Posted on March 06 2017
1. Who are you and where are you from? How many mods have you made now? How many year have you spent on modding?
Well, I’m Dave Cathey, but I usually go by InsolentGnome in the modding world, and I’m from Hallsville, Missouri USA, just about the middle of the continental US. The Twelve-80 is my seventh mod so far, but I do have two more on the workbench right now and another in planning. Although I’ve messed around with computers forever, I really got into modding a little over two years ago. Two years and two months since I entered my first contest to build my first mod to be exact.
2. How did your family and friends react to your decision to be a case modder?
I think they were all a bit confused, and still are a bit. It’s a very niche hobby and not something a lot of people see or know about. To most of them, a computer is a beige or black box on their desk or a laptop and that’s it. I always have to use the car analogy. Case modding is a lot like hot rodding a car, some people are fine with stock, others want something a little nicer or cooler or faster.
3. What inspires you to create ‘Twelve-80 – KRAIT GAMING Edition’ project?
I was originally planning an open, display type design out of acrylic, but I wasn’t really happy with that since a lot of other people have done it, and done it well. So I started brainstorming different shapes and designs for a case and this sort of decagon just stood out to me. It was different and the multiple sides and angles gave it some complexity while being really simple.
The case is 2mm aluminum and only has three pieces, the motherboard tray, the bottom tray and the outer shell. The rough total for the bends in the outer shell is 1280 degrees, which is where the Twelve-80 gets its name.
In the end, I just really liked the shape. It spoke to me, haha!
4. How much time do you spend on this mod? Which part is the most challenging?
I probably put 60 hours or so into it. I tried to make myself work on it at least a couple hours a day since I had a short time frame to work in. Two things really stand out as being challenging. First, the design, fitting everything in and making sure the design would work before I started the fabrication. The second challenge was the paint. Getting the black to shine like that took a lot of sanding and polishing, and then some more polishing. It was totally worth it, even though it made the final photos a pain with all the glare and reflections.
5. What feature of it are you most proud of?
On this mod, really the overall design is what I’m proudest of. None of the fabrication was really cutting edge or crazy, in fact it was pretty simple. But I think the design is flexible and could be adapted to different hardware or finishes that could completely change the character of the case. In this guise, it’s definitely a gaming rig, but with a polished aluminum finish and more subdued hardware, it wouldn’t be out of place in an office setting. That versatility is what I’m proud of.
6. How is the modding scene in USA?
Alive but scattered. The biggest problem here is geography. There are strong pockets of modding here and there, but everybody is just so far apart, it makes it hard to meetup with other modders and meet new people who are interested in modding.
7. Any suggestion for beginner modders?
To borrow Nike’s catchphrase, just do it! Even if it’s just a little hacking to make something fit, putting some graphics on your case, or putting a custom backplate on a graphics card, you’ve got to start somewhere. Once you make that first step, you’ve got something to build on and the next steps come easier, even though they might be a bit more work.
Don’t be afraid of learning. With every build I’m adding some new idea I picked up or learned, either from someone’s build log, asking and talking with other modders, or just plain old researching the net because I wanted to do something new or needed to learn a technique to pull off what I had in mind.
Don’t worry about what other people are doing. I think a lot of would be modders don’t jump into modding because the level of builds anymore is crazy. They see pictures from a competition or in a magazine and they think that they could never do anything like it so they don’t even try. What you’ve got to realize is those builds are the goal, not the starting point. You can’t start out comparing yourself with a BS Mods, or Bill Owen, or L3P, but you can definitely set your sights on them.
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