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!

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!

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.