The Humidor II

Nov 12th, 2002

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Style and elegance has never been used to describe a computer until now.  Desktop humidors have been gracing the desks of the worlds most ambitious and successful for generations.  Regardless of your thoughts on smoking, the wooden decorative box is a hit on any desk.  Thousand dollar French humidors, Chippendale, original pre-embargo Cuban-made and the such.  I think it's possible to re-make one of these beautiful boxes into a stylish and elegant office tool.  They were originally designed to occupy desk space and make a statement about the owners' life-style and aloof-ness.  They still can.


This glasstop variety is an exercise in the excess that is case modding.  Solid tops can come with a key so it won't accidentally expose it's raw tech.  How many people out there see three suits with their hands behind their back peering down into the glowing abyss?   Enjoy!






 Posing in our "go to work attire".  Opportunity to quote amazing details: 

      12 Volt DC motors (3)

      2 ft of 1/4" cable mesh

      1 1/2 ft of 1/2" cable mesh

      40mm finger guard (chrome)

      60mm finger guard (chrome)

      And lots of other gruesome details. 





Posing with our skirt over our head.  The small green circuit board attached to the lid are the guts of an Orinoco USB Silver Client.  Yes, 802.11b shooting through the glass-top.  I installed the Windows XP Pro software with the wireless hardware attached.  After the install, the equipment was working perfectly with my home WLAN.  The aromatic scent of Spanish cedar hits the senses as the lid is opened.






Close-up of Vantec ThermoFlow.  Serious overkill, but I like it.  The speed of the fan is automatically controlled by temperature sensor on the outlet side of the fan.  It is working as an extraction fan.  I mounted the fan inside out by attaching the fan to the outside of the mounting bracket on the PSU.  The original fan was much thinner and mounted inside the PSU.  Got a chance to play with cable mesh including the Velcro variety.  I like the look as opposed to those brightly colored candy twists you see in most case mods. 






Nice inside shot showing the Logitech wireless base station removed from on top of the PSU.  Velcro of course.  First step in the PSU removal sequence.






Tail end of PSU brick being lifted up to clear cables then....






The 95W PSU comes up and out then rests on the table without anything being disconnected!  The PSU has two 4-pin connectors and one floppy-style connector.






Unfinished inside interface opening.  The height of the PSU opening is 3/4" taller than it needs to be.  This creates a "slot" underneath the electrical box, which passes cables and air.  The motherboard is mounted sideways so that the cables have to make an immediate right turn to exit out under the PSU. 






This is what I call the money shot.  It shows the cabling and routing in detail.  The extra long wireless receiver cable was wound up and stowed.  Hard drive to the left.  Tip of LED light at forefront of picture.  ThermalTake memory cooler to the right.  I especially like the mesh fit over the USB light.  I didn't pull it all the way past the bulb.  Instead I left excess mesh around the light, which creates a more subtle effect.






Back door shot.  This has been my most challenging design idea.   A single rectangular cut in the back of a wooden box, such as the size of this 75ct humidor, solved the problem.  It doesn't matter if the EPIA-M has a different connector layout.  It also allows me to pursue the umbilical style of cable system management.






Four cables coming out through cable mesh merging with the power cable. They form a single cable drop back behind the desk.  I've seen my share of people who cringe and shudder at the sight behind their computers.  They become faint at the sight of messy cables.  I'm working on a black leather Velcro secured cable organizer to cover the initial drop between the desk and wall.  It should have the illusion of one friendly cable connecting to the piece from someplace behind the desk.  The five exiting cables are power, USB, sound, video and Ethernet.






Dollhouse wood doorframe used as molding around the interface.






Wireless setup semi-installed to illustrate cable routing.






"All manner of bright whirly things to impress my people" says the technically challenged executive. The blue LED light is not well represented in these shots. I have it aimed at the center of the CPU cooling fan causing an eerie blue glow from the depths of the piece.






The handy integrated hygrometer is working overtime to keep me informed.  Blue glow is represented but weakened/distorted by camera flash.