The Modding Triad... Explaining The Obvious
I do not imply that I know every aspect of or have
done every mod out there, I am however an experienced, skilled and award winning
modder with a website dedicated to teaching others step by step how to create modded computers,
I have also crafted custom PC's that encompass all three
schools of case modding. If you are new to the hobby and have no clue what case modding is or think
all modding is the same you need to read on because there are in fact three
distinct schools of modding, before we begin though let's get this bit of nonsense
out of the way...
Modding vs. Pre-Mods
shameful bastard child on the stock side of the modding triad and only mildly
worth mention... a pre-mod
case might look like an attractive option for a beginner wanting to get into
modding, but the best case mods normally start with more simply designed stock
cases. There is a level of satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment that
accompanies doing mods yourself, sadly with pre-mods
you can't get that because it's all pretty much been done for you. Pre-modding
is the absolute bane of stock modding originality, there are far too few good pre-mod
cases and most of them just look silly. 'If your PC case looks like Voltron on
LSD or Darth Vader in a Power Ranger sex orgy, you might have a pre-mod'...
a lame joke sure, but then so are most pre-mods.
First, The Stock Mod...
Stock modding is normally the point at which most modders begin, small
at first with windows or lights being added to an existing case or buying a
computer case to fully mod as a replacement enclosure, either for existing
hardware or an entirely new system. The purist stock case modder will argue that
real "case mods" must include an actual computer case, I don't know if
I agree with that idealism since anything that houses the PC hardware and
components technically should be considered a case... but the moniker of 'case
modder' is theirs, if for no other reason than mods being performed on an actual
Stock modding makes up the largest portion of the modding community,
there are many cool and original case mods out there and I have even done a few original
stock mods myself, but as case modding becomes more and more mainstream the
originality aspect of stock case modding diminishes. Take a look at the current
choices for stock computer cases on any given web retailer, it is near impossible to find a case that does not ship with mods already
done or an included side window.
Thankfully there are a good number of resourceful modders continually finding new
ways to create outstanding case mods, thereby keeping things on this side of the
triad fresh and interesting.
Good examples of some really slick stock mods would be anything
by Defyant (sans H-1), Tech-Daddy's Boss
FX-57, G-gnome's ORAC3,
Kill Teddy Bears, TheGreatSatan's Paradise
Lost, CrimsonSky's Doom3
Mars City, Wolverine's Biomech
550, Feldm4n's Predatron,
Will Kneir's Hamster
PC, Mr. Kholl's Silent
ContexYZ, David Ledogar's Cammer
and too many other great stock mods to list here.
Next, The Object Mod...
Object modding is the fitting of computer parts into another
existing item, anything large enough to house the PC components (other than a
standard computer case) is normally fair game. Computers have been built into
just about everything imaginable, from trash cans and
toasters to toolboxes and
toys, the only limitation being the object must be large enough that everything
will fit inside. It must also be said that just because you can get a PC to fit
into something other than intended that the slapshod cramming of computers into
stuff doesn't make it default to being a good mod, ever. The best object modding
is a combination of intelligent component positioning and mounting
combined with an eye for tight aesthetic detail.
Object modding makes up the second largest segment of the modding
community and some of the most creative mods ever exist because of it, but there
are only so many things that you can put a computer into and by now much of it
has already been done. I put a computer into a mannequin,
a mod that had been done at least twice before though my design was nothing
like the others, I have seen another good mannequin mod since that can
also boast originality. Doing it differently is always welcome in any school of
modding and if it cannot be an original object mod it should at least be done in
a way better than those that came before it.
Awesome examples of object modding would be my own HellRaiser
PC, ZapWizard's Ammo
Box PC, Envador's Guitar
PC, Jeffery Stephenson's DECOmputer
or Humidor CL
Janos Marton's Whiskey
Bottle PC, John Kanemura's Attaché
Server, Wil Harris' Hummer
Commandment, Onomy's Philco
Predicta, Defyant's H-1
or Gutterslide's Boombox
PC. There are many other good object mods out there... but again, too
many to list.
Lastly, The Scratch Mod...
Scratch modding is starting from nothing and creating a hand built
case from the ground up, viewed as the pinnacle of modding it requires a high level of skill
and technique, scratch
modders represent the most hardcore of the hobby. Before creating a custom PC
scratch modders normally use some type of 3D
rendering software when designing their system to help make incorporating the computer parts easier.
Laser cutters, water jets or CNC machines are sometimes used to create these
mods, but there are also entirely hand built scratch mods that look every bit as
Scratch modding makes up the smallest percentage of the
modding community, with mods that are genuinely unique there are very few "me too" works in this school
and most case designs are entirely original. It's no small task taking raw
pieces of acrylic, aluminum, copper or steel and transforming
them into masterful works of modded PC art, if it ever does look easy it's usually
because the modder is just that good.
Some outstanding scratch mods include G-gnome's WMD,
Magnus Persson's PuzzleBox,
F-117A, Mashie's Y2k-bug,
Martin Smith's Donkey
Kong, Justin Hatem's Painmaster
5000, Willek's Aluminum
Spire, Sheldog23's UT
Mod, Sevilorcio's R2D2PC,
Katsaya Matsumura's Bikini
Babe, G69T's DarkBlade,
Begins, Jan Erik Vangen's Bender
PC, DeathStarChris' CPU
Mag Mod or my own Hellusion mod.
There is no way that this article could ever fully encompass all that modding is
or show every outstanding mod out there (apologies to all the great modders I
left out) but it should help new modders decide upon a modding path and
hopefully inspire them at the same time. Further inspiration for creating
killer mods can be found in the guides and work logs of individual modder sites
Mashie Design, Computer-Choppers,
SlipperySkip and TheBestCaseScenario...
or larger sites like bit-tech, Gruntville,
and the [H]ardOCP
I first started modding seven
years ago, back then there was no indication that there would ever be anything
other than mods performed on stock computer cases, looking back at the
humble beginnings of the hobby it's clear that case modding has come a long way
and in doing so has somehow also been transformed into something more,
technology as art
As for what will come next, your guess is as good as mine, great modders keep raising the bar at every level of the
triad and just when you
think it has all been done someone will always come up with a new mod and prove
you wrong... but that's a good thing.
- Article written by