SLIDESHOW

In Pictures: Weird and Wonderful PC Case Mods

Some people hate the boring cases that most PCs come in. And we mean hate. So they take matters into their own hands. Here are ten case mods that take the art form to a whole new level.

The Gerbil PC

The Gerbil PC was built by Florida-based modders Jason Dumbaugh and Mike Lynch. "We searched Salvation Army and Goodwill stores and came across a CritterTrail Gerbil Cage; for $6, we were on our way," Dumbaugh says. "Forty-some hours later (with spare parts from a birdcage we found at a dumpster and various junk from our garage) we installed all of our components into the gerbil cage."

Hypercube

Hypercube was designed and built by Belgian designer Gert Swolfs. "As a fan of Vincenzo Natali, my eye fell on 'Cube,' a 1997 Thriller/Sci-fi cult movie that placed seven complete strangers in an endless Kafkaesque maze designed as a big cube," Swolfs writes. "Could this setting be made into a PC case?" Apparently, it could.

Sangaku

"Sangaku" was designed and built by California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, architecture student Nick Falzone. "'Sangaku' (which means 'mathematics tablet' in Japanese) is the fusion of my passion for furniture making and my fascination with computers and technology," Falzone says at his Web site. "The design is primarily influenced by Japanese lamps and Shoji screens."

BOSS: FX-57

The BOSS: FX-57 was built by 37-year-old part-time computer designer Craig Tate (aka: Tech-Daddy) of Plano, Texas. "BOSS was my attempt to cross-breed high-performance computers and muscle cars," he says. BOSS takes its cues from the 1969 Boss 302 Mustang. "People remember muscle cars, the hot rods, going out and being a grease monkey because you wanted to. I look at computer customization in much the same way: How can you eke out the highest amount of performance and look good doing it?"

The Predicta

The Predicta was built by Dale MacDonald of Onomy Labs in Menlo Park, California. MacDonald fitted an experimental PC inside the housing of an old Philco Predicta television set, a model sold from 1958 to 1960. Not only does the mod revive the svelte design of the old TV, but it also makes use of some of the original parts: The channel changer can be used to perform some mouse functions, and the speaker and volume control still work to output sound.

The CompuBeaver

Los Angeles-based conceptual artist Kasey McMahon packed a full PC into the body of a taxidermied beaver. "What better creature to house the busiest of machines--the machine that has sped up our lives and made us captive to a constant flow of information?" McMahon says. (Want to make your own? Check out McMahon's instructions.)

The Unidyne PC

The Unidyne PC was built by Florida-based designer Jeffrey Stephenson. "The Shure 55 Unidyne microphone is a classic Machine Age design from the thirties; it is so popular that it still being produced and sold today," Stephenson explains. "This custom-built computer is my tribute to this great piece of industrial art."

Spiderman3

Spiderman3 was built by Matthew Fielder, a 24-year-old computer repair technician from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Fielder says: "I have been case modding for four years now and love every minute. For anyone new to case modding, my one tip is that patience always pays off. Take your time and enjoy what you are doing. Mod on."

The ElectriClerk

ElectriClerk was designed and built by Los Angeles-based designer Andrew Leman. "The piece was inspired by the retro-futuristic machines in the movie 'Brazil' by Terry Gilliam," Lemen says. "Despite the ridiculous amount of abuse I subjected it to, and despite the fact that all its components are now exposed to the air, the 1988 Macintosh SE which forms the heart of this piece still works just fine."

Lego PC

The Lego PC is the work of "brick artist" Nathan Sawaya. Sawaya got his first set of Legos for Christmas in 1978, and he's never left them alone since. Sawaya doesn't just build PC cases, like this one commissioned by PC Magazine, he's also formed Legos into things like a 7-foot-long replica of the Brooklyn Bridge, a life-size Tyrannosaurus Rex, and a 6-foot-tall Han Solo frozen in carbonite, as well as mosaics of Alfred Hitchcock and Lindsay Lohan. Check out his work at www.brickartist.com.