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Guide: Fueler's Custom Modded Folding Rig


The Frame:

I will be using 3/4" square aluminum tubing to make the frame, so I needed to find a way to bolt or rivet them together. Nothing I found at the local hardware store would do the trick, so I decided to make the "L brackets" I needed from scratch.

I picked up a section of 1 1/2" angled aluminum rod and cut it into a load of 3/4" wide "L" shaped brackets.

That was just the start though. To finish them up took quite a bit more work...First they all (30 pieces) needed to be milled to exactly the same size.

Each bracket will have 4 rivets going through it, so the next step after sizing was to counter sink the brackets for the rivet heads. Four counter sinks per bracket times thirty brackets.....It took a while. I used a dial indicator that reads in .001inch increments so that I could make sure that every bracket was done identically.

I used the same procedure to drill the holes for the rivets to go through.

Finally, after a run through the bead blaster and the better part of a days time, I had the brackets for the case.

Now it was time to cut the tubing for the case, so some decisions needed to be made. I sat there and laid out those mobo's for a couple of hours trying to get the best fit and still have good airflow when I came across the idea of mounting the boards back-to-back. In order to make this work, the case would have to be wider than a standard case (about 10"), but the other dimensions could be kept to about the size of a mini or mid tower. I fired up the bandsaw, cut the tubing (I cut them a little oversized) and cleaned up (read squared) the ends using a bench mounted belt sander.

The tubing then went to the mill and using the same procedures I used for the brackets, pre-drilled all the holes for the rivets.

This is where all the time spend milling and drilling to exact tolerances paid off.....It took me all of about a half an hour to assemble the case frame and thus everything fits like a glove.

sdy284: What do you use to design your cases before you start cutting?

Fueler: As much as I'd like to say I use one of those fancy 3D design tools (like Sketchup), the reality is I don't have a clue how to use those programs, so it's all in my head (probably explains the headaches). laugh.gif

sdy284: Do you draw a basic layout design on paper first, before you do anything?

Fueler: Yeah, sure....here's the work sheet for this rig

It ain't much, but it's all I need cool.gif

  1. Introduction
  2. The Frame
  3. End Caps & Castor Wheels
  4. Power Supply
  5. Hard Drives & I/O Backplate
  6. Fan Brackets
  7. Top Fan Grill
  8. Panels
  9. Panel Retention
  10. Weight Reduction
  11. Finishing Touches
  12. Project Complete! (well, almost)
  13. Kill Those Watts!
  14. The Finished Case (Final Pics)
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