Like so many others, I had developed an urge to
make a case mod. Unlike my other projects, I actually put some
planning into this before going out and buying the parts. The
first idea I had was to find a 10" diameter PVC pipe and
mount everything inside. I thought that this would be easily cooled
and very portable (with the addition of a shoulder strap). Now,
I don't know if any of you have tried to find such a thing, but
10" PVC pipes are very hard to get a hold of (in my area
at least). I talked to Lowe's about getting one of these for me
and they did actually come through for me. The catch was this:
they could special order the pipe, but it would cost $5.50 a foot
and have a $100 shipping charge. Oh, by the way, they only came
in 20' sections ;). So, I decided that over $200 was a tad high
for a case mod. This thinking turns out to be ironic as you will
After my encounter with the PVC pipe, my case modding urge was
pacified for a few days. I came across the idea that an end table
or a night stand might make for a good place to put a computer.
This actually led somewhere since you can get a night stand for
not too much cash. I ended up (after some hunting) with a Sauder
brand night stand that was a cherry color. I spent an hour that
night assembling it in my basement. I think I did a pretty good
job too, even if I was distracted by a movie on TV while doing
it. I had the good fortune of there being no doors I could mount
crooked. I did, however, leave the back off of the stand since
that was the only easy portal from which to attach all the parts.
So ended the first day.
The next day, I decided to figure out the placement of all the
parts. I made a stand in for the motherboard and for the hard
drive. The rest I just placed inside as is. I decided to place
the power supply on the left side with the vents facing back and
to the right. The motherboard was to go directly to the right
of the power supply. HDD and FDD were to go along the front edge
of the night stand's 12" bay. The floppy drive would go on
its side. I also decided to mount the HDD on a 5" bay mounting
bracket. This would allow me to easily remove and replace the
hard drive if the need arose and we all know those things can
go bad at the most inconvenient moments... I decided to place
the CD-RW in the drawer above the 12" bay. Since the drawer
wasn't big enough, I had to place the drive at an upward angle
so that the tray would extend over the lip of the drawer. That
was as far as I got that day.
The next day I went out to get all the hardware I thought I might
need. This time I had much better luck at Lowe's. Not that I expected
screws and nuts to be particularly expensive in any case. I ended
up with two brass latches, two magnetic latches, two hinges, and
a large mixture of wood and machine screws (all 6-32s or 4-40s
of varying length).I think I spent like an hour in that one isle
of Lowe's and then another 15 min trying to find the magnetic
latches. I suppose I could have asked for assistance, but that
would have been far to easy. Anyway, I came away with all but
a few things. Those being some machine screws with very fine threads.
I also picked up some 'L' brackets for use in various places and
one brass handle. I had a Lexan-Tuf window cut and picked up a
piece of spare Lexan for mounting the indicator LEDs. Last but
not least were some nylon risers for the motherboard. I also stopped
by Microcenter to pick up an extension for the motherboard power
cable and another 'Y' adapter for the molex power connectors.
I also picked up a USB optical mouse and a bundle of LEDs and
switched (Power, HDD, Reset, etc...). I walked next door to Radio
Shack (it's a very convenient shopping center) and bought a few
switches. I also discovered that everyone that works there seems
to have their own case mods. I listened to one salesman describe
his modification of a Compaq shell (used to be a display piece)
into some nicely painted and lit nuclear themed case. More interestingly
he described a situation a friend of his was having. He wanted
help building a computer in a cave that they were researching.
This part of the cave was way back in there and was very humid...
As we all know, supersaturated air does not help electronics.
So the case would have to be airtight and still be cooled somehow...
Of course this is all beside the point. Interesting problem though.
I'll get back to the NSC now.
I went home and retrieved our Makita cordless drill and a handful
of bits. Using a spare motherboard of the same make and model
to the one I was going to use, I marked where all the holes for
grounded screws should go. I also marked where to drill holes
for the floppy's brackets and for the HDD bracket. I drilled the
holes and secured the screws with a couple of washers and nuts.
I then spent the next 15 minutes trying to tweak the screws to
fit perfectly through the motherboard holes. There was a lot of
securing the board, removing the board, securing the board, etc...
Half the time I would pull the board up and then forget which
screw had to be tapped in which direction. When I was done I removed
the board and put it away. I then set to work on the CD-RW drawer.
I had to bend two of the larger brackets to support the raised
drive. A large vice was instrumental in this process. It was even
a little stress relieving... Anyway, I then drilled holes in the
bottom of the drawer and secured all the brackets. At this I then
attached the two buttons that I was going to use for power and
reset. I draped the power and ribbon cables up and over the back
of the drawer. I looked up and it was 2 AM, so I decided it was
a good time for sleep. The early morning is usually good for such
things. Perhaps not so good as the preceding evening, but good
The backside right after I finished construction.
The dress rehearsal...
All the stuff from Lowe's.
All the pretty screws!
That really looks like a... Something?
It's all setup and ready to go!