We love a good DIY-project involving old tech – and any time you can turn a landfill-bound product into something more useful (and, in this case, so much cooler) than it was before, well, that's just a win all around.
Minneapolis-based industrial designer Ross Mackert might just be the new Apple DIY king: He retrofits old Power Mac G4 towers to house liquor and barware.
Open one of his G4s and instead of a bunch of metal components, there's a thick, elegant sheet of wood. Tucked within the tower, surrounded by reflective surfaces, is a pair of martini glasses and a shaker – entirely suitable for mixing the vodka/apple Schnapps-based concoction called an appletini.
Ross had that very drink name in mind when he christened his Power Mac creation. He calls it an Appletini Bar, and he's made more than a dozen of them at $300 (around £200) a pop – and he'll make one for you, too.
There might be a bit of a wait, he warns, and you might have to supply your own Power Mac carcass, because his own scavenged inventory of old Macs is running low.
But, eventually, when you invite your friends over for a Mad Men marathon, you'll have the perfect setting to shake up a 1960s-style martini suitable for Don Draper himself. Mackert, who specialises in furniture and lighting design, said he drew inspiration from that era – sometimes called the Jet Age – when he came up with the Appletini Bar idea.
"I am a big fan of mid-century design, and the martini culture is in my head," he says. "I probably had a martini in my hand when I thought, 'Man, this would make a great little martini bar.'"
Old Power Mac G4 cases are "built like a Mercedes," Ross says. "So much more work went into it than was necessary. The solidity is outstanding. I had one and didn't want to throw it away."
So he gutted the computer and, using thick-paper templates, figured out where each bar component would go. For the wooden mixing surface, he repurposed a food-cutting board. The tower's insides were given mirror-like surfaces to better show off the martini gear, and the outside of the computer got a good buffing.
But making Appletini Bars turned out to be a perpetual challenge, because the various versions of the Power Mac G4 have different interior layouts. Ross had to modify his design for each one.
"You wouldn't believe the changes made in the cases over the years," Ross says. "The number of ports changed, the doors got bigger and smaller, the motherboards are different, the heat sinks are different, the structures over time got more robust. They kept making these better and better."
He also has had to improvise where his working materials are concerned. For the wood surface, for instance, he's been known to use the tops of wooden tray tables, purchased on sale at Sears and cut down to size.
"Every single one is slightly different," he says of those wood surfaces, which gives each Appletini Bar its own personality.