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Dave Goeke: Rigid metal strips of some sort are a key ingredient. They are used to support the drives and add strength to the interior structure. Many of the parts and pieces for mounting components in such odd and tight locations require fashioning custom mounting brackets and other pieces out of sheet metal or aluminum. Some of these pieces may be found when disassembling the toaster. Others may found by dumpster diving or rummaging through your garage.
THG: We could tell our readers where to buy all sorts of motherboards, but where would be a good place to search for a single board computer?
Dave Goeke: I found SBCs at ApplianceWare. Many commercial vendors of these products advertise in Embedded Systems Journal. See the Linuxdevices.com web site also.
THG: Will regular computer tools and utilities such as screwdrivers and nippers be good enough, or is there special hardware you particularly recommend?
Dave Goeke: Some regular tools are used for normal assembly. Other tools are used to custom fashion mounting brackets. Working with cardboard cutouts of fragile components helps prevent possible component damage.