes were done!

the front cover

After that I glued it in place.

mounted front cover

To bend the cover around the round edges I used one of my special tools...

special tool

Here is the back cover.

rear cover

Before i could have glued it in place i needed to make the housing for the connectors.

connectors housing

Then the rear cover took its place.

rear handle and cover
backview with mounted cover

And then the handles were made. Because Polystyrene isn't very strong I needed to make an understructure.

mounting of the handles
finishing of the handles

After that it started to look complete (from the outside)

nearly finished
backview nearly finished

The inside only a bit...

inside nearly finished

Then came the hard part... All the gaps were filled and the whole outside was sanded with water and waterproof sanding paper...


A very dirty work!

more sanding with water

After that I gave it to a friend who painted it with a 2 component pure white Polyurethane paint.

After some days I got it back and that's how it looked like:

painted but naked

Then I put all the parts together.

the inside finished

The only thing thats still missing is a chrome Apple on both sides.
And here we are!
An iMac G5:

finished front
finished back

To show the size I put it beside a G4/400.
Its very small and light.
Why don't we get such a machine from Apple??????

the size compared to a G4

And that's me on our April MUG (Mac User Group) meeting.

me and my baby

What else to say?
I really enjoyed to built this machine. It's very cool to make such things with your own hands!

My iMac is still in use. That the Modem doesn't work doesn't bother me. It's Ethernet still works...

Thanks for visiting me here!!! I hope you enjoyed this little adventure... Smile

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simon_C's picture

THATS AWESOME! is seriously looks EXACTLY like a mini G5! thats incredible!

G5 Mini. That's really awesome. The case looks really beautiful, I'm kinda sick of the whole brushed metal thing, and the shiny white gives it a very slick look. I'm also impressed with the port cutouts on the back, a lot of people wouldn't bother to take that extra step. How many hours total went into it? I might have to do something similar with my beige G3 or (heh heh) the familie's old iMac...

Thumbs up!


The day after tomorrow is the third day of the rest of your life.

eeun's picture

That is truly an incredible piece of work.

I'd like to ask what you used as glue, and what the apple logo was made from and how it was applied.

I noticed the green spot putty in a couple of the photos...Squadron Green?

You are right... its the green one from Squadron!

The glue i used is a liquid called "Ethyl acetate"... i got it at a local drugstore.
Its very cool because u can glue parts together without having a big pile of glue everywhere.. Smile

The logo is made out of self sticking chrome foil.


Congratulations, that looked like a *lot* of work, and it looks great. When I saw the pictures first going up, I thought to myself "he must have found perforated plastic, there's no way anyone could drill all those holes!" ::)

Hi !

This really looks great ! What a lot of work !

I've also put a few Rev. A iMacs into PC ATX cases, but those didn't look quite as nice...

Currently I have the same iMac 350 mainboard lying around and desperately need the connector pinouts !

Could you please post links to where you found them ?

Thanks a lot !

Alexander Frank

Simply google for "iMac ATX"... You will find several sites that will show it!!

Like this:


MacTrash_1's picture

That's a cool hack ! The brushed aluminum industrial look is getting old for me as well. Shiny paint and Chrome never gets old.

That would be a great product to make from injection molded plastics for all those iMacs that have video issues. It could be sold as a bolt in type case pretty easy once the mold is perfected. And it looks really cool !


My Apple art at:

See the Project Black Mac LC5500/225 at:

TheUltimateMacUser's picture

WOW, words cannot describe. This has to be the best looking G5 look alike i have ever seen. If apple sold these, i would have to buy one. That looks amazing, just like a mini G5. Really, really nice job.

I love it!

floatingtrem's picture

i was so already gunna do that Blum 3

cept with plexiglass, and a full size atx for a pc...

great mod, its absolutely perfect, a bit too bland for my taste (needs some color variation), but notheless beautiful craftsmanship. gives me alot of ideas for things to do on my own Blum 3

How can I find out more about building things like this with polystyrene sheets?

eeun's picture

Evergreen plastics has a small pdf guide on basic styrene construction Right Here. It's geared towards model builders, but all the same rules apply.

I've yet to figure out how to incorporate my new vacuformer into modding...:ebc:

For a source of plastic, check out your Yellow Pages or equivalent under Plastic. I picked up a 4' x 8' sheet of .030 styrene for $18 CDN (about $3 U.S. ;))

g3head's picture

Google is pretty useful. There are a number of hack/mods out there that use sheet plastic (mostly clear plexiglas but not always), so reading over those is a good start. After that the best suggestion I can give you is experiment. you can get some sheet plastic on eBay for next to nothing, even if you have to buy it at a local home improvement store the cost isn't that bad.

All you really need to start is a utility knife and a durible straight edge. Drills, dremels, and other power tools can help but I tend to fall back on lowe tech methods. Once you start cutting it you can mess with shaping it with a heat gun or building more complicated designs.

For assembly try different methods. Depending on your overall concept metal L-brackets and machine screws could work better than plastic weld or epoxy. (I've got 4 hacks and mods using plexi and none of them use the same method for assembly)'s PyraMac is more advanced but has some useful tidbits. I've found this mod writeup really useful when I first started messing with plexiglas.< shameless plug>My hacks, several using plexi to some extent< /shameless plug>

There are several great plexi mods at

Just a question - how did you get the front USB port? All of the other ports are on the other side of the mainboard? :macos:

g3head's picture

looks like he used a USB extension cable.

How did you attach the heatsink? Just thermal epoxy? I wouldn't think the socket should be left under such tension?

thats the coolest mac i ever saw. i would pay all my money for that (sadly i only have $54)

umm.. Did you use anythin else for the structure than the plastic? I was
just wondering how lasting is it. Oh and.. Is the plastic you used very expensive?

Can you create blue prints or detailed plans for making that case?

westieg3's picture

i can tell this is popular. what about an ibook with the preforated metal making up much of the case (but not the palmrest, lid, or much of the bottom) im talkin about an ibook thats cooled like the g5 itself. okl not water cooled, but you get the idea of how much cool air would get throught the case.

westieg3's picture

i SO want to see someone do a colored computer with a case like this! i could with my old pb wallstreet (if it was even powerful enough for me) but i dont have the tools or the wits. maybe someone can use a pismo motherboard. that way they can have the dvd drive built in and a hot-swap slot creatively added to the front for whatever drive you need at the time, as long as the seperate drives are painted to match the case.

Wow that is awesome! Would you consider selling it?

westieg3's picture

if i were to build a computer like that, i wouldn't sell it unless it was for lots of money. i might not even sell it for alot of money...

Tom Owad's picture

A lot of disappointed Google searchers have visited this page recently. Smile

westieg3's picture

???? google bomb?? im so clueless.

g3head's picture

He's trying to improve his google placement by linking to himself. Its just a cheap tactic some people use in place of quality content.

westieg3's picture

god i thought there was a new virus out. im so stupid. but i was worried because my old powerbook wallstreet has no firewall. oh well. by the way is there a disk utility for 9.2.2 that i can just download for free?

westieg3's picture

ok i just got a slot loading imac from a friend that wont boot. its been taken apart and reassembled to find the problem but i think its the software. the computer boots, but shows the floppy with the blinking question mark. i have tried to insert disks to restore the software but the computer spits them right out, even if i restart and hold down the c key. any ideas on how to force feed the disk to the computer so i can fix it?

neg2led's picture

i read the article, and i want to do this to the fastest mac i own. unfortunately, that happens to be a Quadra 605. could you make a PDF of the dimensions of this thing? i want to make it the same, only with no handles. like rounded front and back edges, no curvy handles. get me?


westieg3's picture

oooh. sounds nice. you should send pics and specs of it to apple for a new design. they really need to stop the whole brushed metal and white thing and bring back color! i'd be interested in such plans as well.

Very creative and great engineering work! Good job.

Kick ass g5 case what website did you get Polyurethane Sheets from for the project. Im intereste din using this product . Ive just purchased a g4 cube 1,5 ghz . from work at apple. Im planning on doing my version of the g5 mini wih color shifting paint. Im a car customizer. with alot of ideas in modding computers made buy apple. with any info you may have.

this is by far the coolest mod i've seen. right away i wanted to do my own, but if you look at my list of computers in my sig., you'll see that an imac g3 would mearly be a novelty. so, i thought how can i put this to use. well i decided. i can use this case to mod my... no wait, i dont want someone else to do it first. you'll all see the post when it comes up. anyway, i've got a few ideas, that may be improvement, but my be horrible disasters. one question: does the case open? as far as i can see it's totally sealed. if so thats one thing i'll have to work on. i like to tinker w/ my stuff.

wait, i see the opening now. its just on the other side. how did you make the latch/hinges?

I just might do that with my G4 and or G3 Power Book Iam not sure i might do that.

Please, add a PDF with the blueprints / drawings. Please!
I own a broken iMac G3 Rev. A, and I wanna build a computer like this. I really love your iMac!


That's very nice work you've done there! However, do you really want to use that 350MHz Blueberry logic board as an example of how much power Apple could have put into that case? With possibly a tiny bit more machining, you could just as easily mount an 800MHz G3 Snow logic board in there and have a reasonably powerful machine that could handle OS X pretty decently!
I would recommend you try this in the future, especially with the dropping price of old iMacs.

I've salvaged two borken iMacs, a blueberry and a snow, and put the working parts together to make one functioning iMac, so I know it'll fit. The heatsink's a bit different, but that's about all that's changed between the models.

Jon's picture

Do note that this was done 2.5 years ago... With an otherwise useless mobo, not from parts bought just for this purpose.

Well, what I was hinting at was that you could probably get one for free these days. Old iMac power boards break all the time and are impossible to replace, but the motherboards are reliable. People just throw them out.

You have hands of wizard)
Apple is so cool... that inspires to do something like, since i can't do anything else what you did )))))

Hi I have a 68k motherboard and I wanna install it in this case.

I need this drawings too.

please send me it




quiero ese gabinete

Blum 3


"Wizardhand" Lol Very cool!