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Thread: Go-PUTER: Mobile Briefcase PC - 5th Grade Science Fair!!! - Mini ITX / 10.4" TS

  1. #1
    Variable Bitrate quantum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005

    Go-PUTER: Mobile Briefcase PC - 5th Grade Science Fair!!! - Mini ITX / 10.4" TS

    Hey guys,

    This is pretty cool, just HAD to share it with ya!

    My son wanted to do something really special for this year's science fair. He came up with the idea of putting a PC in a briefcase, based on a chat we were having about the upcoming PC install in my Escalade this spring.

    He has been in the shop tinkering with me since he was old enough to stand, and has helped me with the past 2 carPC installs when he was a little younger. So, indirectly MP3car was inspirational to him.

    His goal was something more powerful than a netbook, but more portable than a desktop. All of it needed to fit inside a briefcase which looked like a regular briefcase when closed so nobody would know it was stuffed with electronic goodies. Also had to be light enough to carry. Yeah, I know a laptop is the logical choice, but he's 11 OK? These were all his solutions BTW, including the name Go-Puter.

    He decided a mini-ITX was the best balance of size and power after reading some pros/cons of various sized motherboards I found on the web.

    Project: Go-PUTER

    Parts list:

    Intel D945GSEJT Atom N270 Ultra Thin Fanless Mini-ITX off e-bay. 12V POWER!

    320 gig SATA at Best Buy.

    I had a GoodDeals18 10.4" TS laying around forever, so that became the monitor. The things we do for our children...

    An 80mm LED fan.

    A silicone keyboard with touch pad I had shipped from China. We saw it at a Verizon kiosk, knew it would fit and solve some size problems, so a Google search netted one for $70.00.

    Rocketfish USB Hub

    Briefcase from Staples

    12V outlets and cables from Radio Shack

    Wood and Plexi Glass (his idea) from Home Depot.

    The plexi would allow people to see the guts of the PC. He thought that would be cool, but knew it would trap heat. A fan and a few holes would take care of that. He also felt a little blue glow never hurt either.

    The monitor went into a 1/4" MDF panel, bezel and case and all. I'll admit to cutting the hole in the wood, but the kid did the rest. He used a black foam sheet to cover the MDF and screwed it to blocks screwed to the inside of the lid.

    The 'tray' on the bottom is 1/2" pine strips and 1/4" pine for the bottom. He laid out all the PC parts in the 1/4", cut the frame, stapled/ glued /spray painted and mounted the parts to the tray himself (supervised of course). We then screwed it to the bottom of the briefcase from the outside.

    Last was hooking up all the components and running the wires. Important condition set forth by the boy was that it "run off car power so you can put it on the seat next to you." Not bad, eh? We opted for a 12v lighter cord hooked up the the existing power brick, and a 12v receptacle drilled right through the briefcase for quick connect /disconnect. A 12v m-m cord would work in the car just as well, LOL.

    Again, he did all the pairing, heat shrinking, etc. I gave him a little help with tucking the wires away neatly and wrapping them with zip ties.

    Final step was a piece of plexi, held in with 2 screws to the frame below it, and then to poke all the wires through the holes. We even installed a SS switch!

    We tossed Windows XP on it, and he made a PowerPoint presentation that runs his pics as a full screen slide show in PPS Viewer for the judges, who I just KNOW are gonna think I did it for him!!! The pics are worth 1000 words in this case (no pun intended LOL). OK, the soundtrack of "Eye of the Tiger" running in the background was my input. Yes, we have audio out and a pair of PC speakers to place on either side of the briefcase at the fair.

    My wife (the graphic designer and website developer) made his logo under his direction, he liked being a "client." She also helped him brand his invention (gotta have one).

    Yes, it closes easily and the latches/hinges still work. Not very heavy at all, he can carry it no problem. Other then the receptacle on the side, it looks like an ordinary briefcase when closed. Heat is a non issue. Speedfan says stable, ran for about 5 hrs on the bench, barely got warm.

    Whaddya say guys, job well done? Science fair is next week, I'll let you know how he did. Please wish him luck, and TY!


    Last edited by quantum; 04-08-2011 at 01:19 AM.

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate kegobeer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Panama City Beach
    Great job!

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate dna59's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Belize City, Belize
    That's cool. I hope when I have a son he's interested in what I do.

  4. #4
    Raw Wave
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    He's too young! Only us oldies should be able to hold a Rigid tool in our hands (the 3rd "sawing" pic). (Do Rigid still have that slogan?)

    And after seeing that, I reckon it'll be a while before I'll hold my Rigid tool again.

    But yes - absolutely brilliant. I love the last pic!

    And though his ideas do not surprise me (children are un-taught things, and dream-bashed), that he has been able to realise them is a refreshing change. And one I appreciate. I wish more kids had that ability and support.

    For me, I'm planning to retire. Yes - it's late (1:50AM), but I'm thinking more like permanently. With tweens like that, why bother? (Resistance is handy, but futile!)
    Any supportive partners out there wanting to adopt...?

  5. #5
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    on the border of northern IL/IN
    looks great!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    I feel inferior all of a sudden.

  7. #7
    Mod - iPad Forums RipplingHurst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Danville, CA
    That is great! I'm going to show this to my daughter - it could be her next project one day!

    We built this when she was 5, about one year ago. This is the kitchen/den computer, she used it a lot until we got the iPad. Now it's forgotten...

    Of course, she just colored stuff (see the painted cables for the power, leds, etc.?) and helped me mount the case. I taped the HD, the PSU and DVD drives, and she used spray paint all over them. She picked the color for the leds and plugged the drives, cables. Of course all the hard work was mine, but I hope she will be doing cool projects by 5th grade too!

    Congrats to your son, job well done!

  8. #8
    Variable Bitrate
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    looks awsome. I always thought about building computers in sometihing other than a plan old case. Nicely done

  9. #9
    Constant Bitrate popi79's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006


    Hope the president won't have to use it to start WW3!!!

    Creativity and stimulation...
    Will keep kids out of the streets...

    Great job...
    "Most of the users you'll see in this site are still learning specially me"

  10. #10
    Self proclaimed spoon feeder TruckinMP3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Well Done!
    D201GLY2, DC-DC power, 3.5 inch SATA

    Yes, you should search... and Yes, It has been covered before!

    Read the FAQ!

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