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Old 01-05-2010, 06:23 PM   #1
killem2
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Default Wooden PC Case in the making - Got Questions.

So I have been stalking these forums for quite a bit and felt it was time to register and ask some questions

I'm about to embark on the most in depth mod I have done since making customer speaker boxes back in high school 10 year ago. See the problem I am having is, my wife wants to have a computer desk but we end up getting cheap crappy ones because my pc never fits. Because I need the room for the higher end parts I use.

Here is what I do know about my case
- It's wood. Duh.
- It's size is 13" wide x 13" tall x 16.25" deep.
- It's got 3x fans. A 200mm fan for intake in the front and 2x 140mm fans for exhaust in the rear.

Here is a video of my work in progress, it might mention 18 inches deep that was because I made this last week. i did shorten it just a bit.

My Video!

My questions and I apologize there are a lot.

1.) Do I need to have the PSU grounded in some way to the metal parts because of static electricity if I have it plugged into a grounded outlet? Mainly the insides. I have metal brackets for my hard drives, metal bay for my dvd roms, and the original motherboard try from another case.

2.) Do i have god air flow? Here are the fans I am going to use.

200mm Fan
140mm Fans

3.) Can MDF retain staining as well as normal wood I am thinking of MDF or Pine.

Thanks!

Last edited by killem2; 01-06-2010 at 01:01 AM. Reason: Hopefully fixed the video.
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Old 01-05-2010, 09:40 PM   #2
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Howdy Killem! Welcome to the forums, or at least the registered part of them.

Wooden cases are very cool and I've seen quite a few nice ones, and still more that were just impressive! It even makes me a touch envious because you get to custom build your case around the type of computer you want... perhaps one day I'll get the chance to try myself (mounting for a triple 140mm radiator fan exhaust anyone?).

Your hyperlink didn't work, it has the "..." in the middle of the url, you'll need to use the hyperlink button to insert a long link to prevent it being auto-shortened by most forums.

To answer your questions:

1) I should explain how this works. The PSU casing itself is grounded to the third prong in the AC plug you stick in the wall. In turn most, but not all computers/cases are designed to ground the case to the PSU housing in order to keep the system itself grounded. Motherboards do tend to leak just a tiny bit of voltage, but particularly with budget boards and boards running extreme overclocks will leak a little. Motherboards of course ground directly to the PSU through the black wires, but miscellaneous leaking voltage is also designed to ground through the screws that mount the board into the brass motherboard risers on the metal motherboard tray.

Just for fun if you want to test your own system try measuring the voltage on the motherboard tray itself or several of the screws, one or two of them will likely give some tiny readings that can be detected off the motherboard tray.

All of that said, you do not NEED to have the PC motherboard tray grounded, but if possible I would recommend doing so (metal motherboard tray -> wire to PSU case housing for one method). It shouldn't harm anything if you don't, especially if it is a good quality motherboard without more than a moderate overclock, but why take chances?

2) Those fans look fine and should be fairly quiet, but I've not personally used either one. Cooler Master's 200mm case fans have been great though from my experience. In order to answer your question it would depend on the hardware and any overclock you plan to have... but for just about most situations that should be sufficient.

3) I can't say I've stained many PC cases, so I'll have to let someone else answer this question!
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Last edited by Kougar; 01-05-2010 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:53 AM   #3
killem2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar View Post
Howdy Killem! Welcome to the forums, or at least the registered part of them.

Wooden cases are very cool and I've seen quite a few nice ones, and still more that were just impressive! It even makes me a touch envious because you get to custom build your case around the type of computer you want... perhaps one day I'll get the chance to try myself (mounting for a triple 140mm radiator fan exhaust anyone?).

Your hyperlink didn't work, it has the "..." in the middle of the url, you'll need to use the hyperlink button to insert a long link to prevent it being auto-shortened by most forums.

To answer your questions:

1) I should explain how this works. The PSU casing itself is grounded to the third prong in the AC plug you stick in the wall. In turn most, but not all computers/cases are designed to ground the case to the PSU housing in order to keep the system itself grounded. Motherboards do tend to leak just a tiny bit of voltage, but particularly with budget boards and boards running extreme overclocks will leak a little. Motherboards of course ground directly to the PSU through the black wires, but miscellaneous leaking voltage is also designed to ground through the screws that mount the board into the brass motherboard risers on the metal motherboard tray.

Just for fun if you want to test your own system try measuring the voltage on the motherboard tray itself or several of the screws, one or two of them will likely give some tiny readings that can be detected off the motherboard tray.

All of that said, you do not NEED to have the PC motherboard tray grounded, but if possible I would recommend doing so (metal motherboard tray -> wire to PSU case housing for one method). It shouldn't harm anything if you don't, especially if it is a good quality motherboard without more than a moderate overclock, but why take chances?
Wow thanks, I don't know if this matters I do have a high quality board with "solid capacitors". It is a pretty heavy over clock I have a dual core E8400 intel chip clocked from 3.0ghz to 4.0ghz on air @ 1.36v.

I will go ahead and find a way to gound it.
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:09 AM   #4
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I finally found some scrap wood to get a much more accurate portrait of this new case I am building















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Old 01-08-2010, 05:38 PM   #5
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I have been thinking about your project & don't really have any criticism (+ or -) to offer.

Cooling & dust accumulation has recently been a "thing" for me. So I can only suggest that the fans slow down or turn off until necessary. Check out this link on wood finishing although I am sure that you know that there are forums for everything and everyone has an opinion as well as a certain part of the anatomy. My point is that a good finish inside might help with keeping dust under control.

As a long ago wood worker, when I thought I could disguise myself as not being a habitual computer geek, I will add that the staining results of MDF will be quite different than any plywood. If you use MDF, I am not sure that I would be too concerned about the aesthetics versus splinters and perhaps the wood workers can help you a little better with that.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:25 PM   #6
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After collecting some info from other forums as well, I think I am going to go with some 1/4" pine.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:13 PM   #7
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Wow... of all the topics to come up while I have been MIA and adjusting to life in Korea.

I myself and a woodworking type, and have been around these forums since... well... before the forums.

Advice, make sure you use rubber seals/gromets between the fan and wood, especially if you use a solid piece of pine. Be sure to sure to use a poly seal to lock in moisture.

Voltage isnt really something you should worry about, and if you are, simply sink a screw into the bottom of the case, wire wrap that, and ground through there. Done.

The real problems are Moisture, and Heat.

The metal boxes can actually absorb some heat passively. A Wood box will actually release moisture from inside of the wood... Be sure to vent from the top.

The internal dust problem can be addressed by fine sanding and sealing the wood on the inside, but I might also suggest a vinyl linning. (Expensive? yes. Effective? Very.) But that might be something to ponder and consider at a later date, and with another build.

I have been considering building a media box for a livingroom setup when and if I had the money, time, and place to do it. (Oh how i would love to do something in my limited space one bedrom apt here in korea with a projector, glass table, and a wood box pc.)

My questions for you are: what grit are you polishing at, what color are you staining it, and how deep of a gloss are you giving it?

p.s. Sketchup is great for designing this. Post pics.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madstork91 View Post
Wow... of all the topics to come up while I have been MIA and adjusting to life in Korea.

I myself and a woodworking type, and have been around these forums since... well... before the forums.

Advice, make sure you use rubber seals/gromets between the fan and wood, especially if you use a solid piece of pine. Be sure to sure to use a poly seal to lock in moisture.

Voltage isnt really something you should worry about, and if you are, simply sink a screw into the bottom of the case, wire wrap that, and ground through there. Done.

The real problems are Moisture, and Heat.

The metal boxes can actually absorb some heat passively. A Wood box will actually release moisture from inside of the wood... Be sure to vent from the top.

The internal dust problem can be addressed by fine sanding and sealing the wood on the inside, but I might also suggest a vinyl linning. (Expensive? yes. Effective? Very.) But that might be something to ponder and consider at a later date, and with another build.

I have been considering building a media box for a livingroom setup when and if I had the money, time, and place to do it. (Oh how i would love to do something in my limited space one bedrom apt here in korea with a projector, glass table, and a wood box pc.)

My questions for you are: what grit are you polishing at, what color are you staining it, and how deep of a gloss are you giving it?

p.s. Sketchup is great for designing this. Post pics.
Thanks for the replies, i have been asking questions aboutt his project on many boards now.

Here are the updates:

The sides will be the 1/4" birch (all I could find) it isn't exactly solid wood, its plywood but it looks very nice.

the front, top, bottom, and back will be 1/2" pine plywood or maple plywood (which every is actually available at lowes when I go)

I am not sure what grit sand paper I will use. Is there something you suggest? I will be staining it and using a sealer as well as a wooden vaneer to cover up the plywood layers that will clearly be visible if I dont. I actually do have some vinyl from when I relined my trunk of my car so I could use it if needed. Its a rather small case now, and I have a feeling its going to stay rather cool.

My biggest problem now is trying to find some decent metal brackets to support the 5 hard drives (used to have 6 but I miss measured so it will only be 5 which is enough for me anyway).


Also would you suggest using liquid nails in addition to screws?
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:33 PM   #9
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My $.02 ... & not necessarily in a logical order

1) use a poly urethane to seal, stain, & put a finish on the wood. Where you buy it, ask them about the sand paper to get the finish (smoothness) that you think you want. I couldn't remember "poly urethane" before. Wrap the sand paper around a block of wood to hold it, so don't let them sell you a sand paper holder. I think the poly urethane will dry to no tackiness.

2) you can put wood screws thru the 1/4" plywood into the ends (edges) of the 1/2". If you put several screws in, you shouldn't need to use liquid nails ... I might consider Elmers wood glue anyway. BUT, how are you going to open things to access the internals for whatever? As I think about it, I would nix the glue thing. Pre-drill the holes for the screws to avoid splitting & do not strip the wood as you twist them in. Done carefully you will be able to disassemble/re-assemble the box as needed several times.

3) the exposed ends of the 1/4" birch plywood should not look too bad or even noticable. My suggestion is to handle that re-actively ... after it is completely assembled in other words, then assess. You will want to sand the sharp edges of the plywood. Rounding them so that they doesn't splinter or cut skin. Use some very coarse sandpaper & this can be done on the assembled box ... probably best to do it then anyway.

Plan on dry assembly a couple of times with most of the screws. With the dry assembly, do a lot of sanding on the edges as if it is not coming apart again. On the inside, mark with a pencil where 2 sides come together and even number if you want. This will help with re-assembly to make sure that the screw holes line up if nothing else. Drill the holes thru a 1/4" side into the 1/2" edge ... you will want a jig or clamps to help hold things as you do this since you are drilling thru & into 2 pieces of wood.

These are my thoughts for a nice looking box that will be a computer case & likely is subject to being opened a few times. A little different than building speaker enclosure than must be absolutely solid due to vibration & will never need to be opened up to the same degree ... in my opinion. If you want, I could make a few sketches to better explain the above.
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:53 PM   #10
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I would honestly use screw for anything you get the chance to, and 1/2 - 3/4 inch tack nails for anything minor like trim.

Unlike Psi*, I am going to recommend that you use as much glue as you need to seal the thing off. I would suggest an elmers wood for the bond, and possibly a hot glue gun on the inside just for added umph!

Keep in mind that while most PC boxes are rolled metal, and peiced together by metal screws and rubber grommets, this thing will be wood. Any and all vibration from operation will be picked up by the wood, and moving it around or looking in under the hood will cause the thing to gain some wear and tear..

Cut the peices. Rough sand them with some 80 or so. Peice it together with nails, elmers, and screws. Fine grain sand with a 120+ (depending on desired look/feel) Stain it. Seal it with some poly. Hot glue the inside at the seams. Rubber washer the metal and fan mounts.

Thats really the best advice I could give you.
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:32 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by killem2 View Post
Wow thanks, I don't know if this matters I do have a high quality board with "solid capacitors". It is a pretty heavy over clock I have a dual core E8400 intel chip clocked from 3.0ghz to 4.0ghz on air @ 1.36v.
Well, let me illustrate my point. My motherboard is listed in my signature, it has just about all the electrical "bells & whistles" including all solid caps. Measuring just about anywhere I read 0.035v on the tray and mounting screws. The back port cluster varies the most but one of the aluminum port clusters gave the highest with 0.041v.

These readings are really low and generally not a concern, but I'd rather ground them than risk the stray voltage finding a grounding source on a sensitive bus or component elsewhere. I'd heard enough stories regarding cheap budget boards behaving erratically until they were grounded to chance it personally myself, especially with my heavy overclocking.
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Old 01-13-2010, 09:58 AM   #12
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Dang guys thanks so much. I was planing on having the top open up via a hinge/magnet solution, or a slider (not sure if slider will work at this point. I will be putting screws throught he 1/4" wood INTO the 1/2" wood. They will be fairly tiny screws and I'll fill over them with wood puddy and sand it down.

I have 100 grit sand paper now, I couldnt' find 80 at lowes or home depot (its shocking how worthless they really are lol). But I also have some 250 grit sand paper as well.

I have wood glue, liquid nails, hot glue guns, so I can seal it up nice Also these rubber grommets you are talking about you say to put those on the fans?
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:14 PM   #13
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Where you mount them onto the wood, yes. You will save yourself some headache later, since the wood will act like a drum if you get any tapping. (with a fan it should sound like a light click or a tap)

I hear ya man... Ive been very dissappointed with my local shops back home in recent years.
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:56 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by madstork91 View Post
Where you mount them onto the wood, yes. You will save yourself some headache later, since the wood will act like a drum if you get any tapping. (with a fan it should sound like a light click or a tap)

I hear ya man... Ive been very dissappointed with my local shops back home in recent years.
So do you suggest gluing first then screwing down after that?
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:07 PM   #15
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If you can glue and clamp, let dry, then nail, do that. Screwing and gluing are usually done together. Be sure to sand the lip that is created when screwing though. As good as some of us can be witha screw gun, there is always atleast a 16th to a 32 that the screw grips the wood over.

The last thing I build was nearly all a 45 degree finger joint... so the thing held itself together. lol. All I did was glue and four nails for the sides.
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