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Hardware

Custom Metal Computer Cases? 49

Sarreq Teryx asks: "I'm looking to buy a new case for my system, to fit in a particular space (20¼" tall x 11" wide), I've found plenty that fit the height (I personally like the Lian-Li PC-6089A out of that bunch), but all the cases I've seen are either the too-too narrow 7½" to 8¼" wide consumer tower cases (that Lian-Li included), or the super wide 13" to 20" wide server cases (which tend to be on the unbearably ugly side), both of which are the wrong width.Does anyone happen to know if any PC case company makes cases that are ~20" tall x ~10¾" wide, or of any company makes custom cases from the plate metal up? I've never done any metal working, so if I were to make one myself, it'd end up being made of wood, and I don't particularly like that idea."
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Custom Metal Computer Cases?

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  • airflow (Score:3, Informative)

    by morcheeba ( 260908 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @10:25PM (#5657992) Journal
    Make sure you've got plenty of airflow to the back - no fun hooking it up, only to find that all that pressured air behind it makes it rocket out of your nook!

    No, seriously, make sure that it doesn't overheat - either a vent back there, a vent above, or airflow in/out of the front/side.
  • by Tuxinatorium ( 463682 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @10:31PM (#5658022) Homepage
    HardOCP ran an article [htto] about one of those today.
    • Oops, here's the fixed link [hardocp.com].
    • That one is really quite ugly, it looks like a fusion of 1920s art-deco and traditional japanese, and done particularly badly. the builer's site has this at the bottom of the description: "It is absolutely unique", yeah, for thinking he can get away with selling it for $3250 to $3450.
  • metal work (Score:4, Informative)

    by jjshoe ( 410772 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @10:52PM (#5658131) Homepage
    metal working is incredibly easy. in fact, i personaly think it is easier to work with sheat metal then wood. the tools required to do a profesional job tend to be a bit expensive but i imagine it would be pretty expensive to one single computer case custom built for you


    you would need a hand brake [machinetoo...ibutor.com] and ofcourse, a nice drill press, and i would also recomend a shear [machinetoo...ibutor.com] the ones given are mearly examples of what you would need tool wise. you can sometimes get them in an all in one combination.. [northerntool.com] brake press to bend the metal, shear to do your big straight cuts and a drill press for precision holes.. you would need airplane shears and a few other assorted tools like perhaps a scratch awl and what not..

    • and if your looking to save some money this [northerntool.com] model is cheaper yet... you could also probly get by with this brake [northerntool.com] im not sure at this point if they carry a cheaper shear.. the whole point is if you have any wood working skills what so ever you could easily build a case out of wood, the trick with metal ofcourse is planning in advance what to bend and at what order to make bends in... tip #1 do your drilling before you bend it all together... one other thing to look at would be perhaps spot welding certain
    • I would think it would be cheaper to weld something. If you wanted the super-industrial look you could just make it out of aluminum angle brackets and aluminum sheet, and rivet it together. If you had a good punch and a tap you could even make it screw together, though that's not really the best idea in the case of aluminum - no pun intended.

      I bet a little wire-feed welder would be cheaper and the average person would have more uses for a welder than for a brake. Of course, the average person wouldn't bot

  • Make your own (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bluGill ( 862 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @12:16AM (#5658547)

    My favorite bookstore [lindsaybks.com] Has a number of books that will help anyone planning to make their own computer case. Not to mention all the fun science things that can help you do. Get the dead tree catalog, it has many books that are not online.

  • Then I guess there's no company that makes them approx this size stock then?
  • wood option (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @02:24AM (#5659027)
    Go for some wood spacers on both sides of the narrow case, sand the parts smooth, then paint to match a nice aluminum Lian-Li PC case. Not that hard, and requires only the ability to cut the wood to size, various grits of sandpaper, and either some paintbrushes, or an airbrush (would look better done with an airbrush - you can find cheap ones at hobby shops now).

    That is all...
  • by Loosewire ( 628916 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @02:34AM (#5659049) Homepage Journal
    Anyone know of any good vandal resistand metal cases? for school and kiosk levels of torture :)
  • 11 inch wide case? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KurdtX ( 207196 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @02:55AM (#5659107)
    Alright, at the risk of sounding like an ass:

    A CD drive is ~5.75 inches wide... 2 * 5.75 inches = 11.5 inches

    Why would anyone build a case almost wide enough for two CD drives but not quite?


    I hate to say it, but have you thought "outside the box"? Why not just use a regular case and build a wooden frame to occupy the unused space? As this sounds like it might not have a lot of clear area behind it, what about using the extra space for air return from the back of the case? (Did you think that far ahead) You could build the frame to make it look like the surrouding area was larger, or the case was bigger, either way will work. Seriously folks, I know we're mostly Engineers here, but we can think about the Real World factors a bit.
    • 1. Because I don't want it looking like sh|+
      2. because all that extra space could be used for air flow, possible water block and resevoir and other watercooling related parts, part of which is this water chiller idea I've had since I first read about water cooling.
      3. damn plenty of space for lots of harddrives
      4. damn plenty of space for sound dampening, whether I co air or water cooled
      5. the space I want to shove it in is a wooden frame anyway, it's a 5 year old bush computer desk with a compartment fo
      • Now you're giving more information than the original article. Armed with this new information, I suggest you build your own, custom, case. Since the space seems pre-set, can we assume you have an opening 20¼" tall x 11" wide, and the back and sides are hidden? If so, cosmetically all you care about is the front. I'd go for a water cooled setup based on an off-the-shelf case with a custom faceplate to fit your opening. If this is down by the floor, I'd put the removable media drives toward the top, the
      • Nothing preventing some of the watercooling system from being outside of the case. I'm sure you could come up with some unique looking reservoirs, for example. And you can dress up the radiator to look cool. (Acrylic housing, UV-sensitive glowing fan, etc etc.)
  • by cr0sh ( 43134 ) on Friday April 04, 2003 @01:53PM (#5662234) Homepage
    Once you start to work with metal - you begin to wonder why you stuck so long with wood. Metal isn't that hard to work with - it just requires different tools, and a slightly different set of skills. The biggest of these skills is planning, but if you already work with wood (measure twice, cut once), you already have them.

    Your greatest expense with metal working will be in the tools, not the metal itself (ok, metal is more expensive than wood - and don't get me started on retail pricing of thick plate steel - but that is why you get your metal scrap, surplus, or wholesale). If you have tools for woodworking, you probably have the bare minimum of what you need (electric drill and jigsaw). You will need different bits and blades for those (mark the blades with an indelible ink so you know which is which, unless the blade is an "all purpose" - this goes doubly so if you use a fine blade for plastics). You will probably also want to get a drill press, if you don't already have one. Those are the basic tools.

    With those tools, you can build quite a lot - if you don't mind bolting/screwing things together. You can also get very creative with JB Weld (that stuff is *very* strong if used properly), if you want. If the metal is very lightweight stuff, soldering with a torch is possible, too (use acid core solder here). Also, look into brazing and alluminum rod soldering (it is like a form of brazing, but it used special rod for alluminum and a stainless steel brush) - both tried and true techniques for quick, easy, and strong metal joining (most bicycles are held together via brazed joints, not welded joints).

    After that, you get into "heavier duty" metal work - which also translates into more expense (most generally for the tools). Believe me, when you cut your first piece of plate steel using an oxy-acet torch (look at the running molten slag, feel the heat, smell the burning steel - don't let it hit your feet!) - you won't want to do it any other way. Alright, you don't *need* such a torch, but it is a handy (though expensive) tool. Really, for entry level work here, you need a low-power arc welder, and some kind of cutoff tool.

    When you first start looking, you will find there are many types of arc welders, and most of them are pretty expensive. If you have the money, get a 220V AC/DC welder with a nice range setting, and have an electrician wire up an outlet for you with a dedicated breaker. Sometimes, you can make a conversion cord for the AC outlet an electric dryer or water heater is connected to (generally 220V appliances) - you need such a cord or box because the plug on "consumer" 220VAC and "industrial" 220VAC machinery are different. However, you won't be able to run both at the same time.

    These welders tend to be expensive (and hiring an electrician to run a line increases this expense) - so if you have to get one, get a good one. I would personally reccommend a Lincoln 225 (the AC/DC type - not AC only - they make both) - it will do everything you are likely to throw at it. It is a rod arc welder (there are wire feed welders, both gas and gasless - but they can be more expensive still - get used to rod, then move to wire later). You will need to get a helmet, chipping hammer, gloves, steel brushes, and a place to work (typically, your driveway or back porch - you may want to invest in some 1/4-1/2 inch piece of plate steel as a surface protector - a 3x3 foot piece should suffice for many things). You will run into a lot of difficulties welding - the biggest one is the rod sticking (this is where DC comes in - DC sticks less). If the rod sticks, wiggle it to break the rod away, or release the "stinger" from the rod to break the circuit. There are a number of other issues (blowing holes, starting the arc, keeping the arc going, running the bead, etc) - so many numerous things I can't describe them all here (maybe I should make a FAQ?). It can be frustrating, but also fun. Never look at the arc directly. Always wear a dark t-shirt when welding (the flash can get under the helmet, and while y

  • They will work but you'll need to go to a bit
    of trouble to shield it. Either RFI paint or tacking foil onto the wood making sure you have a passable farad cage.

    Metal would be easier, using inserts as someone else said and a standard case would be best.

  • If you don't like Metal working, you could try glass! a network/tech buff I know made a 'puter case entirely out of glass, and because it was meant as a server machine, he had 7 fans in it, 1 on the processor, 2 embedded into the top of the case, 2 in the back, and 2 in the front, and he even put switches for the 6 extra fans on the front of the case so that he could turn them on and off individually because they made SO much noise!

    + He added an LCD display displaying the CPU & overall temps, and he dr

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