11 awesome reasons not to throw out that old Mac

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A really old Apple computer can fetch a fortune at an auction these days, but more recent models that you can easily pick up on eBay aren't going to make you a great deal of money -- especially if they no longer work. But instead of sticking them in your garage and leaving them to collect dust, why not turn them into something useful?

In this gallery, we'll show you 11 old Macs that have been given a new lease of life, like the Mac Pro that's now an aquarium, a group of Macintoshes turned into planters, and an old iMac G4 that's been transformed into a desk lamp.

Photo: theappleguru, eBay

This old Mac Pro G5 case has been transformed into a gorgeous aquarium that would look right at home in any Apple fan's living room. It's fully functional, and complete with lights and an air pump.

"In keeping to my fascination with reusing and recycling things to fulfill a new design and function, this fish tank built from a Apple G5 desktop seemed like an ideal way to give a new life to a dead machine," says creator Michael Garito.

Garito used acrylic to make the tank that lives inside the case, and its miniature air pump is concealed beneath it where the Mac Pro's power supply would have lived.

Garito is currently selling this particular tank, and you can contact him via his website below if you're interested.

Photo: Michael Garito, mgarito.com.

Another Michael Garito creation, this aquarium was made out of two old Apple monitors sandwiched together. Due to its strange shape, Garito had to build a custom filtration system for this tank.

"I built a filtration system that is submerged in the tank, hidden behind the central 'hide'," he explains. "I did not want the aesthetic of the tank diminished by air tubes running over the side so they, along with the filter's power cord, and the tank's drainage tube are all discreetly ran out of the bottom and through the monitor stand."

This tank seems a little trickier to build than the Mac Pro tank, but it looks pretty spectacular. Garito donated this one to an elementary school.

Photo: Michael Garito, mgarito.com

If you've got an old iMac G4 knocking around, turning it into a stunning desk lamp is actually easier than it looks. This particular model was sold on Etsy, but there are lots of guides to making your own.

Photo: SewWhatSherlock, Etsy

Perhaps the greatest way to breath new life into an old Mac is to turn it into a "Hackintosh." That's doing away with its old components, using its case to house a brand new PC, and then installing OS X on it.

Of course, Mac Pro cases won't just take any motherboard and components, so you'll have to make a few adjustments to make them fit. This particular Hack Pro was put together by "Commander Zero" over on the InsanelyMac forums who details each modification that was made in the thread below.

Photo: CommanderZero, InsanelyMac

If you're not up to building a Hackintosh, how about gutting that old Mac Pro case and using it as a cable tidy instead. No one likes the sight of messy cables, but this "Power Tower" from Kiwidee looks great when it's all closed up.

Tucked away inside it there's an integrated power surge, three AC circuits, and up to 30 plug sockets. There's even a handy socket on the front of the case.

Photo: Kiwidee

These Macintosh planters are the ideal garden accessory for any tech freak who likes getting their fingers green - and they couldn't be simpler to make. Simply gut your Macintosh, cut a hole in its top, and fill it with soil.

Photo: Superchou, Flickr

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Another simple hack, this one turns an old Mac Pro G4 case into a mailbox. All you need to do is gut your machine, cut a hole out of its front for your mail and install a door, then add some numbers.

Don't forget to make the case waterproof, though, because you could come home to soaking wet post after a rainy day.

Photo: Digitaldust, Flickr

When it's sunny outside, you don't want to be stuck in with your Mac. So how about turning it into a barbecue grill and taking it outside for some cooking. You can make your own by following the steps in this Imgur gallery. Photo: 100uf, Reddit

If you've got more than one Mac Pro case collecting dust, sticking a block of wood between them creates a beautiful bench like this one from Klaus Geiger.

Photo: Klaus Geiger

Another Klaus Geiger hack turns a couple of old Mac Pro cases into a set of drawers that even Jony Ive would be proud of. This one's a little harder to put together than the bench, but it's well worth the effort.

Photo: Klaus Geiger

This old Power Mac G4 Cube case makes for the fanciest tissue box you'll ever see. Creating this hack is as easy as swapping out the computer's old logic board, hard drives, and other components for a box of tissues. You can find step-by-step instructions via the link below.

Photo: Macgeek, Instructables

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  • robogobo

    This is awful.

  • here’s a couple of posts that have some more ideas for dead machines:

    http://macmd.com/blog/?p=553 (turn an old macbook into an iPad case)

    http://macmd.com/blog/?p=367 (turn a bunch of Mac towers into bookshelves)

  • Lou Skunt

    Your face is awful.

  • JFairweather

    Ah, yet another online source that is promoting the conversion of an aluminum Mac into a hibachi….

    When heated, aluminum gives off TOXIC FUMES cause the following: eye, nose, and throat irritation, fever, chills, headache, nausea, muscle pain, and decreased pulmonary function. A recent study also linked exposure to aluminum fumes with alzheimers.

    Do not convert an aluminum Mac into a grill.

    I strongly suggest that the author remove this from the slide show.

    • Windlasher

      I thought about that. I have a mac pro that is still going strong but one day it will not be a grill. It will be the most kick ass mackintosh I can piece together.

    • Yorgus

      Aluminum & Alzheimer’s link was thoroughly debunked years ago.

    • Josephine Schmo

      Same thing with aluminum coffee pots, so NEVER brew coffee in a MAC, LOL!

  • DarkHuntress

    And don’t forget to keep it for the value it might bring in 10 years

  • redheeler

    I have a few PPC Macs on display in my bedroom. They’re perfect just the way they are.

  • Dillon Sharer

    Rich people, haha!

  • No. Just no.

  • Publius

    Or you could, you know, just use an Old Mac. it’s not like they magically stop working when Apple decides to pull the plug.

  • Josephine Schmo

    Hilarious! Like the machines in terminator look like humans until you “dig into” them…..