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Author Topic: "Starbox" (working title)  (Read 93 times)

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popsicle

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"Starbox" (working title)
« on: Yesterday at 04:29:39 pm »
This project has been keeping me sane for the last couple of weeks, as the world f***ing ends  :-[

I was determined to do this without spending money, and use only materials I had on hand (I did cheat a bit toward the end and bought a mini keyboard, poster, 3d printed logo, and a magnetic latch, but that is around $40 total).

Here's what I had to work with -
* an old HP dual core desktop pc with 4 gigs of ram, a geforce 8400 video card, and 2 fans with plastic grill covers
* a 4:3 19" monitor (HP something something)
* a Playstation Classic, for the usb gamepads
* a tiny wireless mouse I stole from my daughter
* some old ---smurfy--- pc speakers. They're ---smurfy---. Whatever.
* a black power strip I found in a drawer in the garage
* one piece of 2x2 slightly warped mdf
* about 10' of white t-molding from an old project
* various scrap pieces of other mdf, birch ply, angle iron, plexiglass
* screws, brackets, hinges, black and white paint, stain, polyurethane
* a circular saw, jigsaw, and router with slot cutting bit. Of course, drill and screwdrivers and standard stuff like that.
* plenty of IPA and on some days Irish coffees. Seriously, a couple of shots of double black rum, one mini scoop of mint choc chip, espresso roast made in the french press, and a sprinkle of cardamom. This is good.

I decided I wanted a companion piece to my Intellivison Cubed project, but wanted it to be smaller and maybe even a bit lighter. I succeeded in that first category, but failed in the second. This thing is small but weighs a ton. It's 3 inches shorter and about an inch slimmer, but goes 12" deep (insert joke here) like the Intellivision cab. I think the 3 mdf pieces make up most of this weight. And, this old pc has a monstrous power supply.

I first wiped the hdd and installed an old version of MicroXP, which is fine for what I need here. Got my old rom sets and Mala files from my upright cab and tweaked them to work here with gamepads. Also added a Dreamcast emulator, and plan to flesh out the PC games list too, since I'll have access to a keyboard and mouse.

Because I had white t-molding and white spray paint, I went with it. The metal angle iron was cut for the monitor retainers and spray painted, and I was able to reuse the fan grills from the desktop and paint those as well. While the Intellivision cab vents from the top, I decided to mount both of these fans to the sides of this one, one blowing in and one blowing out to keep air moving across the motherboard and video card.

The monitor was mounted to an old chunk of furniture, I think it was originally a Buzz Lightyear toybox lid. The motherboard will be mounted on the opposite side. I used the 2x2 piece of mdf and chopped it half. God, the bottom of this thing was pretty warped. I hoped that maybe when the box was fully assembled it would correct itself (note: it didn't).

The plexi is thick, and my saw ripped chunks off of it. I know I should be using a router for this, but I didn't. The edges that were compromised are pretty well hidden by the angle iron. Lots of black sharpie fixes up in here.

Since I had white trim and dark stain, I thought a deep blue would complement the scheme well. I decided that instead of painting I would try to find a poster and use that. I happened to find a $12 poster online that was a starfield, and was exactly twice of the dimension of each side. With any luck, I could cut in in half and have them fit perfectly. Then, I could poly the outside of the poster to make it durable. This actually worked out really well. Except...

I had issues with gluing the poster to the mdf. Looking back, it might have been better for me to seal the mdf with a glue/water solution first to give the poster better adhesion. Just wiping it down with a tack cloth wasn't really enough to get the edges to stay down. I tried to spray glue the poster down, then turn the thing face down to dry, but the warped mdf wouldn't lay flat on my flat surface, so I attached every weight I could find, including stone bricks from my front yard. An exacto knife helped me trim the little excess posters that stuck out, especially around the rounded corners. Not terrible, after all. I do like the look of the poster, but the edges are rough and t-molding doesn't always hide all of the edge flaws.

Added a hinged compartment cover that is the same stained birch ply as the top. I had to redo this drawer to get the stain to match. Should have planned ahead and stained both pieces as the same time, but this didn't happen. A magnetic push latch lets you open and close it easily.

Everything else was crammed inside. There's really not a lot of room in there, since I wanted to keep the bottom part clear for the keyboard, mouse, and controller storage.

There's nothing groundbreaking here, but overall I'm very happy with it  :cheers:




« Last Edit: Today at 10:52:20 am by popsicle »

popsicle

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Re: "Starbox" (working title)
« Reply #1 on: Yesterday at 04:32:24 pm »
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« Last Edit: Today at 10:48:28 am by popsicle »

popsicle

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Re: "Starbox" (working title)
« Reply #2 on: Yesterday at 04:33:27 pm »
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« Last Edit: Today at 10:47:41 am by popsicle »