Meet the Modder: Michael 'MadMods' Lacerna

Written by Alex Banks

January 9, 2019 | 13:00

Tags: #casemod #casemodding #community #diy #interview #madmods #meet-the-modder #modding #philippines #watercooling

Well, it sure has been a bit of a while since Meet the Modder has graced our tables here at bit-tech, with the previous instalment about Tim Warning put up all the way back in February! For those of you new to this series, 'Meet the Modder' aims to get a little insight into some of the names behind the builds, seeing what makes them tick and getting to know them a little better.

In this instalment I got to catch up with Michael Lacerna aka Mickee Boi or MadMods PC Modding. Michael is one of the big players in the vibrant Filipino modding scene, with his mods delivering him to the likes of Computex, international competitions, and PC publications. I had the pleasure of competing against him in the 2017 Cybermods 24 Hour live modding contest at Computex 2017 (where he and his teammate DJ Madrid placed second), and more recently he placed second in Thermaltake's 2018 Casemod Invitational Season 1 with his build 'Tarsonis - 001'.

Without further ado, let's meet Mickee!


Tell us a little bit about yourself: Where do you hail from, and how long have you been modding for?

Hi, my name's Mickee aka 'mickeeboi' or 'MadMods PC Modding', and I'm from The Philippines; I've been modding for about seven years now.

How did you end up getting into modding in the first place? It seems a lot of us picked it up around that time!

Back in my teenage years, me and my buddies were modding low-cost game controllers into decent arcade fighting sticks. Later on I got my hands on a slim PC, one that you can find in a typical office; it had a Core i5 and a decent amount of RAM, so I thought of playing games on it. Unfortunately there just was no way for me to mount a decent graphics card, because the case was slim and mounting the hardware in a bigger case is not an option, mostly because of its non-standard mounting holes. So one of my buddies told me about case modding. I Googled it and right off the bat I was blown away with what I saw and told myself that I want to make one of my own. It's been a love affair ever since

That all sounds mighty familiar; I think so many modders start thanks to having some form of a necessity then catch the 'modder's bug', so to speak. You've been doing this for a few years now; in that time would you say that you've become accustomed to using a few tools in particular? Which three do you reckon you would have trouble living without?

It probably has to be the very first tools that I used to make my case mods early on in my career. Whilst I now have access to more advanced tools, these three held up for years and gave me the chance to finish big projects, which ultimately allowed me to get the bigger tools themselves.

  1. Acrylic scoring knife
  2. Dremel rotary tool
  3. Scroll saw

You put some real classics on that list there. Scroll saws are fantastic bits of kit; you can do some real magic with one if you have the perseverance. Likewise Dremels have paved the way for so many spectacular projects thanks to their versatility. I really like that you added the acrylic scoring knife too; it's a cool way of working with the material that many forget about.

With all the mods you've completed over the last seven years, would you be able to name one as your favourite? If so, why would you choose that one in particular?

It would have to be 'Novac-01'; because of this build I was able to visit Computex for the first time and meet almost every modder friend that I have on Facebook.

Now that is an answer I can get behind. Having the chance to go and actually meet the folks behind the usernames and the mods is an amazing experience; Computex has been a life-changing event for many of us for that exact reason.

Where would you say that you draw inspiration for your builds from? Is there perhaps a genre or area that appeals to you most?

I'm a big fan of sci-fi looking structures, so most of the time I Google stuff related to that and see if I can incorporate it in a case mod. I also get so pumped with other modders doing their best to come up with a solid build, so much so that it provides me some kind of boost to give it my all.

Would you say that you have a sort of 'signature look' to your mods, then?

If there is then it has to be the roughed up, weathered look that I am sucker for, as well as sci-fi and industrial designs.

You mentioned that watching other modders push themselves in their projects really motivates you - reckon you could name three modders, past or present, who you look up to and why?

There are a lot of modders now whom I really like, but I will just name the first few that I saw and inspired me to start doing my own:

  • Mhike 'Tantricmodz' Samsin: The godfather of Pinoy PC Modding. When I did my research about the local PC Modding scene, his name was the first to come up, and I really like his work.
  • Jesse 'JP Modified' Palacio: When I was starting out I was curious about a lot of modding-related stuff, and I wanted to talk to someone from the PH about it. During that time Mhike was already a big shot, so I thought meehh he wouldn't bother talking to me. Haha, me and my early judgement! No but Mhike is cool; he's not a snob, just a little intimidating at first haha - peace out, bro! Going back to Jesse, I like how he started out with very simple tools, and he was my go-to guy for stuff that I am curious about like how to use a certain power tool or how to prepare materials; he would gladly answer all my questions. A few years ago I was just following their work, and now we're all good friends, so that is another aspect of PC case modding that I truly like.
  • Bill Owen because google gave me MNPCTECH straight away when I was doing my research, so I checked his work and man I was blown away with his sci-fi weathered theme mods, which best explains why I'm a sucker for that kind of modding style. I was also a lurker in his community forums for about two years before posting my very first worklog. Reading in forums back then was so much fun, because I saw a lot of styles and tools that I wasn't aware of, so I learned bits and pieces about how to approach a mod.

We'll actually be hearing from Mhike and Jesse soon on here, too! Great guys, and like you,their work inspires me also. Now, this is a bit of an oddball question, but if you could build a computer using any parts ever made, which would you choose?

Ooh, I want a build that I can move around easily, so I am going with a small rig with much powaaa!

  • Lian Li PC-Q37
  • Asrock X299E-ITX/ac and whatever RAM that goes with it.
  • Intel Core i9-7980XE
  • Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
  • Storage devices, liquid-cooling, and case fans - I will just pick them up along the way!

Yeeeeah boi! High speed, low drag. Small powerhouses can be cool as anything - different sort of challenge to a mega-build, and you can't doubt the utility once they're built and you actually have to live with them, haha.

It's been a pretty crazy last year for you; what do you hope that the future has in store for you in the next 12 months?

Hopefully more builds, some mod shop upgrades, of course Computex 2019, more time with my family, and good health.

Can't argue with that list, and you especially can't put a price on those last two. Speaking of mod shops, could you possibly give us a whistle-stop tour of your modding space?

Well my mod shop is always a mess, haha, but here we go:

This table is mostly for cutting cases or materials for mods.

For assembling the actual PCs themselves and adding all the mods plus water-cooling, I use this table over here.

In this part I have a section for my 3D printer and parts.

For where I work on the designs, this is my humble setup.

I recently got the chance to upgrade my mod shop with a 60W CO2 laser cutter and engraver!

There you have it - a quick look of what's inside my modshop.

Thank you so much Michael for showing us around and giving us an insight into your modding journey! Here's to hoping we get to meet up again at some point in 2019 too.

Thanks Alex! I had fun with this interview - I will see you soon!

If you'd like to find out more about Michael's mods, you can find his modding Facebook Page here as well as his Youtube Channel here.

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