Quadra 7100b/G3 - Power Mac 7100/G3 in a Black Quadra 700 case
A Power Mac 7100 in a black Quadra 700 case with a wireless keyboard
I've always been a fan of hacking, case mods in particular. Recently I've felt the desire to do something a little less intricate, and at the same time a little more comprehensive, than the CC mods I usually do.
I love the Quadra 700 mini-minitower form factor, and while I respect the 68k purity of it (it's my favorite machine for running A/UX), I've always wanted a PPC Quadra 700. PPC601 cards are hard to find and relatively expensive, so I decided to make a cheapskate's PPC Quadra from what I had around the house: namely, an extra Q700 with a discolored case and no RAM, and a really beat-up 7100 with a terrible case and no CD-ROM drive.
I later added a G3 card, a MacPicasso 340 NuBus video card, and an old Dolch industrial 10.4" black LCD VGA monitor. The G3, MacPicasso and Dolch LCD set me back quite a few clams, but hey, hacking ain't supposed to practical!
You can see some pics of the monitor here: http://homepage.mac.com/mruben/macstuff/PhotoAlbum51.html
The black color for the case was inspired by a very cool black wireless keyboard I just got off eBay. The Acer Airkey is an infrared, ADB keyboard with built in mouse pointer and clickers. It's compact and just too cool.
Finally, I'd been wanting to try out Molecubond, a spray dye designed for cars and boats that actually bonds to plastic. Unlike paint, it won't peel off, it won't scratch off (unless you really gouge it), and it won't obscure the texture of the plastic.
Step One was to modify the Q700's case to fit the 7100's mobo. Both mobos share the same form factor -- they're the same size and, crucially, they have the same two cutouts in the middle, which allows the 7100's mobo to latch securely to plastic standoff hooks molded into the base of the Q700's case.
So the only real modification involved removing the rear port holes to accommodate the 7100's different port array. I also cut a hole in the rear of the Q700 to accommodate a monitor port from the 7100's HPV card, because I had no HDI45 adapter, and this mobo's HDI monitor port seems to be defective anyway. Here are the cutouts, made with a drill and a jigsaw. I started with a dremel, but it was taking forever and was melting the plastic -- yuk! (Inside, the Q700's shielding was cut with tin snips--wear gloves, the edges are razor sharp!)
In the foreground is an Asante NuBus ethernet card I had lying around the house.
When I upgraded to a G3 card, I had to abandon the HPV video card - it would no longer fit in the case. Instead, I got the aforementioned MacPicasso NuBus card. I now wish I hadn't cut the HPV card opening, but it is relatively small and is in the back, so it's not a big deal.
The top wouldn't close properly with the HPV card installed. It doesn't appear to stick up any higher than the ethernet card, but you can't argue with physics. So out came the Dremel. After three abrasive cutoff wheels shattered on me, I switched to the metal cutoff saw, which did the trick. The basement did smell like melted plastic for the rest of the night, however.
I'd read about the miraculous Molecubond, a paint that's actually a dye, and which promises to bond to plastic so that it can't be scratched or peeled off like paint -- all the while preserving the texture of the Mac's case.
Molecubond is now ColorBond, and is made by Bryndana International Ltd.:
So I got two cans for -- ouch! -- $9.99 each, and went out in the yard to spray.
But first I had to remove the Apple logo and the plastic piece that lets the power LED shine through:
That done, I began to spray the dye:
Molecubond preserved the case texture as promised, but it covers very thinly, as evidenced by the above pictures, taken before the final coat. And it stinks to high heaven. If I were indoors I would've passed out from the fumes -- seriously! :o
I went through both cans, which promise a combined 14 square foot coverage, and the case -- which is about 4.5 square feet -- still needed one more coat.
I made sure to coat the front and top well, so they looked the most even:
Here's some detail on the front, around the floppy and logo area, and around the reset button holes:
And here are some shots of the little things: reset buttons, NuBus slot covers, and case feet:
After I took these pictures, I bit the bullet and got a third can of Molecubond. The case now looks much better, deeper black and much more even in color.
This part was fairly simple, with only one little trick. Here's the 7100's motherboard, fully populated with 72MB RAM (4 16MB sticks I had laying around, plus 8MB on the motherboard). Also shown are the cabling, the HPV card and the ethernet card:
Here's everything stuffed back in the painted case...
... except for the speaker. The Q700 has a different shaped speaker, (below, left) with a different impedance and a different motherboard connector:
So the 7100's speaker must be used. And because of its different shape and size, it won't fit into the Q700's speaker enclosure. So I attached it to the case with super-velcro:
BUT, I soon discovered that the original speaker's plastic bracket also helps steady the motherboard in its case. So I cut off the top of the bracket and reinstalled it, re-stabilizing the mobo.
Finally, I snapped on the top and put on the feet:
In outdoor light, or by the flash of a camera, some unevenness in color showed up. But now, with the third coat of Molecubond on, it's a non-issue.
I'd installed a 2GB Seagate Barracuda I got from who-remembers-where, and I had no idea if it had an OS on it, much less one that would boot the 7100. So in addition to a monitor, I attached an external CD-ROM drive in case I had to install an OS from CD.
Finally, I attached the super-cool Acer Airkey wireless keyboard, pressed the power button (the Airkey has no power key ), and voila!
Turns out the Barracura had OS 8.0 on it and booted right up. It was rather noisy, however, and I got sick of listening to it. So I swapped in a 500MB Apple/Quantum drive and installed OS 8.6.
Now, at this point the Quadra 7100b got a little full of itself and started posing like the old Beige G3 towers, with its keyboard leaned up against it, sort of like a jacket slung over the shoulder:
When not in use, the keyboard fits perfectly on top of the machine: