written by: Tim Lee
Most modders are scared to mod.
Doubt clouds their mind. What if I break this? What if it looks nothing like the original case? They have all this imagination, but end up just painting their case and slapping some stickers on it.
Better To Be Safe Than Sorry
“QUIT WORRYING!” exclaims Masbuskado. “If somebody has the confidence in you to give you a case then go all the way. Don’t be shy. When I first got sponsored by Cooler Master, they gave me a HAF X case. I tore it apart! By the time I was finished, it didn’t look like the HAF at all.”
Many of Masbuskado’s mods embody this “screw it, let’s do it” attitude. They look more like they belong on a futuristic tank then under a computer desk.
His most recent mod Re.born won 2nd place in the Cooler Master Case Mod World series 2016 Scratch Mod category.
Masbuskado didn’t get good overnight. He started disassembling his toy cars when he was eight years old. He spray painted his first computer, a Tandy 1000, completely black. But his first full mod didn’t happen till years later…
First Mod – The Food Truck
The year was 2001. The place, the Dominican Republic.
Masbuskado was 19, had just been fired from his job, and was living on loose change.
“I needed money,” he recalls. “I had bills to pay and loved ones to take care of. With that kind of motivation, I was ready to do anything. So I went to the local junkyard and bought an old truck. I cut a window on the side. And then I installed shelves, drawers, and a refrigerator on the inside.”
Thus, the food truck was born. Masbuskado started selling burgers and hotdogs on the street corner. Business men, construction workers, and even school children would line up for his food.
“Having my own business was great. I was free to make my own hours. It was nice.”
From the Food Truck to the Computer Case
After working on the food truck for 3 years, Masbuskado sold it and moved back to his native New York.
There he stumbled on a website – Overclock.net – and discovered computer case mods. “I can do that,” he thought.
So with a few power tools and his cat to keep his company, he did.
Masbuskado started posting his creations to critical acclaim. So he started entering mod contests… and winning.
But Case Mods Started To Get Boring
“I don’t like doing the same thing over and over again. It’s not exciting for me. I like to challenge myself.”
“Building from scratch is different. You don’t have a template. It’s a lot harder.”
In 2014, Masbuskado retired from modding. He had left New York to move to the Dominican Republic where building material was hard to get and expensive.
But that itch just wouldn’t go away.
He was on Facebook when he saw the announcement for the Cooler Master Case Mod World Series 2016.
“I was getting bored, you know? I kept seeing modders do the same thing over and over again for the past 4 years. Why don’t they do something different? Sometimes they get sponsored and they start building the same thing. They have more skills than that. If you just use your imagination then you can do it.”
Masbuskado looked in the corner. Sitting there were pieces of a circular cardboard pieces originally meant for plant decoration.
He had bought them in New York, with the intention of using them for his one of his future projects.
“That’s when I decided to come back and show what can be done.”
The concept for this new mod was to make a round case that could show the internal hardware from almost any angle. It was an idea that had never been attempted before.
He named this project “Re.born.”
“The name came from my absence as a modder. Now it was time to come back with my A-Game.”
However, modding isn’t always fun and games. Sometimes it can be downright frustrating. “The major issue I had with Re.born was the custom paint job. It would start to bubble up so I had to sand and repaint it multiple times until it was right.”
Whenever he started to procrastinate, his mom would ask, “Did you finish the project?”
“My mom would call me and just keep asking if I finished the project yet. She didn’t even ask me how I was feeling or anything,” Masbuskado laughs.
“She knows more about modding than me. Quitting is just not acceptable for her.”
A PCGamer.com article on him reported that “Masbuskado spent 231 hours (39 just on sanding and detailing) putting the case together, using just a few handheld tools, a t-shirt or two, and packing it full of some components [that] are small enough to fit in its elegant open design.”
Re.born ended up placing 2nd place in the Scratch Mod category.
“My mom was so happy when she get the news. She told me, ‘You know… I told you!’”
Advice To New Modders
“If you have some ideas in your head, then don’t be afraid to bring them to life. Take that case. Break it! Cut it in half! Don’t worry about it! It’s free! Why do you care so much? Mod it!”