Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Pimping my Mac update

Tuesday while in the Cool Spring area, I stopped into three pet stores, Bed & Bath, Linens & Things and Hobby Lobby in search of a vase or starter aquarium kit I could install in my Macintosh Plus retrofitted as a Mac Aquarium. No such luck, as the the starter kits were too big or the vases were in round configurations.

It appears that I will have to construct the tank in the size specified:

8 1/4" wide x 9 9/16" tall and 9 1/2" deep

After stopping by Lowes, they don't do angled cuts, plus the glass is not 1/4" thick but rather regular pane glass for doors. The clerk helping me used to build aquariums, so we had a nice chat about the type of fish to use - not goldfish, they are messy to clean up after - but neon tetras since they are easy to care for and I can have 5 or more in the same container.

His advice was to go to a custom glass shop to get the glass I need, rather than using plexiglass.

Tonight, while washing clothes and using the top of the dryer as a work surface, the cutting commenced. All of the protrutions had to be cut away so that the finished tank will be flushed with the faceplate.

Having the proper tools makes the work easy, especially a Dremel Tool with cutting wheels. I felt like a dental intern cutting away on some poor patient's mouth.

I cannot stress enough that safety glasses are a must! A hot piece of plastic jumped right into my nostril and it was the most non sensual sensation I've ever experienced. So being careful and sober is just flat out smart.

I also cut away the handle part on the top of the case. Most illustrations I've seen on the web included cutting the entire top off. I wanted to retain as much of the Macintosh case as possible while having an adequate opening for fish access and a lamp on top. Using a flat jack saw and mini hacksaw made the work easy.

I've probably spent three hours on the actual gutting and cutting on the Macintosh. Next steps are to build the tank and get all the accessories for a aquarium!

If you want to follow along and see the process of building a Mac Aquarium, I've found a new illustrated resource by Jim Lowry.

Neon Tetra photo source


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