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 Post subject: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:31 pm 
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Hello modders. I've been a fan and subscriber of MaximumPC for a long time, and the now gone section of case mods at the end of each issue used to make me want to venture into making my own case. Last week, I decided to give it a try, modifying an empty old case that a buddy kindly gave me. All I know about it is that it is (or was) an eMachines case, but since it was empty, I have no idea what model or specs it had, but I think it was pretty basic.
Nonetheless, it was time to come up with a theme for this case, and it turned out I had one staring me in the face all along... literally. About 2 months ago, I decided to put HAL9000 as my background image on my laptop, and also replace Windows' ghastly system sounds with HAL's voice as well, (now instead of a "ping" for the UAC pop-up, i hear HAL's voice saying "I'm sorry about this, I know it's a bit silly").
So now I had the theme, and it was time to get cracking. The major problem I have had, however, is the complete lack of funds, might as well call it Budget Zero, so I've had no choice but to maximize the junk I've accumulated over time. This is not supposed to be to scale or an accurate representation of HAL9000, it's just a as-close-to-the-original-as-I-can-make-it project. Also I have pretty basic tools and a couple of ham-fists, so don't expect great quality cuts and finishes either. I hope the idea, at least, is worth the work.


I decided to start with what seemed to be the biggest challenge; HAL's eye. I decided to make it out
of an old desk clock, the glass fascia and thin bezel seemed a close enough match.
Image

The clock disassembled
Image

I grabbed an old multi-tool with a flashlight and used the tip for the center. I also kept the white LED.
The flashlight's tip fit snugly in the clock's center hole.
Image

A level that the DirecTV guy left behind. This thing is very cool, but i could use it as an inside lens
for HAL's eye, so add a bit of glow to the whole assembly.
Image

Unfortunately, my ham-fistedness shattered the darn thing. I still used it though, but i made so
it can be replaced for something better (I'm open for suggestions)
Image


Assorted pieces. The black plastic tube object, i have no idea where it came from, but it fit well.
The white-ish rubber piece to the left is a headphone's rubber plug, quite ugly. The LED is the
one from the flashlight, but i used a marker to paint it red (I did say Budget Zero, didn't I?)
Image

Turns out the LED fits great inside this rubber earplug...
Image

...and both fit like a glove in the back of the flashlight's tip. I know it seems simple,
but it took me a while to find parts that would fit with minimum modifications.
Image

Folding back the earplug over the metal tip will ensure that no stray wire coming from the
LED will short out.
Image

Test-fit. Starting to look like something after all.
Image

First sign of life. I was mostly glad that the LED actually lit up...
Image

Time to bring out some tools and do some prepping. Flattening the bottom of the
plastic lens that i shattered earlier.
Image

Prepping insides for paint as well. These huge washers will give a more 3D feel to
the interior of HAL's eye.
Image

Final test-fit before paint. Still not too sure about the inside plastic lens, but
i know it looks much worse without it.
Image

Soldered wires to the LED, and used a black plastic piece i found on another LED,
that basically adds structure under the LED and holds the wires in place.
Unfortunately, messed up the earplug, but it shouldn't be a problem now.
Image

After paint. These turned out great, the only $ i spent so far has been on spray paint.
Image

Second sign of life, now in black.
Image

Fully assembled. This is as close to HAL9000 as I'll ever be, on Budget Zero!
Image

"Hello Dave"... Looks better in the pic than in "person"... that darn plastic lens...
Image

Now for the case itself. This was an eMachines PC, my buddy decided to donate it
so i could "experiment" with modding. It's workable, actually fancier than what i needed,
but most importantly, FREE. The front bezel needed some serious alterations though...
Image

I proceeded to take out every removable piece, and also cut a rough hole in the center
Image

Next, i grabbed a leftover piece of my kitchen's laminate flooring...
When you're done laughing, scroll down, please...
Image

</laugh> OK, so, after measuring over 50 times, i made the necessary cuts.
Image

The piece fit like a well tailored glove onto the front bezel.
Image

A couple of clips screwed using the clocks own hardware, hold the eye in place
Image

I'm also glad the round cut for the eye came out great, with minimum filing required.
Image

Bezel back on the case. Its taking shape.
Image

I think this can look great, if i take time with it. now it must wait for the next weekend,
when i have more time after doing all the week's college work.
Image

Let me know what you guys think. I'm having fun with it, and i think that's an important part of modding.
But being a modding noob, i sure can use some pointers and suggestions from more experienced people out there. So please, feel free to leave comments.

Mario Ramalho A.K.A marius_brabus


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:36 pm 
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Welcome to the forums!! :) That is a great idea with the HAL9000! I really like it and am waiting to see what's next. I like the step by step pictures you did a great job with them. I personally like the creativity that comes with modding. Keep up the good work!


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 10:26 am 
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Pretty damn good results for no experience and being ham-fisted. :)
Anyone who has seen the movie would instantly recognize what it is supposed to be.

The LED seems pretty bright though, perhaps some tinted lacquer or such dabbed over the tip of the
LED to diffuse the light a bit?


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:49 am 
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Well I'm impressed


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:13 pm 
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Thank you very much for the feedback and comments, guys.

Quote:
The LED seems pretty bright though, perhaps some tinted lacquer or such dabbed over the tip of the
LED to diffuse the light a bit?


Yes, that's one idea to consider. Again, this was a white LED, which basically emits a bluish light, and painting it with a red marker is not the best solution. It was, however, the cheapest. I will look for better solutions for this, even if i have to take something else apart for a single red LED.

I've done some more work on it, new pics to be posted soon.


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:27 pm 
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Ok, I'm back with updates on the case. I've done less than I wanted to, because I'm still running low on available time, and
snags due to budget constraints. In other words, I need to get creative, and do some fast ghetto fabrication that actually
works. But so far, so good.


I started by cutting a much needed hole for the optical drive bay, in the exact place where the
HAL9000 logo should be. That logo will later be the optical drive's new faceplate.
Image

The existing faceplate is gonna need some customization, so I removed it, the new hole
has just enough room for the tray itself to open.
Image

The hole looks rough now, but I'm still undecided as to how to finish it;
should i square it off (lots of work), or frame it somehow (lazy path)?
Besides, I'm counting on the HAL9000 logo to cover it entirely anyway.
Image

Moving on. After removing the USB and sound ports to make way for a new intake fan, I realized that
HAL9000 didn't have USB ports either (granted), but this being a PC, it needs them regardless...
After i had marked the fan hole on the case, i decided to find a new place for them, somewhere
inconspicuously available on the case.
Image

Removing the port connections from the metal bezel
Image

Test-fit. Incredibly, the whole thing fits on the side of the bezel, between the columns
that lead to the locking mechanisms for the front bezel to fit the metal case itself.
I then drew a template of the ports on a "Post-It" note, and used a rotary tool to cut the holes.
Image

Not bad for a noob, eh? Well, IMO, they look like crap, I'll have to spend some time
refining the edges, to make them look straighter.
Image

But the ports fit snugly, at least. I'll be attaching the ports permanently after painting everything,
perhaps with a strong epoxy. I could use suggestions for that one, I'm not too sure what kind to
use, or even if I should do that to begin with.
Image

I think it's going to look great. It would be great if i could put in the symbols for the USB
and sound ports, like on the original bezel, but I'm even worse with a paintbrush...
Image

Afterward, I cut holes for the optical drive's button and light. This is where i ran into a snag:
Not only did I break the laminate doing this, but I also based the light's position on a very
old CD drive, and I've seen newer ones with the activity light in different places. And my measurements
were a bit off as well. But, I must work with what i have...
Image


Luckily, i kept the pieces i took off the front bezel, because now i can start dissecting them
even more. I'm pointing at the original place for the HDD activity light...
Image

...which has a cylinder-shaped piece of acrylic (or at least, transparent plastic)...
Image

...which in turn works perfectly as the optical drive's activity light as well...
Image

...albeit with a little "convincing" from a gentle tap with a mallet. This is just a test-fit,
I took it out again, since it's going to be painted later. In the end, it should fit
completely flush with the surface.
Image

Now comes the ghetto fab, the button itself. I had to get creative and use my budget
to it's full extent - (can you believe the prices on soda-cans nowadays?!)
Image


I started by cutting a long rectangle of aluminum. I chose this material because it's flexible
enough to create a spring-action, and durable enough that it wont break after 2 days (I hope).
Image

I then folded it around a small piece of black foam, to make it soft. I didn't want it hollow, or it would
lose it's boxy shape, nor a hard center, so it wont scar the optical drive's button either. The flat piece
I'm holding will be glued to the bezel, acting as a pivot, and the rest will be loose, creating a sort of
spring-action against the optical drive's button. I should explain that this front bezel sits completely against
the drive's faceplate when in place, the first time I test-fitted it, I heard the drive's button click.
Image

For the button itself, i chose this piece of black hard rubber, i think it was a rubber foot from an old VCR.
This is what the user will push to open the optical drive...
Image

...which i glued to the front of the aluminum/foam piece i created earlier.
Image

Now in place. This side sits flush against the optical bay, it's button will push the aluminum/foam assembly outward...
Image

...revealing then, the rubber button on the outside, giving enough clearance to be pushed in.
I tested this, and it works perfectly, to my surprise.
Image

And that is all I had time for this time around. I hope you guys like it, and if I'm on the wrong track, or
missing something, please let me know.
If you hate it, let me know too, I can take the criticism... I might not care, but I can take it... :P

EDIT: Spellcheck... :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:25 am 
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Thanks for the update! Looks like things are getting even more interesting. I like where you out the USB and audio ports, I'm thinking that if you end up keeping the case on a table that will work just fine if its in a "cubbie-hole" it might not work to your advantage either way I still like it. you could use hot glue if its available for the attachment of the ports.

For the CD tray hole you made I would probably square it but wait until you have the trays bezel complete to see how it will fit first just my thoughts on it though. I was also thinking that I wish you could remote mount the LED for the CDROM and flush mount the eject button so that when you paint it that it looks like its not even there. Just a thought not sure if that will work for you not to mention its more work for you. Keep up the good work! :)


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:32 am 
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this is coming along nice. Im a big fan of 2001, and having your vary own HAL will be cool.

is the final rig going sit on your desk so it can stare at you all day?


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:46 am 
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Quote:
Wiked_smart

For the CD tray hole you made I would probably square it but wait until you have the trays bezel complete to see how it will fit first just my thoughts on it though. I was also thinking that I wish you could remote mount the LED for the CDROM and flush mount the eject button so that when you paint it that it looks like its not even there. Just a thought not sure if that will work for you not to mention its more work for you. Keep up the good work! :)


Wow, that is an awesome idea, but way beyond my abilities, I'm afraid. It would surely look cleaner, and
closer to the original. It is an excellent idea for future mods, if I continue to do so in the future.

Quote:
CharBroiled

is the final rig going sit on your desk so it can stare at you all day?


LOL, I think it would be more like the movie to have it staring at you all day, observing. Of course, I won't enjoy
this case for too long, once it's finished. As soon as I plan to shut it down the first time, it'll probably kill me...

I'm still waiting for the buddy who gave me the case to find the side pannel that goes with it, and the other
day I was thinking about what to do to it; should i carve a crazy 2001 scene with a rotary (and risk destroying
both the side panel and the rotary with my ham-fistedness), or just make a window and throw in some red LEDs?
Then, i came across (as Dave said it himself in the sequel, 2010) something wonderful: a Japanese site that
had the EVA Pod, the Shuttle seen at the beginning, and the Discovery 1, all in papercraft, PDF files, ready to
be downloaded, printed and assembled. I can't yet tell the exact size of the EVA Pod, but my idea was to
painstakingly build one, and, if it fits, affix it in a way that it looks out the side panel window, and maybe even
throw in a Tycho Monolith too, for good measure. Like i said, ideas, none concrete yet, just thoughts rumbling
through my mostly empty skull. Tell me what you think, guys.

Thank you guys for the feedback and the ideas, they really mean a lot to me, and encourage me to continue. :)


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:53 pm 
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remember those memory block things that dave "ejected" to remove HALs memory? maybe make the cdrom tray faceplate look like a memory block.. glue on something to the front of it.. the effect will be lost once the tray is ejected of course but it can be larger than the cutout and hide the rough edges of the opening. having a hard time visualizing how it would look on the current front of the rig so maybe its a Bad Idea though. gotta look at the film again to see exactly what they were like. you would probably have to divide the front faceplate somehow to make the memory block fit in logically as the original HAL did not have anything around his eyes. label it "AUX MEMORY STORAGE" or something.


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:01 am 
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Quote:
CharBroiled

remember those memory block things that dave "ejected" to remove HALs memory? maybe make the cdrom tray faceplate look like a memory block.. glue on something to the front of it.. the effect will be lost once the tray is ejected of course but it can be larger than the cutout and hide the rough edges of the opening. having a hard time visualizing how it would look on the current front of the rig so maybe its a Bad Idea though. gotta look at the film again to see exactly what they were like. you would probably have to divide the front faceplate somehow to make the memory block fit in logically as the original HAL did not have anything around his eyes. label it "AUX MEMORY STORAGE" or something.


Oh yes, that would look fantastic, but elsewhere on the case. The place where the optical drive is, is where the HAL9000
logo goes, so I really shouldn't put anything else there. However, those crystal (acrylic) memory modules would look
fantastic sticking out the top of the case, or the side, but then aagin, this is Budget Zero, and blocks of acrylic ain't cheap. :(

I really appreciate the ideas though, there are so many possibilities, and i will indeed keep all of them in mind, just in case
my budget grows somehow. Thank you again.


Last edited by mario_ramalho on Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:42 am 
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OK, more updates, and a lot more snags. I've been bumping my head into obstacles left and right, some of them that I
created myself, but that's what happens when noobs mod cases, I guess. Even some of the pictures came out
crappy this time, so I apologize in advance for the out-of-focus shots.

I had to stretch the budget and actually make a purchase or two. I got the LED and holders at the local RadioShack, and
the Poster Frame at Wal-Mart, all for under $10. Later I also bought a power switch as well.
Image

This is what i wanted the frame for; these pieces will make HAL's silver frame on the front bezel, just as the original, but...
Image

...I was too optimistic as to them actually fitting nicely, the way I wanted. So, I had to modify these as well.
(Also, ignore the cat hair stuck in there, if you will...)
Image

With my X-Acto knife and a carpenter's triangle, I cut on of the sides of the frame pieces.
Image

I left a bit on the cut side, to give it some dimension, as it's supposed to have. The hard part will be to make the
corners fit properly afterward.
Image

But then, another snag. I've been building and measuring all this time, and forgot about the top piece i took off earlier.
It has a rounded lip that covers the top of the bezel I'm making, and that just can't happen. Another snag.
Image

So, again with my X-Acto knife, I repeatedly scored the rounded edge until it snapped.
Image

Now I will be able to continue with the frame around HAL's bezel. Then i remembered that i measured the laminate WITH
that round lip piece on, which meant...
Image

... Crap! Now the bezel was too short!
Image

So i went ahead and sacrificed another piece of laminate, this time with all the right measurements
Image

While i had the tools out, i decided to go ahead and also cut the fan hole on front of the case as well.
Image

It's an 80mm fan that was donated by the same guy that donated the case.
Image

Test-fit with bezel. It has enough clearance for airflow.
Image

And maybe even enough clearance for a dust filter later on.
Image

Then, with a rough hole on the bezel, another test-fit.
Image

Another purchase, this one more extravagant. I looked everywhere for a type of grill that would
match the closest to the original, without breaking the bank, and this is what i found.
This stuff is so abrasive, than i can't even slide my hand on it, so i guess i won't have any
problem painting it. ;)
Image

It is sturdy enough to not bend easily, but open enough for good airflow.
Image

This will be cut to size, and the frame will cover the (most likely rough) edges.
Image

Then it was time to mount the power switch and HDD activity lights. I didn't want them on the front,
for obvious reasons, so my plan was to mount them on top. Then, yet another snag; not enough
clearance for the HDD light holder between the top of the case and the top of the optical drive, and
the power switch is almost twice as long... Again, i had to get ghetto creative.
Image

First, i tried with a piece from the original front bezel, the sliding door at the bottom that revealed the USB
and sound ports. But that didn't work either, it was still too short. (I'm making this shorter, I'm guessing this already
has too many pics, and i don't want to overwhelm the post)

Then, i grabbed a clear plastic box, from an MP3 player my stepson bought, and modified it to sit at an angle,
using my always handy knife, and a pair of pliers to snap the pieces clean off.
Image

I also wanted to add this USB 1.0 port, so it can be used at least to charge a portable device, i.e. smartphone.
Won't recommend for file-transfers or much of anything else, for that matter. :P
Image

I knifed it all i could to make it smaller, and got to the core (again, i apologize for the bad picture)
Image

Measured, sanded, measured again, sanded again, and marked with the switch, light and port, ready to be cut.
This was the last few cuts my rotary tool was able to make. After this, the shaft that holds the bits in place
somehow got stuck, and as i tried to pry it open, the whole tool broke to pieces. It was a cheap-o one, anyway.
Image

And here they are. Of course, the transparent box will be painted the same black as the rest of the case.
Still working on the best method to glue the box to the top of the case, i may try bondo, or something
similar, since i now have a couple of screw holes on top, from previous attempts at placing these controls,
and i need to cover those, as well as cover any gaps between the box and the top of the case.
Image


And that is it for now, I'm hoping i can keep going in the right track, there seems to be so much to be done, still.
I'm always open to suggestions, so please, let me know what you guys think. Thank you all again. :)

Mario Ramalho A.K.A. marius_brabus


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 6:22 pm 
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I haven't had much spare time this week, but i had a go at making the frame around the front bezel, something similar
to the original from the movie. This, and the black mesh, will later be painted silver, just like the round bezel in the center.

I used a triangle, trying to get the cuts as close to 45º as possible, for a better final fit.
Image

Close-up (I think it's about time i get a new blade for this, I use it quite a lot!)
Image

Test-fit. The corners don't align properly for several reasons, one being that these plastic pieces are not quite
straight. Also, I'll end up gluing this to the bezel, and, if the fit in the corners is too crappy (most likely) I'll fill the
gaps in with some sort of bondo or body filler to make the fit as seamless as possible.
Image


It's taking me longer than i expected, but it's getting there, I hope it's still worthy of this forum. :)

Thank you in advance for any feedback.


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:31 pm 
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Looking good!


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:33 pm 
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Project is on hold at the moment. The case's previous owner is still trying to find the side panel for it, and I'm flooded with college work, so i cannot devote any spare time for this project, for i have none.

As soon as i have some noteworthy updates on this project, I'll be posting. Thank you all for the feedback.


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:51 pm 
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mario_ramalho wrote:
Project is on hold at the moment. The case's previous owner is still trying to find the side panel for it, and I'm flooded with college work, so i cannot devote any spare time for this project, for i have none.

As soon as i have some noteworthy updates on this project, I'll be posting. Thank you all for the feedback.


We have tons of those old eMachines cases in the back and if your friend should happen not to find it, I could probably grab one for a few bucks plus shipping. (PM me)

I love the HAL9000 mod! now I want to replace the peephole in my front door with one that talks in that slow, cold, calculating voice. Not at all dissimilar to the depressed robot in The Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

Well, maybe a little different... :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:30 pm 
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Awesome work so far, almost motivates me to want to attempt some modding of my own when I look at all the stuff people can do. Maybe someday...


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:54 am 
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Neat! :)


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:13 pm 
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It's been a while, and even though so much time has gone by that made this thread look dead, I have only a small update to show. Between college, work and other priorities, I was able to finish the paint for the front bezel, shown here with yet another test fit, before actually gluing the parts onto the bezel. I chose stainless steel and satin black spray paints this time, I think it looks great.

Image

As to the side panel, the original was destroyed (apparently) so I decided to go with an acrylic custom made side panel, just like in MaximumPC's DM2010 (only less impressive, i'm sure). This will open up a slew of possibilities as to a design in accordance to the theme of the case. I also thought of including a cheap digital picture frame on the side panel, as if it were one of HAL's many monitors. I've seen videos of a screensaver someone made that resembles the images shown on those monitors, so that's what I intend to do.

I can't wait to finish this thing. Thank you all for the feedback. :)


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 Post subject: Re: HAL9000 project
PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:11 pm 
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Meanwhile, I have been modding an old IBM keyboard that i had laying around, still perfect in every way, plus the fact that it doesn't have the stupid Windows keys that I always seem to hit at the worse possible time. The tactile feel is outstanding as well, and it has a PS/2 plug.

I always thought it was a shame to have it tucked away all this time, mainly because it went out of fashion with it's white body and no extra keys, but now i value it even more because it actually has no extra keys. So I decided to mod it.

This was actually experimental, I had no faith in the skills I used to mod this, therefore I didn't keep a picture log, I can only say that I painted the body with the same satin black as HAL's front panel, cleaned each key with rubbing alcohol one by one, and most importantly, changed the old green LED indicator lights with white ones, and used some red tape over them, so they shine red (they actually work, woohoo!). I'm leaving their label off and I'll be creating one with the HAL9000 logo on it when ever i can.

Image

Image

Image

Hope you guys like it, even though it's a cheapie plank. ;)


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