Happy Halloween from the Clear Amber Xbox Series X!

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Having done the Aluminum Xbox Series X with its custom transparent green back panel; we next did one for the standard XSX. Naturally, an all clear Xbox was asked for and I sought out to deliver. Halloween Edition! I’ve also made all the files available so anyone adventurous enough can make their own.

The four sides are cut out of 1/8″ transparent amber acrylic, and the top and bottom and are 3D Printed. The top and bottom are two parts: one part connects the panels and the other mounts to it. This allows for easy customizing of the top and bottom. You can create a new silly design for the top or have your Xbox sit on cat legs. The bottom has the feet and extra hole design I used for the Aluminum XSX.

Mounting the Blu-Ray drive, Button PCB, and USB board required recreating the mounts normally glued inside of the stock XSX shell. These mount in the top and bottom 3D printed parts. The Blu-Ray Drive and Button PCB also connect in the middle via teeth. If one were to pry out the original mounts as I did for the Aluminum XSX, I unfortunately cannot guarantee fitment.

I also had to create new buttons, however, you can reuse the stock button that is used for connecting controllers (right above the front USB connector). I cut and pressed in a piece of transparent green acrylic for the power button. It clashes a bit with the amber, but green is iconic when it comes to the Xbox.

It took around 12 hours of print time at 0.3mm layer height for the bigger parts and 0.25mm for the buttons. I slowed down the speeds for the bottom with its 100+ holes.

If you decide to try this mod, I’ve made the files available on thingiverse and at the end of this post. There are printable guides you can tape to the acrylic for hand cutting (prints on legal size paper). You will need a a few things…

Materials:

  • 3 X 12×12″ 1/8th Acrylic Sheets (one extra for mistakes)
  • 20 X M3 x 6mm Screws (along with the original screws)
  • 3D Printer Filament

Drill Bit Sizes:

  • 1/8″
  • 17/64 (H)
  • 33/64″

Equipment:

  • Hand Drill or Drill Press
  • Saw, Laser Cutter or Mill
  • 3D Printer
  • Hand Files

DIY-Xbox-Series-X-Case.zip (11314 downloads)
thingiverse link

Please share pictures of your creation! And remember to subscribe on YouTube!

Making Clear Back Panels for the Xbox Series X

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After making the Aluminum Xbox Series X and creating a back panel transparent green, we set out to create a back panel that would work with the stock case. There were many positive comments about it!

This was an easier project compared to the prior and what I have planned for the future. Making something that adds a really unique look is definitely worth it though! The Amber back panel is straight fire.

To achieve make these we had to forgo the clipping mechanism. We retained the top lip for stability and the two screw holes towards the middle/bottom. Due to keeping the lip, we CNC machined the entire panel compared to the previous panel where I just laser cut it on the K40. Doing it this way made a nicer panel with no warpage too!

The panels are made out 3/32″ acrylic. To hold the material so they could be machined required making a jig. I had a leftover piece of 1/2 MDF that I had used to make the bed for my Pick and Place machine. With a little cutting and machining it was a workable fit for machining soft plastic. It has 8 holes: 4 for mounting straight to the bed and another 4 for holding the aluminum brackets that clamp on to the acrylic (they also mount to the bed). There is a pocket for the material to slide into. Believe it or not there’s only about 0.010″ difference across the 18 inches of the MDF jig. Pretty good.

Machining the panels was done with a single tool: 3 flute 1/8 in Carbide End Mill. The CAM program first does all the slots and holes then the engraving and lip profile. Last it cuts out the piece leaving a few tabs to keep it in place. The tabs took a little experimentation as they were either too short or too big. Too small and they don’t machine well if at all, and too big damages the panel when breaking off. We finally got it dialed in towards the last panel. Two panels can fit on a single 12×12 sheet with not much wiggle room.

We cut four colors: Amber, Blue, Clear, and Green. Amber is my favorite, followed be green. The blue is very light; I expected darker more in line with the green. Blue still looks great, in fact, they all do. Which color do you like?

Since I had the program and jig all made, I made a few extra panels you can buy here. Installation is easy: remove screw sticker/covers over the two screws, lightly pry to pop out the rear panel, and put the new panel in. Reuse the same screws you took out.

Check out the video for more, and remember to subscribe!

Saving a broken 70 year old radio destined for the trash

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This was a fun project that I did as a gift for my brother’s wedding. I found this broken General Electric T-126A AM Radio off of eBay for $49. I really liked the aesthetic and having the opportunity to at least save the shell seemed like a worthy venture.

It supports Bluetooth 5.0 and 3.5mm AUX input. Total cost came to around $160.

I repurposed the radio tuner knob to attach to the rotary switch of the Bluetooth amplifier board. The knob controls volume and when turned counter clock wise fully will turn off the board. To fit the Bluetooth/speaker amp board required 3D printing a mount that would slide into the original diagonal PCB slot. The back of the new speaker had a cool orange sticker, so I printed the main portion black and made cool orange inserts to match. The Bluetooth amplifier board was mounted on 4 aluminum stand-offs.

The original pull switch for power on/off was disabled; it remains for looks.

The power barrel connector was mounted to previous hole already in the perf board back panel, and the power leads soldered to the side of the barrel connect on the Bluetooth amplifier board. I drilled a hole for the 3.5mm aux connector on the back.

In order to fit the drastically bigger speaker, I took the stock perf panel that held the original speaker and enlarged the speaker hole. Additionally, I CNC Plasma cut two matching panels out of steel, painted, and glued them on both sides of the perf board. It was necessary to support the weight of the new speaker.

The end result turned out really well and it sounds surprisingly well. It thumps for sure. I was concerned about the enclosure to speaker size.

Please check out the video and subscribe if you haven’t already!

List of components:

Pokemon Silver Made out of Pure Silver

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Pokemon Gold was my  first Pokemon game and also my first GameBoy game for my Atomic Purple GameBoy Color. It will always be my favorite Pokemon game. Gold and Silver had some cool sparkle-y plastic, but what if we made them out of their actual material name. Well, making Pokemon Gold out of Gold isn’t feasible at the moment (so make sure to subscribe!), however, Pokemon Silver is attainable.

So, we bought a Sunshine 1 Kilo bar of .999 Silver. It cost $750 and spent another $50 to buy an authentic version of Pokemon Silver. I also wanted a nice way to display the silver bar, game, and GameBoy so we CNC turned a couple stands out of brass. For these three stands there was about $90 in brass.

I took apart a GameBoy cart and completely remodeled it. I even made the small standoff spots located in side. I change the self tapping plastic screw to a 2-56 Socket Head Screw. I also changed the Nintendo logo to “Modified” and the back says “Made in MN” rather than Japan. The bottom of the back has “.999 Pure Silver” engraved. Next, I 3D printed a sample and it fit perfectly!

Before taking the plunge and machining into the expensive silver, we first cut some aluminum stock to the same size as the silver bar and ran the program we’d be using for the silver. This was a fun cam program to make as the parts were machined out of the stock rather than doing each side. The front and back were done first and then flipped to do the inside followed by cutting out the pieces. It turned out great and fit, so we went on to doing the silver.

Now, many have asked or said we should cast it because it would be cheaper. While casting is cool, that would require buying a lot of equipment I do not have nor have any experience with. Furthermore, to make something like this I would have to machine a mold/die anyways along with machining the part after casting. It does not save any time or money, in fact it’s more for both instances. Casting is also quite porous and relatively weak. I do not think it would turn out well if at all compared to machining a professionally cast solid piece. The goal of the project wasn’t to be as cheap as possible an

We first tried machining without coolant, however, it got gummy and would easily gouge the material as seen in the video when trying to fly cut. Using some WD-40 kept it cool enough without having to pump coolant everywhere.

Silver scrap sells for nearly the same price as buying silver, so it was important to capture as much silver as possible. We built a box out of USPS Priority Box and some duct tape tp try to keep chips contained. After machining everything we lost about 1 oz of silver. The two cartridge pieces weighed 5.8 oz (not troy oz). The rest was sold for a little over $500. The cartridge has about $160 in silver.

The heftiness of it is intense. It’s over 10 times heavier than the standard cart. It’s shiny and beautiful. Definitely one of the coolest Pokemon Silver games out there. Please check out the video to see it, and subscribe if you haven’t already!

Making the World’s First Aluminum Xbox Series X

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I’m really excited to share this project with the world! I do believe it is the first Aluminum Xbox Series X. This project was quite the undertaking machining wise and will likely be so for awhile.

The XSX design is really simple; it’s literally a rectangle. So, the thought occurred one Sunday while watching the Vikings play what if we machined out a billet Aluminum case? Would any one be interested or even go the extra mile become viral? Well, so far the answer is no, but hopefully someday. Before it could anything I needed to get the XSX. I hadn’t bothered getting one at the time because they were unobtainum. They were constantly sold out, however, I was fortunate enough to find someone selling a brand new in box unit for MSRP + Tax price locally. The total was $550.

Thankfully, I was able to buy 6 in x 6 in billet Aluminum from a local place (Coremark Metals) with no length requirement. So, I bought a 14 inch length for $170.

Taking apart a brand new Xbox was an interesting feeling. I was able to play through most of Halo 5 on it before tearing it down, but it was still only a few weeks old. The tear down was not terribly hard. Most of the screws were hidden behind something like stickers on the back or the bottom disk. In fact, removing the bottom disk was the most difficult part of disassembly. I think the tolerances for the clips were a bit over as it was nearly pressed fit in there. I had to use a screwdriver to push against it while twisting. The rest was easy enough. There is multiple plastic parts that hold the buttons, USB, and Bluray drive that required some careful prying as they were glued down.

Redesigning the case was really straightforward. I took the opportunity to a small redesign and improvement of the bottom. I got rid of the bottom disk and instead designing built in circular feet and added additional holes.

At first I was going to reuse the stock back panel, but I decided against it. It would have required some special slot milling for the lip of the panel to slide in and likely some clipping of the clips. Instead, I designed an all new back panel with custom hole patterns and additional holes going up along the aluminum encasing the XSX boards. Improving thermals was never a goal, but I did take the opportunity to potentially help improve airflow.

The top is very much like the stock XSX with it’s 144 holes and curved cut out. I did my best to recreate this feature. That being said, I’m not quite sure how a draw such a perfect circular yet square cutout. I ended up just doing a draft cut between a small circle and square and then use a big radius fillet on the edges. It’s nearly the same.

The front didn’t change much other than I took all that blank space and engraved the Master Chief from Halo 2. It’s so much easier said then done, I spent over a full day creating a useable DXF file from the Halo artwork. Then when I went to use the DXF file in Autodesk Fusion 360, there was just too many lines and nodes and it would crash. I ended up importing it in Solidworks, creating my feature on a sheet of the same size in Fusion, and exporting that 3D file into Fusion to create a CAM program. The program for the engraving was separate from the other program.

Having a separate program wasn’t the only CAM program I ran across. To do the top I had to create a new Fusion file and get rid of the 144 holes. To achieve the 3D milling operation I was using a 1/2″ Ball Endmill and Fusion wanted to ever so slightly cut down into each hole. I then had to go back to the original file and have a separate operation for the holes. I actually did all the holes first before doing the 3D profiling.

To achieve cutting all the way down into a 6 inch piece of Aluminum, we bought a special 8inch long 1/2 inch Carbide Endmill. I first created my program to cut down as deep as possible with a shorter 3/4″ Endmill, then a longer 3/4″ Endmill, and finally switching to the long 1/2 inch. The 1/2 was need to make the smaller corner radii. Doing this switching of the tools to get to the bottom was a challenge. After the first tool change, the mill had to be homed, moved over the pocket, and then insert the tool. If you tried homing again the tool would break. This meant I had to have new the Z axis zero out where the prior tool stopped, and there’s no great way to do this in Fusion 360. I first tried playing with the different clearance heights and such but it wasn’t playing very nice with the material stock settings. I chose to create a new file and cut the model where the prior tool would stop. It made the stock and clearance settings easier to deal with. I had to do this twice. Altogether to complete this project I had 4 different 3D models.

I did 3D print the new case in two halves to verify fitment.

Now it was time to finally machine. To hold this big piece of aluminum, we machined a custom vise clamp that spanned and mounted to two vises. The material (when standing up) sat between the two vises on the bed and was clamped from the front and back. The sides were able to clamp in the vise. There was a good week, at least 40 hours, of of straight machining to complete the case. I’m happy to say it went without issue other than making a massive mess on our open Mill.

After machining, it was time to cut the back panels. Before I could started I found that the water pump for my K40 was not working anymore. Thankfully, I was able to find a submersible pond pump with similar GPH at my local hardware store (Menards) for $18. I cut the back panel out of 3/32″ Acrylic on my K40 CO2 laser cutter. The first one I cut out of transparent red and I didn’t like how the red looked when held up to the aluminum; it created a weird brownish/greenish color. It went with transparent green and that was the right choice. It was also very difficult trying to keep heat to minimum while cutting out all the holes. The majority of the holes were all contained in one area and the K40 Whisperer Software doesn’t have any cutting option to reduce heat like seen on Fiber Laser/Plasma Cutter nesting software. This option bounces around the holes over the part as to not cut in one area the whole time. I kept pausing the program and putting a fan on the piece to try to keep it cool. I still ran into issues with warping. I cut a couple plates, and on my third plate there was wonderful popping sound followed by the breaker killing power my whole nerd lab. The PSU fan no longer spins up and the K40 isn’t recognized by my computer anymore. I took a look at the tube and it looks “fine” but I haven’t delved into fixing it all yet. I’m so happy I was able to get a usable back panel.

All that was left was assembly. I glued in my plastic mounting parts I pried out previously and put the guts inside.

I’ve played on it extensively now and can confidently report that there is no issue with heat. Many comments were about heat, but, we need to remember that most of our electronics are mounted metal enclosures. I’ve found no degradation of wireless/Bluetooth connectivity. I thought I might, but haven’t.

The end result is the coolest Xbox I have ever seen. It’s really phenomenal. I’m not a good enough videographer to fully capture how awesome it looks. Please check out the video to see and subscribe if you haven’t already!

Custom Nintendo Switch Dock made out of Aluminum

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This is Modified’s very first project! I was pretty excited to work on something for the Nintendo Switch.

I don’t particularly care for the stock Switch Dock. Why? Two main reasons:

  1. Size
  2. Cable Locations

First off, the size: it completely covers the front the screen of Switch. Although, there is no current stock way to play the on the Switch’s screen when docked; you wouldn’t be able to regardless! By making the Dock smaller, should this feature be added, I’ll have the ability to play this way. It is also easier to insert the Switch into the Dock.

Now, the cable locations for the Dock are just fine if you are one of the very few that put their Dock/Switch sideways, however, I don’t think that was ever the intended use. I, personally, have my Dock orientated so the Switch’s screen is facing out. When using the stock Dock, the Ethernet, HDMI, Power, and USB all come out of the side. The cables have to wrap around to the front or back. I find the engineering behind this choice a little strange, however, it does all the dock to be potentially cheaper. Otherwise, vertical mount connectors would have to be used and those are in lesser demand thus less quantity made equaling a higher cost for the part. The connectors used are more readably available.

I remedy this by laying the board flat and rotating it 90 degrees. This allowed the USB to come out of the front, and the other connectors out of the back. It is so much cleaner and easier to use. I can plug a USB cable in without having to remove the Switch, pick up the dock, pop out the plastic cover, plug in the cable, put the cover back on, and put the Switch back in. I don’t really see any of the HDMI or power cables either (other than my less than stellar cable management giving them away ha). With having the two USB A ports sticking out of the front, I was forced to mount the spring loaded USB C mechanism above the circuit board.

After tearing apart the Dock and doing some measuring, I did have one design requirement: I had a scrap chunk of Aluminum I needed to fit everything inside of. It was more than tall enough, however, the length and width was cutting it close. The PCB just barely fit. The front wall ended up a hair under 0.050. I was worried about how that was going to machine, and if you look closely enough in the video you’ll see some unfortunate vibration as it was machining. We tried fly cutting it, but that appeared to actually make it slightly worse. Thankfully, it’s not too noticeable. The rest machined largely without issue, other than having to use a long 1/2″ end mill to do the slot where the Switch fits. There was some minor tool deflection.

The rest of the Dock did not have any design challenges and turned out really well. When it came to machining there was a few

For the back, I put in a few holes for “some” airflow. I haven’t put a probe in there to measure heat, but considering the stock dock doesn’t much if any airflow those may not have been necessary. The whole Dock is a big heatsink anyways! Also on the back, I programmed a cool 45 degree facing operation. This created a really cool look.

The front features an engraving of the Switch and Nintendo logos. I took the opportunity to have some fun, and dot in the “i” in Nintendo lights up green when the Dock is use. I was able to use the stock LED board with a little wrapping of Kapton tape and silicon. There has been a lot of comments about Nintendo coming after me, but this is a one-time only for personal use creation. It’s not for sale. Nintendo isn’t going to bother with anything.

The bottom features a clear acrylic panel I cut on my K40 laser. I love being able to see the guts!

The Dock turned out really well, and I hope you think so too! I believe it’s the first Switch Dock to be made out of Aluminum, have USB out of the front, and definitely the heaviest!

Please check out the video to see the Dock’s creation and subscribe if you haven’t already.