Aluminum Case From Scratch?

So, I’ve been planning my build for a while now and first had decided on an antec 1200. I love the cable management it has and after looking for a while really haven’t found anything with better management, that I know of….
I then began to look at the Silverstone Fortress 02 (FT02-BW) because of the unique motherboard mounting and cable management (outside the case).
I work with a guy who can pretty much do anything with aluminum or other types of metal and I was talking to him about how interesting it might be to make a computer case from scratch. I also know a family friend who powder coats outdoor furniture and could do this for me for prob 10.00.
My company sells technology, computers, phone systems, networking gear and many other things so he and I both know the work this would take and the detail. I find it odd that it isn’t easy to find other people’s custom builds, which scares me.
Im thinking a few different things.

#1 I would like to use the design of the Fortress 02, Motherboard mounted with a 90 degree rotation.
#2 I would like to use the Antec 1200’s “Big Boy” 200mm Fans on the bottom and top, 2 on the bottom running from the front of the case to the rear, and two on top in the same locations. I really can’t imagine better airflow than this.
#3 Like the antec 1200, there is a lot of room for cables in the opposite side panel behind the components. Im thinking of leaving about 1.25” of space behind there to run every single cable. This would allow perfect cable management as well as room for any mods that I may not want to be seen.
#4 In the rear (where I would like the powersupply I plan on completely sealing it off from the main components of the computer. I should be able to run all the wires to the panel I was talking about on #3 above while also adding a small fan at the top to remove heat in this chamber.
#5 Drive Bays, where is where I thought it might get the most tricky, Being able to mount hard drives securely as possible and as vibration free as possible could get a little tricky. I was thinking of something like this
for my Large media drive and the problem isn’t very tricky with a SSD since it can be mounted anywhere.

So that is some of the main things I have been thinking about, I just cant seem to find a case that has EVERYTHING I want. This set up seems like it would keep things as cool on air as possible, look exactly the way I want it to (I can just imagine a powder coated black nearly silent beast keeping everything freezing .

If any of you have links or suggestions please don’t hesitate.
21 answers Last reply
More about aluminum case scratch
  1. There is no such thing as the perfect case. If you plan on purchasing a pc case, then you will need to compromise by assigning priorities. For most people case selection is a matter of personal preference.
  2. JohnnyLucky said:
    There is no such thing as the perfect case. If you plan on purchasing a pc case, then you will need to compromise by assigning priorities. For most people case selection is a matter of personal preference.

    thats why I am considering designing and making my own :kaola:
  3. Go for it!

    I'm thinking about converting a short length, 5U, rackmount chassis in to a horizontal desktop.
  4. JohnnyLucky said:
    Go for it!

    I'm thinking about converting a short length, 5U, rackmount chassis in to a horizontal desktop.

    im tempted, im just a little scared off that i dont see any other people doing it.... just modding
  5. We've had a few threads in the past about building their own. The posters included photos showing build progress. I think most of them were cube cases.
  6. 5u rackmount chassis... haha i would enjoy seeing that.
    Could try a cisco 12000 Chasis :)
  7. I found a local company near me that has an inexpensive chassis that would work for a case mod. It is a bolt together kit:

    The reason I'm looking at a 5U chassis is to be able to fit a 160mm tall, tower style heatsink.
  8. that looks like it could work, those antec fans could fit on the sides as well.
    what kind of power supply are u thinking of using though?
  9. The entire system would be a typical atx system. psu would depend on video card(s).
  10. would u rack mount it somewhere? would be pretty cool to fabricate a rackmount under ur desk somehow. my desktop is going to serve as a HTPC as well, so it wouldnt look bad if i rack mounted my bluray and Amp/receiver and TIVO all in 1 cabinent. now u have me thinking about this too! Dang you!
  11. Thinking about this even more, that would be amazing for a HTPC, could run 1 foot cables to all your components and then a longer HDMI to your monitor(s) i run a wireless keyboard and mouse as well, on top of that i could use a kvm here at work and take home a clone server and some big hard drives here for a media server.
    ur killing me man, really got the brain juices flowing
  12. I have 24 inch wide x 15 inch deep cabinets under my desktop. No problem adjusting shelves and drawers. Could leave the back side of a cabinet open and slide the chassis right in. Airflow would have to be front to back. Desktop is 26 inches deep plus 3 inches from the wall. That leaves about 14 inches open space behind the cabinet.
  13. Lian Li is about as close as it gets to what im looking for without going 100% custom, i just wish i could find somewhere close by that has a lot of their stuff, Microcenter and frys dont stock very much from them.
  14. There are so many good cases on the market that for most people it's not worth it to create a custom case over simply buying a good case. Have to work to earn money for the parts going into it after all ^_^. Also, there's a bit of laziness :p. People do still machine their own cases for very specific purposes though and you can find them on the net. I mean for most people, if they like the Fortress 02, they are going to buy one instead of building a case from scratch. If you're doing something from scratch, it's because you can't just take an existing case and mod it into what you have in mind, or at least get it close.
  15. yeah, im looking at the Fortress 02 and im liking it more and more. Seems like it has everything i want. The optical drive issue is pretty dumb though...

    Here is what would be going into it....

    Intel Core i7-930
    ASRock X58 Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
    OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 CL-8
    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"
    External SONY NEC BC-5500S Blu-ray BD-ROM Combo Drive
    SAPPHIRE Vapor-X Radeon HD 5870
    Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS w/ Front Panel Connection (from old machine)

    The onboad networking card should be fast enough for my fibre switches in the house and my fios :), may upgrade later though...
  16. megamanx00 - I agree. Much simpler to purchase a case.
  17. if theres like 1 or 2 things u dont like about that case you want, here are some suggestions.
    if you want the psu sealded off from the rest of the case, excpet for maybe holes for the wires (get a modular one then u only need a minimally sized hole for ur cables)...
    if its bottom mounted, it probably has a vent already for the fan, all you must do is put a shroud around it...
    if its top mounted, u can put it upside-down and make a hole in the top, add a grill like thing, and presto, decenyly sealed off psu.
    otherqise, what else do u not like about it.
  18. y are u typing in caps?

    the silverstone case looks like it is gonna be the winner unless i find something else in the next few weeks
  19. Yeah,I understand where your coming from.I recently did a nice build,an I7 2600K with a pair of GTX460's,Biostar MB,but it's all in a mid sized case.So I'm thinking I want a full for more toys,better cable management and some funky UV lighting.I've been tempted several times to buy some nice cases available,but thought it would be a fun challenge to try and build something from scratch.
    With that in mind I decided to work with aluminum as it's easier than steel,and I don"t have any real professional tools for such.I of course have the Dremel,and a variety of wood working tools as that"s what I've been into.I bought some stock aluminum to do some sample cuts,and the Dremel does just fine.I've also bought some junk chassis on Ebay to rob some metal from...Anyways,I'm ready to rivet together the basic outside frame,and hopefully will be able to create something worthy of the internal components.
    I've also already had some experience with acrylic/plexiglass so should be able to fashion windows no problem.My biggest concern at this point is providing a professional paint job.I don't have access as you do to powder coating but have been researching various tips and materials (such as acetone and self etching primer),so,I'll have to see how it goes.
    All in all,if it doesn't come out decent enough I can chalk it up to experience,or use the case for one of the secondary lesser Pc's in the house.....
    Good luck with your build.....
  20. I ended up going with a Silverstone FT-02B,

    had everything i wanted and more. its a perfect case- no complaints.
  21. I just ordered an Enermax Tower on Newegg for $119.Its huge,about 23 tall.Other than the top which has this louvered thing,it has really clean lines.The front is just straight up mesh...11 bays worth.The hard drive bays can be removed,so if you have a lot of 5.25 devices(which Is why I wanted this)it's no problem.I have a cooler master 4 hdd bay module for the drives to go in ....
    My Thermaltake mid tower is to small for everything I got crammed in their...and the Enermax has plenty of possibilities for mods...
    My from scratch project will proceed but at a leisurely pace......with the new case there's no pressure to rush....and screw things up...
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