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Building Casing

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September 18, 2006 11:00:31 AM

Hi guys...
I hope i put this thread in a good place.

Does anyone of you ever built your own PC's case ?
If yes, what kind of material is the good one ? is it wood, plexy, metal or other material ?

Do you need a high precision for the dimension ?

I'm planning to make one for my current rig. I supposed it'll take time and patience which is fun is included too. So, feel free to give me some advice.

Thanks in advance.

More about : building casing

September 18, 2006 12:35:28 PM

Quote:
Hi guys...
I hope i put this thread in a good place.

Does anyone of you ever built your own PC's case ?
If yes, what kind of material is the good one ? is it wood, plexy, metal or other material ?

Do you need a high precision for the dimension ?

I'm planning to make one for my current rig. I supposed it'll take time and patience which is fun is included too. So, feel free to give me some advice.

Thanks in advance.


I'd do some research first, looking at all the home builts that are out there on the web. Silent PC Review has a bunch of cool riggage, maybe start there. A while back, I just googled stuff like "custom PC case mods" and different variations on that theme and found thousands of cool home-made rigs. Some are very sophisticated. Check out CPU magazine - every month they showcase a custom case. One of my favorites I found on the web was a dude that soldered up a case out of copper tubing and used the case as a huge radiator for his water cooling system. It looked pretty funky but he got excellent cooling performance. You can find numerous cases that are built into a desk. One guy has three PCs built into a desk and the desk acts as a manifold to direct air-conditioned air onto his air-cooled PCs. All of his PCs are hot-running OC'ed monsters and he gets great cooling performance, but he's a pretty talented woodworker. Sorry, I didn't save any linkage but you can find a bunch quickly with your own searches. Be prepared - there are some VERY oddball people out in the home-mod PC world!!!
September 18, 2006 1:48:22 PM

I did think about doing this using an old desktop PC case and making an aluminium front for it. Also getting hold of some quite hefty ali heatsink extrusions for the sides to make it passively cooled possibly, a bit like the zalman case. It seems the extrusions would be quite expensive/hard to get hold of.

Greg
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September 18, 2006 2:29:54 PM

Sounds like a cool idea to me man. I'd think the MOST important thing to get accurate is the mobo/post screw holes. Afer that, what does it matter? as long as you have something to hold drives secure and the power supply...you can make it any size you want. Just make sure you're accurate with your measurements. My father owns a machine shop so I'd use digital calipers (measurement tool that measures down to .000 of inches) and then use a milling machine to be very, very accurate. But...That's me. It's not a bad idea...I admit I've wanted to do it in the past but didn't have the time. Good luck!
September 18, 2006 2:31:36 PM

OK thanks for the info. I will give a shot on those. Sometimes i can see modded case from Maximum PC magazines. Sometimes i found they are nice and has a great idea.

I want to start from scratch, choosing the material, peripherals management, cables management. Cooling system will stick on air, i don't do OC.

Today i'm thinking about the material it will be wood. It looks good on dampening the noise, i think. I'm thinking about metal too, aluminium looks too familiar and quite expensive but its strength are more better than wood and less heavy.

Thanks again guys
September 18, 2006 2:35:23 PM

Oh yeah and PS I forgot, if you've got an old case hanging around, just yank the mobo tray out of that and put it in your custom. That'd be the easiest, cheapest, and best way. (Silly me)
September 18, 2006 2:50:09 PM

Quote:
Oh yeah and PS I forgot, if you've got an old case hanging around, just yank the mobo tray out of that and put it in your custom. That'd be the easiest, cheapest, and best way. (Silly me)


I was just going to say that!
September 18, 2006 2:54:23 PM

Yep i was thinking on spending around 160 euros just for Antec P180 without power supply is just not right. Besides that i already have the power supply. So in case of throwing my bended case and buy a new one, i'm thinking on build it by myself. I will be so proud about it when it's finish. Maybe you can do it too wolfman140...by the way where you live ? maybe i can have some hands from your father ?

Thanks for the links doolittle.
September 18, 2006 3:16:53 PM

If you build the case from wood then you may need to provide some RF sheilding. PCs will emit a large amount of RFI. This may not be a problem for you, but most cases are metal and provide the screening that way. You could use some copper foil and attach that to the wood. You would need to make sure that the copper foil was connected to ground.

Rob Murphy
September 18, 2006 3:32:58 PM

Quote:
Today i'm thinking about the material it will be wood. It looks good on dampening the noise, i think. I'm thinking about metal too, aluminium looks too familiar and quite expensive but its strength are more better than wood and less heavy.


Wood can work great. If you want to keep the weight down, go with a ply material like luan or a thin hardwood plywood. You can use dimensional wood like pine as stiffeners and to connect panels. You can add commercial soundproofing and it works great if you bond it well to wood. I know a guy that is a real expert woodworker who made his own case. He got a sheet of 1/2" birdseye maple and did it up good. He used oak as the trim and structural wood for contrast. It's a beauty but using 1/2" plywood made it pretty heavy.

To work with metal, you need access to some machine tools like band saws, drill press and at least a hand-bending jig. Metalwork is cool, but it's not trivial. Custom-made stuff like this in general is not trivial and therein lies the fun!
September 18, 2006 3:38:07 PM

Quote:
If you build the case from wood then you may need to provide some RF sheilding. PCs will emit a large amount of RFI. This may not be a problem for you, but most cases are metal and provide the screening that way. You could use some copper foil and attach that to the wood. You would need to make sure that the copper foil was connected to ground.

Rob Murphy


I googled "RFI" and i've got 12millions results, but i found and i supposed it's correct. RFI = Radio Frequency Interference. Is it really important ? What device will suffer on the interference ? is it TV, radio, speakers or anything ? I only understand EMI = Electro Magnetic Interference. This interference made lots of device suffering.

As in my knowledge, wood can absorb frequencies while metal will reflect it or i don't know. Thanks anyway for suggestions.
Maybe i will stick 2 woods and in the middle of them i'll put some copper foil just like sandwich. Do you think it's a good idea ?
September 18, 2006 3:58:06 PM

lol can't help you out there my man unless you wanna come near Albany, NY in the USA lol
September 18, 2006 4:10:30 PM

RFI and EMI are essentially the same thing. While wood does have the capability of absorbing some eletromagnetic frequencies, metal does an even better job. Lining your case with thin foil or screen (aluminum or tin will work just fine) will go a long way to shielding the EM waves created by your computer components from interfering with other nearby devices (such as TVs, radios, mobile or wireless phones, etc.).

Metal shielding works with the reflective quality of metal building a cage around the EM source and reducing its chance of escaping. Some metals are dense enough to actually absorb EM radiation (such as lead) while others will mostly refelct EM radiation (such as steel or aluminum).
September 18, 2006 4:23:59 PM

Thanks for suggestions. Are there any other suggestions that maybe i don't know but they are essentials ?

thanks.
September 18, 2006 4:48:18 PM

Quote:
RFI and EMI are essentially the same thing.


RFI is a subset of EMI, as in a more limited frequency range.
September 18, 2006 5:26:13 PM

I just built a new case - used an old frame from a tower that was the right dimensions but I needed a desktop style case for home theater rig. So i tore off the cladding and front and built all new pieces so it fits in sleek with my setup. What I found:

1. I did not need to build a new frame or worry about grounding, as i used the old MB tray and the old frame. I just had to cut out and re-orient drive cages and move the power supply a bit - a fair bit of dremel work but not as much as totally fabbing a new frame. so if you can find an old frame that is the right basic dimension, this could save time.

2. When cutting the larger pieces of metal for the base, the front, and the top, I found attaching thich cardborad or styrofoam to it - whatever i had laying around - prevented it from flexing so much as it was cut and resulted in longer lasting hacksaw and dremel blades.

3. For smaller detail cuts, I attached the metal to a wood backing to drill/dremel into - this also limited metal motion and seemed to make the job easier.

4. As I was looking for a quiet PC, I used silicon sealant along all the edges of the base (which does not need to come off in my design), anywhere the drive cages touch the rest of the frame, and even under the front cover edges and under the bulk of it where i do not have airflo. This really silenced the build from any flexing as the fans pulled air through. Nice thing is the silicon caulking compound seals really well, so stray dust does not get in as long as you have dust filters over your intakes. Also, it does remove from metal easily if you ever have to take a piece off for some reason. and it is cheap! I even used it along with screws along the edges of all the case fans and the rig is quite quiet.

5. As far as metal goes, I used mainly steel as I was not worried about weight and it was 1/3trd the price of aluminum for the sheets I needed. As this was my first time building a case I went with material I was less worried about wrecking. I did use aluminum pieces for trim, power buttun, and sliding rails to secure my case where I wanted thicker more secure pieces as aluminum is much thicker than steel with the same or less weight.

I hope this helps you out. My case was fun to build and I hope yours is too.
September 18, 2006 7:52:34 PM

Quote:
I just built a new case -


Please post photos!
September 18, 2006 8:56:07 PM

I second that motion
September 18, 2006 10:43:42 PM

I'd be happy to. I'll try and get some up in the next day or so.
September 19, 2006 1:45:42 AM

The reason for suggesting copper rather than aluminium is that aluminium foil will be a real pain to connect to. The provide the sheilding the metal foild will need to be grounded. Copper is easy to connect to, and is easily soldered to which makes connecting the different sheets used very easy.

Wood will not provide any effective shielding by itself.

The RFI may only be a problem for you if it interferes with other equipment.

Rob Murphy
September 19, 2006 5:11:37 AM

I apologize for the crudeness of the photos and lack of detail I'll throw better ones up when I dissassemble my system to clean up the wiring now that I have everything working. I don'thave pictures of the interior as I have my receiver on top of it right now.

Picture 1: HT System:


Monster Power AVS 2000 Voltage Stabilizer
Monster Power 5100 Surge Suppressor
(Off ebay - new 5100 and lightly used 2000 - 1/8th the price of new....!)
((Plus I love watching changing numbers...wooooooo!)
Motorola DCT-6412 HD PVR on Shaw Cable Canada
Messina GSS-AMP hooked up to 2 Messina GSS rumble units in the seats:
Messina home page
Custom computer case specs below
Denon AVR-1604 (Good but soon to be updated)
Speakers - Paradigm CC70 surround system with PDR-8 subwoofer
Monitors - feeds to an infocus X1 projector and benq 17" LCD via a switch unit to determine the output paths



The case started llife as an upright serve Gateway G6-400 400mhz PII. Obviously I gutted it, discarded all the plastic to te frame, and started over.. First project so a bit rough. Steel front and bottom glued, siliconed, and bolted together - used large bolts to give industrial effect - though about countersinking bolts with V-heads but thought the frankenstein effect of the raised bolts was cool plus gives feet mount points on the bottom.

Aluminum front rib for cosmetics and aluminum thick 90-degree elbow bars along each side mounte about 2mm away from main frame body to allow the new cover/side unit - 1 piece cut and the bent carefully using a rolled tube to round the upper bend area slightly - to slide in and lock down and to the sides to prevent rattling and to givea good seal.
Power button is naked right now but I am just looking for a flexible mount for in over the power button to seal this area from dust - this puppy will be almost air tight except for the ventilation path, which you can't see as i have no interior or back pictures yet.

Paint is rustoleum weathered look - creates a bit of pitting which matches the finish to the monster components fairly well. I put on 5 coats and should have put on 10 as the coats are light. I also messed up a bit as i used an acrylic clear coat to seal it but I should have waited 5 days in between the two different paints - only waited 3 and got some lifting in unobtrusive places but still annoying won't make that mistake again

Computer hardware:
Asus AM2-N32 Nvidia 590 SLI
AMD 3800+ X2
1Gb Geil pc6400 DDR2
EVga Geforce 6600Gt from previous build of SLI - why get a new card until DX10 stuff ships, right? split up the SLI's for now.
Soundblaster AUdigy2 ZS Platinum without drive - no use for it - again why get x-fi till price comes down a bit - connected via analog 5.1 to the denon receiver.
6xseagate 320GB barracuda 7200.10 in raid 5 1.45 TB array on 590SLI - another small mistake - write performance poorer than I ever woild have thought but read performance burst aaround 215MB/s and sustained 142 mb/s!!!!!
Pioneer DVD-R DL
Arctic Cooling freezer 64
Thermaltake toughpower 600
3x 120mm arcticcooling fans

PVR is hooked up via firewire as per directions on AVSForm which allows capture of HDTV in .TS mpeg2 transport stream format and also capture of digital but not analog cable signals.

VLC media player primary software as allows native playback of .TS files - I don't compress yet - waiting for a better (quicker)x264 codec compressor as this takes forever but quality is minimal drop from native .TS

Currtently have 800GB of HDTV movies - PHK U bluray and HDDVD DRM - and 275GB of FLAC audio from my perfect lossless CD rips - played through winamp with the flac plugin .

Why .ts and why FLAC?

When i upgraded to paradigms and denon, i tough music would be better - it wasnt - my mp3s sounded the same - but my CDS were much improved - swithced to lossless codec as I now had a system that i could tell the difference between lossy and lossless on - old system was an Aiwa all-in one good in it's day but it's day was past.


Why keep native .TS of 1920 x 1080i? Native 1080i/p projectors due out soon and in about 1 yr ibet prices will be to the point where I can grab one. SO I want native format video for te projector, and downscaled images are shar[per than up[scaled in my opinion, and te computer does a great job of scaling to 800x450 for ~480P widescreen in VLC on the infocus X1.

Plus connected by gigabit switch to two other comps and I can stream .TS to any of them without a hitch so my son can watch Monsters, Inc on his computer in one room while I watch terminator on mine, with this puppy having more thanenough throughput on the HD's and network to allow this even with machine 3 working the torrent networks.

Whew.

That was fun.
September 19, 2006 5:18:47 AM

Schweeet rig! I've been rumbled by those Messinas. You could lose a filling. Lots of good info below.

Quote:
I apologize for the crudeness of the photos and lack of detail I'll throw better ones up when I dissassemble my system to clean up the wiring now that I have everything working. I don'thave pictures of the interior as I have my receiver on top of it right now.

Picture 1: HT System:


Monster Power AVS 2000 Voltage Stabilizer
Monster Power 5100 Surge Suppressor
(Off ebay - new 5100 and lightly used 2000 - 1/8th the price of new....!)
((Plus I love watching changing numbers...wooooooo!)
Motorola DCT-6412 HD PVR on Shaw Cable Canada
Messina GSS-AMP hooked up to 2 Messina GSS rumble units in the seats:
Messina home page
Custom computer case specs below
Denon AVR-1604 (Good but soon to be updated)
Speakers - Paradigm CC70 surround system with PDR-8 subwoofer
Monitors - feeds to an infocus X1 projector and benq 17" LCD via a switch unit to determine the output paths



The case started llife as an upright serve Gateway G6-400 400mhz PII. Obviously I gutted it, discarded all the plastic to te frame, and started over.. First project so a bit rough. Steel front and bottom glued, siliconed, and bolted together - used large bolts to give industrial effect - though about countersinking bolts with V-heads but thought the frankenstein effect of the raised bolts was cool plus gives feet mount points on the bottom.

Aluminum front rib for cosmetics and aluminum thick 90-degree elbow bars along each side mounte about 2mm away from main frame body to allow the new cover/side unit - 1 piece cut and the bent carefully using a rolled tube to round the upper bend area slightly - to slide in and lock down and to the sides to prevent rattling and to givea good seal.
Power button is naked right now but I am just looking for a flexible mount for in over the power button to seal this area from dust - this puppy will be almost air tight except for the ventilation path, which you can't see as i have no interior or back pictures yet.

Paint is rustoleum weathered look - creates a bit of pitting which matches the finish to the monster components fairly well. I put on 5 coats and should have put on 10 as the coats are light. I also messed up a bit as i used an acrylic clear coat to seal it but I should have waited 5 days in between the two different paints - only waited 3 and got some lifting in unobtrusive places but still annoying won't make that mistake again

Computer hardware:
Asus AM2-N32 Nvidia 590 SLI
AMD 3800+ X2
1Gb Geil pc6400 DDR2
EVga Geforce 6600Gt from previous build of SLI - why get a new card until DX10 stuff ships, right? split up the SLI's for now.
Soundblaster AUdigy2 ZS Platinum without drive - no use for it - again why get x-fi till price comes down a bit - connected via analog 5.1 to the denon receiver.
6xseagate 320GB barracuda 7200.10 in raid 5 1.45 TB array on 590SLI - another small mistake - write performance poorer than I ever woild have thought but read performance burst aaround 215MB/s and sustained 142 mb/s!!!!!
Pioneer DVD-R DL
Arctic Cooling freezer 64
Thermaltake toughpower 600
3x 120mm arcticcooling fans

PVR is hooked up via firewire as per directions on AVSForm which allows capture of HDTV in .TS mpeg2 transport stream format and also capture of digital but not analog cable signals.

VLC media player primary software as allows native playback of .TS files - I don't compress yet - waiting for a better (quicker)x264 codec compressor as this takes forever but quality is minimal drop from native .TS

Currtently have 800GB of HDTV movies - PHK U bluray and HDDVD DRM - and 275GB of FLAC audio from my perfect lossless CD rips - played through winamp with the flac plugin .

Why .ts and why FLAC?

When i upgraded to paradigms and denon, i tough music would be better - it wasnt - my mp3s sounded the same - but my CDS were much improved - swithced to lossless codec as I now had a system that i could tell the difference between lossy and lossless on - old system was an Aiwa all-in one good in it's day but it's day was past.


Why keep native .TS of 1920 x 1080i? Native 1080i/p projectors due out soon and in about 1 yr ibet prices will be to the point where I can grab one. SO I want native format video for te projector, and downscaled images are shar[per than up[scaled in my opinion, and te computer does a great job of scaling to 800x450 for ~480P widescreen in VLC on the infocus X1.

Plus connected by gigabit switch to two other comps and I can stream .TS to any of them without a hitch so my son can watch Monsters, Inc on his computer in one room while I watch terminator on mine, with this puppy having more thanenough throughput on the HD's and network to allow this even with machine 3 working the torrent networks.

Whew.

That was fun.
September 19, 2006 5:25:35 AM

Take a look everybody !!!!!!

I'm sure he was having fun. Damn...i can't wait to build my own.

Congrats hdtvguy !!!

I'm sorry to say, maybe you can think about cable management behind those monsters.

Anyone else ? post the pics of your own built case if you like. And be proud of it....!!!
September 19, 2006 2:02:39 PM

Cable management happens this weekend. I just got the new computer up and running late last week and plugged into the system to make sure everyting is working.

I need to cut some extra holes/cable runs through the AV rack so I don't have to come around the edges and then everything should look sharp.

Biggest problem is the receiver - I ued custom built Canare cables for interconnects, digital input, and both sub outputs - the stuff i used is RG-6 grade solid copper core quad shielded with foil and weave dielectrics and large lovely locking Canre ends on them - built them myself - but they are STIFF! so if i stick the receiver inthe shelf it adds 2.5 inches of depth and it overhangs the front!!!!! but once I get a relief hole cut it's good to go.

THEN I'll post another pic!

And thanks, it was fun building it and even troubleshooting the connections.
September 19, 2006 2:29:17 PM

hdtvguy, do what you have to do. That's a nice work. Keep it up.

Today, i've done some scratching on the paper. I've measured all the peripherals and designing what my case will look like.

I'll post some photos too when it's done.
!