In an effort to get my electric bill under control I shut down 8 of my folding rigs (I donated these to a local charity...I can use the tax write off) and have replaced them with 2 E6300 rigs running the new SMP client.
Now I need a case for them....here's the plan:
- Put both PC's in one case
- Run both PC's from one power supply
- No optical drives
- Integrated video
- Minimum number of fans
- It has to blend in with the rest of the furnishings in my office
- I'm shooting for a retro look (sorta like the stereo receivers from the 70's and 80's with the wooden end caps)
- Keep the case as compact as possible (I'm using mini atx motherboards but two of them still take up alot of space)
- I don't want anything on the front bezel (no switches, ports, nothing....)
- Unlike my previous cases this one will be made from aluminum not steel
- For ease of maintenance the front bezel and side panels will be held in place by magnets (no tools required)
I will be using 3/4" square aluminum tubing to make the frame so I needed to find a way to bolt or rivet them together, nothing I found at the local hardware store would do the trick so I decided to make the "L brackets" I needed from scratch.
I picked up a section of 1 1/2" angled aluminum rod and cut it into a load of 3/4" wide "L" shaped brackets
That was just the start though, to finish them up took quite a bit more work....First they all (30 pieces) needed to be milled to exactly the same size.
Each bracket will have 4 rivets going through it so the next step after sizing was to counter sink the brackets for the rivet heads. Four counter sinks per bracket times thirty brackets.....It took awhile. I used a dial indicator that reads in .001inch increments so that I could make sure that every bracket was done identically.
I used the same proceedure to drill the holes for the rivets to go through.
Finally after a run through the bead blaster and the better part of a days time I had the brackets for the case.
Now it was time to cut the tubing for the case so some decisions needed to be made. I sat there and laid out those mobo's for a couple of hours trying to get the best fit and still have good airflow when I came across the idea of mounting the boards back to back. In order to make this work the case would have to be wider than a standard case (about 10") but the other dimensions could be kept to about the size of a mini or mid tower. I fired up the bandsaw, cut the tubing (I cut them a little oversized) and cleaned up (read squared) the ends using a bench mounted belt sander.
The tubing then went to the mill and using the same proceedures I used for the brackets predrilled all the holes for the rivets.
This is where all the time spend milling and drilling to exact tolerances paid off.....It took me all of about a half an hour to assemble the case frame and everything fit like a glove.
More to come