In college I started lurking around some message boards devoted to console modding, and eventually decided to try my hand at it. My 360 at the time was well into its second life after red ringing and being repaired.
Figuring it would die again soon anyway, I bought a slew of parts, opened her up, and started replacing things willy nilly. The result wasn't great. Even the pictures I took of it were shitty:
It was packing a see-through DVD drive, clear fan shroud, new fans, and a "smoke black" semi-transparent case and front plate. Not pretty, or particularly quiet, since the fans were wired to run at 12v (full speed) at all times.
Determined to do better, I went out and bought a new 360, brought it home and immediately took it apart.
I was more deliberate with this build, improving it in phases. First, a blue ring of light:
Then, a new prebuilt case. This one had a window and some built in LEDs, so I replaced some other internal pieces to have something nice to look at. A windowed BenQ DVD drive, a transparent fan shroud, and a better set of fans - this set variable, and with extra lights.
It was looking good at this point, but I still had the itch. I started mocking up a custom case design, not knowing how I would build it.
I posted the plans to the Llama forums, where a user named muns88 in Milwaukee offered to cut it by hand. I sent him one of my extra cases and it came back a few weeks later with plexiglass and double-sided tape included.
After adding some extra LEDs, all I had to do was paint it and reassemble:
Not wanting to waste parts, I put the prefab case on the first Xbox and sold it to a friend.
Build one clung to life for another two years, and build one still boots, although it spends most of its life in the bottom of my closet.