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#121
WhatTheTech

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I love white LEDS, very classy and let's be honest, it's how apple would do it if they lit their cases. Good idea to put the LEDs hidden by the lip of the door area. It look like you might have enough space at the bottom of the case to do a glowing panel a la murder mod. At least for most of the flooring.


Totally agree :) - I haven't done pimped out LED/CCFL lighting since 2005, but the white is very clean.
Hmmm glowing panel...definitely put on the possibility list!

Totally unrelated update, I just made a $25 craigslist purchase:

Posted Image

Definitely a summer project once the Mac Pro is finished :D

#122
shiftysamurai

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Oh, and I also got the power socket JB Welded into place, adapter to a right-angle power cable so that I can plug any PSU in that I want. No pics, but it's just one more step to a fully-completed mod!


What cable are you going with (for PSU to case)? I've been trying to find an extension with some sort of bracket to secure to the back of my case, but there doesn't seem to be very many options.

#123
WhatTheTech

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What cable are you going with (for PSU to case)? I've been trying to find an extension with some sort of bracket to secure to the back of my case, but there doesn't seem to be very many options.


I used a right-angle power cable like this, cut off the end and spliced it in to the Powermac G5's exterior socket (this part). It's basically the same as how I show in the PSU tutorial, here. I had a feeling that they used the same socket for the Mac Pro as they did the G5, and I was correct. Honestly, JB Weld ALWAYS surprises me with its durability, and though it's a semi-permanent modification, is preferable to having screws sticking out (as I had with my first ever G5).

#124
WhatTheTech

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HOLY COW. I finally got the rear audio plugged in and working. I used this right-angle 3.5mm plug and these female screw-mount jacks from Radioshack. After much cutting of plastic, soldering and praying everything worked, I spent about 20 minutes trying to get the dang thing plugged into the headphones-out jack on the motherboard. Why I didn't just dismount the motherboard and plug it in like a normal human being? I have absolutely no idea. It was one of those things where once I got started and found it difficult, I felt as though I HAD to finish. Oh well, it's done now, and I can remove one USB device from my cramped USB ports!

I'll have a few pictures soon - just thought I would let everyone know that I'm still hard at work :D

#125
Mr.D.

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I did the same thing when I was using the left angle HDMI adapter... "I MUST get this in without removing those 7 screws!"

#126
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I did the same thing when I was using the left angle HDMI adapter... "I MUST get this in without removing those 7 screws!"


Pretty much. :)

I'm just glad to be rid of the chunky USB audio adapter!

#127
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Oh mate, I wish I had taken the time to look at this thread before today. Rude of me not to considering how awesome a job you have done. Brilliant!
As I am about to embark on the Pro myself very soon now (honestly I mean it this time) a few questions.
A long time back I had an old G5 anodised blue and vowed never to do it again because the anodisers here in the UK insisted that the little case nuts themselves didn't look like aluminium. So I actually removed every single one before the process and JB welded each and every one back in afterwards. It would seem though that you did not have to go through the same heartache.....is that though what your guys referred to as a "different" sort of aluminium that didn't anodise so well?
Next question. On my case it was all too obvious where the electrodes for the current were attached and where it was suspended from in the anodising bath as it anodised it darker - did you get that problem?
And now a final question for you re. the board mounting. I see you had difficulty aligning the height of the board to the PCI slots. What is the height of the top of the slots above the actual case floor? Is it not the same as in the G5 and if not, what is the difference? It occurs to me that on my G5 kits my 5mm perspex trays when coupled with 8mm standoffs (and allowing for the 1mm height boost of the threaded inserts) perfectly align the cards for the G5, and on my Mac Pro project I had assumed a similar arrangement would do the job.....so are the heights different between G5 and Pro?
All best with the rest of this project and I am sending you an email too on a related subject....
Minihack (aka laser hive).
Oh yes, one more: I thought to re-anodise something that was already anodised you first had to remove the original anodised layer by bead blasting or similar - did you not have that done?

#128
WhatTheTech

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(Minihack - I'll be responding to you below, but I have an update on my clipboard that needs to be pasted before I copy something over it :D)

Well, time for a pic update! While I was waiting for my front panel cable to go through customs, my second top cage came in. Now, for those of you considering a Mac Pro mod, you should know that if your case doesn't come with a PSU, it is VERY hard to find one on eBay. They really are incredibly well built, and I have only seen one or two dead PSUs come through eBay in the last 5-6 months. That said, there is a solution to complete the top area, and that's with a second optical drive cage. These go for about $10-20 with shipping, and wil fit with some cutting. I will be documenting that process today!

Here's the second optical cage in brand new condition - it cost me $10:

Posted Image


Now after trying to fit it, I realized that both sides needed to be trimmed. Here's the left hand side marked up for cutting:

Posted Image

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As you can see, I just cut the part that slides in to the case but you also have the option to cut all the way up in a straight line so it sits perfectly flush with the first optical cage. I don't trust my dremel skills enough to pull this off well, so I decided to keep the stock lines for aesthetic reasons.

Pre-sanding shot:

Posted Image

Here you can see it now free to slide in where I made the cut:

Posted Image


I took the piece back up to my case, and roughly marked the cut:

Posted Image


Spoiler alert: it was definitely not perfect first time. Cutting curved metal to fit a flat area is an art that I have not quite mastered. Something tells me that my maths teacher was right when he said I would need the subject one day, but don't tell him that!

The super feint line is my awesomely drawn cutting line:

Posted Image


And it fits! I had to take it back down to the garage and shave off a few pieces with the grinding attachment, but I was pretty pleased overall that it slid in with little effort.

Posted Image

Here you can see what I mean about it not sitting flush on the left hand side with the curve it has:

Posted Image


Honestly, I would prefer the curve being there than a poorly cut straight edge, but for $10 I might just order another and give it a go! Some positive notes: first the weight of the PSU and the way I cut this means that it fits very solidly without any need to fix it down, and secondly the airflow is MUCH improved for the PSU, as the path of least resistance is now straight back over the heatsinks, rather than out the side that is now closed off.

Now that everything fits, it's time to dismount it all and send it over to Anodizing Specialists for a makeover! Final pics are coming very VERY soon - a guy that I shoot weddings with is going to come over for an afternoon to help me :D

Oh mate, I wish I had taken the time to look at this thread before today. Rude of me not to considering how awesome a job you have done. Brilliant!
As I am about to embark on the Pro myself very soon now (honestly I mean it this time) a few questions.
A long time back I had an old G5 anodised blue and vowed never to do it again because the anodisers here in the UK insisted that the little case nuts themselves didn't look like aluminium. So I actually removed every single one before the process and JB welded each and every one back in afterwards. It would seem though that you did not have to go through the same heartache.....is that though what your guys referred to as a "different" sort of aluminium that didn't anodise so well?
Next question. On my case it was all too obvious where the electrodes for the current were attached and where it was suspended from in the anodising bath as it anodised it darker - did you get that problem?
And now a final question for you re. the board mounting. I see you had difficulty aligning the height of the board to the PCI slots. What is the height of the top of the slots above the actual case floor? Is it not the same as in the G5 and if not, what is the difference? It occurs to me that on my G5 kits my 5mm perspex trays when coupled with 8mm standoffs (and allowing for the 1mm height boost of the threaded inserts) perfectly align the cards for the G5, and on my Mac Pro project I had assumed a similar arrangement would do the job.....so are the heights different between G5 and Pro?
All best with the rest of this project and I am sending you an email too on a related subject....
Minihack (aka laser hive).
Oh yes, one more: I thought to re-anodise something that was already anodised you first had to remove the original anodised layer by bead blasting or similar - did you not have that done?


Thanks for your kind words!!

The anodizing process is super involved, and the people you spoke to were correct - the nuts that hold the two parts of the inner shell together are steel, and will get very hot in the process, dissolve, and probably create hot-spots on the anodizing finish. There are also steel rivets that hold to the two pieces together that need to be removed. I'll be creating a full video tutorial of the ENTIRE process sometime this spring for those daring enough to try it :D

The good news is that the threads that the nuts go on are aluminum, and survive the process making reassembly entirely possible.

I didn't have any problems with darker anodization around the place that the pieces were held - the shop I used had very thin clamps that they used to submerge the case parts, and though there are tiny marks, they are negligible. I might have pictures of the clamps they used from my trip to the anodizers, I will take a look for you.

As far as the PCI slots, I will have to measure. I do know, however, that with the motherboard screwed directly on to a thin motherboard plate with a plastic sheet to prevent shorts, and I'm at a total height of 2cm. I believe that the piece of rubber I used to screw my PCI slots down is around 9mm thick, so (as a very rough estimate) it looks like the motherboard needs to be at a total height of 1cm to be able to use the PCI slots. I think the idea you emailed me about regarding fixing the motherboard tray without standoffs will be the way to go with the Mac Pro. This is probably something you will have to double check for yourself - I'm far from the best person to measure these things! It does sound like the Mac Pro is a couple of mm's shorter, because the the top of the Mac Pro standoffs are all exactly between 1.5cm and 1.6cm.

As far as I know, the case was put in a caustic bath for about 45 minutes to remove the first anodizing. From what I remember, Tom told me that this was a pretty exact process - too long and you would get down to the grain of the metal, and too short a time would mean the original anodization would not be removed properly. Hope this answers all your questions!

- WTT

*EDIT*
Here's a pic of the case going in the caustic bath. As you can see, there are four contact points on the clamps, and the metal is only about 2mm thick. Like I said, tiny nicks in the finish, but covered when the door is on so it's no big deal to me.

Posted Image

#129
nickjf20

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I demand an update :)

#130
Mr.D.

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^^^ +1

#131
WhatTheTech

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Well, here's my update:

My contact at the anodizers is on vacation for a couple of weeks, so my plan to anodize the top cages is on vacation too :D

My front panel came in, and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality. I had to remove one firewire port for incompatibility (I have one 400 and one 800 on my 2008 case, this was for 2010 so it had two 800 ports), but having USB 3.0 on the front is awesome! My power button broke (I pulled the cable a little too hard and it ripped out), so I need to take the whole thing apart and resolder. Also my front panel audio isn't working, although I suspect DSDT rather than the front panel itself.

So I still have a few little things to do here and there. Luckily, I bought an iMac, so I can now work on this machine a little bit more and still be able to work - this is what was slowing me down on modding it more!

Thanks for demanding an update, guys :D

#132
djulink

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impressive !!!

#133
kmaamka

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Along these lines, I may actually use it for the Apple Chime mod. It has a decent amount of space in there, and I may see what it sounds like with the bottom sticker (the one with model and serial numbers etc.) or even use some speaker material if it's muffled?


Speaking of that sticker... How did you remove it? I think I may have to cut mine up or something in order to access the screws for that compartment (I'm 99% sure the wifi antenna is housed in there). I picked up an almost immaculate 2009 Mac Pro case on Craigslist that I've been itching to modify. I'm still in the napkin sketching phase right now, but I'll have a chunk of time at the end of May to get started.

And great build by the way, I've been following it for a while... I've even noticed your photos on Amazon. :D

#134
WhatTheTech

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Speaking of that sticker... How did you remove it? I think I may have to cut mine up or something in order to access the screws for that compartment (I'm 99% sure the wifi antenna is housed in there). I picked up an almost immaculate 2009 Mac Pro case on Craigslist that I've been itching to modify. I'm still in the napkin sketching phase right now, but I'll have a chunk of time at the end of May to get started.

And great build by the way, I've been following it for a while... I've even noticed your photos on Amazon. :D


The sticker on the bottom was just held on by adhesive - a blunt knife or spudger should do the trick nicely. You are correct, the wifi antenna is housed in there. I took everything out and put a switch for the lights there - it's an easy process to get it cleared out, and it's a nice little space! Congrats on your craigslist score!! I've really enjoyed modding the Mac Pro - it presents some different challenges than the G5 but I think you have more options with it.

Thanks for your kind words - I spend a LOT of time reviewing on Amazon so I'm only a little surprised you noticed my pics :D

#135
nickjf20

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I really want to see this finished!





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