Interview with slipperyskip and His Acero Case Mod

Updated: August 3, 2012
As some of you may have seen in the forums or over on Jeffrey Stephenson’s (slipperyskip) webpage, he has once again put his amazing case modding skills to use in creating the very first APC case mod, Acero. We had a chance to ask the master of Art Deco inspired wood-carved mods some questions in regards to his Acero build and his experiences working with APC and the Neo-ITX form factor.

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Interview: APC: Where did you get your inspiration for the Acero APC mod from? Jeffrey: I've been obsessing over the small foot-print upright tower shape lately and Acero is just a continuation of that. I went with a simple modernist design because I find that small scale doesn't suffer clutter well. Acero is supposed to be a stylized tower case with its top and front vents, button placement and acrylic side "window" features. APC: For most of your past mod work you work with Mahogany, teak or basswood, why did you select maple for this mod? Jeffrey: I have always liked the combination/contrast of black and maple and decided that this project would be where I would check that box. Birdseye maple is an exotic, difficult wood to work with and better suited for smaller projects like Acero. For the record, Acero is Italian for maple. APC: How did you enjoy working with the Neo-ITX form factor? Did it present some new opportunities for your design? Jeffrey: It is not too unfamiliar a form factor as it is just a mini-ITX board cut in half. Its biggest strength is the use of a standard I/O plate even though one wasn't available when I built Acero. Even so, I feel confident that I'll be able to re-use this Neo-ITX case for future upgraded APC boards. It is easier to justify time and costs if I know it has a life beyond the first APC product. APC: Where there any specific specs, (power consumption, fanless design, small form factor) which allowed you to do anything special with this mod? Jeffrey: The all-in-one APC board made it easier to separate the case into two parts. The decorative outer shell doesn't have any internal equipment installed onto it like fans, switches or hard drives. That allows instantaneous access to the interior and the APC board by simply pulling the cover off from the top. Not having to worry too much about cooling also let me play with the air vents in the design. It is nice to know that Acero's vent system is complete overkill even as a fanless design. APC: What do you plan on using this APC mod for? What do you think is the most appropriate use of APC within the home? Jeffrey: To be honest, it sits on a shelf next to some of my other 30+ computer projects. I have used it recently to troubleshoot my DSL modem/wireless router. For me the APC is just a toy but I think the best use of the APC is to get the next billion people on the Internet. Then they can all visit my web site. LOL APC: How long did it take you to complete the mod? Jeffrey: It took about 90 hours spread over 15 days. This is my hobby so I tend to obsess over details regardless of the time involved. The most time consuming job was fabricating the aluminum I/O plate. Trying out a new wood finishing process called French polishing also took a fair amount of time. The only power tool I use is a cordless drill. APC: What was the most satisfying part of this build for you? Jeffrey: The process was more satisfying than the end result. The journey instead of the destination sort of thing. I don't really plan projects in advance but instead just make things up as I go along. There are a lot of risks in doing that kind of thing. The improvisation and successful solving of problems along the way can be very satisfying...and addictive. APC: Do you have any plans for an upcoming project? Jeffrey: I'm working on shoehorning a computer system into a musical instrument that will end up being displayed at a major music festival later this year. APC: Thank you for your time and sharing your experience of building Acero with us and the community. We look forward to seeing more of your inspiring builds in the future!


Be sure to check out more of Jeffrey Stephenson’s amazing work at: