Since 2001, Mnpctech's owner, Bill Owen has modified computer cases into custom designs for commercial and private clients around the world. In 2003, Bill expanded Mnpctech into a brand and start manufacturing his own line of replacement parts and PC case modding accessories.Please excuse any writing errors on this page, as it's real intent was show notes for Mod Zoo Hangout episode.
My first PC was a DELL, Pentium 1, 75mhz, 486 from 1995. (Bailey Beagle looks ashamed of my screen size)
My friend Brian Hjelt was an IT Tech for teh University of Minnesota, who I met through my car club. He came over to my house to overclock my P1 processor to 80mhz. I watched the entire process and it felt very similar to tuning a car. I was immediately hooked on learning more about upgrading and building desktop PCs.
2001: I hate the DELL Guy, but love MODDERS MESH
The DELL Eater was my 1st case mod performed on an INWIN A500 mid tower case bought used for $20.00. The theme was inspired by my friend's 1987 Volkswagen Jetta GLI. It incorporated parts from salvaged jetta GLI that included headlight switch, 12 volt gauge from center console and door handle as top carry handle. The case shell was one piece and PITA to remove. It was before anyone made a decent PC case for DIY builders.
This was the time when I discovered the benefits of using perforated steel in case modding. I'd found a sheet in the fabrication's shop recycle bin at my employer, The Toro Company. You could make your fan grills or modify your front bezel for better airflow. It was steel, so you had to remove prep the surface for paint or clear coat it, to prevent oxidation. Once I started referring to it as "Modder's Mesh" people all around the online mod community started asking me where they could get them some? and since you couldn't get "perforated steel" at hardware / home improvement stores, Light bulb goes off, "I could be the sole online retailer of perforated steel in small sheets. I added html webstore to my website, mnpctech (Minnesota Personal Computer Technician) applied for state business license, state and federal tax IDs and reached out to steel manufacturer about starting wholesale account. I was using my employer's shipping dept with my employee discount to ship my "Modder's Mesh" around the world. It was really nice part time income that I used to support my Car addiction. The thought of selling other stuff like this full time later never entered my mind. My employer gave me everything I could ever dream of, a house, new cars, benefits, profit sharing, and opportunity to raise kids. I later discovered having all of these things didn't bring me happiness.
2002: The future of Modding is "BILLET"
Mnpctech's very 1st retail product released in 2002. CNC machined 80mm billet fan grill. It was machined from 3/16" thick 6061 aluminum and implemented dteel honeycomb grill, that had to be clear coated to help prevent rust. Why 80mm? That was the standard cooling fan size at the time. It wasn't until 2004, when Compucase released their LX-6A19 midtower case aimed at DIY builders that offered front and rear 120mm fans.Otherwise you had to look at Commercial grade Server Towers / Workstations to find larger fan options. I expanded the grill sizes to 92mm and 120mm, Tony Day at Modders-Inc reviewed the 120mm of Mnpctech's billet fan grill here
2003: My Modding Mentor, Jim Hanson
After going to night school to get my A+ & N+ Certifications, I quickly realized the fallout of employment in the IT Market. I refused to give and started calling every business in the Yellow pages, under IT. This is how I discovered Jim Hanson. I recall seeing the word "Coolcases" listed. No description? It intrigued me, so I called and Jim answered, "Coolcases" and introduced myself, and asked "What is Coolcases?" Jim went onto to describe how he modified factory Servers & Workstations for better airflow. Jim taught about Positive and Negative pressure cooling. Using Greenlee Knockout Punches identiying good cooling fans from junk. And most importantly, importance of cable management. You can look at Jim's website, Coolcases via WebArchive.org, HERE
Addtronics 7896 full tower with cross-flow cooling option across 5.25 bays.
The West Coast Choppers case mod tribute led to another product, Mnpctech's top blow hole fan grill kit.
2004: SC195s & MONSTER every weekend
The MNPCTECH SC195 was a modified case that you could order from me. I learned that you could wholesale order a skid of 30 cases from distributor at $40 per case. The case was LX619 mid tower by Compucase. I would greenlee knockout punch the front and rear factory perforated fan grills to improve airflow. The 195 ion SC195 signified 195 cubic feet of air per minute, but I don't recall what SC stood for? I would also modify the front bezel with Modders mesh intake grill and add filters, fan controller and optional carry handles. What's really cool, is that I hear people who still own and use this case after 10 years. The modifications took 4.5 hours on a good night, and maybe 4 hours if I was fueled by MONSTER ENERGY. I've got a video of me doing the entire transformation that I need to post.
Mnpctech SC195 Case review link, http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/mnpctech_s...
2005: CPU "PC Modder" Magazine & Blow Hole Fan grill kits
My first magazine cover, PC Modder edition of CPU Magazine. They hired me to do my "CPU Stingray" build, inspired by Corvette.
Mnpctech blow hole fan grill kits were in response to people cutting fan holes into the top of their cases. scopEdog's barcode PC pictured to me Tweeting one of the grills without the mesh insert. I still love the look, but sales really starting dropping as retail cases offered top fan mounting. My kits required you needing to use either a dremel, hole saw or jigsaw to cut the 4.5" hole in your top panel. Performance-Pcs just ordered some, so there is some DIYers still using them
2006: Mnpctech Custom PC feet & The Mod Nation
Mnpctech starts offering replacement custom "Grooved" & Diamond Knurl PC Case Feet for your case.
Bill Owen in the "Mod Nation" PC Mod and workshop in Minneapolis.
Stu King and I launch the TheModNation.com, a an online community for Custom PC builders and Modders. We build the Mp3 Player from hell, the "Ghost Rider" theme Media Center for the workshop wall.
2007: Turbine Mods invade and Phenom PC goes missing.
AMD commissioned me to build a PC to promote the launch of their Phenom processor at Cebit event in Germany. The PC was never returned to AMD's HQ. I didn't know about this until did the WOLFENSTEIN PC for them later.
You can watch the entire build series on my YouTube channel. The Thermaltake Sword M was a real Monster.
This was the time when I started selling 4.5" OD Bass Speaker port tubes and pre-made 120mm Turbine fans so people could copy my Turbine Jet PC Case Mod.
After making tutorial video, Mnpctech Turbine Mods started were popping up all over the case mod community.
2008: The Mod Brothers & ANTEC 300
We launched The Mod Brothers Community with Ric Mirto and Jeff Hendricks from Pimp-Rig. This is when we start Podcasting.
2009: NVIDIA ION Cube & WOLFENSTEIN Game Tribute PC
The Nvidia ION case mod contest hosted by Modders-Inc was the first time Cheapskate and I collaborated on PC build together. We won the contest and went to work on many other projects together. He's a mad genius. This is also the contest that introduced me to Roboduck, who's a brilliant 3D engineer designer from Minnesota that I would like to have on the Hangout as future guest.
Project Panzer box with NZXT Panzer case was used by Activision to promote the reboot of Wolfenstein game. This was my first time weathering a PC, which I learned from Brad.
WOLFENSTEIN Gaming PC by Mnpctech
- Custom made bullet shaped thumbscrews
- The custom built top Mp3 gun that acts as a handle, as well as a power switch installed in the barrel
- Extremely realistic bullet holes in the side window
- Hand airbrushed artwork and camouflage
- Matching keyboard, mouse and monitor
- Key hardware components include; AMD Phenom x3 720 (CPU), ATI Radeon HD 4890 (GPU), Corsair DDR3 Ram, Creative Soundblaster X-Fi, a Gigabyte motherboard an a Thermalright CPU cooler.
2010: Fractal Design, D-9, Rulers, Corsair 400R & Clear Panels!
My channel was the first review a Fractal Design case on YouTube with Nate Suplee from CustomPCMax, which started a great relationship with Fractal's CEO and design at their HQ in Sweden. I still do Consulting for them today. (tease big surprise)
I'm really getting into distressed and weathered effects with my case mod themes. My District-9 PC was done for Cooler Master suite at CES.
Production and sales of Mnpctech PC Mod Ruler & Reference Tool is rocking. This is still Mnpctech's most time intensive product to make, due to all of the milling involved. I've had a lot of people asking when we'll do another run and hope to this summer.
In 2010 I was approached by Corsair to design a new mid tower case for Corsair's Carbide series. The 400R was released in 2011 and still a popular seller today for Corsair. It's also received newegg's golden egg award for customer ratings. It was a great experience for to learn about designing for mass production. In retrospect, I should worked a profit sharing agreement with Corsair and mnpctech name attached to it.
My Carbide 400R "Firefly" Tribute PC Mod for Corsair. They own several of my creations at their HQ in California.
In 2010, I designed the first retail clear replacement side panel for the Corsair 600T. This lead to market trend you see now. The clear panel is machined from .5" thick 100% cast acrylic and allows you to swap the factory panel release handles. This product quickly made Mnpctech the authority of custom or replacement PC windows for other popular cases.
2011: 3M Di-Noc Carbon Fiber for Modding & Mod Men series
My YT channel was 1st to reveal 3M Di-Noc Carbon Fiber for PC & Case Modding. I was responsible, but I'm not gonna apologize...lol. Backstory on how I discovered 3M Di-Noc. My friend Jeremiah D Albrecht worked at 3M's Headquarters, brought over a huge roll to my shop, so I could help him apply it to the hood of his Jetta. The folklore I was told about why 3M created it, A hotel in Dubai wanted real carbon fiber columns in their lobby and somehow 3M was contacted about creating a cheaper solution that looked authentic
The use of 3M Di exploded in the mod community. It becomes so common place that it becomes uncool to use. I'd posted a pic of REAL carbon fiber back plate for a GPU water block on Twitter, and people mocked me for using Di-Noc. We still sell it today, but I no longer use it in my PC builds or case mods.
We launched Mod Men web series which was five episodes as a pitch to Discovery Channel. This also initiates alot of future collaborations with video editor, Peter Kani aka Masterp, from PimpRig.
Progress of the Mod Men PC was highlighted throughout the series.
Tricorder inspired Star Trek PC for David Gerrold and San Diego Comic Con Giveaway
2012: The Mod Zoo, Rebel A, and Mnpctech at CES
The Mod Zoo Website, Podcast and Community Forums is created by my friends, Kyle Van Der Merwe, EEL Ambiense, Cheapskate, who will be featured individual in upcoming "Founder Series" episodes of our Hangout.
I'm invited to share a booth front and center with Fractal Design at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a huge learning experience for me. Was it beneficial in sales to mnpctech? No.
2012 was the year I created several videos wit my intern, Andrew, including the "Rebel A" Gaming PC build
Mod Zoo co-founder, Kyle Van Der Merwe comes to Minnesota to help me modify the case he hates, the Antec LAN-BOY AIR into Lan-Boy Apocalypse Case Mod.
2013: 1st Corsair 900D, Frozen Bench, and Maximum PC
I was the first to modify a 900D case.
The frozen CPU Tech Station with automatic lifting cover.
Interview in Maximum PC Magazine November 2013 Article Pages, HERE
I do the very first review of a Phanteks case, the Enthoo Primo Full Tower with Capn Currysauce. We had Phantek's case designer, Boon on few episodes ago, he is imho, the best case designer currently.
2014: Mod Zoo Staff Video Guides, Product Reviews, Podcast
Video build and DIY Watercooling Guides with Mod Zoo Staffers
2015: Bill Owen Tristellar & Replacement PC Window Specialist
Deepcool releases my Tristellar Edition Case.
Workshop Expansion into making better factory replacement windows for popular PC cases.
2016: GPU Supports, Battlefield 1 PC AMD and Rogue One PC