My first 'built from scratch case'!!!

bobsaget

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I am thinking about making my first built from scratch case. I need something to do this summer because school gets out tommarrow!!! I will be taking my time on this thing, I want it to look GREAT!

My question to you is...

What type of material should I use? Price is very important. I don't want to spend more than 50-60 bucks on this case. All I have is a jigsaw, but I will be getting a dremel soon.


Thanks!
 
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sheet metal.

or go nuts with some vinyl siding from your local hardware store. i don't think anyone has made a case out of vinyl siding yet. . . . . ;)
 

Qtip42

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Heheheh it's tough to build a case for $50-60 ...................I think I've managed to do a few mini-itx cases around that price but nothing bigger.

Draw something up first before you dive in, then you'll have a better idea of what materials you need.
 

Walleye

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sheet aluminum

And aluminum angle bracket for the edges.

several ways to bond it.. JB-weld.. pop rivets, nuts and bolts.

i like pop rivets. nothing beats mechanical attachment. jb weld is good stuff too.
 

xonik

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Try some wood. It's cheap, easy to work with, provides natural sound deadening, and doesn't require expensive tools. You can apply a wide variety of finishes to it. It's also a material that is rarely employed by "case modders."
 

Monkey34

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I'm using old desktops from the pentium class days as scrap metal/parts. Theres a local computer store near me that has about 40 of them in the store, and sells them as-is(all or partially there) for "2 for $15". I picked up 2 recently (I already had one at home of my own), and made a working unit(may turn into an internet gateway or other app.) out of the parts...........PLUS the others are in the process of a nice mod you'll see here when I'm done.
 

d34dly

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xonik said:
Try some wood. It's cheap, easy to work with, provides natural sound deadening, and doesn't require expensive tools. You can apply a wide variety of finishes to it. It's also a material that is rarely employed by "case modders."

I have been working on a project for QuakeCon and I am using strictly wood. WONDERFUL to work with. Give wood a shot and you won't be dissappointed. Plus it can be painted anyway you like, and you won't even be able to tell it is wood.
 

bobsaget

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No cooling issues with wood? I will have good airflow. So, that will help.
 

kronchev

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bobsaget said:
No cooling issues with wood? I will have good airflow. So, that will help.

airflow comes from holes, not material. you could make it out of cloth, as long as theres airFLOW, youre fine.

A CASE DOES NOT RADIATE HEAT
 

ciggy50

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A CASE DOES NOT RADIATE HEAT


almost true that is , except for the fact that metal DOES retain heat.

as for wood , wont retain heat itself but it will act as an insulator and keep heat IN.
 

d34dly

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ciggy50 said:
almost true that is , except for the fact that metal DOES retain heat.

as for wood , wont retain heat itself but it will act as an insulator and keep heat IN.

From my experiences the difference in wood and metal is neglegible. No worries man.
 

xonik

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ciggy50 said:
almost true that is , except for the fact that metal DOES retain heat.

as for wood , wont retain heat itself but it will act as an insulator and keep heat IN.
The case itself is rarely designed as the actual heat transfer medium. A good case will take advantage of well-positioned fans to move hot air out of the case, regardless of the case material.
 

AggieMEEN

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Walleye said:
sheet aluminum

And aluminum angle bracket for the edges.


What's a good gauge thickness to use for a computer enclosure? Just curious.

Also, I heard somewhere that wood cases are better at noise damping. Can anyone confirm?
 

xonik

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AggieMEEN said:
What's a good gauge thickness to use for a computer enclosure? Just curious.
0.060", whatever that translates to. Remember that a good support skeleton is more important than the thickness of non-load-bearing panels. I would recommend using 1/8" thick angle stock for the skeleton.
Also, I heard somewhere that wood cases are better at noise damping. Can anyone confirm?
Yes, wood has natural damping properties. Metal of similar thickness can also damp with good results, but that's expensive. You can compensate with wood or other dampening material used in conjunction with the metal enclosure.
 

3N1GM4

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i say wood, but thats just me... again you rarely (though more and more each day) see modders using wood
 

M4d-K10wN

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Build the whole case out of fans. That will be the coolest (pun intended) and the most original one yet.
 

ciggy50

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HTML:
almost true that is , except for the fact that metal DOES retain heat.

as for wood , wont retain heat itself but it will act as an insulator and keep heat IN.

i dont think i said that right , metal is a conductor for heat and wood is an insulator for heat.
(sorry for the self-quote:))

The case itself is rarely designed as the actual heat transfer medium
that may be , but a case of metal will dissipate internal heat faster than one of wood
simply due to the heat conductive properties of metal.

a case made of nicely finished wood , with maybe an intricate carving on it , would
look sweet indeed , maybe i'll tackle that one day myself , but i am leaning more towards
skinning the outside of a metal case in a thin red cherry veneer , and having a wicked carving to replace the metal/plastic front faceplate(like one done in a dark stained oak )

i think you should try it , just be smart about airflow , you shouldnt need a lot of fans , just well placed ones.

Build the whole case out of fans. That will be the coolest

i think ive seen that somehwhere before :p
 

Shang

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ciggy50 said:
that may be , but a case of metal will dissipate internal heat faster than one of wood
simply due to the heat conductive properties of metal.

For the last time, no, not enough to matter.
 

ciggy50

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stuff it noob,
i have had experience with wood enclosers , have you?
 

Shang

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Yes, I have had experience with wood enclosures, but let's try things your way and resort to namecalling instead of worthwhile discussion. :rolleyes:
 

kronchev

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ciggy50 said:
stuff it noob,
i have had experience with wood enclosers , have you?

then you obviously were doing things WRONG

no name calling
 

kronchev

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SuperToadMan said:
Where could one find such things?

home depot, it looks like...well, aluminum brackets.


ive got around 5 feet of the stuff at home but i never used it because i have no way to cut it straight (i dont think my saw fits in the miter I have and hell if i'm doing it freehand). also the lack of any reason to cut it hurts the whole doing it aspect
 

kronchev

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M4d-K10wN said:
Build the whole case out of fans. That will be the coolest (pun intended) and the most original one yet.

if I do this remind me to cite you as inspiration
 

Gargoyle_Hunter

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kronchev said:
home depot, it looks like...well, aluminum brackets.


ive got around 5 feet of the stuff at home but i never used it because i have no way to cut it straight (i dont think my saw fits in the miter I have and hell if i'm doing it freehand). also the lack of any reason to cut it hurts the whole doing it aspect

Look in the section with the sheetmetal stock and dowels, the L-angles are usually there. I'd love to build a brushed aluminum case, just don't know where to find a cheap mobo tray. I'm going to use the angle alum. and plexi to build a "case" for my car-puter (built into the center console). Hey, angle alum. skeleton with plexi sides would make a pretty slick case. Kinda like a whole case window :)
 

kronchev

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Gargoyle_Hunter said:
Look in the section with the sheetmetal stock and dowels, the L-angles are usually there. I'd love to build a brushed aluminum case, just don't know where to find a cheap mobo tray. I'm going to use the angle alum. and plexi to build a "case" for my car-puter (built into the center console). Hey, angle alum. skeleton with plexi sides would make a pretty slick case. Kinda like a whole case window :)

my friend bought a case years ago (when he paid $300 for a brand new 2100+, that was the absolute fastest processor then :D) that is like that, it looked pretty cool. next case I custom build Im going to use plexi and the alum brackets. I have been working out in my mind for months how to get them to overlap correctly. I need a rivit gun now though.
 
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If you want to save a few bucks on metal, try cutting apart a junked refrigerator. The great thing about this is that it's powdercoat enameled, which is a better quality finish than regular paint. I don't know how they do it where you live, but here in NYC, when people throw out a refrigerator, they put it out on the sidewalk, and the sanitation department takes it away after a few days. I usually carry a hacksaw around with me in my backpack, and if I need some metal, I just cut off what I need.
 

xXaNaXx

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i'm afraid to ask what else you use that hacksaw for, that you feel the need to carry it around with you!! :eek: :eek: :eek:
 

Tim_axe

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Check here for Sheet Metal Thickness / Gauge - http://www.murrayequipment.com/support/tblironsteel.html

Anyways, I'm building a case out of 20ga Sheet Steel. Thats about 0.0375 inches, but weighs a little over 1.5 pounds a square foot. In total, I've used about 30 square feet of material, but only because of a unique design feature involved in my case. I'll post a work log when I'm done. But your material usage would probably be closer to 10 square feet (including a custom mobo tray)

For a weight comparison, my case would weigh 45 lbs, while yours might weigh 15 lbs. If you made it out of aluminum, I have no idea what thickness or weight it would have. I do know that it will probably not rust; but my sheet steel case is showing signs of rusting.

Another problem with working with metals, is bending them. You might need to craft your own machine to bend metals, or pay $$$ for someone to do it for you. With school out, it will be harder to find a buddy in metalshop to bend it for you for free. (That's what I did, although I did have to do some unplanned bends on my own)

Making a motherboard tray isn't very difficult. (Reading the ATX Formfactor Specs are mind bogling, checkout http://www.formfactors.org/) Making the back end to hold expansion cards is going to be tough I think. I'm going to build that part of my case out of acrylic, because I have some scraps that were cheap. The ATX formfactor is pretty simple, and you can make a cheap thing to hold your motherboard in like this:

DSCN4493_tiny.png

Anyways, good luck on your case. Pick some design that you think is unique and build it. Right now, my case has run me about $50 for the steel and labor (Around $1.20 per square foot of 20ga sheet steel), and like $10 for the paint (Krylon paint because it covers more area for the price than the $1 stuff), and about $15-20 for the hundreds of screws/bolts I purchased (buy in bulk when you can save money!)

Oh, and the dremel sucks on this 20ga sheet steel. If you use the dremel, we warned that cutting will take a very long time. You will go through a lot of cutting discs. (I've used at least 30 so far, some "heavy duty" and others "regular" - the regular ones cut so much faster since they are much thinner - and my big thick fiberglass reinforced one went no where except making the entire sheet of steel very warm) Use small thin discs instead of big thick ones. I have no idea how your saw will fare. But be sure to also have access to a drill. The drill and dremel are my two big tools on my case in progress...
 

Shang

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I think the difficult thing about fiberglass would be creating forms to mold it to, although I don't really know that much about it, so I may be mistaken. Also, I can't imagine working with fiberglass would be fun. With how sensitive my skin is, I'd probably get itchy just looking at it.

PS, Hook 'em.
 

Monkey34

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Oh, and the dremel sucks on this 20ga sheet steel. If you use the dremel, we warned that cutting will take a very long time. You will go through a lot of cutting discs. (I've used at least 30 so far, some "heavy duty" and others "regular" - the regular ones cut so much faster since they are much thinner - and my big thick fiberglass reinforced one went no where except making the entire sheet of steel very warm) Use small thin discs instead of big thick ones.
:rolleyes: Heh.....I learned this recently too.
 

Dubber

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Try something that you havent seen anyone else use if you want to be origianal
 

xonik

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qwertyuiop said:
acrylic all the way
Mr. qwertyuiop, care to tell us why you feel that way? ;)

(I think a lot of posters in this thread weren't around to see your case)
 

mashie

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Carbon Fibre do fine for cases, will blow your $50 budget though...
 

ciggy50

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then you obviously were doing things WRONG

you stuff it too, kronchev. :p

i didnt say it wouldnt work or wasnt possible , i just pointed out the obvious thermal values
of the 2 items in question.

as for me doing it wrong , how the h3ll would you know what i do?

and since when is noob a bad word?

ahh forget it , i can see that its a no win situation for me , since obviously you guys know it all.
 

bobsaget

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okay, for the past few days now, I have decided aluminum. Then I thought about it, and said "that will never look good" so I went with wood. But now I think I will go with aluminum/acrylic.


Oh and while im here...

What should I do for the back of the case (pci slots, I/O panel)? Should I just tear the back panel off of my old case? Or make it?
 
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