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Looking to build a custom case

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
So, I want to build a custom case for my HTPC rig (Sig Rig). I have done something up in Google sketch-up (See attachments) I, however, have some questions for the more experienced Case builders:

This will be my VERY first case build. I have no access to laser cutter, or really anything except a table saw, miter saw, and a more precise miter saw? Not really sure what it is. And a Dremel, hopefully, gotta double check this.

Ideally, I would like to make this out of acrylic. However, wood is an option, as it would be far easier.

My dilemma's with the current design:
  1. Cabling: How do you guys think I could stealth all of it? I am willing to do custom cables.
  2. Front panel buttons: Power, and reset for sure, would you recommend front panel USB? What else?
  3. I would love to have a built in IR and RF receivers, if possible, where to get components?
  4. Fans: The yellow blocks you see are fans, the large one on the top is a 250mm and the 2 little ones on the lower level are 120mm slim fans. Is this a good setup for airflow? Improvements?

As far as the pictures go, here's an explanation: Red are the walls. I want this to double as a server, that's why there are so many HDDs in there. The components in the case are just for show and perspective, they are not my actual components (You can see those in the sig rig)

If you have any other tips/ideas or recommendations or think I may have forgotten to mention something, please bring it up.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
Mike




Edited by SI51 - 3/17/11 at 2:10am
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post #2 of 4
A case that will house that amount of weight and water cooling components would be very expensive if built out of lexan and thick enough to be sturdy, idk they do make acrylic (which does yellow pretty quickly unlike lexan) cube cases but if you want custom go for it.

How is your wood working skills, if your wood working skills are not very good you should re-consider using wood, it will also be very heavy if you use wood...although I have seen a few very nice examples of custom wood cases over the years.

A metal case probably would be the way to go for ease of construction, you can purchase some aluminum channel or angle and build a light weight skeleton with a drill, few drill bits and $20 pop rivet gun.
Angles can be cut on sides of channel or angle to allow bending corners then using small pieces of aluminum to pop rivet cut sides together from insides of channel after 90 degree angle have been bent.

Motherboard tray, drive cages and front panel switches can be found pretty cheap on the web, unless of course you have an old atx case you can sacrifice and gut.

Most of the big sheet metal (aluminum - not too thin) suppliers on ebay will cut sheets to size for you for a small fee when you order from them.
Now with panels cut to size you will need a matching tap and drill bit to drill and tap all of the screws to mount your panels to the skeleton...much like the Mountain Mods cases.

Note aluminum channel used for skeleton needs to be thick enough to hold a few threads (which you need to tap), so take this into account when buying channel. It is also a good idea to mock up your case from cardboard first to avoid mistakes and work out all details of the skeleton.

last but not least a hole saw large enough to drill your fan holes will probably cost you at least $50 to purchase so you may want to see if any one you know has a hole saw that large which they can loan you or search for a bargain on ebay.

You will also need a jigsaw, even though they are relatively cheap, if you don't have one try to borrow a jigsaw to cut costs.
Drilling holes in the aluminum needs to be done with care, your aluminum sheet should be securely clamped and sandwiched between sacrificial wood while drilling and cutting, also be sure to clamp it in place as close as possible to the hole you are drilling or cutting & in several places, then it will take a little sand paper, file and elbow grease to eliminate sharp edges (a dremel also comes in very handy here).

You probably wont save more than $200 compared to one of the Mountain Mod offerings but you cant beat custom when you want it your way.

Good luck
Edited by Fuego - 3/17/11 at 7:15am
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Fuego. My wood working skills are great actually, I've built a lot of things, and I have the confidence to tackle a case, however, I really want to do this case in acrylic, for it will be on a TV stand, and acrylic will just fit the room better. I do actually have access to a jig-saw, thanks to my Uncle.

As for weight issue, I've canned the larger idea, and am going with mITX (See below) I am going to use black acrylic, with a white accent design.

Abandoning this case, and going to try and sketch-up a mITX case for gaming. I'll post the images when I finish, could be awhile, unfortunately.

If you have any ideas for it throw 'em down here or if you have any links to some good custom mITX gaming cases that would be wonderful too!
Edited by SI51 - 3/20/11 at 9:43pm
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
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Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
M4 SSD Noctua NH-C14S W10 x64 Dell 4k  
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post #4 of 4
Don't mis-understand, It is possible to build a full size cube out of acrylic, the thicker materials just gets expensive and if you use any clear I would recommend using lexan and not acrylic because acrylics yellow pretty fast when hit by sun light. mnpctech.com did a really cool looking mITX acrylic build, you have to search the modmen videos.

Here is a hand carved wood build you just have to see....

http://www.geekologie.com/2007/11/ha...ooks_woode.php

http://www.techfresh.net/wood-computer-case/


Black and white acrylic mITX sounds cool.
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