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Modded Shredder

This tale of classic UACS over-engineering comes from, to the best of my research, early 2003, back in the days before Web 2.0 and AJAX and social networking, and back when I was a grade schooler. Intrigued by tales of the past? Read on!

Change is a tough concept to master when you are pursuing a degree in computing science but we at UACS feel that staying on the bleeding spoon of technology is crucial. Crucial for education, betterment of ones being, eating cereal and well, spooning. To that end we went out and bought a paper shredder.

Upwards of 35 seconds of research paid off when we purchased our GBC Shredmaster 30s (tm) from Staples. No one is really sure what a fine piece of machinery like this costs but we managed to haggle the guy down to a goat, some straw and a lap dance from our very own Belly Dancing VP Social. Initially we found the shredder to be just another UACS slave appliance. It was decently fast, fairly quiet, but always entertaining.

Hastily we immediately began shredding everything we could get out shred happy hands on. Ignoring the "Shreds 5-6 sheets(20#) at a time...Not Designed for continuous use. Shredder may temporarily shut off if used for more than 2 minutes without pause." we started on the phone book. The hope was that after a trial run of the White Pages we would hold a contest whereby people could sign up for a page in the Yellow Pages and put money on what sheet it would give up on and die. The problem was that the shredder died with a weak showing of only being able to shred up to the letter C. Not even an eighth of the way through phone book and the shredder died like a blonde in a horror movie. Fast. And busty.

Turns out that the shredder was in fact not dead, just resting. Like a hibernating Himalayan Bear Shark it lay in wait cooling its body whilst preparing to strike its next victim. Quickly we deduced that there must be some kind of internal heat measurement apparatus that was responsible for subduing the appetite of the hard working shredder. Worried about the legality of our endeavor and the effect it would have on global warming we hired a Sherpa and a dive team to locate our Presidente El Warden who decreed "MOAR FASTARR" with respect to the impending shredder modification. Such it was said and such it shall be done. We scavenged the most high-tech tools know to man in preparation for the transformation that was about to be inflicted upon our hardy shredder.

Our final list of tools:
1 Pseudo Leatherman Tool that came free with a Gillette Mach III Razor.
2 Screwdrivers
7 Coat Hangers (plastic)
1 Roll Electrical Tape
2 Rolls Duct Tape
1 Roll eXtreme Duck Tape
12 Monkeys

Our very first effort in modding our shredder was cutting out the bars in the "vent" on the underside of the shredder to increase "airflow". This was a stupendous failure, doing absolutely nothing to cool the shredder.

It was after this failure that our minds and bodies turned to science and steel respectively. We figured that in order for this information to be publishable we needed to benchmark our baby before we cut it up like a Phys Ed Major at a spelling bee. Establishing a set control was crucial, so we looked for a medium that was sensible and cost effective for us to shred. Our solution: "Job Postings" magazine. These things get dropped off at our office by midgets on brooms monthly and since none of us can read they just end up getting thrown out. We began feeding the shedder magazines and after just 11.25 magazines it grew arms and threw in its own towel.

VP Publicity of UACS sacrificed for the greater good and let us "borrow" the heatsink and fan form his Athlon. Immediately we began cutting up the case and soon we had our stout shredder back in the fray and ready to keep our vital information safe once again. The problem this time was that we didn't yet have an DC adapter to power the fan on the heatsink. Unfazed and more out of our shear addiction to shredding (haha shear get it) we benchmarked it again anyway. In this form our devastatingly handsome shredder managed to improve its unchallenged record by shredding 14 magazines. In a row.

Our own personal Savior, VP Second Year Rep, came to our aid and using his magical raccoon power scavenged up for us a schwack 'O fans, as well as an DC adapter to power said fans. Getting in on this hot fan on fan action, our VP Social as well as VP Publicity and VP Sarcasm brought in even more fans to add to the arsenal, including the always sexy Blue Orb. At a total of 7 fans we had more than the Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn.

After some more delicate cutting using our Gilletherman tool we finally settled on 3 fans total for our shredder. 1 fan to cool the Athlon heatsink, 1 to draw air in through the hole we previously cut in the shredder to vent the motor, and a final fan inside the case to exhaust the air out the far side. It was a masterpiece of half-assed engineering. We wept. The benchmarking commenced and our shredder surpassed all expectations and shred 37 "Job Postings" in one sitting. We even shred a pop can (picture 1, picture 2) just for fun. As the crowd gathered eagerly in anticipation of a flaming and spectacular end to our shredder we began to get bored. Honestly this shredding was taking way too long. Since we had yet to swap the motor with one more powerful, the shredding was trying our patients. After the 37 book finished being separated and shred we got anxious and jammed the shredder with an entire magazine all at once. The shredder sat jammed trying to move for a full 5 minutes before it finally overheated and ran screaming from the building. We chased it down and locked it in a cabinet where it couldn't hurt itself or others.

Still not satisfied, once the shredder had taken its Ritalin and calmed down a bit we went to work on it again. This time we added a 2 more 110 Volt fans with a support structure that would make the Golden Gate Bridge wet its pants and cry for mommy. Soon it was a hulking beast that weighed in at 10 lbs and sported an intricate air flow management system fashioned out of an old shower curtain. Another addition this time around was an onboard temperature sensor that gave us a reading on exactly when our shredder needed to get out of the heat. The issue with this form of the shredder was the weight. Much like Rosie O'Donnell it was too heavy to keep cool, and too big to fit in our wastebasket. Since all the extra weight kept pulling the heatsink off the motor we had to cancel the test. In addition it was infeasible for our shredder to need a power bar to stay running.

Currently the shredder sits with a modified Blue Orb/Athlon heatsink, and 2 DC fans, 1 inside the case and 1 sucking air through the heatsinks and across the motor. In honor of its valiant efforts in the face of adversity we named our shredder "Terry".

Shortly after this article was originally posted to the UACS website, it was slashdotted, which was pretty awesome, and still is. Terry is, unfortunately, no longer with us, and is probably shredding copious amounts of paper/aluminum up in shredder heaven.

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