By: Shane Hale



  • Macintosh Classic, 4 MB of RAM, 40 MB Harddrive $5
  • Apple Keyboard and Desktop Bus Mouse II
  • Krylon Interior/Exterior Sara Paint (1 Can Red) $6.00
  • Plasti-kote Cracklin Finish (2 Cans Black) $6.00
  • Clear Coat $4.00
  • Sheet of plexiglass (11x14) 1/8 inch thick, Clear $2.00
  • 12v Lighted Switch
  • Rivet Gun, w/ rivets
  • Molex Power Splitter, $3.00
  • 12v Strobe kit
  • 12v 6in Neon Light
  • Drill with bits
  • Dremel with Fiberglass Cutting Weans and Drum Sander bits
  • Various Electrical Connectors

TOTAL COST: Less Then $50.00


As odd as this seems, the concept came to me in a dream. It was just after I picked up the Classic, and spent most of the night looking at it and contemplating how to hack it. Well what I visioned was a black compact mac with red lightening, and glow from within. It appeared powerful and very evil.

The next morning, I knew what I had to do, and brainstormed with my fiancé. She reminded me of an antiquating paint technique, with two colors and the top color imitates aging cracks revealing the first color. This technique will be applied to a mouse and keyboard.

Second part was the window concept, glow and the lightening effect. Pulling from an automotive modification background I was very familiar with Automotive accessories. Namely an automotive 6in neon tube and a strobe kit. Both are 12v so I could power it right from the hard drive power cable with ease. I also had plexiglass readily availble. This would be great for my two side windows.

First step was to disassemble everything and start planning how the project would be layed out. I organized a plan, so that any mistakes could easily be corrected.


My original concept was to have matching windows on both sides of the of the Classic. This failed when I opened the case to discover the power guppy and video control board was mounted on the left side of the case. If a window was placed there, I would have a good view of nothing. So window ended up being just fine.

First thing I did was cut the plexiglass down to size. I chapped it similar to the side of the case, with the front being at a slight angel knew I was painting the case dark later so I didn't worry about the lines on the exterior. I then marked the sides of the case to represent the glass inside the case then measured 3/4 if an inch in so I have plenty of room for mistakes and mounting. The second picture you can see the two outlines. I decided to cut the top right slash to match the case even further and duplicate the natural angles, already present.

Next step was fairly easy. Cut. I tool a dremel with fiberglass cutting discs to cut out the window. I tried to keep the lines as straight as possible. I cleaned all the lines up with an electric sander.

The window was then outlined with weatherstripping. This might be an anal step, but I wanted to create a tight see, not letting out any computer noise, and preventing any moisture from getting in. I figure its the finishing touches that really add to the final appearance.

I will be drilling holes and riveting the window in. But that will be described later in the assembly process.

4-winoutline 5-winoutline2 6-wincut


Next came painting. Preparation was one of the instrumental steps to a good finish. My fiancé and I started, sanding the entire case, removing any imperfections, oils or decontamination. We used 220 grit sandpaper. It wasn't too aggressive but defiantly smoothed everything over. This included the keyboard, mouse and the case.

Now, there was one major problem with the case. The classic was used for educational purposes by the Los Angeles Unified School District, at Belmont High School. And to protect against theft, they engraved this above the monitor. We took the Mouse sander and sanded down till it was gone.

Painting was fairly easy. 2-3 Coats of the Red Krylon. This dried in 10-15 minutes. We were careful to cover every piece including the bottom of the case.

Next came the Plasti-kote Cracklin Finish paint. We got this at Michael's Craftstore. Here they had both a top and bottom coat. Only problem is the colors were limited. We went with black, and used the red as a base. We took the chance that the bottom base coat was just standard paint and the top is what truly caused the finish.

This paint is designed to be applied in heavy doses. So heavy, the wet paint looks like it will run. There are several options for the thickness of the cracks, depending on how thick the coat is. You can only do 1 coat, as the dry paint will not crack to reveal the red, if more paint is applied. So with my fiancé we slowly painted the individual pieces. Once covering the entire piece then going over it several more times, without waiting for it to dry. Within minutes the paint starts to dry and produce the cracklin finish.

Taking a note from Mercury we painted each individual key red. Light coats allowed the black letters to still remain visible.

7-paint 8-paint2


The assembly was essentially the reverse of the first step. However there were several new additions.

1) I added a light switch to the rear of the case below the bar code. This would control the neon light and the strobes. The catch was that if you ever wanted to disassemble the case, you must disconnect the switches also had to cut out some of the metal chassis to ensure the switches would fit without hitting any metal parts. The switches are standard Red Glow Automotive switches. I thought having the switch glow was a nice extra touch. The neon glows nicely and the strobe adds a little more attention to the case. (As if it needed more)

2) The window was then placed on the outside of the case. Drilling points were marked around the 3/4 in excess border I had marked earlier. One by one I drilled holes for the divots. Once complete I placed the plexiglass inside and riveted the window into place. The fit is very secure and I have 11 divots holding it in place. Some of the side chassis was cut to ensure proper fit. The divots are not flush on the inside but have 1/8 of an inch of metal sticking out. They clear the ram card fine.

9-windowinstalled 9-complete


Well all finished up. I must say that I am very pleased with the end result. There were a few snags, but they all worked out. Over all the project too a little over 2 days from start to finish. Cost was relatively cheap. Paint and lights took the majority of the budget.

I can't wait till I find my next project... or perhaps finish another one first. My G4 already has the neon glow, but there is a lot of work until its complete. Its my main puter so I take that one real slow.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me. I would love to hear the feedback.

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