Building a Wooden Xbox Series X....
This video is sponsored by Squarespace. This is the Xbox series X, And I happen to think that this is the best looking console of the current generation, which I guess isn't saying much when you consider that its competition is the ps5. But you know what? I think that I can do better and that's why I created this what I like to call the Xbox series Z. Yeah, that's right. I'm a Canadian who still says Z.
What do you call the police? At this point, this is just an empty shell because I took all the hardware out of that and put it into this. My own custom case. It features a solid walnut construction case, a linen lapped exterior, improved cooling, and a couple of software tweaks that I think officially make this a candidate to be called an everything console. So you guys know what the deal is. Let's rewind the clock and I am going to show you exactly how I made this.
But first, let's roll the intro. You know, what's the very first thing you do when you get a new $600 piece of electronics? You avoid the warranty on it. Obviously, before we could even get started on this build. I had to answer a very important question. Is it even feasible to make a new case for an Xbox? That might seem like a trivial question at first, but I really didn't know if the case was integral to its functioning in any way. So I tore down and then tried to boot it with all its parts just sitting on my desk, plug HDMI in and it should just be this button here to turn it on.
Made the noise. Yes, I think we're good. With my Xbox controller.
Here it is. Okay, so good news. It works outside of its case. So now I think I got to start designing a new case for it. All right. So here we are in the shop, and today is going to be a day of very careful measuring.
And I suspect it's also going to be a lot of trial and error as we attempt to make the case for our Xbox. Speaking with the benefit of hindsight. This was actually one of the toughest parts of the whole project. I have no background in product design and most of the building I do is measured in feet and inches. Designing this case was a matter of millimeters and in some cases even smaller units than that. So patience was key here.
I carefully measured each piece of the Xbox and one at a time integrated them into my design. Fingers crossed. All those measurements and calculations are good.
Don't really expect them to be. And that's why I said that there is going to be a lot of trial and error today. But hey, we got at least a first draft, so let's go after that and see how it looks in your life. Now, at this point, I'm sure there are more than a few people angrily hunting and pecking their way through a comment that says something like using a fancy isn't real woodworking. Yes, I am working the wood with the aid of technology, but so is anybody using a tabletop or for that matter, even a chisel? Unless you're literally chewing and clawing your way through your next woodworking project. I can't see a cohesive argument there.
So just let people build whatever they want to build with whatever tools they want to use. Why is everybody so obsessed with gatekeeping? That is our first two pieces done and we are going to grab our next piece that we're going to carve. And this is just going to be a test piece, almost going to make it out of MDF. The final version will be made on a walnut, but I think these pieces are going to need a lot of fine tuning in order to get right. So not really expecting to nail it on the first try. And I don't want to use an expensive material for it.
The other nice thing about MDF is that it just cuts a lot quicker than Walnut or well, really any other material for that matter. It's so soft that the CMC bit can just fly right through it, which makes it an ideal material for rapid prototyping. An iteration of that, that guy over there.
The hook, all that. It looks nice to get all my little USB ports here. I don't know. We'll see once it's over the Xbox. This is going to be our front slot with the CD or DVD or Blu ray and Xbox. You get the idea. Then this plate here is for the back and this is where all the ports are.
I'm going to cut this piece off. It flips on top and then we have kind of our structure. I always feel like I'm going to break the Xbox, so handling it like this. So while the bottom of the Xbox, there's these two little pins here, this guy and this guy and I did make holes for them here and here.
So hopefully those line up and there we go. I'm actually kind of surprised that fits as well as it does. Does our CD slot more or less line up? It's that's actually not too bad. Let's check these ports around back.
Now, this is not quite right. We had to move all of these ports over to the right. So the quarter inch or so. You know what? I knew there was going to be some sediment issues and that's why we did it like the way we did.
One thing that I realized while doing this project is that it's a lot easier to iterate on a design than it is to try and get a design perfect on the first attempt through careful measurement. You're probably not going to get it exactly right anyways, so just plan to do it a few times and get closer to perfection with each attempt. 5 minutes later on the C and C and we now have a new back plate with the the ports moved over .15 of an inch. So power cable looks like it's going to go in just fine.
And it does. The USB cable goes in fine. So the HDMI cable I'm a little bit worried about and yes, we are going to need a bigger hole for our HDMI cable to go into just because the bezel around this thing is so thick.
So I need one more revision on this back, but that's okay. So only takes like 10 minutes to make those. Took a couple of iterations. Actually. It took three iterations, but regardless, we now have our front end or back place in position and they work until three. Think I'm a little bit but this is good enough to proceed on to the next step which is getting the cap installed and figuring out the walls of our Xbox series Z. I'm going to call it Xbox series Z.
As you may have noticed, I carved both the top and the bottom out of a single piece and just kind of left them stuck together. Rather than having my CMC make all these exterior cuts, I find that it's just a heck of a lot faster to do them with my more traditional soft spot in there. And hopefully with a little luck, this should go in. So that's not bad, right? That's often pretty good.
Okay, let's do the sidewalls now. I honestly spent more time than I care to admit trying to figure out the best way to do this whole linen wrapped exterior thing. After a few brainstorming sessions, I finally settled on the good old fashioned KISS system. I decided to make an exterior shell out of some one eighth cardboard and then worry about actually wrapping it in linen later on down the road. Oh, and in case you're wondering about that conspicuous pile of brand new dual tools in the background, I actually gave those all the way to strangers in my Christmas special video. And now you kind of get a sense of how the case goes together.
So you have these hard boards on the outside edges set or something like that. Then they come back into the boards which are recessed, have a little notch for them, and theoretically it should all fit together into one nice rectangular cylinder, rectangular prism, solar, whatever you want to say. So now I'm going to play the incredibly fun game of trying to get this top cap to slide on here. Kind of perfectly. And Oh, come on. See, I kind of feel like if I hit it with a hammer, if you could just go, oh, a little bit of light tapping is the way to go because that got it.
I think bad for a day's work. The ceiling really expecting to get this far today. Cool. This next step was key to upgrading the cooling of the Xbox. But before we talk about that, let's talk about the sponsor of today's video. Squarespace.
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Let's get back to this build concealed on the base of the Xbox. I plan to add some additional cooling so I have my C and Z Hollow in an area that was just big enough for a 120 millimeter computer fan with the bottom finished, I set up the C inside a carbon exhaust grill in the top and well, the machine was busy with that. I set about gluing together my exterior shell.
I used some blue painter's tape to hold all the corners together and then glued together the seams with a combination of wood glue, NCA glue. The CAA glue sets quickly and holds everything in place. Well, the wood glue sets a bit slower, but offers a much stronger bond.
Honestly, it's probably overkill in this application, but it's a handy trick that I wanted to include in the video. So. Oh boy, look at that. You know what that looks like to me? That looks like airflow. And next, we are going to carve the final versions of the back and the front plate. And this time, instead of using MDF, we are going to use Walnut. This was the culmination of all my previous iterations, but because I had ironed out all the bugs in MDF, I felt confident using my very last piece of walnut to carve these panels.
At this point, with all my final pieces cut, I figured that it would be prudent to do a test assembly. Let's start with the base Fan sits in here like so it's going to intake air from the bottom of this piece. That's why it sits off of the surface like that. It's going to blow air up this way. So neck, the Xbox itself sits in there like that. Then you have the slot here that goes in place.
Then this is the back plate, it goes back here, side cover goes on a little something like that. And then this sits down on top of everything else. There we go. I had to think about how I'm going to actually assemble this when it comes time to do the final assembly. But that's the idea. I'm feeling pretty good at this point, but we still have a lot of little finishing details left to do on this thing.
So let's keep going here. Take it to the branding. So check this out. I engrave the Zac Builds logo, the Xbox logo, and also the eject button and the power.
But hopefully I'm right about which one of those is which, but I'm pretty sure I am. Both the top and the bottom pieces were looking a little too blocky for my taste. So in order to soften their appearance, I gave them a very slight 45 degree chamfer. You'd be surprised how well this works through and just a little bit of visual interest to an otherwise simple shape.
Give this whole place a quick clean and now we are going to apply your finish. You'll notice that I am using politics, which I kind of trashed in my last build video. The NFT table, because it ended up leaving a lot of rings on the table.
Or when I would put a drink on the table, it would leave a lot of rings. However, I do like the look of it and not going to be resting any drinks on this thing. So I think it should work well in this application. Unfortunately, the more I do this, the more I learn that when it comes to finishes, one size does not fit all. There is no silver bullet finish.
You've just got to pair the right product to the job at hand. And speaking of pairing products, let's talk about how we're going to pair that linen with the exterior shell. And this is a stupid segway. Now, in order to adhere the linen to the side, panels will use a little bit of spray adhesive. This is three M's Super 77 spray adhesive, and it's actually a pretty neat product. Basically, you just spray on a nice even coat, give it 10 to 15 seconds to tack up and then the next thing you touch to it will be permanently stuck in place.
So once I had my panels covered, I'd lay down some small squares of linen and started hearing them a little bit of careful folding, some light pressure, and my linen was solidly adhere, no staining, no drips. It was a pretty straightforward and painless application. After giving it 15 minutes to dry, I grabbed what I thought was a knife with the sharp blade and then started trying to trim off the excess thing quickly through. For you to do this at home, kids get a sharper knife. It should be okay because I made this. I mean, there's a little quarter inch cover that comes over it.
So if this edge is a little ragged, that's fine. I always try and do that whenever possible. All include like a little extra to cover any rough edges. They don't really have to worry about finishing them all that well.
This might sound a little crazy, but in order to get a nice clean edge on this fabric, I'm actually just sanding it and it kind of stands with the MDF board underneath. It does actually create a really nice clean edge. The think going to slip into our channel really well. So I'm just going to do both the pieces like this. Yeah, we're going to see if we can get our front panel all set up with the mouth buttons functional. That's going to be in there.
Like so on the original X-Box chassis, this circuit board sits directly behind two flexible buttons. But what is it? Nearly as flexible as plastic? So I had to come up with another method for triggering these two little micro switching. What I finally saw line was cutting two little wood buttons, staining them black and then gluing them next to the switches.
It took a few attempts to get it just right, but eventually I got it set up so that the button could travel just enough to trigger the switches. And to my surprise, everything worked just as it was originally intended to. The next step, it was time to install my high performance to a fan with Yes, you guessed it more hot glue. Now we're going to use this USB daughter board that used to be the USB port on the front side of the Xbox.
I'm pretty sure. Yeah, the front side, we're going to use that to power the fan. So you just going to glue this in position? Well, something like that. It's not the most elegant solution, but, you know, if I do decide that I need to redo it in the future, at least it won't be that hard to redo.
Normally the five volt supplied by your standard USB port, would it be enough to power a 12 volt computer fan, but not to actually makes a special line of fans designed to run on just five volts with the base fully assembled. It was time to get down to the brass tacks of actually putting the rest of the system together. Rolling This power switch wire is going to be a little tricky because it is just long enough to reach the target between the power supply and the CD drive. And hopefully I can get it up this little connector here or just just makes it.
One little thing I want to do is put a dab of glue in to hold this front panel in place. Next, we will flip this fan on here, thread it on to this posting of glue. Come on, glue. Why do you always make me look bad on camera glue in here ever so carefully drilled a little hole back here earlier. Think I should be able to get this screw into a little blue hole? Yeah, just like that on the the, like, hardware part of the Xbox.
So that's actually no hole in there. Pretty hold. These guys should just pop right in. Yeah. So this thing about this friction fits in there so well. Now we pray that the top goes on relatively easy. Oh okay quarter is going to 0.0.
Hmm. Tap it. Oh, there she goes. Well, it's not quite perfect, but it's definitely within the realm of what I can clean up pretty easily with the nice thing.
You guys say we plug this thing in and see if it works still strong and that goes in there. Here, Fan It made a little noise, I think just functional. I mean, we're going to have to take it home and plug it into TV to find out, but I think it would be good. All right, let's go do that, because there are still a couple steps left to do on the software front to this bill. So one of the reasons that I chose the Xbox series X for this project is because with a few simple software tweaks, you can get this thing to emulate over game consoles. So not only is it the latest version of Xbox and every previous version of Xbox, but it's also capable of being an N64 or a Super Nintendo.
And I don't really know how far that rabbit hole goes, but this is potentially the most complete everything console that I've ever made. But I think I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself. So why don't we just plug this thing and make sure it's still outputs a display signal and then we can worry about doing all the software tweaks. Just the HDMI port still plugs in.
Yes, it does. Very nicely. Still turns on. That's a good sign. Uh oh. I have to update it.
Why do consoles do this? The whole thing about a console is that it's supposed to be easy and ready to go. Whatever you are. I don't want to have to update it all the time. So I had a whole section here about how to get emulators on your Xbox, but it turned out that the instructions that I had didn't really work anymore or don't say download button and said, Oh boy. So here we are a few hours later and I finally, after much tweaking, got retro. It's the emulation software I like to use running on the Xbox.
Now, basically there are two ways to do this. There's an easy way and a hard one. The easy way is not currently working, so I had to do it the hard way.
I think Microsoft is actually actively blocking the easy way. The way I had to do it was I had to pay $20 to Microsoft in order to unlock dev mode on my console and then booting it to load lets me run unsigned code. It's a bunch of work. So rather than recapping it all, I'm just going to include some instructions in the video description for anybody who wants to unlock their console. So hopefully that easy mode starts working again in the future. But hey, look, here's the important thing.
We got all of our favorite emulation software running on the Xbox. So what do you say we take this thing out to the living room, hook it up to the big TV and we can see what it can do. And so here are the headlines that this thing is an emulation based.
It is capable of running everything up to and including the PlayStation two with ease. In fact, I think there's some serious untapped horsepower here. So I wouldn't be surprised if we see PS3 and even Nintendo Switch emulation added to the Xbox Series X in the near future. Everything gets upscaled to 4K and looks great on my TV here.
The controller feels great. Really good for emulation. It's taken me a little bit to get used to the whole Xbox form factor. But you know what? I'm getting there. There are still some small emulation hiccups here and there, but that's pretty much par for the course. This is definitely like an eight out of ten experience.
And don't forget, this is an Xbox Series X, which means it's capable of running all of the old Xbox titles, or at least most of them. They get upscaled, they get performance modes added to them, they get auto HDR added to a whole bunch of little trickery that makes those old games look even better. A couple of that was the Xbox game pass and yeah, I think this thing is going to keep me busy over the holiday season and man, I just love how this thing works. I don't know if this came across in the video that well, but this thing pushed me to my absolute limit in terms of design.
All the ports on the back had to be mm. Accurate. There were so many fine little components that went into this. I know for some people this would be a cakewalk, but I don't have very much experience doing this type of stuff.
So with that in mind, I'm actually going to make all of the source files that I use for designing this thing, open source for anybody who wants to download them all include a link in the video description. And on that note, I think we are done with this video. So thank you so much for watching. Big thank you to all my Patriots supporters. You guys rock. You help to make these videos possible. I will include links to all the products I use down in the video description.
And if you guys will excuse me, I think I need to go play a little bit of Halo because the last Xbox I owned was an Xbox 360, so I think I've missed a few installments on that series. Hi guys. I've seen the next video piece. Oh, and I almost forgot. If you guys like this video, chances are you'll probably also like my everything console Mach one video and everything from software to video.
So I will include some links to those in the video's description. All right. See you for real.