[Interview] Inside the mind of a professional case modder

By Kumar Jhuremalani | Published on 22 Sep 2009
[Interview] Inside the mind of a professional case modder

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Getting paid to do what you love is a rare mix – one that most of us at Digit get to enjoy! Hard work and perseverance are key to achieving this, says Bhopal-based Waseem Yusuf, who has taken the unlikeliest of hobbies and turned it into his full-time job. Yusuf is a professional case modder!
 
We sat down with B.Com graduate Yusuf, the owner of ‘cBay | the tech factory’, and picked his mind:
 
Digit: What made you take up modding as a profession?
Yusuf: I have been fascinated by computers from when I first laid eyes on it at the age of 8 years. As my love for PCs grew, I wanted to try different things. Modding started with experimenting with my PC and the output amazed all those who saw it. I started modding computers for my friends and pretty soon, I was making a living with it. But I don’t view modding as a profession; it’s a way of expressing oneself, with every mod being like a piece of art.
 
Digit: Did you start with a normal job and then realised it’s not for you?
Yusuf: I was a trainer in NIIT, teaching JAVA and .NET. But I found that quite boring and given my creative influences, I decided to start my own business.
 
Digit: And how did your family and friends react to your decision to be a case modder?
Yusuf: I’m quite lucky in the sense that everyone has been extremely supportive. They are happy to see that in this field, I can express my creativity and who I am as a person. My friends often say that they knew I would be taking this hobby of mine to a professional level.
 
Digit: Did you practise a lot before opening shop or learnt on the job?
Yusuf: Initially, it was little tricky to do it, but I got the hang of it soon enough. Modding is not just about cutting sheets and placing cooling fans. Each mod is unique in its own way and requires different skills.
 
Digit: What are your inspirations for each of these unique mods?
Yusuf: Anything from colors to cars and bikes. It has to be personal as modding is a way of expressing who you are.
 
Digit: What are the tools that you use for modding? 
Yusuf: Every mod requires different tools, but the basic set includes drills, spray paint, hole saw, jig saw, double-sided tape, laser cutting, laser etching, etc. To get high precision, the quality of tools matters a lot. Jobs such as etching a logo on an acyclic sheet require highly specific machines. But more than that, one needs the skills. 
 
Digit: How much do you charge for the different types of mods?
Yusuf: A simple side-panel cut would be Rs. 400, while adding colour or powder coating would take that to Rs. 700. A complete overhaul, including performance-cooling fans by Xigmatek, SunbeamTech CCFL lights and laser etching would be about Rs. 3200. Prices vary according to the type and number of cooling fans used, case lighting solutions and paint job.
 
Digit: How many orders do you get in a month?
Yusuf: Right now, we are averaging around 3-4 orders per month, especially those outside Mumbai. People ship in their panels, we mod them and send them back.
 
Digit: Do you mod anything other than PC cabinets? Consoles, perhaps?
Yusuf: We haven’t tried modding consoles yet, but it’s a great idea to make your consoles one of a kind.
 
Digit: So, if a Digit reader wants to get in touch with you, what’s the quickest way?
Yusuf: Just visit my site at www.cBay.in, or send an email to cBay@in.com or waseem.yusuf@yahoo.com.
 
Yusuf was also kind enough to share a couple of his mods with us. Check out the image gallery below for the same.
 
And just in case you want to roll up your sleeves and mod your own machine, check out the Extreme Mods guide from our Digit archives.
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Kumar Jhuremalani

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