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Thread: AzTtec-The Keyboard and the Mouse

  1. #1

    AzTtec-The Keyboard and the Mouse

    I didn't quite get my contest submission in for the KB/Mouse competition.

    But, I was approached by Shannon (Tt-Enthusiasts, if you didn't already know, a great guy) who told me nonetheless, they'd be happy to provide me with a KB and mouse of my choice to give a shot at making complimentary pieces for my AzTtec mod.

    He sent me the Challenger Pro

    And the Standard Black mouse

    Both of them I have played with and they are of exceptional quality. It's almost a shame to tear them open and mod them... almost.

    He gave me the units quite some time ago and I've only just now been able to start in on them. I think it's all going quite well at the moment though and I should have them done in only a few short days. The idea is to have them available at the CES in Vegas which, as many of us know, is only next month!

    Taking it apart was fairly easy. The keys popped right off with my fingers, they do provide you with a key puller, but I just pulled them off by hand anyway, it's a tiny bit faster.

    The mouse was a bit tricky, but again it's all just press fit together, you just have to work on the thing to pop it apart.

    I did some back cutting on the foam to get it to fit the funky contours of the mouse and the KB parts.

    And I did the same thing with the keys, but it's all pretty routine to me by now.
    the work is flowing and it's like I never stopped using this stuff.

    I had to back cut the keys.

    Then separate them from each other after the glue dried.

    File and shape them, kind of doing that randomly, I don't want it too polished.

    And after patching up any minor errors that comes from doing what I just did 104 times... I set them aside for carving time later.

    I also back cut the mouse, it's curves are more pronounced and I'm going back to angular/block style to make another
    Quetzalcoatl type head.

    ***Also I'll drop in some boxing procedure pics of the AzTtec mod. I did use the original box, but heavily modified. ***

    My mod does fit, but the front and sides rub on the cardboard so I started by cutting the box down it's corners to "flower" open it so to speak.

    Then I could extend the bits apart a couple inches to allot for new packaging foam. This is a combination of original foam bits, saved molded packing foam bits from other things (I don't throw them away), and some soft and easily compressible "furniture" type foam. It all looks and feels pretty tight and secure now. It should arrive in one piece!

    I used the pullover idea (it's my old LCD TV cover bag). Thermaltake's cover that came on it originally still fit; but the material gets caught up in the foam, they aren't compatible.

    My local UPS store had a box big enough to house the modified Tt box easily, and with room at the top left over.

    Plenty of room to fit the keyboard and mouse!

    I'll post more tomorrow, I will not be working on it on Christmas, we have guests or something and I need to clean up my mess... oh well, It should be done before the new year anyway. Hopefully before my next project arrives fr me to start on on Tuesday the 27th (haha).

    Thanks for looking, and Happy Holidays to all!

  2. #2

    AzTtec-The Keyboard and the Mouse

    Okay, here's the mouse. I'm hoping that on painting and details I can cover any defects I created. It's tough covering something with so many compound curves with a straight board-hard material.

    But I still have all 5 buttons covered and working.

    The keyboard I'm kind of at odds with. I carved every key, and some bas-relief stuff along the hand rest area. But I kinda like the upper part plain. I may just make a brick/block pattern on the upper area, but I don't think I'll go carve-crazy.

    The stuff I've found, that works right out of a can seems to be a type of thinned down varnish. It does in one coat exactly what I needed it to.

    I tested it out on a piece of scrap, there's no melting/warpage at all. I have 4 places on the test board. The top is uncoated, and then each level there is from one to three coats. I tested every one afterward with a finger nail scratch test. The second and third coats do add a marginal increase in protection over a single coat, but then you begin to fill in the foam structure itself and it loses it's stone-like texturing. So it looks like one coat is going to be sufficient.

    That's all for the moment, I'll sit and look at it for about a day and decide if I want to do more carving or just get into paint and detail to finish it soon.

    Thanks for looking,


  3. #3

    AzTtec-The Keyboard and the Mouse

    wow man, just wow....

  4. #4

    AzTtec-The Keyboard and the Mouse

    Brilliant key carving there Dan. Love it!

  5. #5

    AzTtec-The Keyboard and the Mouse

    love the keyboard, amazing detail!

  6. #6

    AzTtec-The Keyboard and the Mouse

    Thanks guys. Word to the unwise, to make you wiser. I was smart enough to test that wood varnish stuff out on the foam, and it does make the foam much more resilient. But conversely, it melts the crap out of the plastics associated with all the parts I'm playing with. So I spent a few needless hours cutting some of the keyboard keys apart with an exacto blade, scraping off excess liquidy plastic parts, things like that.

    But the good news is, although the damage is permanent, it's mostly hidden within the units.

    Base coat is done, and tomorrow I'll top coat it, and the wires, then re-assemble everything and test them. It should be good, and hopefully ready for shipping on Friday. Which is cutting it too damn close.

  7. #7

    AzTtec-The Keyboard and the Mouse

    Okay folks!

    I DID end up scratching out a few more designs along the top bar. It just didn't feel right looking so plain up there. (And I missed the UPS guy dropping off another case project (COMING SOON!), so I got to spend a bit of extra time on it.

    It looks better. I didn't get around to attaching the little nifty keyboard fan. So I left it alone. No biggie, it's not missed.

    And then the same painting techniques I used during the creation of the case, dark basecoat, and yellow ochre drybrushing.
    Not to mention the moss additions in tiny spots. It helps cover mistakes and it really rounds out the authentic look.

    The keyboard pics were a bit out of focus, but such is life shooting indoors in San Francisco when it's super foggy outside.
    The mouse pics came out a lot better.

    It looked really cool lit up too, Alas those pictures must come later, as I already boxed up the whole package and shipped it off to Shannon @ Thermaltake. It still gets a trip to be featured at the CES Vegas show and I ws cutting the deadline kinda close.

    Again, I have had such a pleasure doing this whole project, and all your wonderfully positive comments on it, guys and gals.

    I hope that I can recreate the same fun and enthusiasm in my future modding ventures.

    **Thus endeth the next chapter of AzTtec - The Mod **

    Thanks for looking!


  8. #8

    AzTtec-The Keyboard and the Mouse

    Dude this is beyond amazing. You have got some real talent and should be making huge money with it.

    Everyone I show this to, and your case, are blown away.

    Great job on it. 8-)

  9. #9

    AzTtec-The Keyboard and the Mouse

    Thanks a ton man! I only hope my next project can work out as well.

  10. #10

    AzTtec-The Keyboard and the Mouse

    im happy looking this! just perfect! congrats

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