View Full Version : Mini Scratch Build

12-08-2007, 08:32 PM
Project Goals:
build a scratch case
reduce the size of the case
learn more modding skills
have fun

mostly old stuff I had laying around, so I don't have all specs
2.0 ghz intel celeron d
512 mb pc 2700 ddr
32 mb graphics card
10/100 network card
20 gb hd
230 w psu
no cd drive (I have an external for rare cases)
clear acrylic

what I don't have:
tools (poor college kid)
hardcore gaming desire (I mostly play older rts games, so this system will be fine)

Onto the pictures and important stuff
component layout

rough case layout (The blue coloring is scratch protector which will be removed)

I cut most of the case using a pocket knife and a ruler, just score and break

with harddrive attached

with harddrive attached, mobo in background

with harddrive attached

holes for psu

Rather elaborate technique to make up for my lack of a drill:
bend a coat hangar straight
heat one end over a stove
press against acrylic
scrap hole with knife, to enlarge enough for a screw

they fit!

all components screwed in, roughly

closeup (Notice the bend in the top piece. This is because the psu is currently sitting on the mobo. It will be supported by the side piece to provide a 1/2 inch clearance, allowing some airflow)

hole for psu fan

How I made the gigantic hole for the fan:
use a trashy exacto knife, or other replaceable blade knife
heat the blade
push through like butter
(note: do this in a well ventilated area)
Warning: the heat will ruin the finish on your blade. don't use a good knife

taped together case

back view of case, with my two main tools in the foreground, a screwdriver and a leatherman

I'm beginning to like the blue color, so I might paint at least parts of the case blue
actually gluing pieces together (I need to get glue first)
removing scratch guard
cut hole for power button on front
attach the mobo
cut pci metal parts shorter (They are too tall)
sand out the edges (need sandpaper)
I don't plan on putting in any LED, UV,etc, at least at first. I know this is blasphemy, but they seem a bit pointless.

old metal tower dimensions:

new scratch build dimensions:

for people that care, that is just under a fourth of the original volume. Especially in a college setting, that saves a lot of space.

Definitely looking for comments and suggestions, as this is my first attempt at modding

12-09-2007, 01:39 PM
thanks for the support. I didn't originally intend this as a macgyver build, I just wanted to scratch build a case with whatever I had on hand.

I removed the scratch guard to see what it looked like, and so I could actually see what the wiring would look like

more construction pics:
note the removed faceplates for the pci cards
with the backplate started

close-up of the backplate (with a crack in it, I got impatient)
general view

future steps:
wire sheathing? possibly for 20 pin atx, 4 pin molex, and cpu fan
finish backplate: including holes for power switch, vga out, lan, onboard mobo out
cut hole for cpu fan through top, and build a tunnel/cylinder to direct air out
gluing pieces together, when I get glue
paint job?- suggestions/opinions?
turn into a fish tank (jk)

12-11-2007, 09:38 PM
Thanks to all for encouragement, esp sgtm for moving to correct location.

More updates:
Cable management- just ordered 3 ft cable sleeving, 1 round clear ide cable

After a test power on, to check for anything I had broken, I realized something. The nice backplate that I created (which had the nice cutout for the psu cord). This nice piece of work is also blocking all air intake to the PSU. Note to self. FIX IT before it BURNS.

I also dug a silver 80mm fan out of my box of random parts. I plan on putting it on the front corner, blowing inward. For total ventilation this means: psu grill on back, soon to be open, psu fan on top, blowing out, various openings on mobo ports, fan on front, blowing in.

The cpu fan is blowing downward, so some of that air should be escaping through the mobo ports.

My roommate pointed out the finality of glue, i.e. once I seal the case, I can no longer tinker, and you know how much everyone loves to tinker.
The new plan is to use tape, possibly colored. And don't worry, it won't be a sloppy job like the masking tape in the previous photos. I'm thinking more along the lines of a nice even border running along each corner, which will also help to accentuate the box, rather than the current entirely clear state. Any color suggestions?

Current total cost: ~$26 ($17 for plexi, 9 for random)

Soon to come (Hopefully by the weekend): more pics, clearer pics, up and running pic, size comparison pic (I think it even fits inside the original tower)

12-15-2007, 10:33 PM
A whole new batch of pics, with the case 95% done!!

Changes since last post:
added front fan
cable sleeving
cleared psu intake
sealed case
installed ubuntu

Note to the suggestion about brackets: I had thought of that, but I think it wouldn't look very good, and I would need brackets, bolts, and nuts, because I can't just screw into the plexi, the threads wouldn't hold. Thanks for the thoughts though.

I kinda like the sleeved 20 pin atx cord, it looks almost like a handle, or possibly a watercooling pipe. Either way, I want it curved like that, not in a straight line, just for those of you that are control freaks with the wires.:p

I'm still waiting for a fan grill to come in, for the front air intake, so I don't lose any fingers.

Any ideas on mouse/keyboard mods to go along with this theme? Right now I just have a generic mouse and keyboard, so I wouldn't mind tearing them apart.

On to the pics:

The front view:

The right side view:

The rear view:

The left side view:

Angled front view:

Top view (Yes, the case is strong enough to turn on its side)


Bottom view, one you don't see a lot:

The new case fitted nicely inside its old one, one direction:

And the opposite direction:

01-11-2008, 10:28 AM
Tis the season. I just got back from break, and there are several updates.
1: my brother donated an old wireless card, which I will include
2: upgrade to an 80gb hard drive
3: upgrade to an optical scroll mouse, from a 10yr old ball mouse with no scroll
4: additional RAM ordered
5: the tape didn't stand the test of time. Some is peeling off, so you will see what I do next. Along with a new and improved power switch.
Don't you just love the Christmas spirit?

Pics after I do some work this weekend

01-17-2008, 11:28 AM
So, I know I said there would be updates, but them life happened. Several projects needed finishing, etc. I'm sure you know the drill. But the RAM I ordered came in, so now I have 256*3 MB.

However, here is a prelude to what I should have time for this weekend:

Its sold as a cover for electric wiring (5'). My plan is to cut it down the middle, giving me 10' of right angle edging. Cut to various sizes, and then cut 45 degree angles on the ends. This will become my frame, basically like a picture frame surrounding each side.
Melt some more holes, and bolt those pieces on, with the nuts and bolts that I just bought.

Hopefully this will accomplish several things:
Add support
Add durability, rather than tape
Cover up any edge mistakes, where parts don't line up
Be easily taken apart for fiddling.

@DZ469 Yes, when this is finished I hope to clean things up a bit. Right now I am more worried about getting it functional. But thanks for the tip

Anyone know how easy Nalgenes are to cut? I just got a free one. I already have more than enough Nalgenes, as I frequently go camping. I am thinking about cutting the top and bottom, giving me a nice cylinder. Then mount that on top of the cpu fan, connecting to a hole in the top, to increase fresh air to the cpu. Any thoughts or experience?

03-10-2008, 08:09 PM
So, after quite a while, its finished.

As I mentioned, I used the electric cover as angle brackets, along with a bunch of bolts. It was quite an interesting problem. To use a nut/bolt you have to have access to both sides of the material. That doesn't work to well if you want to create an enclosure. So what I ended up doing was bolting the top, bottom, and back. The left side piece can be slid into place, and bolted in. The front piece, with the fan on it, can be slid in by spreading the top and bottom apart, and doesn't need any bolts. Then right side piece is the final piece to be placed. I sandwiched a loose nut between the front plexi and the hard drive, then slid the side plexi in place. Since the nut was sandwiched I could screw into it without needing to hold onto it.

I decided against the whole nalgene fan idea, mainly because the it is in a normal temp range, and I wanted to finish this project.

I did not include the wireless card that I mentioned because I am using Ubuntu, which doesn't play nice with wireless, and I only have room for one card.

All the pics:

Close up of the power switch (lower right, between the two bolts). Essentially, I ripped apart an old switch, took the actual switch part, and threaded the wires through a scrap of plexi. then I bolted that to the back of the box, and it works fine.

And for my next trick. (Hopefully)

Link To Original Worklog (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12122)