A tiny 2020s computer case styled after a massive 1930s locomotive

Originally published at: A tiny 2020s computer case styled after a massive 1930s locomotive | Boing Boing


Wow! I recommend looking at the entire gallery. That person makes some beautiful art deco PCs.


I wish more of our electronics worked like early automobiles, where you buy the chassis and then go to a coach maker of your choice to have the outside styled to your liking.


Those are lovely designs.


Well, the very very rich were doing that. Normal people weren’t. If you’re the equivalent of that wealthy today, you can have any custom electronics designed that you want. Ever seen a rich person’s house? All the electronics and appliances are custom to suit the decor.

The fellow who makes these cases would gladly make you one, or make a phone case or whatever else you want, but you won’t like what it costs. Herein lies the rub. People want custom beautiful things, but then balk when it costs enough for the artisan to have a living wage with healthcare and a reasonable work-life balance. I do custom machine shop work on the side, and people are always asking me to make custom pens and such for them. When I quote a price a of multiple-thousand dollars (which is what is required to cover my overhead and have a decent wage for myself) they look at me like I have three heads. This is what custom work costs.


I used to get the same look when quoting for graphic work. Eventually I decided to only do things I could produce for free, unless it was for a company.


Well, it was also something William Gibson suggested somewhere, in “Idoru” iirc.
A very nice PC wood chassis, with metal and stone inlays and the like, with easily-swappable electronical guts.
To be frank, I wonder why the idea was never adopted by any of the main vendors… alright, I realize that something on the level of this particular artist would push prices up into the stratosphere. Still, maybe something a mite less fancy?

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I love the idea, but I have to admit I wouldn’t pay for it when it’s cheaper to hide the ugly computer behind a desk. That way, I could buy art that wasn’t restricted to computer shapes.

Not a marketing expert at all, but this looks like a hard one to sell. Which is a pity, but because I like the idea of it.


Heh. I’ve always wanted to hide the computer as the desk.
At the moment, the closest I’ve gotten to it is a wide-body mid-tower parked inside a half-sized server cabinet, but I’ve had to do enough work on it over the years that the panels and front door of the cabinet are sitting elsewhere in the room.


The same thing has been happening in machine shops. There used to be a so-called “job shop” in every town that would make anything you wanted. One offs, prototypes, parts for your shower that you can’t buy, whatever you need. Increasingly those shops now only contract with businesses because people get mad at what the work costs and that they need participate a bit for success (help us to help you). They show up with a napkin sketch and expect it to cost $20. You also know they’ll be furious if the part doesn’t fit because their napkin sketch was wrong. It’s sadly not worth the hassle for many shops so they don’t bother with the public any more.

I blame Amazon and the like for this. It’s ruined the value curve in peoples’ minds. People think everything should cost $20 and are mad when it doesn’t. The gap between what China can make something for and what I can make something for is so huge now that it boggles the mind. People come to me looking for custom tools and I have to tell them, I can’t even buy the steel for what China will ship you the finished item. Sure the cheap Chinese one won’t be as nice as what I can make you, but are you prepared to pay five hundred times more for mine? Because that’s literally the gap now.


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