May 8th, 2006
I dig the creativity that goes into computer casemods, but I'm not interested in doing one myself. My laptop is quite nice all unto itself, right now. Still, I wanted to venture into the field at least to enjoy the fun of modding.
With that desire in mind, I decided to do a simple casemod for an old clock radio. I didn't come up with some crazy theme - it's just a clock radio. I wanted to do a nice display of the electronics inside. Remember those old phones and such that were all the rage back in the 90s, made of clear plastic so you could see the electronics? Kind of like that, but a little classier.
Lexan is almost criminally cheap. An 11"x14" sheet for under $2.50? Awesome! I did have to pony up $4 for a cutter, but that's no big deal. It's a tool that you use to score a straight light in the material, and then you easily snap it against a flat surface. It works really well.
Here's some of the guts of the radio. I wasn't interested in keeping the radio part - I just wanted to clock. Part of this was for simplicity, and part was that it was a really crummy radio and had trouble getting even the strongest stations. Plus I wanted to keep the inside of the new case as uncluttered as possible.
That being said, I gingerly removed everything that was obviously radio-related. I kept plugging the clock back in to ensure I hadn't removed some key function. Another object was to keep the remaining guts light so that they'd be easier to "reinstall."
Since I'd need to be able to change the time for Daylight Savings Time, and to set the clock time once I was finished and plugged it back in, I had to keep the time-setting buttons. That meant I'd have to keep the button housing, too, so I cut this part out of the old case and used a bandsaw to create a notch out of the back panel of lexan for it. Bandsaws cut lexan very easily.
I drilled pilot holes into a piece of wood generously supplied by Rock. Thanks Rock! Then I stained the wood cherry and clear-coated it. Ooooh shiny.
Here is the four panels, the button housing, and the wood block. Lots of superglue went in to this. It bonds Lexan very well.
My digital camera broke so the project was on hold for a few days while I tinkered with it. The camera is still quite broken, but I can manage to turn it on, manually force the lens to extend, move the camera into a focused range, and take pictures. The case is off, the LCD screen is wonky, and in general it's nearly useless. But I was able to wrestle out these pictures of the completed casemod. Please feel free to check out this site's advertisers. I'm trying to save up for a new camera.
Here it is on the shelf in the bathroom.
This nice shot shows that I spray-painted the back and one side a flat black. It really gives the clock a nice "display stand" feeling.
The top green circuit board is suspended on the barrels of two Bic pens.
I think it looks pretty nice.
Here's a view of the back. I moved the buttons from the front top to the bottom back. It's nice to have that kind of leeway when you're moving parts around anyway.
Side view! What what!
A very fun project that yielded quite a nice "display piece" if you can call a digital clock in a lexan-and-wood case a display piece. I hope this makes in onto Make! :)
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