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Scratch Built HTPC Case :)

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hello, I am in the process of "cutting the cord" of cable. Its to expensive when there are so many alternatives that are much cheaper. So I have been building a htpc that I can use for Over-The-Air Tuning/Recording and for steaming movies over my local network and via netflix. As a previous case "modder", I've customized many cases but I have never done a HTPC case. All of my other crazy off-the-wall cases wouldn't fit atop my TV, and I don't like the design or prices of any of the pre-made cases. Plus I thought it would be funner to build one myself, so here we

Day 1

I start off with a stripped down compaq computer case

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I stripped it down and I will use the case as a frame for the plexiglass exterior

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Removing rivets
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Removing the drive bays
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I Plan on not having an optical drive and I will mount the SSD for the machine somewhere in the case with velcro

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Now with the drive bays back together I re-riveted together the frame.

I Plan on putting a small LCD on the front of the case to display the time and maybe weather report or something useful (I plan on using rainmeter but IDK because it uses alot of system resources Do you have any better suggestions?)

So later today I went inside to take the LCD out of its housing and get it ready to go in my case.
I'm useing an old dvd player that we bought a long time ago. luckily it has an RCA in. and I have a TV out PCI video card setting around that would work perfectly smile.gif

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This is were its going to be in the case smile.gif

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Went for a run to ACE, got some Paint, a roll of blue painter's tape, and a 24"x30" piece of plexiglass.
(Tracing the line for one side of the case)
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I don't know if you can see this but I left about an 8th of an in extra on both side just as a precaution. I will file it perfectly flush later. (this stuff isn't cheap, cost me 18 dollars for the small piece I got)
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(Getting ready to cut the holes for 2 120mm fans(I will have some of those nice and tall round case feet on it so the fans can get some air))
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The finished product:
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I pianted the frame and the back of the two plexiglass sides black:
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Finnished up today by gurrilla gluing the finnished sides on and leaving them overnight to dry.
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post #2 of 25
Looks good. I love this stuff.
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Day 2!

Got the top piece of plexi cut
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Drawing outlines for window... no mod is complete without a window wink.gif
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Taping off window area for painting
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Cut the hole for the frame for the window
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Painting the top panel
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Put the panel in place, got all the edges of the side panels filed down "flush as a toilet" ;p
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Gorilla glued it in place and left it overnight to dry (With my dremal multi-max (about the only thing its good for it a paper weight))
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post #4 of 25
This is awesome. I cannot wait to see how it comes out.

I see you use my tool of choice: a Craftsman drill. I always have one charging in the charger too. They don't last very long. I love the bubble level on the end of the drill though. If the new ones have that I'd get one.
post #5 of 25
Sweet!

Maybe you mentioned it but what are you goung to put inside that?
post #6 of 25
I always enjoy these type of project threads. Looking good. cool.gif


Only thing I question is all the provisions for fans, considering the hardware you are going to use in it. These arent power hungry high performance high dollar gaming rigs, so I dont see the need for having gobs of fans running. As long as the temps are within spec, that is good enough vs the noise from additional fans to try and keep temps as close to ambient as possible. If you are going to load that thing up with a bunch of fans, I would at least suggest using extremely slow turning fans, like ones that are capable of spinning as low as around 500rpm if not less. Granted flow will be more of a current vs stiff breeze, but also keep in mind the hardware you are using probably wont be using more then 50w on average. For example with my setup, I have a G620 with stock cooler on an H67 board, using an inwin case purposely designed for low noise. The chassis itself uses no fans at all, and the only 2 that do exist in the setup is the PSU and cpu cooler. Even tucked away in a tv stand shelf, cpu temps dont exceed low 50's with the heaviest constant use, and hard drive temps peak out high 30's to low 40's. If I loaded it up with a bunch of fans could I knock some numbers off temps across the gamut? Sure! But as it sits, temps are well within spec, so why add the additional noise? Even though getting cpu temps as low as possible may extend the life of the cpu, am I really worried about a $50 processor lasting forever? No! As long as it lasts a good 3 or 4 yrs which should be no question if it can as long as it's operated anywhere within spec, I really dont care beyond that as it would likely be replaced around then if not before anyways.
post #7 of 25
Looking good! Always love to see these mod projects. Subscribed!
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Sweet!
Maybe you mentioned it but what are you goung to put inside that?

1
OCZ Vertex Plus R2 VTXPLR2-25SAT2-60GB 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Item #: N82E16820227811
Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
For Tech support call: 408 986 8400 or email support@ocztechnology.com
$54.99
1
ASRock H61M/U3S3 LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813157236
Standard Return Policy
$59.99
1
Coboc 6 ft. DVI-D Dual-Link 28AWG Male to Male Cable (Black)
Item #: N82E16812117631
Computer Cables and Accessories Extended Return Policy
$5.71
1
Kingston 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model KVR1333D3S8N9/2G
Item #: N82E16820139640
Memory Standard Return Policy
Kingston Support: 1 (800) 835-6575
$11.99
1
Intel Celeron G530 Sandy Bridge 2.4GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics BX80623G530
Item #: N82E16819116409
CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by C17chief View Post

I always enjoy these type of project threads. Looking good. cool.gif
Only thing I question is all the provisions for fans, considering the hardware you are going to use in it. These arent power hungry high performance high dollar gaming rigs, so I dont see the need for having gobs of fans running. As long as the temps are within spec, that is good enough vs the noise from additional fans to try and keep temps as close to ambient as possible. If you are going to load that thing up with a bunch of fans, I would at least suggest using extremely slow turning fans, like ones that are capable of spinning as low as around 500rpm if not less. Granted flow will be more of a current vs stiff breeze, but also keep in mind the hardware you are using probably wont be using more then 50w on average. For example with my setup, I have a G620 with stock cooler on an H67 board, using an inwin case purposely designed for low noise. The chassis itself uses no fans at all, and the only 2 that do exist in the setup is the PSU and cpu cooler. Even tucked away in a tv stand shelf, cpu temps dont exceed low 50's with the heaviest constant use, and hard drive temps peak out high 30's to low 40's. If I loaded it up with a bunch of fans could I knock some numbers off temps across the gamut? Sure! But as it sits, temps are well within spec, so why add the additional noise? Even though getting cpu temps as low as possible may extend the life of the cpu, am I really worried about a $50 processor lasting forever? No! As long as it lasts a good 3 or 4 yrs which should be no question if it can as long as it's operated anywhere within spec, I really dont care beyond that as it would likely be replaced around then if not before anyways.

Well I'm only putting 2 120mm LED Fans in it, I'll be useing the : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103060
I'll Have a fan controller to turn them down and I'll be using some type of acoustic insulation on the inside of the case. I only chose these fans because I've had them before and I know they make VERY little noise. You do have a good point about not worrying to much about heat, but I'm a gaming rig builder, I'm used to 18 fans in a massive case that sounds like its a helicopter about to take off. lol
In my mind, I think I'm being rather conservative with my fans (there will only be two) plus the green LED's (aren't very bright) will really set the case off. wink.gif
post #10 of 25

So cool!!!

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
.
Edited by jadams639 - 6/28/12 at 8:58pm
post #12 of 25
Will you be able to turn all the LEDs and stuff off during a movie so they don't distract?
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nexus99 View Post

Will you be able to turn all the LEDs and stuff off during a movie so they don't distract?

I don't think I'll need to, I have a Rear projection TV so the case will set on top, I'll get some black fan filters for the bottom so the light doesn't bleed through, the only light will come from the top, and be indirect, And these LED's really aren't that bright in the first place.
post #14 of 25
Awesome , I love builds like this ! Very informative as well .
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Day 3

UGH I hate when I screw up!

I had to work alot to day so I didn't have much time to spend on the case, and the time i did, It was in the wrong direction. mad.gif
After work I went to Home Depot to get some electrical things for my dad, and while I was there, I thought I would have the bright idea to buy some Loc-tite Pro grade super glue, some Velcro for mounting my SSD and some wire ties and bases for cable management.

I had all the panels held together with gorilla glue, but I was concerned that it wasn't going to hold, so i wanted to get some super glue, just to make sure. BIG MISTAKE!
Apparently the glue is freaking acid or something because it ate the paint off of where it was applied mad.gif

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So it looks like I'm making another trip to Ace tomorrow and dropping another 10 bucks on more plexi, so I can re-do that panel.
ohh well, we live, we learn. I learned today, TO TEST THINGS LIKE THAT, OUT ON A SCRAP PIECE to make sure something like this wouldn't happen.


ON the bright side, look at that finnish, isn't that sexy? ;p

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post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by choice1 View Post

Awesome , I love builds like this ! Very informative as well .

Thanks bro, I try smile.gif
post #17 of 25
Autoparts stores carry a high-strenght gasket RTV adheasive "Permatex Ultra Grey". Gorilla glue is for wood and other girly stuff. biggrin.gif
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jadams639 View Post

OCZ Vertex Plus R2 VTXPLR2-25SAT2-60GB 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Item #: N82E16820227811
Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
For Tech support call: 408 986 8400 or email support@ocztechnology.com
$54.99

FYI, same price and 50% more storage :
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rexamus View Post

90GB OCZ Agility 3 2.5" SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive SSD (AGT3-25SAT3-90G) $55 after $15 Rebate + Free shipping
http://www.amazon.com/Agility-2-5-Inch-Midrange-Performance-AGT3-25SAT3-90G/dp/B005MYFHYS?t=slicinc-20&tag=slicinc-20
post #19 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevBel View Post

FYI, same price and 50% more storage :

Thanks. I'll keep that in mind when I order an SSD for my laptop smile.gif
But, I've already ordered the parts for this build. And I will be streaming everything, so it doesn't really matter.
post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billdacat View Post

Autoparts stores carry a high-strenght gasket RTV adheasive "Permatex Ultra Grey". Gorilla glue is for wood and other girly stuff. biggrin.gif

Thanks, will JB Weld work? is that overkill :>
post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
More onthis to come, parts arive from ups tomorrow, and the case is almost done.
post #22 of 25
JB Weld might eat into plastics. ..RTV is great for holding plastics to steel; the bad is that it dosn't take paint. If color is a problem, use the black RTV adheasive; it will work.
post #23 of 25
Cool project. I built my own plexiglass case about 10 years ago. I just held it together with screws that went into little rectangles of plexiglass stock that I cut into pieces, drilled and tapped. Later I got tired of making those and just bought small 90° metal angles that were already drilled and tapped.

But, then I read that plexiglass does not protect you from microwave radiation generated by the high frequency processors, and I abandoned the case. I can sell it to you if you want. It is clear, and most of the peel away film is still in place. I only peeled the areas that I needed access to. I even made a hard drive cage to hold 12 HDDs for it. It is a full ATX case, though.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Cool project. I built my own plexiglass case about 10 years ago. I just held it together with screws that went into little rectangles of plexiglass stock that I cut into pieces, drilled and tapped. Later I got tired of making those and just bought small 90° metal angles that were already drilled and tapped.
But, then I read that plexiglass does not protect you from microwave radiation generated by the high frequency processors, and I abandoned the case. I can sell it to you if you want. It is clear, and most of the peel away film is still in place. I only peeled the areas that I needed access to. I even made a hard drive cage to hold 12 HDDs for it. It is a full ATX case, though.

I read that a tinfoil hat offers good protection from microwave radiation.
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Cool project. I built my own plexiglass case about 10 years ago. I just held it together with screws that went into little rectangles of plexiglass stock that I cut into pieces, drilled and tapped. Later I got tired of making those and just bought small 90° metal angles that were already drilled and tapped.
But, then I read that plexiglass does not protect you from microwave radiation generated by the high frequency processors, and I abandoned the case. I can sell it to you if you want. It is clear, and most of the peel away film is still in place. I only peeled the areas that I needed access to. I even made a hard drive cage to hold 12 HDDs for it. It is a full ATX case, though.

Pics, or it doesn't exist
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