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Cheapest PC ever =)

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by ensellitis, 14 Nov 2004.

  1. ensellitis

    ensellitis New Member

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    I figuredthat alot of people out there can't afford some of the impressive mods that are available out there. So I thought to myself: "Self, what if you could make a PC system for less than $10, wouldn't that be cool?"

    So i started. The place I work at has alot packing materials and boxes being thrown away, and in New York, everyone throws perfectly good materials away, alot of which can be used to make a case and put a system into it. So my challenge was to put a 10 bill in an envelope and that was ALL I could spend out of pocket. Everything else has to be either free, or traded for with items I find/given. But under no circumstance can I spend more than $10 from my own pocket.

    I put a game plan together and I decided to start with the case. I want this case to have a very industrial feel to it and keep it's "garbage priced" look. I found some styrofoam at work, some nice think stuff that was pretty durable.

    [​IMG]
    First I cut the top, bottom, sides, and the back panel for the mounting and support. This may seem relativly easy, but it actually isn't. If you have ever cut styrofoam, then you know those little compacted "balls" break off very easily and make a ugly mess. So I found if I heated a razor in front of a space heater for like 2 minutes, it cut alot better.

    Current spendings: $0

    [​IMG]
    Doing the top and bottom required 4 pieces that had to be taped together. I wanted to use 1" thick material and it only came in in pieces to small to be one object. So I brought out the old duct tape that was donated by a closet company next door that was throwing out thier almost empty rolls... What a waste...

    Current spendings: $0

    [​IMG]
    Then I taped all the sides together, and believe it or not, it is pretty durable. I put about 10lbs of pressure on it and nothing buckled...

    Current spendings: $0

    [​IMG]
    Then the side panel, which the main board will be mounted to... I cut it to tightly fit inside of the frame then taped all the edges for that added support...

    Current spendings: $0

    [​IMG]
    Then I struck gold... We have pallets of boxes come in once or twice a month, and every 1,500 or so are seperated with a black cardboard, which will make a perfect side panel. I had to buy a pencil and I sketched out some flames and cut them out with my leatherman during my lunch break. While throwing away the scraps, I found a piece of plexti in the dumpster... What a lucky day. =) So I scored it and snapped it down to size...

    Current spendings: $0.15

    [​IMG]
    I had to get some high strength epoxy to glue the plexi onto the side panel, and I used my listerene to hold it in place while it dries...

    And as of now, that is where I am. Once I get the materials I will start putting together the HDD racks and cutting holes for the floppy and CD-ROM(s).

    I also used some discarded aluminum tape used for ducts and used it for a metalic front, I will give pics of that on my next update...

    Let me know what you all think =)
     
  2. tecate

    tecate New Member

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    Awesome!! :rock:

    I like the $10 concept!

    :rock:
     
  3. Langer

    Langer Jesse Lang

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    Good log, and welcome to Bit-tech.
     
  4. ensellitis

    ensellitis New Member

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    Thanks for the welcome, I have been coming here for awhile, and I finally decided to join and provide my little bit of wisdom...
     
  5. NOMIS

    NOMIS New Member

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    I like the $10 idea, and it's looking quite good so far hehe :thumb:
     
  6. RotoSequence

    RotoSequence Lazy Lurker

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    I bought an old Dell PC (G1 era) system, complete with keyboard, mouse and monitor (and all cables) for $10 :D
     
  7. mottl3y

    mottl3y New Member

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    is the polystyrene going to be strong enough to hold all the components (esp. psu & mobo with cards) when you lift it? how are the components going to be stuck to the sides of the box?

    other than that, this looks like my kinda pc
     
  8. ColD_FusSioN

    ColD_FusSioN New Member

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    This is a very original idea!!, i can't wait to see how it looks.
     
  9. user0001

    user0001 New Member

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    Didnt u see the handyman's secret weapon in the pics? Duck tape is cheap, holds well, and gives it a nice grey color that wont chip or scratch.
     
  10. Malvolio

    Malvolio .

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    Awesome idea. Love the fact that you are only using super ghetto parts for it as well :thumb: Though, one word of note, I beat you to it (and hell, I didn't even spend $10 on it) http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=73181. Very nice idea though.
     
  11. Constructacon

    Constructacon Constructing since 1978

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    This is going to be good. I love the concept.

    You obviously have a nack for finding what you need. Good luck with the project.

    /me waits for the segment on how to do watercooling for free.
     
  12. KingofHearts

    KingofHearts New Member

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    You know how you said when you cut that stuff the little balls go everywhere. Im not sure if you if you notice but the stuff also sticks to everything including your cloths. The amount of static that builds up in that stuff is downright nasty.

    I like your idea of on the cheap I really do but I worry how long your components are going to last in the thing from ESD. I hope it all works out for you.
     
  13. taliban_raider

    taliban_raider Just some guy; you know

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    LoL :hehe:

    Thought I cannot see polystyrene holding much weight, Cardboard maybe.....
     
  14. Cookie Monster

    Cookie Monster Well-Known Member

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    Thats a great idea, i thought i would get in on the act to, but being in the UK you $10 is exactly £5.38 here so its made things a little harder.

    So after much thought i went out and bought a MacDonalds then realised i'd spent my budget. If i can save up again i may have another go at this idea (if im not hungry).
     
  15. Isuo

    Isuo New Member

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    WoW, nice idea and start. *subscribed*
     
  16. white modder

    white modder New Member

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    isnt the foam used for isolation, so all the heat will stick in the case
     
  17. Litecore

    Litecore New Member

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    fans, anyone ? it's just like any case.. hot air rises and will do for him too.
    however that foam could work quite good as sound dampener, imho :]

    MOD ON ! :dremel:
     
  18. 731|\|37

    731|\|37 ESD Engineer in Training

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    ohh 10 bucks :thumb:

    BTW how much did teh epoxy cost?
     
  19. ensellitis

    ensellitis New Member

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    My bad, I found the epoxy sitting next to the dumpster, that is why there isn't that much on there. Today I cut the slot for the slots for the CD ROM and I am going to skip the floppy, I never use them so why spend the extra effort?

    I am working on figuring out how to take care of the ESD and heat build up problems... I was going to use some fans from Best Buy but those would go over budget, so I am thinking of using some old fish tank pumps I have that I was going to through out and some copper piping... Very very cheap water cooling. =)

    Another thing I though about was the heat problem caused from components heating up and melting... So what I did was took the back off of a notebook I had and forked out the cash to buy some fire/melt resistant spray from the fire dept. at wholesale price... That cost $1.50. I sprayed the inside of the case with it and I am going to ount the mobo to that... I wight tested it and it seemed to work fine... I am going to look around tommorow for something to mount the carboard to the inside of the case... I thought about making some brackets out of some old nails... We'll see. I went to the dollar store and bought some multi colored eletrical tape for $1, for misc stuff and for the hdd trays... Here are some pics of the progress I made today...

    [​IMG]
    Ok, I cut the hole for the CD ROM, it wasn't easy and it was messy as hell, I got these little balls over my entire room...

    [​IMG]
    You can't just simply slide it in, it will just fall through, so I took some left overs from the side panel and built a rack, and I had some cool yellow colored cardboard, just for looks...

    [​IMG]
    Slid in the CD ROM that will go in, looks ok IMO. I am going to make a face plate out of whatever I find at work. I am hoping for some of that foam spray insulation. Then I can coat the whole thing for extra support and then carve it out for a very nice looking case, but I doubt that will happen.

    [​IMG]
    Andhere is where I finished at. It has the rack installed and the mobo plate and has been sprayed with 12 coats of clear fire/heat resistant film

    Total cost: $2.65

    I also came accross another gold mine, as I was coming home from the grocery store with my cigs, I saw that a grocery store was throwing away a PC! So I went over and grabbed it from the trash. It's an old dell 800mhz Pentium 3 machine... It had a 10 gig hdd and a cdrom and what looks to be 128 mb of ram... I booted the old thing up and guess what? It runs fine. So I installed Win XP on it, and I am making a window blinds theme just for this PC which will make the taskbar, start button, and windows all look like ripped cardboard and paper...

    That is all I had time to do today, not much but it is progressing... I will spend tommorow finding more materials. I am hoping to mabe find a few old fans from more scrapped PCs...
     
  20. LockmanX

    LockmanX New Member

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    This is one of the mor interesting and definatly ambitious projects I've seen. Gonna follow for sure.

    BTW, for fans, nothing beats old AT power supplies. There's always someone with a few to get rid of. Almost always 80mm and most I've salvaged were pretty quiet.
     

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