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Building a wooden HTPC case... advice?
Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:57 pm
Since no one seems to make an HTPC case quite like I want, I want to build one myself. Mind you, by "myself" I mean "give the design to a carpenter I know", so the details of woodworking are not my concern. However, this guy is not a computer person, so everything technical has to be covered by me.
I'm assuming I will need a donor case for things like the backplane. How hard is it to remove, for example, the switches, and install them elsewhere?
What about design? I want it exactly tall enough to accept 120mm fans, or a Minja, whichever requires more height. Would rear exhausts work better, or sides, like on the Fusion?
Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:42 am
One note, wood expands and contracts with humidity and heat. Make sure he picks a species/construction of wood that can handle the heat without splitting.
Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:56 am
Expansion and contraction is almost exclusively due to humidity changes. Heat has pretty much no impact. That said, plywood or mdf or whatever have an advantage here because of the expansion/contraction thing.
Switches: ease of removing them from a donor case will depend on how the case in question is constructed. The power and reset switches are merely momentary contact switches (2 poles, normally open), so you could get some from radio shack or whatever if re-using the ones from the donor case isn't feasible.
Airflow should be designed taking into consideration the cooling method of your receiver/amplifier. Is the receiver just convection vented? Where will it be in the equipment stack relative to the htpc? You don't want either the receiver or the htpc sucking heat from the other into their air intakes. The general layout of the case is going to depend fairly heavily on the mobo form factor, I should think. Somewhere I had a thread about designing an htpc case (called Doug's Quiet Wood PC: HTPC Edition or something along those lines) for an ATX mobo. That project fell by the wayside due to changing employment and such. I still have a hankering to build an HTPC case, but my current plan is to construct a TV/equipment stand in which a computer case is integral. This removes the space limitations inherent in building something that will fit in a stack of AV gear.
Resonance is your number one enemy. Make sure to allow sufficient space to isolate vibrations from fans and drives with soft mounts of some sort.
Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:00 pm
My version of an Antec Fusion
Here's my attempt. It was a fun project. But it didn't look very good and I'm very happy now with my NSK1480 which is smaller. I can cut some wood and think I did pretty good there. But the finishing touches are lacking. I'm used to making car subwoofers where I just cover the whole thing in carpet, hiding any of my mistakes.
I pulled the motherboard tray from an old MATX case. I just picked up an old momentary switch from Radio Shack for the power button and an LED in a silver housing for the power light. Usually the switches in a case are two parts. The switch itself and the cover that you see on the outside. So you probably won't be able to use that as is. I would have picked up a nicer looking switch if I was going to keep it. (Something like this
) The USB/audio ports were also pulled from an old case.