MacMidi
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Specs
  • Motherboard and associated Powerbook Ti innards
  • 500Mhz
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • AirPort card


Supplies


Process

Part 1 - Cutting the pieces

Essentially, the case is made of two sheets of white acrylic, bolted together by socket countersunk screws. I’ve used 15mm chrome pipe as the four spacers between the acrylic sheet. The perforated steel was cut to my specifications by a very helpful chap found on eBay. Cutting the CD drive slot was a little tricky, as was drilling the power button hole, but once done they seem to function ok.

Part 2 - Struggles with the optical drive

Manuevering the motherboard into place with all of the drives etc. attached is a bit of a struggle. The CD drive doesn’t like having pressure applied to the top of it’s case. The tolerances inside the slim drive are so tight, even the slightest deformation of the case will have a detrimental effect (i.e. I broke one!).

Part 3 - Extending, drilling, sawing & fililng

I ditched the naff PowerBook speakers which meant utilising the original headphone socket, which like the PCMCIA slot faces down. So I fitted an extension cable with a right angle plug to move the port to the back. The power button also had to be moved- I just soldered on extended leads. Cutting the slot in the perforated steel was a challenge and required drilling, jigsawing and filing.

Part 4 - You thought there was a lid there, didn't you ...

But... by far the biggest snag was finding a way to force the PowerBook to believe that it’s lid was closed and make it run in external monitor mode. Initially, because there was no lid/chassis attached, it would run in dual monitor mode, displaying on the internal screen which wasn’t connected. Switching to mirror mode doesn’t help because the external monitor resolution is then limited to the same as the built-in display.

The only way around this was to reconnect the trackpad and glue a tiny magnet (I actually used a small redundant one from inside the PowerBook) over the sensor which lets the machine know the lid is closed. A USB keyboard, mouse and monitor must be connected other wise the machine closes itself down.


Final Thoughts

The machine has it’s own built-in UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) because it still retains the original laptop battery. The machine runs much cooler, thanks to all the extra space. So you could add a much bigger heat sink/fan and overclock it (I didn’t).

The apple logo was added by cutting a mask template from masking tape, spraying the exposed area with cellulose car paint and then carefully removing the mask.


Additional Images
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