Introduction: How to Turn a Millennium Falcon Into a PC!
I wanted to build a unique computer to hook up to my TV to watch movies. I searched the Internet for a while trying to get an idea of what I could make it out of and finally ran across the 1979 Kenner Millennium Falcon. While I was searching I found only a few other people that have modded this, one was a PS3 and a couple were turned into an original Xbox. So as far as I know I'm the first to put a PC inside one of these. It took a little planning and time searching for parts but it finally all came together. There are a few additions I'd like to make in the future: I'd like to add a slot load Blu-ray player, more LEDs, and give it a nice paint job but I'm not in a rush to do them yet. I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I do.
***I guess I should've mentioned this to begin with that I didn't use a Millennium Falcon that was is good shape. I had to give it a bath in bleach to remove a bunch of stains and the smells that went along with them. I had to reinforce the rear feet because they could no longer support it's own weight let alone the weight of a computer inside it. There were also parts missing that I had to find to make it whole again.***
Step 1: Materials Needed
1979 Kenner Millennium Falcon (I kept an eye on eBay for a while so I could get one at a decent price)
Han Solo and Chewbacca Action Figures (I chose the 1978 Kenner Large Head Han Solo so I could use him as the power switch and used the 1977 Kenner Chewbacca, I also found these guys on eBay)
Mini ITX motherboard (I used Foxconn H67S LGA 1155)
CPU (I used Intel Core i3-2100T I chose this one because it's low profile and doesn't stick up as high as the normal version.)
PSU (I used picoPSU-160-XT and 192w AC-DC Power Adapter, 12v 16A) (This is the component that took the longest to find)
RAM (I used G.SKILL 8GB (2 x 4GB))
HDD (I used OCZ Vertex Series 30GB Internal Solid State Drive) ( I used the 30gb because I'm only using this for streaming movies and music, Everything I access is either from mapped network drives or on the Internet)
6 x 40mm Fans (I used two 40mm black fans and four 40mm blue LED fans)
6 Port Fan Hub (I used Sunbeam Multi Fan Power Port)
Plexiglass cut to size of Motherboard (You can get this at your local hardware store and usually if asked they will cut to size needed)
Motherboard Standoffs (However many your motherboard supports – Mine was four)
24 x Fan Screws (I used Black Fan Screws)
Miscellaneous cables (This all depends on what you want to put in to it but here’s a list of what I used)
1 x 3 Pin Fan Power Y Cable
1 x 4 PIN Molex Adapter TO 3 PIN Fan Adapter
2 x 3 ft. Panel-Mount USB 2.0 A Male to A Female Cable
1 x 3 feet HDMI Panel Mount Cable
1 x 18” Sata to Right Angle Sata (I already had one of these but you can get them pretty much anywhere)
1 x 2 Pin HDD LED and 1 x 2 Pin Power Switch (I already had both of these from an old PC case but here’s a link to a kit you can buy ATX Case Replacement Wire Kit)
1 x Molex 4 Pin on/off Power Switch 12V DC
CAT5 cable or Wi-Fi adapter (I used a cable because I wanted a fast connection for streaming)
Drill and bits
Phillips Head Screwdriver
Hot Glue Gun and a glue stick
Punchdown Tool w/ 110 blade
RJ45 Keystone Jack (Almond color to match the Falcon)
RJ45 modular plug
Step 2: Disassembly
Remove all screws from the bottom and set the top shell off to the side.
If it came with them remove the paper divider, sound maker, and center gunner’s seat.
Step 3: Clearing the Area for the Motherboard
Grab your Dremel tool and cut out the thin plastic divider and two studs. Sand it down as much as you like, this area will be covered up but I would just make sure the rough edges are gone.
Step 4: Cutting Out and Mounting the Fans
I installed the fans in two groups. The two black fans I installed on the ends and they run continuously while the computer is on. The four blue LED fans I installed between the black fans to be controlled by a switch. With all six fans running plus the CPU fan it is a little noisy during quiet scenes of movies, that’s why I wanted to control them with a power switch. I cut out and mounted the fans one at a time to make sure I had the spacing right. I started with the left and worked my way across. I held the fan up where I wanted it, traced the inside with a pencil to make a circle, and cut it out with my Dremel and sanded it down. I then marked to screw hole locations and used the fan screws to mount them. The screws were sharp enough to go through the plastic for me but you could pre drill the holes and then screw them in if you wanted.
Step 5: Putting Together the PC
First I took the motherboard and plexiglass and marked the screw locations. I then drilled pilot holes, screwed the standoffs into the plexiglass, and then screwed down the motherboard. The rest of this step goes just like a normal PC setup. Insert the CPU, spread out the thermal compound on it, then put the heatsink over the top of it. Install the RAM and the PSU. I chose to do this step now because I wanted to get an idea of how I wanted it oriented, where I wanted to install the cables for exterior connections, and just to make sure it fit properly.
Step 6: Cutting Out and Mounting All Cables for Exterior Connections
I started by gathering all the cables/connectors and set them out in a configuration I was happy with. I outlined their positions with a pencil. For the HDMI, USB, and Power connection I cut them out and checked to make sure my cables would plug in without rubbing the plastic. After I got them all fitted I grabbed my drill, drilled pilot holes, and secured them in place with their screws. For the network connection I grabbed a scrap piece of CAT5 cable, stripped one end, punched it down to my RJ45 Keystone Jack. I held it up where I wanted it and cut the cable to the length I needed, stripped the other end of the cable, crimped down the RJ45 modular plug. On the RJ45 Jack there’s a flexible tab, I broke it off, and with some finesse I got the Jack to lock in place. I was going to Epoxy it but it didn’t need it. Next thing on the list is the power switch that controls the LED fans. I grabbed my drill again and a paddle bit the size of the switch. Drilled through the bottom and inserted the switch. It has two tabs that lock it in place.
Step 7: Installing the Power Switch
I wanted to come up with a really unique way to turn on the PC. I figured Han is the Captain of the Millennium Falcon and it should have something to do with him. What better way is there to turn it on than by pushing his face? I started by sitting Han and Chewbacca in their seats. I marked where Han’s head was located and then removed them both. I drilled a hole where his head was and inserted the power switch. While holding it there I repeatedly pressed the button to make sure it wasn’t catching on any part of the plastic. Once I was happy with it I used superglue to glue it down. I then took the Epoxy glue and permanently glued it into place. From the picture you can see I got a little happy with it. It isn’t in a visible location so I didn’t worry about cleaning it up. After letting it set overnight I grabbed Han and put him back in his seat. I marked where the button was coming out of the seat. Then I notched out the back of his head so it will rest right on top of the button. I secured Han and Chewbacca in place by cutting up a Velcro strip into four pieces, one for each of the butts and one for each of their backs. I used Velcro so I can easily take them out.
Step 8: Connecting Everything Up.
I started with the cable that came with the PSU. Connected the Sata end to the HDD. The Pata end I connected to the PATA power cable with 3 pin fan connector. Connected the black fans on the ends to the 3 pin Y cable and plugged the other end into the cable with the 3 pin fan connector. I then plugged the open PATA end into the power switch for the fans and the power switch into the 6 port fan hub and the fans into the hub. Next I placed the HDD in and the motherboard over the top of the cables and plugged in the cable on the PSU into it's adapter, and repositioned all the cables where they need to plug in. I started with the HDMI cable. It’s thicker than the others and not as flexible so I went with it first and worked around it. I placed the 6 port fan hub in next. I then plugged in the USB cables and they hold the 6 port hub in place. Next I plugged in the CAT5 cable and last I plugged in the 2 pin power button. The power button plugs in in different spots on all motherboards so you'll just have to check the documentation that came with your board.
Step 9: Install/Configure Windows
After I got everything plugged in and situated, I went ahead and powered it on and installed Windows to make sure everything was working properly before closing it back up. I'm not going to go into detail on how to install windows because there are plenty of other Instructables for that, but I'll give you an idea of what I did. I copied my WIN 7 Professional disc onto an 8gb flash drive. I made another folder on the drive with all the drivers and other software I wanted. I installed WIN 7 from the flash drive and the copied the folder I made on the PC. I then installed all drivers and software and took her for a test drive to make sure everything was working the way it should. I changed the Windows Logon screen with a program called Tweaks.com Logon Changer.
Step 10: HDD LED and Gun Turret
For the HDD LED all you need is a drill and a small bit. I drilled through the back of the dish and down through the base. Inserted the LED into the dish and ran the cable through the hole in the base. I've been asked why I connect it to the HHD LED spot and not the Power LED spot. I tell them because I want the light to flicker on/off like the satellite dish is sending signals and not just be on all the time. For the Gun Turret I hot glued it to the clear plastic piece and then hot glued the clear piece to the Falcon. Now the last thing to do is connect the HDD LED to the motherboard and put the top back on.
Step 11: Completed!!
Fired up and ready to take me to galaxies far, far away
First Prize in the
ThinkGeek Sci-Fi Contest