Today we have the Hyperkore laser etching window kit. I have to say what I recieved isn't quite what I thought I was getting. I thought that I was going to get a window applique, which I've used a few times in the past. I have one on my mousepad right now, and was looking forward to adding one to my gaming machine.
To my surprise, what arrived was a package containing two sample etchings and one complete window kit. I opened the package labeled "Tank Sample" expecting just an image of a tank. What I received was actually a piece of acrylic. I was a bit confused as it was hard to see against the white concrete floor. However, when I put it in front of a darker background, that's when things totally changed. Here is the acrylic sheet with some different backgrounds.
Just look at that last picture over the grass! You can see that the etching is very detailed.
Next, I looked at the black Version 2 Star Wars sample. This one is not for someone who wants to show off their hardware, since the back of the acrylic is entirely black. The color is necessary to ensure the quality etching seen on the front. Due to patent proceedings, the entire process was not available for a detailed explanation. Hyperkore describes the intent as to make it look like a black & white photograph, and my step son approved, saying that I should have gotten that one in the size of our 32" TV.
Now that we know the etching can win over the hearts of 7 year old boys, I asked a couple other people, and my co-workers were equally impressed with the quality of the work.
Finally, I opened the full window kit. Opening it revealed a nice image of a velociraptor that seemed intent on biting off my arm. You can see that the artist had some fun drawing in drool between the teeth and gums.
The kit comes with everything you need to mount this in a case, minus the tools of course; a sheet of instructions, a window template, and plastic pop rivets to hold the window in place.
The cardboard template has a center piece that you remove so that you can use that to cut the side panel and frame the window the way it was designed to be. I prefer this method to the old rubber grommet window mods which are typical where you have to take a washer and run it around the window to get it to fit.
Also included with the kit was a letter from Thomas Volpe, the founder of HyperKore Systems, thanking everyone at GideonTech and giving a description of each of the samples. In all the reviews I have done, this is the first time I have recieved a letter from the owner/founder, and I was very impressed by his hands on approach.
Rough cut done, and with the Dremel heating up a little, I decided to wait until later to finish up. I killed a Dremel before by working it too hard, and not wanting to do that again, it's better to let it cool down after cutting tough materials.
I picked up where I left off the next day. I ground the edges smooth and used a 5/32 drill bit to make the holes for the rivets. Of course this wasn't as easy as it sounded, as it required a trip to the store to get a new drill bit and grinding stone.
Work done and I'm ready to get the window installed! I am only going to use two of the rivets this time around, as I will be starting my new project with this case in a few weeks, and the window will have to be removed for paint. For lighting I picked up a Green CCFL at a local computer store.
Unfortunately it's only a single CCFL, so since I had a dual Red CCFL kit laying around, I installed that too, just to see how it would look with more even illumination. A big improvement! Another Green CCFL goes on my shopping list!
Once again, I would like to thank Thomas Volpe and Hyperkore Systems for sending this kit to me for review. I do have to say that this is a lot better than a sticker on a window. The detail really brings the pictures to life. A quick look at their site shows the pricing to be reasonable, plus they are willing to etch any image you send them.