Cool AND Cool


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Cool looking and cool running case mod – Strogg

What This Is About

Many have made modifications to their case to make it look cool. Others have made mods to just cool it down.

One thing who don’t see often is one that does both. I have attempted to make a custom case that is both affordable AND is one that will cool down a system without any trouble at all for around $100.

Many have made modifications to their case to make it look cool. Others have made mods to just cool it down. But one thing that doesn’t happen often is a custom-made case that is made to cool down heat-sensitive components. I have attempted to make a custom case that is both affordable AND is one that will cool down a system without any trouble at all. The budget: $100.

Design

First, I designed the case. It took me about a day, and was by far the hardest thing to do, but not spending the time to do it right before you start means spending more time AND money fixing mistakes AFTER you start.

Here it is:

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As you can hopefully see, the left side of the case is for the motherboard and the expansion cards, while the right is for the PSU, drives, and whatever else you’ll find in a case.

By moving the heat-generating devices that are NOT heat-sensitive to another section of the case (in this case, we’ll call it the “right section”), I hoped to protect the heat-sensitive devices from extra heat, hopefully aiding the cooling on that side.

To circulate air throughout the <1/2 cu. ft. of space, I chose six 44cfm 92mm fans. They are quiet, yet move quite a lot of air.

I decided to use acrylic sheets as the basis for the box. Since I wanted to spend as little as possible, I chose 1/8″ sheets for the front, back, and sides and chose 3/8″ sheets for the top, bottom, and center.

I debated with myself quite a bit about how to finish the case. Should I paint the box internally or externally?

The difference between the two is simple: painting externally will require sanding, some good car polish, and wax to make it look cool. Internal painting will let you have the shine for free, but that means any holes going through the clear part of the plastic will look weird.

For a while, I was going to paint the box externally and glue the pieces together with acrylic glue, since I don’t want random screws seen on the top middle portion of the case. Then I decided to internally paint it, and have all the sheets screwed down by screws so that the whole operation would be easier and faster. But then again, I wondered how hard would it be to make the outside look half decent if painted externally, so I chose external painting again.

Still basically undecided on this point, I then had some people comment on it (some constructively, others not). Then I went to work.

Beginning To Build…

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Ah, the smell of burned plastic. Anyway, I took the sketches and proceeded to measure out the big 3/8″ pieces so I can glue them together. I finally chose gluing then external painting.

I peeled back the protective sheets on the acrylic to see what I was gluing, then glued. After all that careful measurement and preparation, it came out looking rather good.

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I wanted to make the left panel first, since it would be the easiest panel to cut out. All I needed to make were 3 90mm circles and 4 screw holes each.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a hole saw to put on my drill, so dremeling was the only solution to this problem. The circles aren’t even near perfect, but it’s good enough to show that the holes are supposed to be round.

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OK, time to see what else to troubleshoot.

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