BenHeck: Mod Scientist

“It’s really more of a sexual fantasy, Doc.”

Benjamin Heckendorn is a nerd after my own heart. He sees things that are well, and he can’t leave well enough alone. He sees the hidden potential in devices to be smaller, better, faster, stronger (our work is never over). You might say his latest project, Modding an Xbox 360 controller into an Atari joystick, is pointless or that he had no reason for doing it. But why do we do anything? Why do we climb a mountain? Because it’s there. Why do we go to the moon? Because it’s there. Why do we put a 24″ LCD screen into a coffee table? Because they were Josh’s and not mine, so I didn’t care if they got broken.The journey of discovery is it’s own reward.

If you arent familiar with BenHeck‘s work, I urge you to browse his greatest hits, his forum (where users post their own hacks and mods) and check out his podcast. He’s like Michelangelo with a soldering iron. He’s also completed several projects to help enable disabled gamers including a one handed controller and a one arm Guitar Hero solution using a foot pedal to strum.

Before I had a child, my living room, office or garage were typically full of such BenHeck-type projects. With most of them, I just enjoyed the breaking and rebuilding (and rebreaking) parts. Once they were operational I generally lost interest. I’d like to post pictures of them for you guys to check out. Josh has a few on his Flickr. I’ll go ahead and list the rest and update this post if pics get posted.

  • NES PC (building a working Via Motherboard into an NES case)
  • The MULEbox/JuiceBox arcade cabinet
  • Josh’s original Xbox case mod with clear dome and LED lights
  • The LCD Coffee Table That Should Not Be (1,2)

Post your own case mods and hardware hacking projects (or the best ones you’ve seen online) in the comments. Then get a Dremmel tool and ruin/improve those old computers and consoles just lying in your closet. Can we coin the term “ruinprove?”

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  1. Man, that second panel is just pure awesome. I wish I had that coffee table, it is sweet.

    Also I submit that you should tag the comic with "josh wishes for death".

  2. Also wanted to add that you keep impressing me with the quality of the background artwork. I didn't notice the backgrounds of the first two panels until the 3rd time I looked at the comic, but good job, they look terrific.

  3. I like that if you turned the Josh Box 360 around, the head would look just like those nauseating XBox commercials with the back of the heads blown off and tiny little beings living inside – oh, and helicopters buzzing around.

    I really hate those ads. Still, nice touch for the comic.

  4. Sigh… I never knew of Ben… so of course… being the geek I am, I'm reading through all of his mods.

    You know, today is my day off from work, and I think you just ruined it, thanks <.<

  5. "He’s also completed several projects to help enable disabled gamers including a one handed controller and a one arm Guitar Hero solution using a foot pedal to strum."

    This is something I am glad you pointed out; were it not for you mentioning those specific projects, I wouldn't have bothered. Thanks, Joel!

  6. Have you seen the steampunk modern electronics some people have made? Holy cow. Some folks out there have made things such as a desktop computer with almost completely victorian era technology (actual working hardware notwithstanding). Would you replace the mirrorshade stainless steel of your Mac for luxurious stained cherrywood and warm brass?

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