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[scratch build] wooden HTPC case

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I didn't originally plan to have a build log of this case, would like to make my first build a little more "wow", but decided to go ahead and post one because this has turned out a little nicer than I originally thought it would. I initially had planned to throw something simple together just to get some better airflow to my current system. Well, I start building, then I start buying new hardware, and so now its 4 weekends later and I'm still only 50-60% done. I could use a little help on a couple things so figured it wouldn't hurt posting this one up here.

Anyhoo.... So currently I have a rather warm/not efficient system for my htpc. I'm using a q9550/750i with a 6750 vid card. I'm using this for my only television in the home, pulling cable with a ceton pcie card. Because its our only cable box, I need it to be as reliable as possible. And it has been just that, but I think the heat is causing issues. I am not that crazy in any of the htpc cases that I have seen, and didn't want to foot the bill on the case or two that did catch my eye. And since I have the room I like having a full size atx board, well....just because. biggrin.gif And there are even fewer atx cases that fit my tv cabinet nicely.

I dont have a lot of pictures of the process since I didn't have plans on posting this, but I'll share what I have.
My first attempt with sketchup, I'd like to say "here a quick something I threw together in sketchup" like all the pros, but sadly this took me about as much time as I have in the build so far mad.gif



I have veered a bit from this, but just wanted to see how well things fit with the dimensions I wanted to use. Well, they fit nicely. This looks a lot friendlier to build than my current setup.

I hacked up a case and got me a free motherboard tray and rear i/o.




Sorry, but these photos will be pretty bad. I'll start using my camera soon as I can find what my son did with my tripod. Last I seen he was using it as buzz lighyear's laser rifle or something...

Fast forward a bit, and I got this




So thats kinda where I'm at now. I have been trying to figure out what to do with the top. I have just some 1/4" baltic birch on the bottom, and planned to use it for the top too but decided against it. Initially I was going to rabbit the inside of the top to let the sheet sit down in, but I need all the vertical space i can get. So that got me looking for an alternative top. Just didn't like the way it looked with birch plywood sitting on top. Thought of using some 1/4" hardboard, but don't want the top to get all twisty on me in the future. So started thinking about using a metal top. Then decided to use a sheet of aluminum. This I think will be perfect because I was a little worried about shielding the top somehow if I just used wood. My avr and tv are above it and I am not sure if a wood htpc would cause interference or not if it didn't have some kind of shielding. So today I went and picked up a sheet of 1/8" al from a local sheet metal company. They gave me a sweet price on it, but it was a little gouged up.
I had them cut it 1/4" over my measurements, then layed it on top of my box and used a flush cut bit to make it a perfect fit.
And then I sanded it 80/100/120.





Tomorrow I think i'll prime it, sand it some more, and paint it a satin black. Well, after I figure out how I'm going to mount it. Thats kinda where I could use some ideas. So far I've come up with:


1. Using some thread inserts in the case, and securing it down with either counter sunk tapered screws, or hex head screws like these:



2. Gluing some steel to the underside of Al panel and attaching with magnets in the case.

3. Velcro? tongue.gif

I like the idea of the counter sunk screws or allen screws, but the thread inserts are a pain to install. I got these:


And they dont go in straight at all when you drill the hole 1/4" as required. I may get by either drilling the hole a little larger and pounding them in, or drilling it even larger and epoxy them in.

As far as finish on the wood goes, I originally planned to go natural, since the reason I got the boards that I did was because of the figure in the grain. But if you notice in the shots of the side of the case, there is something seeping out of the wood that has caused some staining. i have no idea what it is. Anyone have a guess? It wont sand off and wasn't there when I bought the wood. The sides are american elm, and the front is canary.

So I think I will be staining the case. I figured I would have to go dark to hide the stains, so i chose an ebony stain. Here are some samples


I like that the orange/red of the canary still comes through. I think I will finish with tung oil or maybe shellac. I like the natural finish they give. Maybe even a satin poly if the others don't give enough pop to the grain. I'm not real experienced with finishing, so it will be a fun endeavor.


Guess I should say what i'm putting in.



Asrock fm2a75 pro4
amd a6 5400k
8gigs samsung
90gig vertex3 ssd
1tb hd for recorded tv
and a kuhler 620 with an AP-15
rear exhaust will be 2 60mm silenx
400w corsair psu

that's all for now.
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post #2 of 22
Subbed as I always love to see original work thumb.gif

Very nice so far.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Made some progress today.

Decided to bolt the lid down. Predrilled some holes.

Widened them.


Experimented with the thread inserts. These things suck for hard woods. Had to make the hole larger, then they threaded easier.

But a few of them stripped the wood so i had to fix them. Gawd I love gorilla glue.

After I had two inserts in, I bolted the sheet to the top and drilled the rest of the holes.

As I was working, brown rolled up my drive biggrin.gif

This will be attached to my kuhler 620 here:

Basically clamping rad and fan to side of case. I will have it exhausting out, along with 2 60mm fans in back and the power supply in back. The fresh air will hopefully suck all the warm air across the motherboard and the ceton tuner. If the 5400k is not enough for video, I will throw my passive 6750 back in.

After I drilled all the holes in the lid, i primed ...

Sanded the primer...

And painted...

Not thrilled with the product. The rustoleum paint I was using atomized erratically and blotchy. It would not come out as a nice flow no matter how long i shook it or how warm i got the can. I have rattle canned a lot of stuff and this product just plain sucks.

I will give it a day or two to dry and sand it down. Since I want a satin finish on it anyways, it may be ok after I sand it and hit it with some 0000 steel wool. If not I'll try something else on it. I want the top as perfect as possible. The other pieces i'm not as picky about, so they will be fine as is...



Thats all for today. May work a little more on it tomorrow.

Still to do:
stain/finish
case feet
secure MB tray
mount to hold psu in
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post #4 of 22
Nice project you got there.

Show some benchmarks of the little APU too. I wanna know how good it is biggrin.gif
post #5 of 22
Strange how some spray paint, especially the more expensive ones, do not give such a great finish.

I have found the cheap $3/can "Import Brand" (that's the name on the can) is the best, but for clear I use Dulux Clear Glossy.


This is coming along very nicely. thumb.gif

How long do you expect it to take to finish? Also how many hours a week do you think you get on it?
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ginger_nuts View Post

Strange how some spray paint, especially the more expensive ones, do not give such a great finish.
I have found the cheap $3/can "Import Brand" (that's the name on the can) is the best, but for clear I use Dulux Clear Glossy.
This is coming along very nicely. thumb.gif
How long do you expect it to take to finish? Also how many hours a week do you think you get on it?
Thanks guys! I don't think it will be much longer. Week or two? Depends on how much time I put on the interior. I want to tidy it up a bit but nothing excessive since it will be bolted up and closed in my cabinet if all goes well. This is one build I don't want to mess with much. The less the better.
Not sure how much time I have in. This is the 4th weekend and I've worked a few hours during the week.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinDaDragon View Post

Nice project you got there.
Show some benchmarks of the little APU too. I wanna know how good it is biggrin.gif
I do plan on benching it for sure. I'll also get some power draw comparisons. Gotta be able to show the wife I'm saving a few pennies a year at least so I can justify the new equipment redface.gif
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post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Didn't do much today, but progress is progress.

I wetsanded and repainted the lid. Finished it with several coats of low luster clear. I'll get picks after it dries good and I have a chance to wetsand it with some higher grit.

Finished the bracket for the rad/fan.




And thought I would show my stealth recording LED. I'm trying to keep the front as simple as possible.
Nothing recording....


Recording


Here's what I think i'm doing for the front. The hardest part so far has been mounting the bluray drive, and figuring how to have it come through the front. So I stole a faceplate off my current case. Would like it to be wood also, but maybe its ok?

Once I get it stained I may decide to do something different, but idk.

Cheers!
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post #8 of 22
That recording light...

So good
post #9 of 22
I hope your computer desk is this nice.
    
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post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinDaDragon View Post

That recording light...
So good

smile.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cancer View Post

I hope your computer desk is this nice.
its going under my TV.
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