Desktop Water Fountain

May 16, 2012

Years ago I was watching The Screen Savers on G4. Yoshi the mod guy was on showing his newest idea: applying phosphorescent paint to your PC motherboard to create a cool lighting effect in conjunction with a black light. He told a story about how he ruined a motherboard one night while painting. He had the paintbrush in one hand, a soda in the other and the motherboard in his lap. He dozed, the soda fell out of his hand and spilled all over the board. It was destroyed instantly. “Liquid and electronics don’t mix,” he joked. And that’s when I got the idea.

I worked on it on and off for years. I got the case at Good Will. Since it was so ordinary looking I built the fountain around the idea that as painfully dull and functional the PC looked on the outside, it was the opposite inside the view window. The water collection tray was custom made out of acrylic plastic sealed together with solvent bonding. The disk drives on the bezel are a false front. I moved the contents of the power supply into the CD drive bay. Inside the power supply housing I connected the business end of an extension cord to the power port to run the power supply and two water pumps.

The “processor fan” operates like an old-fashioned water wheel. The hard drive light on the bezel is connected to a simple LED blinker kit. I carved the window using a drill and tin snips. The LED lights on the motherboard are waterproofed with vinyl tubes and heat-shrink tubing. The whole thing cost about $350 total.