Blue Ice G4
By Kent Salas
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 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
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.
"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 . . .
Every component I pulled I marked with notes on a sticky. Yes, that is a Power Computing Mac clone in the background.
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 . . .
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.
"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!
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 ;-), 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
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
BlueIce G4 config notes:
533MHz Graphite G4 (digital audio)
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!