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Thread: DIY metal mATX case

  1. #11
    FLAC
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    yeah my fabrication skills arent quite where you guys are at. i blame it on tools though!

    the grill is just laying on the fan to give you an idea where it will be on the cover. i ran out of sheet metal to make the cover for it, itll have to wait.


    i missed the network light hole in grand fashion the first try as you can see.... i also dont have any way to make straight cuts so you see in some areas how free-handed this was. mobo plate was cut out with tin snips!


    need a grill for the side exhaust fan. that fan might be installed backwards too, i cant think right now


    the sheet metal, even 26guage, is plenty thick enough to tap and screw in the standoffs. however, you must not use the wrong pilot bit like i did on all of them but the first one. so as you can see, i had to make little square "nuts" and tap the proper hole into those. ugly, but nobody will see it.


    its very solid! i dont know why you guys need such thick metal, i did cut these pieces so there are tabs on all the seams to punch rivets in (except one i screwed up, you can 3 rivets in a row to fix it). its very solid, and once the cover goes on it will absolutely rigid.


    Ill take more pictures of the WIFI pci card bracket i made there. its a simple setup, im missing one long standoff so it sits crooked right now... but at least i have awesome pci wireless N and its still removable. and, its all inside the case!

    the m2 should be a lot happier in a proper home too... this is going to be so much nicer, especially to work on because ill be able to just unplug the case and bring the whole thing inside for testing/fixing. also, this is not the motherboard im using, its just a template. this case should actually fit any mATX motherboard....







    in the "front" of the case, you can see i left a few inches. the entire case is 9.6" deep, so it should fit any matx board. its 12" wide, and only 2.5" tall! its basically an xbox, you can put it anywhere. its also corner-to-corner dead nuts square in shape overall! within 1/16"! the harbor freight sheet metal brake works perfectly.

  2. #12
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    Looking good Trader. I'm inspired. I might be stopping by Harbor Freight

  3. #13
    FLAC
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    well first of all, its 9.4" deep. i completely missed the ball on that one, because the mainboard going in here is a full 9.6"

    pretty easy fix though, ill just have to fold down the back and flatten it out/reshape it. im glad i didnt make the cover for it yet!

    i also realized there will be enough room to house a full 3.5" harddrive. stay tuned for that, this is going to turn out to be a complete pc when im done it looks like.

    also, jnyrad, look to see if your harbor freight has the 30" shown here- http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=41311 it would be better then what i have, because the 18" as you can imagine is a little small. it also has a floating die, so you must use 2 clamps to hold it in place for each bend. it doesnt make for a fast bend, but itll get it done nonetheless.

    otherwise, if you want to spend the cash, i would bet this one gives a lot of flexibility and quicker bends-http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=45877

  4. #14
    FLAC
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    good enough. i extended it 1/2" deeper, and my propane was running out so i had to finish this today. all i still need is my cdrom cables routed out... i want to mount a plug on the back, 1 for molex and another for sata but i dont have a sata extension cable (female/male) so ill wait on that.

    because i had to extend it, i lost enough metal to keep tabs on the seams to rivet too. this made the whole case weak, so plan b was to bolt and dynatron a piece of plexiglass to the case underneath the motherboard. this keeps the bottom of the board safe from grounding out, and makes this case rigid. its like a brick once the harddrive is in too, that bracket actually puts back all the strength i lost when expanding the size of the case.


    here are the caddys for the wifi and the harddrive.


    its actually east to put together... even though its a mATX desktop pc crammed into a case smaller then many itx cases!


    look at the wifi card. the pci adapter did interfere with the motherboard heatsink. thats why the wifi card is mounted crooked. i didnt feel like redrilling the ports on the back to line it all up again... ill do that later before this gets finished and painted.


    no proper grommets right now, its just a wad of tape protecting the power wires. works fine


    i made the cover in about 15 minutes. if you look closely, its obvious. physical appearance went out the window a long time ago anyway


    still need a side grill. dont need it actually, would just look better. i think it still needs to be turned around too.

  5. #15
    Sheepdog rdholtz's Avatar
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    I apologize for getting in on this too late to help much.

    The build of my first case -- basically the same idea as yours -- is in the first post of my worklog.

    The standoffs are often 6-32 thread, and 6-32 nuts are available at hardware stores and home centers.

    You could use a couple of layers of shrink tubing around your wires to protect them.

    If you go back to Harbor Freight, they have small metal files that make sheet metal work easier and a lot less damaging to our hands. The trick is to cut the openings a bit undersize and file them to what you need. I also take the file to every edge before I work with the pieces, because it means I don't donate blood to them.

    Starting in post 603 of my worklog, there's a 10-post long discussion of sheet metal tools I used for parts of the project.

    Maybe it will help next time . . . Again, I apologize for getting to the party so late.
    .
    If just enough is really good, then too much ought to be perfect.

    2006 Scion xB with in-dash Atom & Lilliput 889GL -- Worklog at http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/work...res-links.html
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  6. #16
    FLAC
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    your case does look a lot like mine. a lot prettier! i do have most of those tools you listed too. a couple items would be nice to have, like the hole punches (that could have been my side case fan grill, oh well) but for the most part i just need to have more patience. and a warmer garage.

  7. #17
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    Trader, where did you get your sheet metal?

  8. #18
    FLAC
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    menards/home depot, wherever im at. the big box stores put a nice premium on their prices for their metal stuff, but it was only $15 for the 3 sheets i needed. its worth it to have nice clean metal that you dont have to rummage to find.

  9. #19
    Sheepdog rdholtz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnyrad View Post
    Trader, where did you get your sheet metal?
    Another easy source is PC shops. Look through their scrap pile -- or ask -- for a discarded case, and there's your prepainted sheet metal, plus lots of bits you can use, like standoffs and wire routing devices.
    .
    If just enough is really good, then too much ought to be perfect.

    2006 Scion xB with in-dash Atom & Lilliput 889GL -- Worklog at http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/work...res-links.html
    .

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