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  • custom lexan or plexi case

    Ok, the plans for Carputer II are coming together... except maybe a better name needed... anyhoo I'm finding the hardest part is figuring out what to do about the case. too bad there isn't a very basic cheap case that fits mini-itx board, a PCI card, and an opus 150w.

    I think the custom cases showed off on these forums are actually pretty cool tho, and want to do the same. I'm good with the software, and not bad with the hardware, but not sure where to start with building a case. I've searched like crazy and there are lots of shots of cases in various stages of fabrication but it would be great if someone could post some diagrams/dimensions etc they used for a simple case. I'll probably cut a couple holes for fans (like the guy w/ the 97 tacoma) and pop an LED (or 2 or 3...) in. Anyone out there able to jot down a few dimensions of the pieces and how they were fitted so I don't chew threw 5 sheets of plastic to get it right?
    99 Explorer: Dell Axim X5, Garmin iQue 1620, Dell TrueMobile wifi
    97 Venture: MII12k,512M,3.5" 80G,7" Xenarc,Holux GM-210, Keyhole Cam, Scanner + CB --> audio in
    currently: installing (finally!)

  • #2
    here's one i drew up and built...



    I dont know how to upload images, and im not sure if its going to work. but in the image i mixed up the thinkness on the glass and the aluminum. the glass is 1/8th and the aluminum is 1/16. you have to find someone that can weld it, but its pretty sturdy
    Attached Files
    Car Progess Report:
    Planning: 100%
    Purchasing and Fabrication: 10%
    ---------------------------------
    Overall: 10%

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    • #3
      Build one out of 1/4" wood paneling first, make sure you get your dimensions right, then build it again out of plexi. And have the place you buy it from cut it, cause it's a PITA. I nearly lost a finger.
      Debt as of 1/1/05: $34,354.48
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      I'M DEBT FREE!!
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      • #4
        is it possible that using plexiglass for the case can cause interference with a gps device. The reason i ask is i built a case cause it was too hot in the trunk for my carputer and i needed it in the cabin. Now my gps mouse isnt as effective at picking up sats. My car alarm is also acting as if there is some sort of interference.
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        • #5
          There is no EMI shielding effect with plexiglass. If you didnt move the GPS, I can't see a reason why you are now having trouble locking to sats, other than maybe now your power and signal cables are crossed (this plagued me for months). Your car alarm might have some interference because of the lack of EMI shielding on your carputer. How close is it to your alarm brain?
          Debt as of 1/1/05: $34,354.48
          Debt as of July 4, 2007: $0.00 explanation
          I'M DEBT FREE!!
          I'm now a reasonably successful gunblogger.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by wizardPC
            There is no EMI shielding effect with plexiglass. If you didnt move the GPS, I can't see a reason why you are now having trouble locking to sats, other than maybe now your power and signal cables are crossed (this plagued me for months). Your car alarm might have some interference because of the lack of EMI shielding on your carputer. How close is it to your alarm brain?
            ~ 5 feet. And no the gps has not been moved. When the computer was in the trunk i got 10 sats easily.. now if i'm lucky i have 6 . When you say power n signal cables do you mean in the usb? My case isnt put together very well (small L brackets and some duck tape for support). Could there be an EMI leak causing the prob? I'm gonna redo my case as soon as i go to home depot (where i'm gonna have them cut it and use thicker plexi)
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            • #7
              good tips and thx for the diagrams stillydipstix! was that for a mini-itx or ?

              I assume you drilled slim leader holes then screwed the whole assembly together... what size holes and what size screws did/would you use?
              99 Explorer: Dell Axim X5, Garmin iQue 1620, Dell TrueMobile wifi
              97 Venture: MII12k,512M,3.5" 80G,7" Xenarc,Holux GM-210, Keyhole Cam, Scanner + CB --> audio in
              currently: installing (finally!)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Sonicxtacy02
                ~ 5 feet. And no the gps has not been moved. When the computer was in the trunk i got 10 sats easily.. now if i'm lucky i have 6 . When you say power n signal cables do you mean in the usb? My case isnt put together very well (small L brackets and some duck tape for support). Could there be an EMI leak causing the prob? I'm gonna redo my case as soon as i go to home depot (where i'm gonna have them cut it and use thicker plexi)

                It's most likely a power issue. You moved the computer, and I assume you had to add a USB extension cable. The increased distance, mixed with the very thin wire in the cable, is having a detrimental affect on the GPS.

                Oh, and just to be sure, nothing else has changed, right? No new tint, didn't move the GPS even a couple of inches, nothing, right?

                Michael
                ...I love the French language...especially to curse with...Nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperies de connards d'enculés de ta mère. You see, it's like wiping your *** with silk, I love it.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jagsnag
                  good tips and thx for the diagrams stillydipstix! was that for a mini-itx or ?

                  I assume you drilled slim leader holes then screwed the whole assembly together... what size holes and what size screws did/would you use?

                  I took the aluminum brackets that i bought from home depot and had them welded for if i remember correctly it came to $50. and i cut a hole in the back of the box(where the lid is connected) for the connection to the mother board. and i used a silicone sealent to glue the plexi into place.


                  sorry my wording and typing sucks, im tired.
                  Car Progess Report:
                  Planning: 100%
                  Purchasing and Fabrication: 10%
                  ---------------------------------
                  Overall: 10%

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Wiredwrx
                    It's most likely a power issue. You moved the computer, and I assume you had to add a USB extension cable. The increased distance, mixed with the very thin wire in the cable, is having a detrimental affect on the GPS.

                    Oh, and just to be sure, nothing else has changed, right? No new tint, didn't move the GPS even a couple of inches, nothing, right?

                    Michael
                    actually i removed an extension cord for power and one usb extension. The problem is still there. And its kinda random too... half the time i'll start iguidance n have 0/12 sats, then the other have i'll start n have 5/12 right away. The gps wasnt moved. No tint. The wires are all run down the same side of the car. I would think that i'd have more signal strength cause the usb isnt run the length of the car anymore. Its gotta be some kinda interference. When the computer was in the trunk it was without a case but no with a case the interference is worse. Could it be static from the plexi??? Sorry for the threadjack btw lol
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                    • #11
                      Here's my 2 cents on the aluminum framed plexi box...

                      I would go get some things from home depot:
                      some strips of aluminum angle iron
                      a miter box and metal saw (to cut accurate 45 degree angles)
                      a rivet gun, some long 1/8" diameter rivets, and some washers that fit the rivets (1/8" ID)
                      and, of course, some plexi.

                      cut the plexi panels to desired sizes, then cut the aluminum angle iron to length to fit. (a little over 1/8" longer than the side of the plexi panel it goes with to make up for the thickness of the angle iron) then cut the ends of all the angle iron strips to 45 degrees (on both halves of the "L") with the miter box. that way where they come together in the corner, they all fit together without overlapping or anything.

                      then I'd lay down the bottom piece of plexi on the 4 aluminum pieces that go around it, secure everything in place (C-clamps, tape, whatever) on top of a piece of plywood or something, and start drilling 1/8" holes through the plexi and angle iron for rivets. then you can put rivets in... through the aluminum, then the plexi, then the washers (to give the rivet something to grab without killing the plexi)
                      (probably easiest to just do one hole near the end of each aluminum strip, then put rivets in, then go back and add more holes once everything's secured)

                      then of course for clearance you can dremel off the excess end of the rivet on the inside (just not enough that it lets go)

                      anyway, should give you a pretty strong case. especially if you could find some sort of metal triangular corner piece to rivet into the corners (either outside the aluminum, or inside the plexi)
                      But don't take it from me! here's a quote from a real, live newbie:
                      Originally posted by Viscouse
                      I am learning buttloads just by searching on this forum. I've learned 2 big things so far: 1-it's been done before, and 2-if it hasn't, there is a way to do it.
                      eegeek.net

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by evandude
                        Here's my 2 cents on the aluminum framed plexi box...
                        <blah> <blah> <blah>
                        Precisely what I did!
                        Although, you can skip on the whole C-Clamp bit... If you do one side at a time, and only put two holes in each piece, then rivet - you'll have a perfect case.

                        I didn't shave my rivets - doing so might release the ball inside, making the joint weak. Instead, I lifted all components from the corners of the case. The is a good idea visually because it gets the components above the height of the angle iron.

                        Stood the mobo off the bottom using 1/8" bolts and washers with rubber bushings on one side.

                        Stood the PS off by cutting three or four additional angle irons to make a frame for it. Used washers & long rivets to space the angle iron off the floor so that it cleared the rivets.

                        I also HIGHLY suggest a power saw of some type - jigsaw with a miter attachment might work well. It's a lot of cutting, but at least aluminum is soft.
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