I could swear that for the last 10 years I have wanted to get into adding LEDs and cutting windows inside gaming consoles but never found the drive to go through with it. I remember that about 10 years back I started buying retro games off ebay en-masse and at the same time started looking at doing things like Controller LED mods, PC LED modding and many more things involving a rotary tool and a soldering iron. After watching videos on doing mods to original Xboxes and Playstation 2s I had finally decided that I will do it. As I watched these videos I realized how many of the tools they were using I had already acquired but never fully used. I bought a rotary tool that I wanted to use for cutting the guides out of universal game cases but decided to use pliers instead. Haven’t touched it since. Lots of stories like that exist where I bought an overkill-tool for a minimal job. However, thanks to the videos I watched, I finally decided to use them for what they were intended for
So What’s The Plan?
Couple of years ago a coworker gave me 3 original xboxes, two controllers, and one av/power setup. One of the consoles has an Xcecutor chip in it, the other is soft modded and the third is broken. I figured, let’s take the chipped one and do something with that. I intend on cutting a window in it, exposing the DVD drive. Paint schematic will be with the “X” in purple and the remaining body in white. The controller ports will glow Purple as well as the DVD Drive will have purple LEDs showing the spinning disk. I am not sure if I will incorporate any decals into it but I may with the other two Xboxes. So to recap:
- Cut window above DVD Drive on the outer shell
- Cut window into DVD Drive without obstructing mechanical functions
- Paint the Console (Incl the DVD Drive Cover)
- LED Mod the Controller ports
- LED Mod the DVD Drive
- Add a Larger Hard drive (1TB SATA Converted)
- Do something with the Jewel
Let’s “Cut. It. Out!”
First time cutting a hole in something with a rotary tool but lucky for me the set I bought a decade ago had all the cutting, sanding and buffing wheels I needed. I started with drawing a rough outline of what I wanted and cut straight by eye which went surprisingly well. Sanding out the cut allowed me to make it look a bit more even. Can’t stress enough the need for safety gear here. Wear a hoodie, gloves and safety googles. Maybe a hat too if you want. I had my first disc break apart as I wasn’t using it right.
After sanding the cuts down nicely and rounding the edges I got a comment from an experienced modder on Instagram stating I needed to clean up the cuts a bit which I obliged to. However it was time to cut the metal casing of the DVD drive at this point where I learned another important lesson.
This cut took almost 40 minutes because the cutting discs I was using kept breaking. I must’ve broken at least 4 wheels during this cut. I was actually starting to question the reliability of these pack-in cutting wheels. I would say that about every 2cm I was cutting, I was breaking a discs. This was TERRIBLY time consuming and frustrating because I only had a finite amount of discs to do this with. In the end I got through it but the cut didn’t look pretty. It was at this point that I decided I was going to do the same mod to another Xbox as writing in this blog by applying everything I learned from this one to make a better looking and less time consuming mod the second time around.
Lessons learned from this chapter:
- Don’t use cheap cutting wheels. Buy the real shit. Buy Dremmel. You’ll cut your labor in half
- Sanding wheels are not enough. Use 180 grit sandpaper and sand by hand
- Clean up your cuts