The NSC is now ready for all the parts to be installed.

First thing next morning I decided to mount the motherboard and PCI cards in the 12" bay. Next I marked up the window in preparation for drilling holes in it. The nice thing about this Lexan-Tuf stuff is that it seems to handle high speed drilling very well and without stinking up the room. Did I mention that it is 100x stronger than glass, and has a lifetime warranty against yellowing and breaking. I also drilled part-way through the scrap piece so that I could insert the Power/Sleep/HDD-Access lights. I decided to mount that to the HDD bracket so it would be front and center. I also installed the magnetic latches and the handle on the window. I started growing very fond of the window's good looks at this point...

 

Now the backing was ready to be worked on. I had to cut holes in the thick cardboard for two fans, the power supply, and the PCI cards. This is where things get interesting... I have decided that I really, REALLY hate that stuff... I spent an hour and a half scratching out these ports with an X-Acto knife. Now, you might ask why I didn't use the Dremel to cut the holes (I assume you know what tools I have somehow or other...). All I have to say to that is this: I didn't think of it at the time and #$%&%$*%$@!!! Everyone I tell about this suggests that except the one person who was there at the time... I guess I need a new assistant for such things. Good help is so hard to come by these days (Note how cleverly I shifted the blame to the assistant). After that epic struggle I set about attaching the power supply and the two fans. The next part was so incredibly easy after all that... Nailing in the brads that hold the backing to the night stand. Since I planned to keep half the backing hinged to open like a door, I was able to use all the brads to secure the one side with most of the weight on it. I then drilled holes for the two brass latches and screwed them onto the night stand. The last thing I really needed to do was install the HDD and hook all the cables up. At this point I removed the paper from the window and stood back to admire all that work.

 

Now that all the hardware was installed, I set about getting Win98 installed on there (sigh, I hope to actually learn Linux one of these days; I guess I'm too lazy to read all the mans). Anyway, a personal first occurred here. It turned on and worked on the first try. I always forget something it seems like. I even remembered to plug the power in! Win98 went on there correctly and there really is not anything else to say about that...

 

At this point I realized that I really don't need more than two computers in the basement and decided to move the NSC into another room when it was completely done. I decided to try out wireless networking. Happily, Microcenter had just had an access point and a PCI/PCMCIA adapter card returned. I grabbed those two boxes and was pleased by the $50 markdown. While there I also picked up an interesting flexible keyboard. Now here's the ironic bit I was talking about way back at the beginning: The wireless stuff pushed the cost of the NSC a bit over the cost of that 10" PVC pipe. On the plus side, since the PCI wireless card was just an adapter for a wireless PCMCIA card. This way I can easily swap the wireless card between my laptop and the NSC. All I have to worry about now is where to put the access point. Right now my room is getting a very poor signal (two floors up and on the other side of the house). So I'll need to mode it either up, over or both before moving the NSC.

 

I also decided that to be a truly wonderful "case" mod it would need some lights. I ordered a black cold cathode bulb and two "Lazer LED" bundles. The black light will produce little heat and be easy to install. The Lazer LEDs are also easy to install and would provide most of the actual visible light accenting (black lights mostly put out UV light that reacts with certain surfaces like the detergent in shirts). The results were very spectacular, in my humble opinion, and as good as I could have wished it to be. I would recommend either of these to anyone looking for a good lighting solution. An interesting effect of the black light was that the upper edge of the RAM and CPU cards glow. It also had one other unexpected effect. When taking a picture, the digital camera seems to have picked up much more "black" light than I could see, even with exposure set all the way down. So, keep that in mind when you look at the pictures. The red and blue LEDs also look to be one big purple light instead of the more seperated look you see in person.


You can see the hanging CD ribbon cable here.
Also note that the Mobo is on the right now.


The protective paper is still there to keep me from stupidly scratching things.


You can see all of those cursed holes I had to cut.


A look through the door.


You can see the Power LEDs through the window.


The whole interior.


The "Virtually Indestructible Keyboard"
The flexibility allows me to roll it up and keep
it in the NSC's drawer with the mouse.


And now, let there be light!


The bluish glow on the left is from the black light. The purple is caused by the red and blue LEDs.


This shows the glow caused by the black light and the rear half of the actual cold cathode tube.


I turned off the black light for this shot.
You can see the the effect of the blinder I put
on the LEDs.


Here you can see how the Lexan-Tuf window blocks the UV light by where the blue glow stops.


Here you can see the LED array on the left side of the night stand.
I have used a RAM chip to keep these bright lights from interfering with the cold cathode too much.


The best shot of all!
Here you can see the ethereal glow caused by the cold cathode tube and the result it has on the circuit boards.
That is, they phosphoresce bright green under a black light.

 

That's the end of yet another project, we'll see if this one returns as often as the Pegboard Computer has.


I couldn't finish off without a before and after now could I?

 

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