Ah, yes... My first real departure from the Pegboard Computer.
Don't expect it to just sit in a corner, though.

~Page 2~

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 see later...


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 nonetheless.

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!

~Page 2~ or ~Home~

Counting Since:
April 12, 2002