Custom built Cherry wood case.

Over the holiday break I am going to be building a solid cherry (wood) case with brushed aluminum details and a slide down plexi side on both sides :) Smoked plexi on the back side that will slide up a hidden rail and the motherboard will be able to tilt back so I can access the backside. It is going to have a false bottom sort of, with open ends to intake air and exhaust the warm air out the bottom of my dual 120mm radiator. Then we can be custom case buddies on THG. :P I plan on posting a nice worklog all at once, on this site or another but I will certainly post a link here.

Hopefully I can finish it all over Christmas vacation, my grandfather is a retired shop teacher and builds cabinet sets of pure cherry and rosewood (expensive) and is famous in the woodworking community for his detail and ability to show no joints or grooves :) I'm pretty excited, if you couldn't tell :P

This was originally a post in another thread but I figured I would migrate it so nobody yells at me.

3lfk1ing: If you read this (will PM if I remember) which program did you draw up your sketches in?

Everyone: Does anyone want to recommend a case to build my design based on? I mean, obviously case companies know more than I do about scale and stuff, I am thinking of building one with the proportions of something similar to this Lian Li.

Here is where I want opinions. I want something mid tower sized, with lots of room. I will obviously cater the insides to fit my current setup, leaving only 1 or 2 expansion bays for upgrade.

Anyone offer any ideas on what case would provide good proportions to work off of? Or any ideas in general?
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More about custom built cherry wood case
  1. I think you should copy the Lian Li 343b case, in rosewood with shiny brass if necessary. Build it one time and NEVER look back (just make sure it also fits BTX) and overly large PSUs (> 1kw). But it's a good idea and should be really quite with enough 120mm Vantec stealth fans...

    Don't copy the wheels though as they REALLY suck.
  2. That thing is an absolute monster! I was thinking of something like that, but cut in half :P I love the simplicity of Lian Li and I want something similar for my own case. I do like the drive rail design, and may incorporate that somewhat into my design.

    Bring on the suggestions!
  3. hey tool i would send you my polkaudio speakers. they are big bookshelf.
    but they cost me 650$. and i really like em.

    they are cherry venier/veneer? they are like 55lbs each 8O .
    heavy for book shelf,s

    post pics man i want to see that it will look awsome and good luck.

    edit; on the slide out drive bays maybe some
    rollerbearing toolbox slides?

    i have a set and will ship them to you if yuo think yuo can use them.
  4. I have Bose 501 Customs that I picked up at a garage sale for $50. I think they are model 1983, the last year before they started making them tall and skinny. Mine are short and fat, and will probably be matched to my PC, at least stained the same color.

    I haven't decided if I want to go with a clear gloss stain, this wood is beautiful, or if I want a light stain being that it is already pretty dark wood I am unsure. I think it will look great either way with brushed aluminum switches, I am looking for a switch that is just a simple round one that is a push switch and flush with the surface.

    I hope to "stealth" the drives so they just have a very thin wood cover over them.

    Anyone know where I can find a switch like the one I stated above? I have tried frozencpu, xoxide and jabtech.
  5. hey mr. dewd have you had the time to mess with the clearcase
    we were talking about.

    i havent, been busier than a onelegged man in an a$$kickin contest. :D
  6. What a slut. She should cough it up right now!

    Anywho, I thought about going with a more industrial look, but decided the simplicity will fit my tastes more, just sleek curving box with no abrupt edges or joints. That little flower box is very intricate, nice carving whoever did that!

    My hand carving tools and skills are minimal, best thing I have carved is a little canoe, tent, paddles, campfire and douglas fir tree while I was trapped in the boundary waters.
  7. Quote:
    i am persuing legal matters against my brothers ex wife.she owes me 5 grand.

    damn man, goodluck.
  8. Quote:
    judge judy's folks called today :twisted:

    8O well atleast you can save money by carving your own coffin :lol:
  9. Good luck with making it. It sounds like it will turn out very nice looking, be sure to post some pics when you're finished :)
  10. I plan on it :) My dad is really getting into amateur photography and getting pretty good at it. He will be around at my grandfathers woodshop while we are working on it, and I know for a fact he is getting a Canon Digital Rebel XT for Christmas so he will be eager to snap some worklog shots.

    Who knows if I can get it done over the break, judging by the guy said he spent 300 hours on that one case. Though he did use hand tools mostly and it has many more joints than mine... I will surely post some pics when I get it complete.

    That is some insane carving vern! Sounds like you have yourself a hobby :)

    Any ideas are welcome! Does anyone have a suggestion other than Cherry wood? I like how it looks and we have 1 very nice piece with really tight grain that should be enough to do the whole case, but other ideas are welcome! Price is somewhat of a concern, but either way, a new case costs $100+ and this probably won't amount to that.
  11. I've always wanted to make a pipe, but I never knew how they made the hole down the entire shaft :P Never really looked into it, im sure my grandpa knows.

    Any ideas for the case anyone? Still looking for a nice power switch :)
  12. Wow, cool knife handle. I didn't even see it as the internet connection here at work sucks and it didn't even load till now.

    Pretty sweet.
  13. We are thinking of maple lattice or slatted 120mm intake/exhaust/blowhole holes. Not sure if I am going with a drive bay door. I don't really like the one I have now, it is semi annoying, but a invisible hinged door with a tiny magnet to hold it shut would look good too.

    It all depends how much I want to get into this project. But knowing myself, the more I start doing something, the better and more perfect I want it to finish :)
  14. A little spendy for a small detail :P

    Was thinking more along the lines of 4 or 5 down facing slats about 1" wide, turned at a 45 degree angle or so, maybe less. Just so you dont see the fan from above, but it doesn't block much airflow.
  15. You could Do a Tj09 like design with a mid section Duct so you have a super clean front. Just a thought
  16. I just love hamter wheels/kitty wheels. Make it from perspex so we can see him run!!! :twisted:
  17. MIAAAAOUUWWWW cough cough, that kitty looks sick..

    two speed of kitty, standard, vern's hairy pig, euh I mean a dog(now it's obvious) chasing it.
  18. Oh, now I see what you are saying. Yes, grandpa has it all :P Short of a nuclear reactor, he has everything a woodworker could need.
  19. I actually just drew up a proportional sketch, and used the TJ09 as a scale :) I honestly thought about the midsection intake, but I plan on having both sides be plexi and drop into felt lined (to prevent vibration) tracks and latching on the top.

    I wish I had an image hosting site, I would stick my paint sketch up here. Give me a few minutes...
  20. Quote:
    that kitty looks sick...
    More twisted than sick if you ask me.
  21. Tried Imageshack but it kept giving me a "site is not responding" error.

    Photobucket is pussy and wont display my 1680 x 1050 desktop. So here it is at 600 x 800. You may get a better idea what im thinking...if not, ask for explanations.

  22. Metal does have advantages due to RFI reduction, I believe the easiest method would be to buy a cheap case with the features you like and line the outside with custom wood panels. Put your effort where it belongs, into the exterior panels, and leave the tedious but otherwise unrewarding internal workings to the steel case makers.
  23. I am doing this as a fun project and am sick of modding aluminum and steel cases :) I'm not worried about RFI or anything, I think it is going to be a cool thing to do.

    About the Bloodwood/ is a little expensive lol.

    Would be cool to inlay some snakewood into the front with a symbol or something. I will look into it.
  24. Hey tool_462, sounds like you are about to make one beautiful chassis.

    W/e u do please don't stain the cherry, cherry is one of the few woods that looks good all natural (with a clearcoat of corse) and looks bad with a stain (doesn't stain very well). Now if you want/must have a stain....Oak would be the way to go, and if you wanted to cut costs you could go with a 1/4" oak Veneer (approx 1/4 the cost of pure oak) and then use a medium or dark walnut stain (the most pretty oak stain imo)

    Make sure that when you purchase the wood that you get Select/premium grade only. Knots will only screw everything up and so will inconsistancies in the wood grain.

    Be sure to post your mod progress on Wizd in the "Chop Shop" these guys have a very strong community and they are always willing to help with anything. :wink:

    The program that I used to draw my chassis is a very easy program called "Google Sketch-up" just watch the tutorial videos and In under 20 minutes you will know how to do 3-d modeling (at least that was my experience)

    Also, if your 100% serious about using wood, be sure to complete the wooden look by checking out this site and taking some ideas or perhaps you could attempt to complete the look just my making a nice mouspad and covering it with 6 coats of Diamond hard clearcoat (wetsand with 1500grit on the last 4 coats).

    Best of luck man.


    P.S. Don't forget to post the progress on Wizd, the guys there would absolutely love to see a wooden chassis, I know I would. :D
  25. I don't like the case there, if anything, the wood makes the fan holes stick out even more. Why not water cool so you can keep the panels solid? you could make it look like the chests they had back in the day at the foot of the bed. Something like the following, without the decorations to give it a cleaner look:
  26. Personally I wouldn't stain cherry. It has good colour on its own.

    And I'd never recommend this for anything furniture-grade, but due to the temperature extremes a computer case goes through, whatever I did finish it with would probably end up with a coat or two of polyurethane, all 6 sides of every piece.... (again, personally, I'd probably spray it...)

    Wood moves... Wood that is heated and cooled repeatedly in a short space of time will move more.

    Just my 2p.
  27. Thank you Verndewd :)

    case in point my martin d15 just cracked tonight out of nowhere.on the bass end face. there goes another 120 dollars.

    What were you doing with that guitar when it broke?
  28. Quote:
    Now if you want/must have a stain....Oak would be the way to go,

    I prefer black ash. I do realize it's a bit harder to work with, being harder and easier to split than oak, but the color is so nice...without stain, oops!
  29. I can say that the TJ09 has really nice dimension to work with and accomodate longer Video card.

    Just so you know the Mid section duct add a good 3" to the overall length. And that 11" video card have roughly 3" of clearance from the mid section.

    So you could probably make it a few inches shorter.
  30. Quote:
    I prefer black ash. I do realize it's a bit harder to work with, being harder and easier to split than oak, but the color is so nice...without stain, oops!

    I prefer Purple heart wood

    Purple Heart is my most favorite. It's incredibly strong, yet easy to work with and naturally is one of the most flawless woods. The only thing it needs is a few Diamond hard Clearcoats when finished and it is easily one of the prettiest woods you could ever make anything out of.

    The color of the wood is extremely unique because when it is cut it's almost a dull oak color and after oxidization the wood turns into its beautiful lustrous purple.

    Only problem is that it's one of the most expensive woods.

    I can say that the TJ09 has really nice dimension to work with and accomodate longer Video card.

    Just so you know the Mid section duct add a good 3" to the overall length. And that 11" video card have roughly 3" of clearance from the mid section.

    So you could probably make it a few inches shorter.

    I agree, I too think that modeling the cherry case after the best case on the market (Silverstone TJ09) would be a very wise idea and would make for one heck of a stylish wood case. The ventilation is flawless, the design is perfect, oand verall it would be a very nice case to work with.
  31. All I did was sleep for a few hours and I am overwhelmed with ideas and responses! This is great :P

    I already have a beautiful piece of cherry that is probably going to be the main part of the case. I won't stain it, just a clear coat, as it already has a very nice color and it even fades slightly lighter and darker in spots to break up the monotone. Oak is still an option, I am not at home now (couple hours away) but when I get back there on the 20th of December we will decide on the wood for sure.

    Those wooden mice and keyboards are insane! I posted a link somewhere in this thread to a company out of Germany that sells the keyboards for $800 each 8O Each key is made from the same tree.

    I am watercooling, but the radiator is kindof in it's own chamber so the other intake/exhaust fans are necessary. I plan on using the 120mm Scythe S-Flex fans I already have as they spin at 1200 RPM and are nearly silent. In a wood case, I can imagine they will be silent.

    Thanks for the links 3lf!

    Question: Do I really need a metal motherboard tray? I was thinking cherry would be hard enough, but I could use any kind of wood that will resist expanding. I also could use plexi as it is easy to work with.

    I planned on having about a 4" x 4" hole in the back, right under the CPU socket so I could easily add/remove backplates of various coolers if it came to that.

    Or should I just cut apart an old case and use the mobo tray and cut it to the same size as the motherboard so you cant see it?

    Input is great! Thanks for the ideas and support! When I get out of class I am going to mess with that Googlesketch thing and I will post completed pics. (They probably will suck :P)
  32. Actually, my uncle suggested making the drive racks out of Purpleheart wood. He knows where to get some, but it is fairly expensive as you said. Again, I will make final wood decisions December 20th (ish) but am going to the rare wood market this saturday to check stuff out.
  33. Can U send some photos once it serves it's second function as a Fireplace? :wink:

    I considered building a wooden case when I had my 386... Thermal transfer properties of wood are virtually non-existent, and the case would stay hot even after turning off your Computer. With internal components generating so much heat,and so much airflow with the fans, there is a definite danger of the wood drying out too much and splitting. Happens to some guitars in dry conditions, unless some sort of hydrating system used...

    The Beauty of Wood is far more asthetically pleasing to the eye than any plastic or painted metal. I wish you luck and hope you manage to work out any problems with it's design! Make sure that any finishes you use are not susceptible to melting or softening, epecially when placed near the heat sources.
  34. The wood will be sealed and treated. My grandfather has made a couple saunas (one of witch was featured on HGTV) so he knows a thing or two about expanding/contracting :) Thanks for the headsup! I feel my exhaust airflow will be enough to keep the front/back/bottom/top cool. Being that the sides are plexi, I am not worried about them heating and cooling.
  35. OK, sweet your watercooling.

    Let me help with that. To make your rig the absolute best, you will need the absolute best water-cooling system.


    Watch the video for the Aquaero, its insanely amazing!
    It's in the 2nd paragraph on the homepage.

    It is very cool and no other watercooling system can compete.

    You can even control the Aquaero outside the included Aquasuite and control it all over a network via lan/wan if you would like.

    There are blue and red leds all throughout the system and when you computer is running cool, the blue leds will be it starts to warm up...the red leds will allow the color to fade from blue to red showing that your pc is warm. The leds will flash is there is a change in anything such as a leak/sudden loss in pressure/stop in the flow/any issues.

    In the video you will also see a sweet a$$ demonstration of built in cold cathode control as well. They even programed 7 cold cathodes (setup to look like a lcd clock) to display the words "Goodbye" at the end.

    Check out these "Products"
    Monitors flow
    Controls up to 4 fans
    Monitors temperature of the liquid and up to 6 different parts in the case
    -Aquatube reservoir
    -Aquastream pump
    -Airplex radiator
    -Everything can controled/monitored by Aquasuite (program included)

    No other watercooling system can compete.
  36. Quote:

    Well gee, if you want ornate rather than clean, I prefer Rosewood
  37. That setup is insane 3lfk1ng! Too bad it is out of my budget and I already have a kit :)

    I love the performance of my 1/2" ID- Swiftech MCP655 - Swiftech Apogee - Customized heatercore - T-Line setup. I would water cool my GPU too, but I like the way my Zalman VF700 performs and it is damn quiet.

    Rosewood, purpleheart, kingswood, snakewood, so many things to think about! Once I get home, I am taking my design into the shop and figuring out what wood to use and where :P

    Anyone think about my motherboard tray question?
  38. Your motherboard has holes, use them as your guide.
  39. oops.....EDIT:Re: Custom built Cherry wood case. [In reply to: tool_462]

    Even if you already have a nice watercooling kit, the Aquaero controller should still work if you want to add a little eye candy, If you just want some eyecandy get a Crystalfontz.

    I personally just got a Crystalfontz 635 for some serious eye candy as well as temp monitoring and fan control.

    here is a crappy pic I took after I had it up and running for about 10 minutes

    I'm really loving it and I'll post a full product review on DaClan's website once I get my new computer up and running.

    Back to the subject at hand

    Well, I say you make your motherboard tray out of wood with a metal lan-li mobo tray attached to it but set it up using two of these.

    The only 2 reasons you wouldn't want to mount a mobo on a peice of 1/8" wood, is because a mobo tray that is made of wood would just break/warp to the weight of a full computer system resting on a 1/8" thick peice of wood. Also, trust me when I say you would not want to setup the holes in the wood to fasten the mobo to.

    Heavy duty ball bearing telescopic slides with a rating of around 100-120+ lbs should do you just fine.

    This will allow you to have a removable motherboard tray that would simply just slide out the backside of the chassis when you pull on it.

    Position one side of the telescopic slide on the at the bottom of the case (under the mobo tray and mounted to the bottom of the case) and then position the other side of the telescopic slide on the other side of the mobo tray and have it mounted on the plank of wood that will be supporting the powersupply (assuming the psu is at the top).

    This will allow for customization, organization as well as overall funcionality within the chassis itself.

    Hopefully that idea makes sense.

    I hope your planning to add a clear arcrylic/plexi window to the side of the case :)
  40. May get a CrystalFontz. Was waiting for your official review to come out :)

    Those slides were exactly what I was thinking. Though I don't think I can afford to get a Lian Li tray, I will just fashion one out of something. It is either the slides, or hinging the tray at the bottom and being able to tip backwards out the back of the case.

    Yes the entire side will be plexi. The viewing side will be a clear piece that will slide down felt lined notches in the front panel/back panel of the case. It will be clear. The back piece will do the same, but will be an 80% smoked plexi with almost a mirrorlike side on the inside of the case.

    I watched all the tutorials of Google SketchUp and messed with it in class a little. Now that I'm home I am going to make a good copy and post it here tonight.
  41. Nice, I'll be looking forward to seeing your sketch-up on Wizd as well? :D.

    The review on the Crystalfontz will be done late December...still waiting on the DFI rd600 (Dec 15th)

    As far as the smoked mirror plexi....this may be a better option since the choice of wood you are using is such a light color,. Any smoked grey might clash with the overall perfection of the chassis itself since it is wood, but smoked grey looks sweet with Aluminum.

    Also, keep that site in mind, they carry almost everything for all of your modding needs.

    If you purchase fans they come sleeved with your choice of color/carbon fiber/chrome etc etc etc for free. Psus can be sleeved with your choice of sleeving for an addition $49 in most cases. For an extra $15 they can change the molex's that are used on the psu if you don't like the ones they come with. If you really wanna go all out they can turn any psu modular (that isn't already modular) for an additional $50

    They carry rubber screws for mounting fans.
    They even carry wusy's favorite the Jing ting which you notice comes sleeved for free with your choice of colors/carbon fiber/chrome etc etc etc.

    Mastercard commercial:
    Removeable Lan-li mobo tray $25
    Lan-li hard drive rack $15
    Lan-li divider plate $8 (looks great in front of the PSU)
    Knowing that your case is going to look badass: Priceless

    There are some things in life that money can buy, for everything else there is Mastercard.
  42. Got all my fans from there. They do an amazing sleeving job and it was free, so thats cool. They even sleeved my UV cathode the same color as my fans when I didn't even ask them to.
  43. Nice! Finally someone who is educated about all the good sites!
  44. If you send me the wood, I will make a case out of it :P

    Thanks for all the ideas guys! I am working on my Google SketchUp right now.
  45. Quote:
    Thanks for all the ideas guys! I am working on my Google SketchUp right now.


    When you get really good (I'm not quite there yet) you can do some insane stuff like this.

    or this

    I'm still a novice

    Some of these guys are really really good, see for yourself

    No pressure man :)
  46. Quote:
    Any ideas are welcome! Does anyone have a suggestion other than Cherry wood? I like how it looks and we have 1 very nice piece with really tight grain that should be enough to do the whole case, but other ideas are welcome! Price is somewhat of a concern, but either way, a new case costs $100+ and this probably won't amount to that.

    I think the cherry wood idea is good. I have an antique cherry wood dining set that really gets a lot of good comments when anyone is over for dinner. The only thing I might suggest is to make the case a bit deeper than standard. At least based on the Nvidia 8800 cards, case depth is a good thing to have when trying to fit the hardware into it, not to mention the fingers holding the hardware.
  47. My skills are minimal compared to them! I just want to have a sketch so my grandpa and uncle can see what I'm thinking. It is nice to use the "dimensions" feature and have measurements all over the place. Easy to visualize without having to cut any wood.

    I really like the cherry too, I am almost sure that will be my main wood, but who knows what I will be using for inlays and details.

    I am making it 9" deep (TJ09 is 8 1/2") so I should have plenty of room!

    Hope to have the sketch done tonight sometime. Is there a way to export the sketches as jpeg or something?
  48. Very nice posts everyone. I'll know who to bug when I want a custom case.
  49. You need to consult Gomer, he's one of the few who'd gone custom wood case.
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