Doug's Quiet Wood Case PC

Do-It-Yourself Systems
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I used the same wood stain as I had on my computer desk, covered with multiple coats of clear Varathane. As you can see, I had taken a router to the edges of the case.

Time to get some finish on.

The side door is constructed of boards glued edge to edge. They're actually a bit of a design weakness, since pine has a bit of a tendency to twist itself into odd shapes and there was a significant chance they wouldn't end up really flat. They came out fairly well, though I did end up pulling one of them off after the whole thing was together because the very front edge was twisting out and not fitting right. Some planing and sanding put an end to the pine's insubordination. To do it right, I probably should have run the doors through a thickness planer, but I don't have access to one. I could also have put some sort of ribs on their backs to hold them straight, but I didn't really have space to do that.

Here I've got the right side door on.

In the center of the picture you can how it is held closed at the front by wingnuts. That proved to be a mistake, as it was extremely difficult to get at the top wingnut after the 5.25" drive rack was in place. I eventually replaced the top wingnut with a catch of the same sort I used for the left door, which can be seen in the extreme upper right of this picture. On the right the switch panel can be seen. It's a bit of a hack job, with just a pair of single pole momentary contact switches, and a couple holes for the power and drive LEDs I stole from the old case.

I taped the LEDs against the back of the holes with an adhesive strip designed especially for the purpose. Oddly, the adhesive was marketed under the name 3M All-Weather Duct Tape. Go figure. The final empty hole visible is for a multi-position rotary switch wired up with diodes for variable fan speed control. I have vague plans to build some more complex custom fan control circuitry, at which point I'll replace this switch panel with something nicer, but for now this will do.


The drive cage is screwed into the top of the case, with some foam strips between the cage and the top.

This doesn't really isolate the cage from the case, as vibrations can be transmitted through the screws. The foam does make it easier to align the drive faces with the hole in the front of the case, though. You can also see a strip of felt tacked between the drive faces and the case to prevent the drives from vibrating directly against the case. So far the lack of complete isolation between the optical drives and the case hasn't proven to be a problem. At full speed they are noisy, but there hasn't been excessive resonance, and at lower speeds they are very quiet.

The Super Tornado 400 is strapped into place, resting on foam strips.

400 watts is severe overkill for this system, but I'm hoping that the PSU will survive through a couple upgrade cycles so I went with extra headroom. The hard drive was suspended on elastic cords strung on a framework built for the purpose. The old 4 GB Seagate seen here was just a placeholder.

The motherboard tray is screwed directly to the case, and the motherboard is mounted.

My 120mm exhaust fan was slow in arriving, so I wedged a 92mm fan into the exhaust port as a stopgap measure. You can see the strips of felt glued onto the backing for the door. All that remained was to build and mount the absorbing panel.

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