I'm sure everyone's dreamed up dozens of mod's they'd like to do, or see, but few ever really pan out into an actual project. This was one of those things that started off with "i wonder if it's possible?" That leads to "i wonder if anyone would make this?" and finally, "i wonder if *I* can make it?" The general idea started off with a couple things i've always wanted in an "ideal" computer. powerful, quiet, dust-free, good looking. the ideas in my head kind of flew around until it reached an extreme: 100% passive cooling, fanless, yet powerful enough to run crysis at 1920x1080 on high (or, dare i say it, VERY HIGH). not that i'd actually be playing crysis, it's more of a benchmark. so, after about a year and a half's worth of doodling on napkins, and on the margins of my notes, and finally slapping together a sketchbook model (or seven) and countless numbers of revisions, i finally took the plunge. i did have to make a few compromises. first, it's not fanless. i can't eliminate the PSU fan, and i'm not daring enough to make a watercooled PSU. second... i'm not going to be running crysis at my current specs... yet. i left room for upgrades, though. This computer will be the culmination of two decades of pent-up insanity. i'm sure a lot of things i'll be doing haven't been done (sucessfully, at least) by anyone. so, in the beginning: a pile of parts. i got these around december last year. the black bars on the bottom are the passive watercooling pipes. the reason i ordered all this stuff so early was because the pipes, pretty much the most important part of this entire build, were discontinued. i managed to find one shop that still had them. next up, shopping for acrylic. i wanted it to be roughly 1/4", which should be strong enough to hold up. i shopped around... and found that the prices suck. $125 for a 4'x9' sheet of acrylic. if i buy 100 sheets at a time. wew hew. the next best option is roughly $11 per square foot. and i'm in Vancouver. it's a major port city with lots of industries in the surrounding area. why is acrylic so expensive here? i just ended up buying 7 sheets of ACRyan acrylic from Performance-PCs.com. and here's (most) of the lines drawn on masking tape over the acrylic: now that just sat there in the living room for a good month or so. lack of free time pretty much stalled everything. i will pause here to mention that this article was of TREMENDOUS help in getting me started. thanks, Brett! http://www.bit-tech.net/modding/2008/03/14/a_modders_guide_to_acrylic/1 now, how to cut it safely? preventing cracking is generally done by using a thinner blade with more + smaller teeth. that's easy to get. now to prevent the acrylic from being melted by the blade, that'll take some cooling. why not do it with a tilecutter? it automatically keeps the blade cool with a nice stream of water. unfortunately, the blade made for ceramic isn't very good for acrylic. i don't want to replace the blade with an actual teethed blade, as i have no idea how much it could mess up the machine. so, in the end, it had to be a table saw with manual, light spritzes of water to make sure the blade is cool. and yes, it does help. i got lazy with one of the panels and didn't spray, and at the end of the cut, the edge had a bunch of melted acrylic stuck to it. not a huge problem, since i just pulled it off after it cooled, but i'm sure it's something you want to avoid. today's cutting done. there'll have to be a lot more in the future before i'm finished... i'll leave it at that for now. i also polished the edges today, but that's worth a separate post. i'm actually in the middle of exams right now, but luckily i have a 7-day separation between two exams and i decided to take today off. the next major update probably won't happen until may.