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Old 19th Sep 2009, 22:48   #1
Spotswood
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Project: Large Wooden Tower - Finished!

Final pics here.


I'm very fortunate to have been commissioned to build a large wooden tower case, to be used to hold a large water cooled rig. The design of the case was born from Mick64's 'Case Design for Liquid Cooling' thread over on XtremeSystems Forums. I'm a wood worker, not a metal worker, so I had to compromise that design somewhat in order for me to be able to build it. (But I also like to think I've made some small improvements over Mick64's initial design.)

The case will be constructed in such a way that it could be shipped "flat", but yet still be easily assembled when the case arrives at its final destination. To reduce the weight of the case, it will be made from hardwood trimmed 1/4-inch oak veneer plywood.








The case is designed to contain an EATX motherboard, seven 5.25-inch drives and eight 3.5-inch hard drives. Two 120.4 radiators will eventually be mounted in the top chamber:




For wire routing/hiding, there's a "false back" between the mother board tray and the side panel:




The front fascia/panel is removable (although not on a hinge). Each horizontal "chamber" in the case is fed and exhausted by a 120mm fan.




Fresh air is supplied to the front fans via a bottom-fed, built-in air duct.




The case will stained black throughout:




That pretty much wraps-up "the design tour."


The first order of business is to fabricate the hard drive cages from 1/8-inch aluminum flat bar:




The drives are suspended in soft rubber grommets:


Last edited by Spotswood; 25th Jan 2010 at 13:07.
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Old 30th Sep 2009, 05:32   #2
Spotswood
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Optical Drive Cage

The cage/rails for the 5.25-inch optical drives were made from 1/8-inch aluminum sheet and 1/2-inch aluminum angle. The aluminum sheet was easily cut on the table saw (fitted with a carbide tipped saw blade). The strips were then stacked and a full-size template of a rail (drawn in Sketchup) was taped on.




The strips were then clamped to a home made jig in order to cut the slots in the rails safely and accurately.




In the center edge of each rail, a 6-32 thread was tapped (using my awesome hand tapper):




The holes in the angle were quickly drilled with the help of a self-centering vice (note the addition of a 1/8-inch plate in order to center the "leg" of the angle in the vice):




All of the aluminum pieces were scratched with 80-grit sandpaper. One-half of an assembled drive cage:




Having the ability to remove individual drive rails provides flexibility when it comes to laying out the rig and for easy customizations.

Last edited by Spotswood; 30th Sep 2009 at 21:07.
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Old 30th Sep 2009, 12:24   #3
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Old 1st Oct 2009, 01:03   #4
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I like the design for this too! I've been thinking of building a wooden case for a while and I REALLY like how the design for this one looks. I'll be keeping track of this one.
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Old 9th Oct 2009, 15:52   #5
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Any updates?
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Old 9th Oct 2009, 16:52   #6
Spotswood
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Any updates?
I've been sick since my last post, so no updates. Sorry. I hope to be back in the shop in the next several days. To help preserve my sanity I've been trying to keep myself mentally active by modeling several variations of this case. Here's one designed specifically to house an air-cooled rig (with the potential to hold a dual radiator):




Last edited by Spotswood; 9th Oct 2009 at 17:24.
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Old 10th Oct 2009, 00:45   #7
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Looks interesting, subscribed.
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Old 10th Oct 2009, 00:55   #8
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How are you doing the front for the CD drives? A door or cutouts for each bay
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Old 10th Oct 2009, 03:38   #9
Spotswood
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Originally Posted by The_Beast View Post
How are you doing the front for the CD drives? A door or cutouts for each bay
The front panel pops-off:



Held on by these ball latches (part #1790A22 at McMaster.com):
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Old 10th Oct 2009, 05:06   #10
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I presume there will be a gap left between front panel and the main case to allow air flow ?
Any way being a chippie by trade ill be watching , I like the design simple and tidy (simple in style not in skill needed )
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Old 19th Oct 2009, 04:12   #11
Spotswood
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Router Pattern Making

After a lengthy illness I managed to drag myself to the lumber yard and into the shop for a few hours. I took it easy on myself and just fabricated a couple of templates out of MDF that will be used to route out the motherboard tray and power supply openings out of the back panel.

Power supply template:


Motherboard tray template:





I also cut and glued the frame for the back panel out of 3/4x3/4-inch oak:

Last edited by Spotswood; 19th Oct 2009 at 13:16.
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Old 24th Oct 2009, 22:22   #12
Spotswood
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A jig was built to safely rabbet the inside edges of the glued-up front panel frame.




The front and back panel frames were rabbeted to accept the 5.2mm oak veneer plywood.






The plywood was cut on the table saw. The corners were rounded "free hand" on the table saw then finished with sandpaper and a sanding block:



A cleat was glued to the backside of the MB tray template for easy alignment.





A router with a 1/2-inch pattern/flush-trim bit was used to route out the hole. For the top and bottom power supply holes, that template its fastened to the underside of the panel in order to center it properly and a 3/8-inch pattern/flush-trim bit was used.



.

Perfect! The plywood pieces can now be glued to the back and bottom frames.

Stay tuned!

Last edited by Spotswood; 25th Oct 2009 at 01:53.
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Old 25th Oct 2009, 23:57   #13
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I was interested to see just how big this case really is so I quickly bolted the panels together and fastened the mother tray:


For perspective, that's an EATX motherboard tray. The "huge" Corsair 800D case would fit inside this case.
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Old 26th Oct 2009, 00:15   #14
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Crikey - that is one big case !! Looking forward to see it transpire
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Old 26th Oct 2009, 00:24   #15
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No shortage of room for video cards in this beast. Nice work.
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Old 26th Oct 2009, 02:15   #16
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Wow, the craftsmanship is amazing! Sub'd

Oh yeah, love the tap!
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Old 26th Oct 2009, 15:53   #17
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That thing is MAHASSIVE

Any idea what kind of hardware's going in it?
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Old 26th Oct 2009, 18:41   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigsharn View Post
That thing is MAHASSIVE

Any idea what kind of hardware's going in it?
Same question here)))
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Started on my case...will make log later (need more pics )
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Old 27th Oct 2009, 23:17   #19
Spotswood
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Originally Posted by RuSGaMeR View Post
Same question here)))
"... 2x RX480 rads, 2 sexy D5 pumps, 2 EK res, all BP fittings. The actual pc components are in the air though."
I'll keep you guys posted once I find out what components he eventually decides to use.
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Old 28th Oct 2009, 23:44   #20
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The "shelves" that separate the case into three chambers was fab'd from 3/4-inch square oak, rabbeted to hide the plywood edge.




The shelves nestle onto brackets made from 1/2-inch aluminum angle.




The angle bracket for the top shelf along the back panel just so happens to land in the same location as the bolts used to fasten the motherboard tray. Originally I was thinking the tray would be bolted onto the back panel (with a nut), but with the angle bracket there, doing so would be very awkward. So instead, I just tapped some 6-32 threads.






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