Building Jemezman - December 2005

This project came about as a Christmas present to my friend... which kinda took 3 Christmas's to get done.  My friend Jim is originally from Los Alamos, New Mexico and really digs the southwestern style.  So immediately, I had plans about how a New Mexico themed case would look, and it's pretty much what you'll see below.  Lots of things affected the timeline of building the case... but the biggest thing was Jim's patience - which it seems like he has more than I'll ever be able to muster up, as he never complained about not having received this 'present' back when it was promised... but also as the next 2 Christmas holidays came and went.  I was even a couple days late getting it to him this year as well.  Don't get me wrong - he gave me plenty of ribbing about it over the time... which was well deserved and I would expect nothing less from him as well.

I'm actually pretty embarrassed that it took so long to execute.  Not so much time really went into it - just gettin' off me arse and actually working on it was the tough part - because something else always comes up.  It's pretty much just a couple of LED fans, a window, and a paintjob - nothing really spectacular.

Back in 2002, I picked up a nice full-tower kit from with the intention of modding it to what you see below.  Unfortunately, the idea of cutting the window and how I was going to make the dreamcatcher work was the first major hurdle.  After a long time of planning, I realized that it was too close to the holiday to complete the case, so I got him something else and promised I'd finish it soon.  The bad thing is that I do most of my work at the Auto Hobby Shop (where he actually works), so trying to get it done there seemed like it would be tough... but he already knew about it and it kind of became a joke after awhile.

Once I got the window cut - it sat for another few months while I tried to figure out how to work the window's glass and still incorporate the dream catcher. 

Then about 3 months ago (September 2005), I got some inspiration (and motivation) when another friend asked me to paint the tank and fenders for his motorcycle.  After I found out what he wanted, I figured I'd mod a case for him with the same theme as a practice effort.  BUT - I still had to finish this case for Jim.  It would be just wrong to start another project without finishing this up, after all.

So I brought the front panel in and cut out Kokopelli with my Dremel, and also cut out the chassis fan guards to fit the LED fans it so they wouldn't be obstructed.  Then - I got tagged with a bunch of TDY's to various places... each for a week at a time.  Somewhere in there was a car show that I entered the Jeep in, Thanksgiving, and my time spent with the Community Band.  Like I say - something else always comes up.

So with about a month to go before Christmas 2005, I finally drilled the holes to thread the dream catcher and painted the Fleckstone paint.  The following week I had to go to Boston for a maintenance training course, and when I got back, I had two weeks to go.  I checked all of my reference drawings and even surfed out for some more.  But blew off actually laying down the murals until the Friday before Christmas Day.

That night, I got the Eagle Kachina on the left panel done.  Saturday (Christmas Eve) I worked on the dream catcher and showed Jim the actual progress when he came by to drop off my Christmas presents (see how cool he is?).  Then I kinda finished the rest of it on Christmas Day and clear-coated the murals on the day after Christmas,  I also mounted up the glass that day - which I'm still not too keen on how it worked out.  As I finished it up, I called Jim to arrange delivery - and he was sick in bed with some kind of stomach bug.  Whoa!  Hey - it wasn't my fault this time!  For once...

So, after work 2 days after Christmas, I had him over while I put the chassis altogether and took the pictures.  He got it home and transferred his computer into the new case and apparently thinks it was worth the wait.  I'm glad he's happy with it - but I'm still embarrassed it took me so long to get the man his Christmas present from 2002.

Click on any of the thumbnails for larger pictures - then use the 'Back' button on your browser to return.

Here's the chassis with no panels.  I cut the factory 'fan shrouds' away with the Dremel, and even mounted a second fan in hopes that the LED fans would light up the Kokopelli cut-out I had planned.  

Here we are after final assembly.  I couldn't locate my spare AT power supply to light it up, so I'll have some pictures of that soon after Jim hooks me up.
This is a shot of the top - it ain't a southwest style case unless you have a lizard on it.

Here's the 'money-side' with the window and dream catcher.  A couple of things I'd do different would be to not use 1/8" leather strap - it's simply too thick, as you can see by how tight the knots are toward the middle.  And I think I would rather use an actual window kit and mount the dream catcher to the outside of the case... or something.

The Kachina is a representation of the Jemez Kachina Dancer.  The scene behind is the Jemez Pueblo villiage.

And finally, here's the mural that had immediately come to mind when I first thought up this project.  This is my representation of an Eagle Kachina Dancer.  The mountains in the background are the Jemez mountains outside of Los Alamos, New Mexico.  And the peak is actually Battleship Rock, along the Guadalupe River... or at least my drawing of it.  After drawing the Kachina, I was a little fried and had to finish it up the next day.