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First Custom Case Build

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Ok, for a while now, I've been talking about getting around to this "custom case" that I've been wanting to build. And its just this week that I've been able to actually get started on it (turns out, I'm great at procrastinating, I leave for school again in less than 24hrs, and as you see, I still have alot of work to do).

OK, here is what I started with. I got a great deal on a 4x8 sheet of oak veneered 1/2inch plywood ($30... thats about 50% off), so basically everything that you see is made out of that.

EDIT: The exterior dimensions are 18x18x9 (in), so this is large, but remember, because of the 1/2in wood being used, the actual space i have to work with inside is an inch smaller (17x17x8in)... which should give me just enough room to get a Xig S1283 in there if I want one down the road.

This is all of the physical pieces of the case. My friend has access to a CNC mill, so I managed to have this cut out one there, which was a HUGE help (mostly for the openings for the drives, and the huge X on the side and top). This makes everything really easy for me, basically all I have to do is put it together...





this is what the case will look like when its done, with the exception of color, but we'll get to that later.



Unfortunately, like I said, I don't have alot of time to finish this (so far its been 4 days since receiving the cut wood, and bout 4hrs of time has been put into it), so I forgot to take the time to get any pictures until after the main part of the case had been built.

So here are some shots of the inside of the case

This one is the basic layout of the case. As you'll notice, I'm not gonna have a mobo tray, because since I'm working with 1/2in wood here, to have a tray like that INSIDE the case would make the already wide case, that much wider, because that would take up about another inch worth of space.


This is how I mounted my PSU. Notice that the PSU actually mounts flush with the back of the case(on the outside), because I didn't have enough room to mount it traditionally. The PSU is help up by a 1/2in piece of wood that I glued in place to support it.


The drives are supported by some small pieces of the oak veneered plywood.


Here is a shot of the outside of the front panel. I mounted the DVD drive sideways for a number of reasons. As strange as it may sound, I've always been annoyed with having two drives right on top of eachother... because when they both open up, you can never get to the CD in the bottom drive. So I decided that I would change things up and do it this way on my custom build. Now I never have to be annoyed by that again.


And now... for the part about the color.

I imagine that everyone thats reading through this is confused by why in the world I would want a wooden case. There are alot of reasons, some of which are just that I've been wanting to get better at woodworking, so I needed a project that I could have fun with. This does that just great.

Also, I have always thought that it would be sweet to have a case made out of Ebony (black hardwood), because its common to have a case that is black... I mean, dells have been black for the past like 5 years or so, so just having a black computer is no longer "cool". My idea for an ebony case was that It would be black, but it would be enough different, because with the wood, you get a much better texture, and you can see the wood grain showing through the color.

The problem with ebony though is that its VERY expensive (imported from Africa), and that its hard to work with. SO as a poor college student, I looked for a cheaper solution to my dream, and found it in a technique known as "ebonizing" (simulated ebony). Ebonizing is done in a few different ways, but the most well known way is to use white vinegar and some rusty nails sit for a few days to make a "stain". The rust gets dissolved, and when you apply the "stain" to the wood, the iron reacts with the tannins in the wood, and give it a very similar look to ebony.

Here is an example of what I mean.



And here is an example of some ebonized oak and walnut compared to some real ebony.



So, this is the result that I'm after... I'll be honest, I think that it will look sweet (lit up white by LED fans from the inside), plus it will be enough different than the "normal" black case with blue LED fans, that it will stand out, but not by being loud... it will just be "different"

Anyway, the only problem I have so far, is that you're supposed to let that solution sit for about a week before its full strength... I dont have that much time. So I made up some last night, and after just 12 hrs, this is the kind of results I've got so far on one of my test pieces.



So while its not as dark (and please note, the finish hasn't been applied, so thats why it doesn't look as shiny, and the color isn't as rich) it still is significantly different than the normal color of Oak. The cool thing was to watch it change color. It only took about 10seconds for it to change from normal oak color to this. Sweet.

Anyway, I'll keep you all updated, as this whole thing has to be done by tomorrow morning at 5am. So by tonight or maybe tomorrow evening, you should see some pictures that are much closer to the final product.

Your thoughts?
Edited by logan - 8/22/08 at 12:56pm
post #2 of 27
It looks like a winner. Bordering the front outline of the drives with metal might give it a better look than just flush mounted with the wood. Needs something to dress up the front a bit. Good job though.
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post #3 of 27
Very interesting. There are so many cases out of metal and acrylic, its nice to see something different.
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post #4 of 27
I really like this case idea, I think it will look killer. Great job!
    
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post #5 of 27
I think walnut is my fav out of the finishes, though the gloss looks really nice. I also agree that the front looks a bit plain, but it looks like you know it's going to be really clean on the inside. Definitely a conversation piece .
 
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post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by losttsol View Post
It looks like a winner. Bordering the front outline of the drives with metal might give it a better look than just flush mounted with the wood. Needs something to dress up the front a bit. Good job though.
Thanks for the input.

Actually, the original design calls for a door to cover the front, and one of those way cool white LED power buttons that would show through the door when closed, but due to time constraints, that had to be pushed back... but yes, there will be more on the front that just that.

And thanks for all of the responses, this is my first attempt at case building, so I guess I'm ok if everything doesn't exactly go "perfect", especially at first.
post #7 of 27
nice idea dude

im waiting on my A900 to arrive so i can start the paint on it
Good luck on ur Build
Cheers,
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post #8 of 27
it's definitely a lot better than anything I could do. Seems you spent some pretty good time on getting the wood cuts right and those little slots cut out.
 
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post #9 of 27
Awsome idea, maybe ill make one out of wood when im done my current one
    
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post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
One of my other ideas was to make a computer desk/bookshelf, and build the case into the desk, so that people wouldn't be able to see the computer other than the monitor... the thought of a nicely finished and stained hardwood computer seems strange at first, but there are situations when it would be sweet.

EDIT:

I'll post more tonight after I get off of work.
Edited by logan - 8/22/08 at 1:59pm
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