Looking for case frame for diy

Instead of modding a pc case I would like to try and build my own computer case. The only problem I have encountered is finding a source in the USA for the L shaped metal channel for the case frame that panels are attached to. Does anyone know of any sources?

I tired every phrase I could think of to search online but couldn't find anything. Does anyone know the correct name for the channel that is specifically manufactured for pc's?

Are there other options?

I know I can get used pc cases at the local Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Savers stores here in the Phoenix area. The cases usually sell for about $12.00. Several local hobby shops have solid, L shaped metal channel that might work.
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More about looking case frame
  1. bump
  2. Hmm, back in shop class we called that 'angle iron'. Of course, you dont want iron, and I grew up in the sticks, so...

    I would say as long as it falls within your desired dimensions and is the material your wanting to build from, anything should work.
  3. I already stopped by several hardware stores. The stores had angle iron and steel & aluminum channels but it was way too heavy, too thick, and too expensive.
  4. It is angle steel. If you call a steel shop, up here in Edmonton I use Russel Steel, they should be able to sell you some. Now I know our 1/4"x1"x1" comes in 20ft sections and I'm not sure about getting shorter lengths because we always order large amounts. As per thickness I'm guessing you want 18 guage which will be hard to find. Another idea is if you know anyone with a shop they might have a steel break which can give a good clean bend. Then you just have to buy a length of flat steel cut it and bend it.
  5. I did some more research and found a thread at another forum where a guy posted photos of his diy pc case with a frame made from angle iron that was welded together. Lots of good information and photos. Here's the link:

  6. That would be a pretty easy frame to do. Found an online steel place for the states. Probably pricy shipping costs though:
    The 3/4"x3/4"x1/8" should work pretty good. Only $16 for 20ft.
  7. Thanks for the link. I noticed they also had aluminum L shaped channel that might work and they will cut to length for small jobs. Looks promising.
  8. What about something like Unistrut?
  9. If you plan on welding it aluminum is a bitch to to. I'd stick to the hot rolled steel myself unless weight is an issue. Although aluminum with some nice rivets holding it together could look pretty cool and give it kind of an industrial look. I've used angle like the unistrut before and it does work quite well. The only issue I see with it is all I can find is 1/4" thickness which sounds a little too thick for what Johnny was looking for. Also all the predrilled holes in it might not be the style he wants, done right it could look pretty good or possibly he's not putting acrylic for the walls which then it would work fine.
    Off topic though Unistrut does have some pretty good products.
  10. Thanks for the Unistrut link.

    The light duty prime angle might be a possibility:


    They even have gusset plates for the corners:


    I saw something similar at a local hardware store but it was a heavy duty version. One problem might be a minimum order. Seems to be 100 feet.

    Wasn't planning on welding. I've worked with aluminum before. Cut my own panels to size; drilled blow holes for fans, switches, and recessed bolts; and etched, primed, and painted. I'm okay with that stuff. Just never made a frame before. I'm also thinking aluminum would keep the weight down.
  11. I didn't even notice their gusset plates there. And they do sell less than 100ft. I went to the add to cart and saw 10 and 12 foot sections. A frame would be real easy to build with that. It is 1/4" thick though but I guess that would make a pretty damn sturdy case. What were you thinking of doing for a design anyways?
  12. What I wanted was a horizontal desktop type case that could do triple duty as a general purpose pc, home theater pc, and a gaming machine. The problem is the gaming part which generally means a standard atx motherboard, long video card, and tower style cpu heatsink. Another problem was depth from front to back. I'm limited to an absolute maximum depth of 15 inches.

    I spent a lot of time looking at an awful lot of horizontal micro-atx and htpc cases. Just about all of the cases I looked at could not accomodate a standard atx motherboard or they could not accommodate a long video card or they could not accomodate a tower style cpu heatsink.

    Next I branched out and looked at rack mount chassis. I found a nice inexpensive one with a solid aluminum front panel that was just under 14 inches deep and it came in several heights. The problem was the industry standard width of 19 inches which included the flanges on the left and right sides that are screwed to chassis racks. The actual width of the housing was just over 17 inches. To make room for standard atx motherboards, the psu's are installed on their side. The problem is that external drives bays would get in the way of a long video card.

    Next I looked at server chassis and found a cube serve case that would work with modifications. I would have to turn the cube 90 degrees so that one side would be come the front and the opposite would become the rear due to depth limitations. At $150.00 the price is on the high side. Here's a link to a review of the cube server case:


    The main reason I started thinking about building my own case frame was to be able to fit a standard atx case, long video card, tower style cpu heatsink, and external drive bays in a horizontal case. I could build a case 20 inches wide and 14 inches deep that could handle all the large components and the components would not get in each other's way.

    There was one other option. A micro-atx motherboard would solve all of the problems. However, When searched last month I could not find any micro-atx boards for Intel Core i7 cpu's or AMD Phenom II x4 cpu's. Guess what I found this morning on the home page of Tom's hardware. There's an article about brand new DFI and Asus Core i7 micro-atx boards. Newegg and several other vendors have them available. I also discovered DFI made an AMD Phenom II x4 micro-atx board. That just about solves all the problems.

    I'm thinking a rack mount chassis with the mounting flanges left off would work just fine. Here's what I thinking of getting:


    The chassis comes unassembled. Everything is screwed together. The mounting flanges could be left off so it would look good with other home theater components. Just have to figure out how many external and internal drive bays I want. Three 5.25 inch external drive bays would be the minimum.
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