Need questions answered about computer case!

Hello all :)

Ok, for computer class we have to make a computer case. I am wanting to build one that is see-through.

Question 1: What kinds of materials are there are I can use for sides? I am looking for something that is durable, strong, won't shatter (like glass), and is not expensive (like plexiglass).

Question 2: Is there some sort of PCI card that I can plug like 200+ small LEDs into that I can line along the edges of the case that I could program to turn on and off in sequence or at different intervals?

Thanks in advance! :D
7 answers Last reply
More about need questions answered computer case
  1. Anybody....?
  2. I need to know really soon..... anybody know?
  3. A transparent case is difficult to do. There are few transparent materials with the strength needed. Glass - most certainly not. Plexiglass is commonly used for this sort of thing because it is transparent, somewhat flexible, has reasonable strength (but you still need to use thicker sheets) does not shatter into thousands of pieces when it breaks, and can be cut and machined easily. It is an acrylic plastic, and yes, it is expensive. The other and cheaper plastic is polystyrene, but it does not have the same strength, is more brittle and hence harder to cut, shape, and drill.

    With either material, it may be easier to make a case with some strength if you make a metal frame of "angle iron" (really, light steel) and then bolt on flat sheets to make the sides. That is much simpler than trying to fasten one sheet to the edge of another.

    With any plastic sheet case you will create an invisible problem. All commercial cases have either metal cases or plastic molded pieces with a special conductive coating sprayed on the inside. This makes the entire case a conductive grounded cage which prevents electrical signals inside from escaping into the surrounding space as a source of electrical noise. It also keeps exterior noise signals out. These are required by law to keep excess electrical noise from causing problems for other nearby devices. You won't be able to do that, so your machine may cause noise in the area.

    I've never seen the PCI card you want for lights, but I'm not into modding so that proves nothing. This looks like a custom circuit design/construction project. But another alternative MAY be to buy something that does this job - string of sequenced lights, but not custom programmable - already made. Try an automotive parts / customization shop for something designed for 12 v dc. Then you could use the 12 v dc supplied on a Molex connector from the computer's PSU, as long as it's not a huge power drain. That same connector has 5 v dc, too, but I don't know where you get ready-made 5 v LED strings.
  4. Hey, thanks for the response! :D

    Ok, so there is a law against cases that aren't shielded against intference? So it is basically illegal to make a completely clear case? Please correct me if I am not getting what you meant :)

    But yea, thanks for the advice :)
  5. There are laws and regulations by the FCC that limit EMI noise from any electrical device, but by far they are mostly concerned with design and production of commercially-sold units. Even if these regulations do apply to private construction (I don't know), the odds of them finding you and causing you trouble are about nil. Just wanted you to be aware that you MAY cause some problems for your own nearby equipment.
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