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Plexi Computer Case How-to guide

Former staff writer    -   January 23, 2007
Category: Cooling, Modding
Price: $56.50 -/+


About a month ago I set up an old computer of mine. It acts as a DHCP server running Coyote LINUX to share my broadband connection. The only problem was that I needed to set it up in the living room where my cable modem is. I really didn't like the look of the computer case in that room. So, what to do but get a clear case and show it off. I decided to build it myself. This also allowed me to make it the size and shape I wanted.

Parts used & Price:

  • Plexi-Glass $17.31 @ Lowe's
  • Loctite Plastic Bonder $3.34 @ Lowe's
  • Pack of 2 small hinges $1.57 @ Lowe's
  • L-Bracket $0.78 @ Lowe's
  • 9" blue neon $16.00 @ Pepboys
  • 80mm fan $5.50
  • Round 13" floppy drive cable $9.50
  • 2 80mm fan guards $2.50
  • Rubber feet from an old scanner $0.00 Total Price: $56.50

I decided to make the case 12"x10"x12" (WxHxL). I got this dimension after taking measurements of all the components that were going in to the case and deciding on placement of those components. To make the case I needed 6 pieces of plexi-glass. I decided to use 1/8" plexi for all sides of the case. Also, remember to subtract the width of the plexi from the inside piece on corners. After getting the plexi-glass cut and everything else I needed, it was time to start.

For the final touch at least for now. I added a rounded clear 13" single floppy drive cable. It is more eye pleasing with the round cable instead of the ribbon cable. Now I have a computer worth Looking at in my living room! All in all, I am very happy with my clear case! It was very ease to build and not too expensive! Look for an update in about 2 weeks. I am going to add a 5 port 10/100 switch to the case.

I started by laying out all the pieces and placing the motherboard where I wanted it. Leave the protective covering on the plexi until your done with the project. This will allow you to write on it and protect it from scratches. I Then marked the holes and proceeded to drill them out. Be sure you drill on a firm hard surface. A soft surface will cause small cracks with the pressure of the drill. You will also want to start the drill off slow. If you don't, it's hard to get your holes exactly centered. This can also lead to cracks when you tighten down your components.

Next, I marked and drilled the holes for the floppy drive and power supply. I mounted the floppy drive on its side. Allowing me to attach it to the bottom and the side. I did this to strengthen the lower right corner of the case. To attach the the bottom and side pieces of plexi together I plastic bonder from Loctite. This is a two part bonder, that includes a surface activator and a bonding agent. You apply the surface activator to both sides of the joint. Then apply the bonding agent to one side and squeeze the two parts together. Hold them for around 30-45 seconds. You should now have a supper strong joint.

Now its time to work on the back. I needed to cut out a rectangle 3"x4" in the upper right corner. This cutout is for the power supply to sit in. To cut the plexi I used a hacksaw with a fine toothed blade. When cutting plexi don't apply to much pressure or it will crack. Take it slow and stay just on on the outside of the line. I then cut out a 1"x1" hole in the back for my network cables to run through. Then I proceeded to bond the back piece of plexi in place. I placed the power supply in to the slot and screwed it down through the holes I had made in the side.

 

 As for the front I needed to make a cut out for the floppy drive and power switch. I also needed to drill a hole for the power LED. There are no CD-ROM drives or hard drives in this system to worry about. Coyote Linux runs on a single floppy! On the left side of the case I am going to mount a 80mm fan. I used the fan as a template to mark the holes. Then I drilled a lot of holes for air flow to the fan. I installed the left side and used a L-bracket in the upper left conner for added support. The top is just sitting on the box right now.

 

Now its time for some neon! I found a 9" tube at Pepboys that is meant for cars. I cut off the cigarette lighter adapter. Wired it to the 12v source of an unused molex connecter from the power supply. Then I placed the 9" tube behind the motherboard. I also added a 3/4"x5" piece of plexi to network cards and video card. This was needed to give them more support.

When I had the top cut I made it 12-1/8"x 12-1/16". I did this to allow it to overhang a 1/16" on both sides and the front. Two hinges were placed on the back of the top piece. This allowed me to flip the lid open to gain access to the inside. I also added the 80mm fan to the left side and a chrome fan guards on both sides. The fan is wired for 7v, thats the red and yellow wire.

For the final touch at least for now. I added a rounded clear 13" single floppy drive cable. It is more eye pleasing with the round cable instead of the ribbon cable. Now I have a computer worth Looking at in my living room! All in all, I am very happy with my clear case! It was very ease to build and not too expensive! Look for an update in about 2 weeks. I am going to add a 5 port 10/100 switch to the case.




  1. Plexi Computer Case How-to guide
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