What do you get when you combine my father and I, an old Macintosh SE, a few beers and a garage full of tools? Free admission to the Milton fair! For one of us, at least.
It's since come to our attention that the fee to enter the Macinlamp into the fall fair was pretty much what admission would've cost anyways, but we're choosing to ignore that simple fact and the story shall forever be told as free admission. Thanks for being a buzzkill, Mom.
Many years ago my father and I had a problem: Too many aged Macintoshes kicking around that, despite what we told my mother, really weren't good for very much at all. Summer had apexed and, as I'm sure everyone in Milton does, we'd been poring over the various categories and offerings for that year's Milton Fall Fair. One category in particular caught our eye: Recycled. Basically, we had to take something and re-work it to serve something other than it's original purpose. I decided that, having stubbed my toe on it earlier in the day, one of my old Macintosh SEs was to be put upon the sacrificial altar.
Now, the obvious thing to do here would be to turn it in to an aquarium. That seemed to be something that had worked out well for other folks, but I already have a perfectly good aquarium and, to be honest, a Macquarium looked like a lot of work and we'd set a limit of no more than 6 or 7 beers for this project. Also, we had an ugly old wooden lamp in the garage with which we were often told something needed to be done. Being the staunch environmentalists that we are, we decided we'd not only save one life that day, but two. Well, in a Human Centipede kind of way I guess:
The top is what's left of the afforementioned ugly 70s lamp. We took it apart, cut the wood to size on a bandsaw, then cut the threaded rod in the middle using an angle grinder. Drill hole in case, re-assemble: Bang, zoom. Done.
To further our street cred in the eco-circles, we only took out of the old Mac what we needed to accomplish our goal. A vast majority of the horrible in landfills components are still actually inside but I wouldn't imagine they work. Especially not the CRT: We'd popped the tube as a nod to safety before doing anything so when we came in first place and some disgruntled runner up threw it across the room it wouldn't implode. While we were dismantling it afterwards, a few bits fell into the tube itself and we wondered what it'd look like if we put one of my mother's little 5-watt craft bulbs inside.
After cracking open the power supply and getting creative with a soldering iron, I connected both lights to the computer's original power switch, so it plugs in via the standard power socket on the back.
There wasn't really anything too difficult about building the Macinlamp and it came in far enough under budget (beer wise) that the old man and I could stand back and have a couple admiring our handiwork. Even though it might not have won first place (or second, or third) the Macinlamp accomplished its goal admirably: It was damned fun.
For those who're wondering, the piece of paper attached to the screen says:
This is a Macintosh SE, c. 1987. It had a processor speed of 8MHz, a low density 3 1/2" floppy drive and a 20Mb harddrive. It ran Mac OS System 4.1.
It is now a reading lamp and nightlight. There is a 5 watt bulb inside the CRT and a standard 60 watt bulb on top.
Both are wired to the Mac's original on/off switch.