My experience building a clear case for my Home Theater PC – and with only $20
This project was a fun idea, but as I told my friend, “If I could do it again, I probably wouldn’t.” Not really, though. Like most of my projects, it always seems like a good idea until you find yourself actually dealing with all the nitty-gritty details as you go along.
So actually, if I could do it again then I just might because it would be at least ten times easier – lots faster – and probably look a lot better, too. Nonetheless, I am actually very pleased with the results, particularly for it being my first attempt at this. Maybe someone else can learn from my efforts.
Total time to build: One Weekend.
Cost: ~$20.00 (not counting the internals of course)
Previously, our HTPC was sitting inside a small computer cart/desk. Having grown tired of a computer desk always sitting in our front room next to the TV, I wanted to put it in a smaller case that would fit on a shelf inside our TV cabinet, and then get rid of the monitor altogether, using only the TV for a display (which is perfectly fine if it remains only an HTPC). So here’s how it progressed.
Computer Components Used:
- Iwill KK266 KT133A Motherboard
- AMD Duron 750 @ 800MHz
- 256MB PC133 SDRAM
- 17″ Envision EN-780 Perfect-Flat Monitor
- ATI Rage Fury Pro 32MB AGP with Video-In/Video-Out
- C-Media 4-channel Surround Sound PCI Audio
- Maxtor 40GB 5400rpm D540X Hard Drive
- LG Electronics DRD-8080B DVD Drive
- Symphony USB HomeRF Wireless Network Adapter
- Black USB Keyboard
- Logitech iFeel MouseMan USB Mouse
- Two 18″ x 24″ sheets of plexiglass .100inch thick, cut into the six pieces of a box 13″x10″x6″
- About one hundred No.4 bolts, nuts, and lock washers, most of the bolts 1/4″ or 5/16″ I think; four longer ones with nylon spacers for attaching the power supply.
- An 8′ long clear plastic corner wall protector
- A few clear rubber feet
That’s it. The plexiglass sheets were under $6 each at Lowe’s, the fastening hardware a few dollars total, and the corner protector about $3. They even cut my pieces for free of charge.
Okay, a few comments from me, but the pictures speak mostly for themselves…
First chance to finally see the actual size of the case, no longer just numbers and lines on a piece of paper.
These are the only two Dremel bits I used (not counting the extra disc that I broke). I also used a power drill for the holes, a razor blade to cut the corner wall guard up, and of course, screwdrivers, pliers and wire-cutters.
Aligning the wall guard. It is held in place with double-sided tape while drilling the holes.
Masking the drive opening this way worked well. I used the disc to rough cut it close to the tape, then used the other bit to finish and smooth the edges.
Drive bay finished, and you might be able to see some of the tape.
First test of the fastening system – worked well. Power supply was obviously removed from its case, being careful to avoid those capacitors. The plug and the switches were also cut away.