Wooden cases

Enclosures, modding, blowholes, and the power needed to run it all.

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Postposted on Tue Apr 02, 2002 12:24 am

I've been thinking about making a wooden case for a system since I have access to better woodworking tools than metal shop tools. Anyone out there have any comments, experiences, or links to share?
No wonder television's a medium. It's so seldom rare or well done. -Mighty Mouse
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HowardDrake
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Postposted on Tue Apr 02, 2002 12:32 am

Is this an April Fool's joke? I can imagine it:

"Hey, a bug just crashed my computer."

"What was it, a virus?"

No, termites..."

:lol:
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Postposted on Tue Apr 02, 2002 2:24 am

Nope, no joke.
No wonder television's a medium. It's so seldom rare or well done. -Mighty Mouse
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Postposted on Mon Apr 08, 2002 10:47 am

I've seen this done, wish I could find the link, but the guy built a nice tile top coffee/end table that had a flip open top to access the hardware. With a hidden door to access the CD and floppy. It also had plugs run down to that base so you didn't notice them as much. Very slick and made out of oak or cherry if I remember correctly. If I find that link I'll post it.
Last edited by zgirl on Mon Apr 08, 2002 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postposted on Mon Apr 08, 2002 11:07 am

Ahhh, HA! I found it you can view it here: http://home.nycap.rr.com/snozberry/case01.html
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Postposted on Mon Apr 08, 2002 11:11 am

There will be some challenges, in my view:
1) Wood is quite a good insulator (air in dried cell walls); all of your cooling will have to be convective (air)
2) It will be harder to make significant venting while keeping rigidity; a hardwood would help.
3) Is there any advantage to the mount being a ground for PCI/AGP cards & Mobo? (if nothing else, to minimize static buildup)... if so, you might consider using a slide-out motherboard tray from some standard case.

Otherwise, it sounds great - should be quiet, attractive, and much more interesting. With a few prototypes, some temperature testing, etc. you may be the luddite Lian Li.
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Veneer a modified metal case perhaps?

Postposted on Mon Apr 08, 2002 1:00 pm

I've had the same idea for quite some time now. Just too lazy / not enough time in the day sort of thing.

Wood from scratch bares far more challenges than does say, a metal tower that you veneer and build a completely wooden faceplate for.

I knew someone that made a case out of a cardboard box once. The case worked fine until the humidity caused the box to sag and the mother board to shortout.

However, a completely custom case bares far more show and tell value.

Best of luck to you. Might I suggest a highly porous wood such as white oak for your venture? :roll:
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Postposted on Mon Apr 08, 2002 2:08 pm

nrobison wrote:There will be some challenges, in my view:
1) Wood is quite a good insulator (air in dried cell walls); all of your cooling will have to be convective (air)

No problem there -- most PCs are air-cooled anyway. I don't see any reason why liquid cooling wouldn't work, if it doesn't leak and care is taken to prevent excessive condensation. IMHO wood's insulating property is a non-issue.

2) It will be harder to make significant venting while keeping rigidity; a hardwood would help.

There's no need to make the case "just like stamped metal, but wood". In other words, don't even try to emulate stamped grilles. A wooden case could have a nice big air inlet in the front, facing down if the large hole doesn't look right. In the back, who cares?

3) Is there any advantage to the mount being a ground for PCI/AGP cards & Mobo? (if nothing else, to minimize static buildup)... if so, you might consider using a slide-out motherboard tray from some standard case.

I've had nothing but trouble from conductive mounting points. Once I even had to go to the trouble of taping every exposed metal part of the case that came in contact with expansion cards, just to get the thing to boot. I'd say that this is one place where wood would be better!

OTOH there's the matter of electromagnetic compatibility. Computer parts radiate a lot of RF energy, and can wreak havoc with radios and TVs if not properly shielded. The easiest way to do this is by encasing the parts in metal. But there are sprays that can be applied to cut down the interference.
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Postposted on Mon Apr 08, 2002 2:34 pm

I would agree with Speed. There are issues to take into consideration, but these should be easily overcome. Basically a non-factor in completing this type of project. The major concern would be how good are your woodworking skills? If you've never used woodworking tools before you'll be in for a surprise.
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Thanks

Postposted on Tue Apr 09, 2002 1:45 am

Thanks for all the input so far. I should be starting the case in about 2 weeks if my schedule permits. Pics will be posted, probably in a new thread.

My skills are OK, 1 year in wood shop in High School, and lots of New Yankee Workshop. Fortunately, I have a friend with all the tools, joiner, planer, routers, etc. so that's a big help. And besides, I'm going for a Industrial/Contemporary look, so there won't be stains involved, just lots of paint. Maybe a glass top, like a coffee table.

The only issue someone IRL pointed out to me is sparks and fire. I don't think that it's a big issue, but anyone have any thoughts on that?
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Re: Sparks and Fire

Postposted on Tue Apr 09, 2002 1:59 am

Er...I don't get a whole lot of sparks and fire coming from my computers. :o Am I doing something wrong?

If you're really worried about flames coming from your mobo, I'm inclined to say that you might need a 12-step program for overclockers. :wink: But if you give the inside a smooth finish, and/or apply a flame retardent to the inside surface, I don't think you have much to worry about.
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Postposted on Tue Apr 09, 2002 10:34 am

wooden case....hmmm....nifty idea. if i could find some way to burn candles from the middle as well, then i might find the time to try it myself. :)
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Postposted on Sat Apr 13, 2002 1:54 pm

Sounds fun...

I was going to bid on an auction for a 12 inch flatscreen and try to build a system into a desk, I didn't win but might do if another comes up...

Would be useful to have something like that in my main desk to use as a calculator or something :)
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Postposted on Sat Apr 13, 2002 1:55 pm

Lol, I just looked at that link. I dunno about building a wooden case to stop it rattling - giving it a good bash always worked for me.

Also... What about one of those new processors from via? Aren't they supposed to run really cold? Depends what you wanna use it for I suppose.
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Postposted on Fri Jun 14, 2002 11:37 pm

fukin cool
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Postposted on Fri Jun 14, 2002 11:41 pm

Speed wrote:Is this an April Fool's joke? I can imagine it:

"Hey, a bug just crashed my computer."

"What was it, a virus?"

No, termites..."

:lol:


hahah
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Well, construction is beginning

Postposted on Thu Jun 27, 2002 11:38 am

Now that I finally have my VIA M/Bs. I've been using them for a bit now and now that I've found low-cost LCD's that I can use, (NTSC ones since the TV out from the MB is good), let the sawdust fly! But make sure to keep the MBs away for now :wink:
No wonder television's a medium. It's so seldom rare or well done. -Mighty Mouse
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EMI shielding...

Postposted on Thu Jun 27, 2002 12:12 pm

In the case of EMI shielding, you can use either the spray (expensive!) or you could use wide conductive tape. It comes in aluminum, but the best bet is copper, because then you can electrically connect the tape pieces with solder.

Even better would be metal screen, like stainless steel. It is much easier to work with, cheap, available, and makes a darned good EMI shield limited by the size of the holes in the screen (based on wavelength). You could staple or hot glue the screen to the inside of the case, and then run grounding straps from the ground of the power supply to the screen.

The catch? There must not be a single hole larger than the wavelength of the RF frequency you are trying to block, so I guess you cannot have a CD player or floppy drive. One hole is like having no screen at all anywhere, now you have a wave-guide instead. It is very hard to block EMI from a computer will all of the cables, slots, drives, etc. so it is probably not worth the effort. You have to rely on the MB manufacturer to have a good circuit board layout that doesn't radiate much.
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Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2002 12:16 am

q_bot_w11 wrote:Also... What about one of those new processors from via? Aren't they supposed to run really cold? Depends what you wanna use it for I suppose.


Definitely run very cold, and I found a fanless ATX supply to go with it. It's only rated 100W but all I've got is the M/B which pulls 50 and a CF card in the IDE connector which hardly pulls anything. So I think I'm good for that.
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