Quick Links: here’s a flickr page with all pics from this project.
Continuing our mod theme from last week, I decided that I wanted to do something on the cheap for this week’s project (We spent $15 on oil for our last endeavor you know LINK). I had been planning for a while to throw together a little 700 MHz machine to use as a file server at my house. But, I’ve got too many systems setup around my office as it is, so I was going to just throw a case in my closet or something to get it out of the way, but where would the fun be in that.
I decided that I wanted something ‘stealth’. Something that looked like it wasn’t a PC at all and was just lying around my office. Something I could keep all my super secret data (pr0n) on. That way if someone broke in to my house and wanted to swipe any PCs, my masterly disguised file server would be safe. Here’s a visual representation of what that might look like:
Apparently utterly crappy and pathetic mspaintings are going to be a mainstay on Haphazard Hacks due to the countless (one) requests we’ve had for them. Anyway, on to the project. Scanning around the room I saw some old boxes from a PC I built and I thought “I could just throw that sucker in a motherboard box.”
After ravaging around for some other boxes I figured I could just make it look like a stack of boxes/parts and throw it on top of a cabinet (please see above drawing for reference). Here’s the boxes laid out how I planned for them to look when finished:
So I threw my parts in the box to see how I wanted to arrange everything and then took my handy dandy exacto knife and began slicing and dicing the back of the boxes. When the motherboardbox was closed, it ended up coming down flush on top of the processor fan, so I ended up designing an “air baffle” out of construction paper and integrating it into the processor box.
Here’s what the back of my now “thermally advantaged” case looked like:
I wasn’t too worried about making it super neat since the back wouldn’t really be seen all that often.
The layout of the parts inside ended up being a pretty tight fit. I had to relieve the power supply of its shell to get it to fit and my motherboard and power supply actually overlap slightly on the corners. A problem that was easily cured by my trusty friend electrical tape.
My processor was now being amply cooled, but I wanted some airflow past the hard drive and power supply, so I hot glued down a couple fans for airflow horizontally through the case and took my dremel to the sides of the case to make some vents (if you can call roughly cut holes splattered with tiny pieces of cardboard shavings vents that is)
I believe that this upgraded the classification of my case to “thermally advantaged chassis v1.1”:
For the power switch I ran a wire up into the RAM case and put a contact on top of an old stick of ram and the other contact on the underside of the RAM case. So you just mash down on top of the RAM to power up the system.
And here it is – the final product!
The total cost of the project was about $10. I made a chart so you could see a breakdown of where all of that cash-money went:
I’m very happy with the way the case turned out. All kidding aside it is kind of sweet to have a PC that just looks like a stack of parts and it kind of blends in with the rest of the junk that’s laying around my office. Power and Ethernet are the only cables I have running to it and I just VNC (I use tightvnc) into it when I need to. Currently I’m running XP Pro and I am just using windows shares to send my music/videos/pictures/etc to my XBOX (using XBMC).
Please feel free to email us if you have any questions and/or comments and also if you have any suggestions for future projects.