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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

My name is Kevin, and this is my first post on this forum, although it is not my first visit. I first came here about a year ago when I had an interest in making a briefcase computer mod, and was inspired by the work of some other members. Not only was I inspired, but determined to create an even better portable computer that could be marketed to those who need portability and power.

Some details of the build:
This will be a scratch built mod, and I will be fabricating almost every component of the case itself. I have decided to go with good ol' fashion carpentry rather than my original plan of using a laser cutting service due to cost. Since this is a mini itx build, there are lots of size restrictions. Almost all the components have to be as small (and consequently low-power) as possible, so the end result is not going to be a 980ti SLI water cooled beast, but will have reasonable performance. The current prototype, which is the Vaultware Model 3, will be the smallest and most portable yet. It will feature a 4.5" total height and a 10Ah battery.

I think I have done a pretty good job so far, and the next prototype will be the best yet! I have started work on a battery circuit, CAD designs, and more so stay tuned! I will be posting weekly build logs that will alert you to major updates. I am always willing to take suggestions from experienced modders so don't hesitate to PM me!

Processor: Core i5 4690K
Cooler: Stock for now (size restrictions)
Motherboard: Gigabyte Ultra Durable GA-H97N-WIFI
RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB
Video Card: Either a Nvidia GTX 750ti, or GTX 950 (Currently have a Nvidia Quadro 2000)(Power consumption needs to be < 100w)
SSD: SanDisk SSD Plus 240Gb
Monitor: Repurposed b173Hw02 v.0 AU Optronics Laptop LCD (1920x1080)
Yes, yes, I know, these aren't the best components, but they are cheap!

Here are some pictures of my previous builds:
The Model 0 was the one I built right after seeing the Lando briefcase computer (for $30 and spare parts) and is the proof-of-concept
The Models 1 and 2 are the subsequent prototypes, PM or email me for more details!
Model 3 is on the way and this is where I will be posting my build logs!

Previous Updates:
(Before 4/12/16 when this thread was started)

UPDATE: 4/11/16
Time lost, but plans made for the future, and updated circuitry

School and sports have picked up the last few weeks so my time has been limited.
Also, higher than expected estimates for laser cutting the case has forced me to seek other
options for prototyping. Good news is that I have recently signed up for a TechShop membership,
so I will be able to produce lots of prototypes after school ends.

Now for the circuitry updates.
Turns out that the 30A relay has a very long dead time (the time it takes for the contacts to change position,
which temporarily leaves them unconnected and unable to transfer power), which is something in
the range of 15-30ms and causes the computer to shut off. To combat the problem, I am looking at
Schottky diode or MOSFET power O-Rings and have selected some components to test. Stay tuned!

PS: I also just made a new mini-logo to be printed on the case (attached below)
There is also a new user-friendly design based of my CAD design (here).

UPDATE: 3/28/16
Parts purchased, Circuits constructed, and Batteries tested

Power ciruit has been completed for the Model 3.
This includes a 3S1P 10Ah LiPO battery (Half of what was originally planned),
a 360 watt regulated power supply, a 12v 30A relay to switch between power sources,
and an M4 ATX DC-DC PSU rated at 250 watts.

This sucessfully ran on the battery for 4 hours at full idle (roughly 50-60 watts),
and is expected to run for 1 hour or slightly more under full load with the option to add another battery.
Charging time is, as expected, 2 hours with a 5Ah LiPO charger that is installed in parrallel
to the regulated powersupply.

Final CAD drawings are in-progress, and hopefully the first case will be ready by March 30 - April 4

UPDATE: 3/7/16
Battery Improvement and 3D Design for Model 3

Estimated battery life has been upgraded to at least 1.5 hours at full load (About 4-5 hours idle)
with two 5000mAh 6S1P LiPo batteries.User friendly design has been created,
and final CAD file for laser cutting is under contruction.

UPDATE: 3/6/16
Hello World!

The website has been launched! The Vaultware Model 3 is on its way, and the Model 0, 1, and 2 have already been completed.

Model 0:

- Built out of a cheap Vestil breifcase, proof of concept
- Very poor construction, but inspired me to continue
- Total time: 2 weeks

Model 1:

- Much more design work involved, ordered custom built case from China
- Case arrived damaged and some measurements were off
- Specialty parts like 60mm fans and gas pistons used in assembly
- Used a very heavy 24" BenQ monitor
- Very expensive, no custom parts besides case
- Design was much too bulky, 27"x18" with 8.5" height
- Total time: 3 months

Model 2:

- Design work was made more accurate, measurements more precise
- Built by hand using a tablesaw and 1/2 plywood
- Much smaller and lighter than Model 1, used a 17" laptop monitor
- Wired monitor directly into PSU
- Final dimensions: 17"x11" with 6.5" height
- Used standard 80mm fans and ATX PSU
- Some defects created during hand assembly, not perfect
- Total time: 4 months

Model 3: (Under Construction)

- Batteries will be added, ~45 min runtime at full load, ~2.5 hours idle
- Replace regular, large ATX PSU with a DC-DC 250w PSU
- Remove assembly defects by using a precision laser cutter and requiring no sawing or drilling
- Use CAD rather than paper measurements, accuracy improves
- Same components from Model 2, 17" laptop display
- Order even more custom parts: gas springs, Lithium Ion batteries, etc.
- Will be painted
- Final Dimensions: 17"x11" with 4.5" height
- Estimated time: 3 Months

7 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Finally managed to get time to start the case for the Vaultware Model 3, and cut out most of the upper portion. Will upload pictures and more details when I get the chance!

490 Posts
I like the concept and will stay subbed, but why are your updates in the OP. It is probably much easier to just create a new post each time and make a table of contents in the OP.

7 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
That is what I will do in the future, I put them there for now because they are old updates that have already been completed. Thanks for your input!


7 Posts
Discussion Starter #5

I have decided to go with simply using my table saw and other hand tools instead of getting the box cnc or laser cut because the cost was just way too high. Although, I did recently sign up at the TechShop, so I may be able to use their CNC soon.

So far, I have completed cutting the slats of wood to the right dimensions for the Model 3 and have already glued and sanded the top/lid portion. Soon (hopefully tomorrow) I will have the holes drilled in the case for fans and other stuff so stay tuned!

Wooden slats for the sides on the lid and bottom fresh off the saw.

The lid/top fully assembled and sanded down by hand, who doesnt love that?

Packing up the table saw and bringing the wood in because it is going to rain tomorrow, good thing I've already cut the pieces I need to!

60mm fans for circulation and friction hinges to keep the lid in an upright position (previous prototypes used fixed gas springs so this should be much better as it allows any angle to be set).

The 60mm hole saw that I will use to drill out holes for the fans in the case.

The battery circuit that is almost ready! (Still need to swap in diodes instead of the relay)

Thanks for reading!

7 Posts
Discussion Starter #6

Yesterday I finished most of the wood work on the case, including cutting out holes for all the components and glueing stuff together.

I am also planning on doing some more "fancy stuff" on it like sleeved PSU cable, LED's and a plexiglass cover on the inside. Should turn out really cool!

Most of the woodwork has been completed for the Model 3

My box of parts and materials for the case

My workspace which has gotten a lot more cluttered in the last month

The Vaultware Model 2 gutted out after removing the components for the Model 3

Paracord next to the powersupply cables that I will be sleeving.

7 Posts
Discussion Starter #7

I did a sort of work spree last night until 2 AM, so the Model 3 is mostly finished and I forgot to take a lot of pictures but I have pics of before paint and after paint with all the parts.

So basically a run-down of all the work that was done,

Case was glued together with final sanding and painted black (originally thought I would do grey).
The PSU was finsihed being sleeved
Parts for the final power circuit have been ordered, but for now I am using the old relay circuit
The monitor mounting was worked out with a sheet of plexiglass
I decided to make half the workspace wood and the other half plexiglass
Voltmeter and power button were installed
Fans were installed
All other components are installed temporarily as a test
Battery life was tested and I was able to play a full game of competitive CS:GO before the voltage dropped off (1.5 Hours)
AC-DC powersupply was hooked up to recharge the battery and it worked flawlessly.


Finally finished all the woodwork on the case (forgot to take pictures of painting it)

This is such a pain

Psu in case with sleeved wires protruding

Psu covered with only nice, sleeved wires showing

Jump ahead to case being painted with components installed, this is the control panel.

I need to figure out a better way to install this charger because it gets really hot

View of the (nearly) finished computer, the control panel is propped up because it was getting too hot in there

The part that you will be able to see through the plexiglass when it is finished

Another picture of the final product

Thanks for reading!
- Kevin
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