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Picture of Marshall Computer

In this instructable, I will guide you through the steps necessary to build a computer within an old guitar amp.

I recently got some old industrial computers from my work. I was looking for a way to use those / make a "side-computer" for music / simple applications. I had since a couple years a Marshall amp MG-30FX which stopped working (don't know why and couldn't get it to work again). So I decided to build a computer inside the amp.

The goal was to have a fully functionning PC for internet browsing with a nice and design look.

Overall I'm really happy with the result. This is a unique object which I find beautiful as well as usefull.

Cost:

If you like me have all components from old computers it can cost you about nothing. in my case I bought the speakers, the webcam, the wifi dongle, the LEDs and the screen controller. This sums up (for me) to about 50€

Time:

Once again depends a lot on the build, I screwed up a bunch of time due to lack of planing. All in all it took me about 20-30 hours including design, and screw-ups. I would guess about 15-20 hours with the instructions and design ready.

Complexity:

Basic knowledge in Computer builds, electronics necessary. Acces to some tools for 3d printing, cutting...

Step 1: Computer and Other Components

Picture of Computer and Other Components
IMG_20190330_174655.jpg

Conccerning the computer, I got my hands on 4 old industrial computer, I spent a day building those apart and gathering the components I wanted for one build.

You can use an old computer or buy a new one (in this case watch out for components compatibility).

Computer components:

  • A motherboard: it must include a CPU with cooler and RAM. You will want to check, a compatibility for screen connections with the screen you will be using. Also a audio output is necessary if you want to build those speakers in.
  • A power supply
  • A HDD (hard drive for OS and file system), in my case I used the hdd of an old laptop.
  • A CPU fan
  • A fan for the case
  • Connecting cables such as Sata
  • A computer screen. In my case I built the screen of an old broken laptop, which i redommand since those are really slim.
  • If Using an old laptop screen, you will need a controller board. Informations to find this are given in the section about the screen.

Other components:

  • An amp case
  • Speakers, I used those ones, since they were powered by 5V and therefore over USB. I bought those for another project but didn't use them. However I do not recommand them, the sound is terrible (very trashy sound and no bass, for the price I didn't expect better). I recommand building better speakers, looking for the tensions available from your power supply. The only problem can be the placeneeded for better speaker.

Other components optional:

  • A USB Webcam. I used this one: Logitech webcam as it is the one I already had on my PC and I could check, that the size would fit in the case
  • A USB dongle if you want internet acces (you can of course use an ethernet cable, but that is one more cable to hide). I used this one LINK, as I will be using a linux system and this dongle is compatible, you can uye any usb dongle.
  • LEDs for backlights. I used those, as they were powered on 5V so over USB. I also really like the warm white, since it gives a bit of an old retro look which fits perfectly the marshall gold design/colors.
  • a switch button to turn on/off the computer (connects to the motherboard)
  • Some wood screws

Tools:

  • A set of standard tools (amongst other potentially torx screwdriver necessary in my case for motherboards screws)
  • A 3D Printer (if you want to have a nice finish, and set the components exactly how you want).
  • A hot glue gun (can always come in handy)
  • a soldering iron
  • a Drill
  • a jigsaw
  • a milling machine if you want seamless backlights (I used a handheld milling machine)
  • aDremmel or similar hand milling/cutting can come in handy for small operations or finition
XenoMorphPT3 months ago
Ubuntu Linux?
Celian_31 (author)  XenoMorphPT3 months ago
Ubuntu (a Linux distrib), or what is the question?
This tutorial does not say which operative system is used... is that Ubuntu Linux? Or other distro like Arch? Manjaro? To me it looks like Ubuntu, using Gnome Desktop Environment... am I right?
Celian_31 (author)  XenoMorphPT3 months ago
"I installed ubuntu 18.04 and everything works fine."
This is so awesome! I hope you would win this challenge! Best of luck!
Celian_31 (author)  McFatty_McFatty4 months ago
Thank you =)
Grea project sir
liberatr4 months ago
Awesome project. I will see old gear like this but usually it's listed as still working, and I feel bad taking apart working TVs or Stereo equipment just to turn into a PC case.
seamster4 months ago
Nice, I like it!!
This would be a great entry in the Trash to Treasure contest ; ) https://www.instructables.com/contest/trashtreasure2019/
Celian_31 (author)  seamster4 months ago
Hey, thank you for the tip, I just did (pretty new to this unlike you)
It's a great place. Glad you're here!!