Like most professional modding work, there are often restraints imposed on the project, such as budget, time scale and sometimes even artistic license. Budget and time scale are self explanatory: the units had to be ready well in advance of appearing in the February editions of the mags, which hit the stands early January. The limits on artistic licence were that the units must still function within the manufacturer's specification, e.g. no reduction in system cooling and the cases had to be easily opened. Also, especially given the theme of the design, they still had to conform to all safety standards. Not withstanding the bullets used in this mod are REAL but we will come to that later.
Since these were to be gaming rigs their specification was suitably high:
- Shuttle SN85G4 SFF case
- AMD 3700+ processor
- Corsair 1Gb 3200XL RAM
- Western Digital 250Gb hard drives
- Pioneer 108 16x DVD Rewriters
- NVIDIA 6800GT 256Mb graphics
- Audigy 2 ZS 7.1 soundcard
Quite an impressive set of components for such a tiny unit.
This is how each of the ammo boxes started life, as an SN85G4 Shuttle. These beasties were booked in for a face lift and a butt tuck.
The Shuttles were first stripped of their outer skins leaving the populated chassis intact.
Ever wondered what a pair of Shuttles look like naked? No, just you mate -Ed
Since I was intending to paint and glue bits of plastic to these boxes, using medium grit Wet or Dry sandpaper, I rubbed down the powdered finish to provide a key for everything to stick to. Incidentally the powdered finish on these Shuttles, whilst easy to damage with the sandpaper, is hard work to remove completely by hand. Serendipitously I did not need to remove it all, just rough it up a little to give the primer something to bite into.
To give the Shuttles a box like appearance I decided to edge the cases with plastic profile as sold in many DIY stores. Two styles were used depending on which edge of the case was being, well... edged.
The edging strip was measured and then cut using a mitre saw. The mitre saw allows accurate and repeatable angles to be cut producing perfect corners to the finished case, in this instance, 45 degrees so that the two edges together would form a perfect 90 degree right-angle.
As each piece was cut it was fitted and held in place with sticky tape as a check on the overall accuracy as the work progressed.
A close-up showing the edging held in place with tape.