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Thread: AMD Guitar PC

  1. #1

    AMD Guitar PC

    So a few months back, AMD approached me about building a PC into an acoustic guitar. After some email correspondence and an informative phone call, we settled on TWO acoustic guitars that will be on display along with a modded drum set (done by another modder). These guitar PCs would be powered by AMD's newest FM2 series APU which just launched. Being under NDA, I couldn't divulge any part of the work in progress until now.
    So without further adieu, I present the AMD Guitar PC build log!

    Once the concept was finalized, I immediately set out to find some inexpensive donor guitars I could mod. However, all the guitars I came across in the local classifieds and on places like ebay and craigslist were still fairly pricey, and it was impossible to find two exactly the same. So I turned to other online sources and found an unassembled guitar kit for $150. The body was unfinished and no hardware mounted. A perfectly clean slate to start with!

    Here's a quick shot of some components that will be going into the guitars...

    First thing was to cut out the back to gain access to the inside. I took my compass and scribed a cut line about 1/4" from the edge.

    I used my jigsaw to cut through the back. The material is fairly thin so I used a very high tpi blade for a smooth cut.

    With the back opened up, I could see all the reinforcement the body has. Most of this will have to be removed to make room for all the hardware.

    But along with removing material, I had to add more back in for strength and for securing the back piece back on! So six blocks were glued in so the back could be screwed back on.

    After some logistical planning, I decided that most of the hardware will be mounted on the back panel, so it would be easy to take apart. So I started marking out component placement, and adding spacers and more bracing.

    Here's the slot-loading DVD drive in place.

    After positioning the drive, I could make the cut for the slot.

    Some filing and sanding, and the disc fits nicely through the guitar wall.

    I cut out a piece of sheet aluminum for the motherboard tray, which also helps keep the DVD drive in place.

    ECS provided the motherboards for this project. Here I'm placing their new A75 board which is just narrow enough to fit inside the guitar body.

    A close up of the DVD drive sandwiched nicely underneath the tray.

    The SSD drive is also mounted underneath the motherboard tray. Notches were cut in the bracing, and wood blocks were added to keep it from sliding around.

    Next up, I'll show the modifications I had to do to the power supply, and subsequent wiring.

    This project is brought to you by:
    Last edited by Boddaker; 10-12-2012 at 03:54 PM.

  2. #2
    For power, I was originally going to use a 120w picoPSU due to the tight space constraints. However, after finding out which motherboard I was to be installing, I instead opted for this 1U 250w server power supply. But of course I'll need to modify it to work within the guitar body and still be able to plug it in.

    There was no room to mount the psu with the back directly facing outward as on a standard PC, so I'll be mounting it internally. Which means I need to remove the power plug from the PSU, and extend the wires so the plug can be fixed to the bottom of the guitar body. And this way, it will look similar to how an electric guitar uses a 1/4" audio jack to plug into the amplifier.

    Here's the power plug taken out of the psu.

    All three wires were cut, and the connector spliced in with longer wires. I made a small notch in the psu cover to allow the wires to come out the side.

    Hole cut in the bottom of the guitar shell to fit the power plug. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the plug installed. However you can see the finished result in one of the final pics.

    To mount the psu onto the back panel, I had to fabricate a bracket to utilize the stock mounting screw locations on the back. After measuring and cutting out a paper template, I transferred the shape onto alu sheet, and cut it out.

    Here it is with the bends and the fan hole.

    The back panel got some more wood bracing glued down that will hold the psu. The bracket will be screwed down onto them as well.

    Here's the PSu mounted in place.

    And finally, an overall shot with the motherboard. Keep in mind I need to do everything twice, since I'm making two guitars. So it was off to make another bracket just like this one!

    Next I'll show how I incorporated the power/reset buttons and IO ports.

    This project is brought to you by:

  3. #3
    These guitars won't be playable since they won't have any strings. However, I still wanted some playability in them. So I installed an 8" LCD touch screen where the sound hole is, in hopes that there would be a musical program available similar to that guitar app I've seen on some smart phones.

    Here's the back of the LCD, placed over the sound hole. I glued some blocks down on each corner so it wouldn't move side to side, then I screwed a metal tab to each one to secure the screen. Once again I neglected to take a pic of that. Tight deadlines always mean fewer pics lol.

    Here's a shot of the front, testing the monitor while installing the OS. I had widened the sound hole a bit to match the screen's height, but there will be some areas that won't be seen. Unavoidable when fitting a rectangular shape behind a round hole lol. At least I made sure not to get the widescreen version!

    There was no way to orient the motherboard so the IO ports faced the edge since everything is curved, so I had to run extension cables out to the side of the guitar. I purchased a set of Fractal Design front IO ports from Newegg, which include 2 USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA port. Along with that, I got a 6" HDMI extension cable for the guitar's video output. Lit power and reset buttons complete the panel.

    After getting the positioning down, I traced out the port shapes and started cutting them out. First step was to drill out some starter holes.

    Since the sides of the guitars were so thin, I could carve most of the material out with an xacto knife. Then file the remainder out to the lines.

    To mount the ports, I glued together some pieces of plywood, then fashioned a metal hold-down to keep the ports secure.

    Then I glued the wooden piece to the inner sidewall.

    Ports in place and fitting nicely.

    Here's a finished shot of the IO port area.

    For exhaust, I installed some 80mm fans at the top, one on each side of the neck. For the first guitar, I went with some mesh for the fans.

    Here's a shot of the back. The mesh was bent flat and held in place by hot glue. You can also see the metal tabs that hold the LCD screen in place.

    A shot of the fans in place. They are wedged in place behind the LCD blocks, so I only needed one metal tab to hold the fans down on one corner.

    For the second guitar, I decided to do something different, and cut wide slots with rounded ends. Using a simple hack saw blade made quick work of the side wall.

    In retrospect, I should have done this on both guitars! I love how this looks, and it was easier to do than the mesh.

    Next update will cover the final touches, and front fillagree designs.

    This project is brought to you by:

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Detroit, MI
    Man you come up with the craziest mods man, Still like the Tron Light Cycle better.....

  5. #5
    Hehe thanks Heretic1977.

    Finishing things up internally! Here's a couple shots of the final assembly on the ECS A85 board, with everything mounted to the back panel.

    I took this earlier in the week as I was testing the hardware and installing the OS. This is the A75 board.

    For the designs on the front face, I wanted to do some custom inlay work, but there just wasn't enough time. So I came up with an idea for a faux inlay, masking off areas and using a dark stain. But since the stain soaks into the wood, I found it also seeped under the masking on this piece of scrap during a test.

    After testing a bit more, I found that if I used the stain a bit more sparingly, that it eliminated the bleeding. The only drawback of that was it didn't darken the wood very much.

    So after I drew out the design using a combination of a couple fillagree templates I found at the local craft store, I proceeded to cut it out with an Xacto knife. Placing the guitar body on a free-spinning turntable really helped in cutting out the curvy designs.

    After a few coats of stain, I pulled off the masking to see how it came out. Not as dark as I'd hoped, but good enough to show the design.

    The result:

    Here's the other design after a couple coats of polyurethane:

    And the first design done...

    Tomorrow I'll post the final pics. Thanks for reading!

    This project is brought to you by:

  6. #6
    Ok here's the final pics! Enjoy!

    I'll add more pics as I find them online, or if AMD sends me some shots of the guitars on display during the Austin City Limits Music Festival last weekend.

    This project is brought to you by:

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