Building with bamboo
Bamboo has a variety of uses. It's the main food of the giant panda and has also been known to nourish lemurs and mountain gorillas; bamboo is an ingredient of traditional Chinese medicine; and its strength allows it to be used in various forms of construction, to name just a few of its applications around the world.
For modder Dave Cathey (otherwise known as InsolentGnome around the web), bamboo represented the missing piece in giving his case mod that special something to sets it apart from the rest.
He started with an Inferno Red Antec P380 case, a chassis he was drawn to by its outer panels.
"I wasn't 100 percent positive what I was going to do with it. I did some tests of grinding patterns in aluminum and then painting it with candy paint, which was cool, but it didn't really suit me. Then I remembered I had a sheet of bamboo veneer that I had been hanging on to, and I decided to try it," Dave told Maximum PC.
Try it he did, and what he ended up with was a mod he calls Shinai, named after a bamboo weapon that's used in martial arts, commonly to practice Japanese sword fighting.
It almost wasn't to be. Dave originally had the intention of making an "awesome scratch built wood case" some four or five years ago, but never got the gumption. He had been hanging onto the bamboo ever since and at one point it nearly became a bathroom countertop. But it wasn't until he conceived Shinai that he finally put it to use. We're glad he did!
Flip through the gallery to see more of his sweet looking mod, check out his build log (opens in new tab), and sound off in the comments section!.
Once Dave figured out he could get the bamboo to stick to aluminum (he used a heat-activated adhesive made for veneers), "it was off to the races," he says. You can see how nice the front and top panels turned out in the picture above.
The first thing Dave did was gut the inside of the Antec P380 to fit a pair of 360mm Hardware Labs liquid-cooling radiators. He also fashioned a new motherboard panel, one that he made out of acrylic and covered in bamboo veneer to the hold the pattern.
If you look close, you can see the pass-throughs made of aluminum tubes. Dave used a bar brazed in the middle to lengthen them to fit the cables. As for the power supply visible in the lower-left corner, its cover is aluminum and veneer with a perforated aluminum side to match the exterior details of the case.
There's no window on the right side of Antec's P380, so Dave cut out one of his own and used it to show off three OCZ Vector 180 SSDs. They're mounted to an aluminum bar that's raised off the tray by some standoffs, giving them the effect of floating in air.
Here's another look at the right side, this time with the side panel removed. You can also see here the clean motherboard cutout and careful attention paid to cable management, even on a part of the case that will spend most of its time hidden from spying eyes.
The finished mod is a sight to behold. It's also a rather capable PC consisting of an Intel Core i7-4790K processor (Devil's Canyon), Asus Maximus VII Hero motherboard, 16GB of GeIL RAM, Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics card, and Cooler Master V1200 power supply. Water cooling is a mix of EK blocks, pump, fans, Primochill reservoir and tubing, and Monsoon fittings.