It's a multifunction device! ...That doesn't print or anything...

     The parts had accumulated yet again, so I felt compelled to come up with another case mod. After careful consideration I decided that the perfect case for a computer is an HP Laserjet 4m. I went out in search of a cheap laser printer matching this description. It just so happens that eBay has all sorts of things that fit here, making the search much easier. Of course, the printer took three months to ship... With the late arrival of the printer I decided to get to work ASAP.

    The first thing I did was to start cleaning all of the plastic panels with some nice Clorox spray. Such wonderful, overpowering fumes come off of that stuff... It took me the rest of the evening to clean off the variety of black marks and remove the dust.


     The next evening I had the supreme joy of pulling the printer apart piece by piece. As one might predict, I had to spend half an hour staring at the laser assembly and figure out what does what. For those interested in how laser printers do their thing, take a look at this website! I think that perhaps the most enjoyable thing about taking the HP apart was the notable lack of a need to put it back together again. I've always hated that part...

     A nice change in computer stores this past year or so is their recognition of people's desires to modify their otherwise boring beige cases. Microcenter is no exception here. They have a good rack of cold cathodes, lighted fans and other neat things. I ended up spending a few dollars more than I intended, but ended up with everything I was planning on ordering online. The only thing I didn't see there were the newer liquid cold cathode florescent lights. I also ended up picking up a CD-RW and floppy drive from the returns bin.

     The next few days were a blur of cutting a variety of holes into some fairly heavy steel. I worked on the power supply first which involved a great deal of cutting on the back of the printer. The ATX supply just happens to fit quite well above the original (which is required for the printer's structure). I also had to cut a few screws to a shorter length.

     I replaced the original power switch workings with an overgrown ATX power switch. I managed to get it to work with the original rocker switch assembly, so it will still look original.

     In order to get the motherboard to fit in the main bay, I had to cut a slot along the left side of the printer. It turns out that the motherboard is one measly millimeter too wide for the aforementioned bay... On the plus side I got to use a composite blade on our table saw to do it that we've been storing for the last five years. I mounted the motherboard with five long bolts.

     After the motherboard, the next challenge I had was mounting the CD-RW drive. After much deliberation (mostly in my head) I decided to mount it through two pieces of steel and a few thick plastic parts. I always take the easy way out! Some hours later I managed to finally get the thing shoehorned in there. Rather than describe where it is, just take a look at the pictures. Almost as an afterthought, I mounted the hard drive above the CD-RW.

     Using some Goop glue I mounted a flash memory reader and USB 2.0 hub on the front door of the printer so that they stow away when the door is closed. Asus has some nice USB breakout cards that are meant to take up a slot on the back of a case. I used one here mounted inside the printer so that I would not have to have a mess of USB cables sticking out the back of the printer.

     With everything mounted, I started on the lights. I have an tube containing 12 LEDs that flash in groups of four in a variety of patterns. I put this under the lip of the paper output tray on top of the printer. As always this involved cutting more plastic... An acrylic bubble tube was placed to the side of the CD-RW drive.

     I had some trouble with the power supply fan which had started coming apart on me during a test run. I, of course, did not notice until 30 minutes later when I realized the side of it was extremely hot to the touch. I managed to fix the fan, but to be safe, mounted another fan on the other side of it as in intake just in case the primary PS fan fails again. This has the added benefit of making a nice red glow out the side of the printer. As a final touch I am going to affix some EL glow wire around the upper edge of the printer after I decide whether or not to paint the outer case black.










In case anyone is wondering here are the printer's specs:

Asus A7V, AMD Athlon Thunderbird 900MHz
GeForce 4 Ti 4600, 512MB RAM, 10/100 D-Link NIC, Sound Blaster 16 5.1