Picture of Build a Birch and Mahogany Home Theater PC
   This is a home theater PC I built from mostly spare parts.  It was designed to be as compact and quiet as possible, given the parts I used, and also not look intrusive in a living room setting.
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Step 1: Components, Tools, and Materials

Picture of Components, Tools, and Materials
First of all, you will need all the hardware required for a fully functioning computer:  A Motherboard, CPU, RAM, Video card, Power Supply, Hard Drive, DVD Drive, and an cooling components.

To build the case, you will need:

1/4" sheet of marine mahogany
3/4" sheet of birch veneer plywood
12' of 3/4" aluminum angle bar
"L" brackets and screws
Lots of machine screws and nuts
Scrap of sheet steel- I cut mine from an old CD player
Perforated aluminum sheet, "Modders Mesh"
2 large momentary push buttons


Wood Saw
Dremel/Rotary tool
Sand paper
Screw drivers

Step 2: Building the Motherboard Tray

Picture of Building the Motherboard Tray
I built my motherboard tray out of a scrap bit of metal cut out of an old CD player.  I used this, because the height of the folded up part on the left happened to be almost the exact height of the video card I used.   The motherboard needs to be raised from the surface, so I mounted standoffs in the proper positions.  I also cut a hole for the back panel out of the side of the metal.  To secure the video card, I drilled a hole in the top lip of the metal.  The video card is bolted to this through the hole in the low profile back panel adapter.

Step 3: DVD Drive Mount

Picture of DVD Drive Mount
To save space, I decided to mount the DVD drive directly to the bottom of the motherboard tray.  To do this, I just cut the aluminum drive bracket out of an old laptop, and screwed it to the bottom of the motherboard tray.  I glued sheets of felt to the top and bottom of the slot in order to eliminate vibrations.
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muddog1511 months ago
I have an old NetBook for a home theater. Running Linux Xbmc. Runs perfect.
codyg1023 years ago
Very nice project, Technochicken. I had the same response as Greyfox1143 -I love the retro look and the overall aesthetic.

If I was building it (and I'm thinking of doing just that for a HTPC project), I would probably replace the bolts in the frame with aluminum "pop" rivets once I was satisfied with the structure of the frame. I'd probably also edge-band the plywood (or even use solid wood, especially for the side panels).

Your other 'ibles look interesting too. Keep up the good work!
kbhasi3 years ago
Why not upload this to ?
Cool I like the idea of sticking a DVD into a chunk of wood.
not bad! id make the dvd slot wider so it isnt scratshed or if you have one with a tray you woul mount the wood on the front sits covered up
toastytheog4 years ago
have you considered using edge banding on the two pieces of birch? they have it at most woodworking shops
hilbert95414 years ago
you did a beautiful job on this project
wsecomp4 years ago
Reminds me of a project I started about 20 years ago - a wooden computer desk with the computer actually built into the desk. I never got it off the paper. But with smaller computer parts, flat screens and cheaper mounts, it would be quite feasible these days.
zack247 wsecomp4 years ago
im doing pretty much the same thing, except im making my desk out of cardboard (read the cardboard furniture instructable) and you are right, it would be more than quite feasible, it would be pretty easy.
ixilon4 years ago
Great work, good pictures and well commented! Btw, will you continue this project and show us what you installed on this machine?
tetsujin294 years ago
Very Nice, you are brilliant !!
fly_boy_bc4 years ago
I have to say I do not like the look of the unfinished edges of the plywood and using unattractive vented aluminum is not the best way to make a quiet and properly vented media computer for several reasons. It's a good idea but some veneer on the plywood would look a LOT better. As for venting if you had used (more attractive) solid aluminum and checked the pressurization inside the cabinet your system would be cooler (always always desired even if it is already "cool enough") And more importantly it would be quieter because you could use the lowest possible airflow and have a SOLID barrier between yourself and that noisy fan. Even if it is currently "quiet enough" and "cool enough" it WOULD be quieter and cooler using solid aluminum.
Coffeinated4 years ago
Very well done. The only thing which is not too tasty are the cooling slots in the wood, but these are very complicated to do, I know, without the right expensive tools. How the aluminumframe is attached to the outer case so it cnat slide out? I think I didn't get that.
ben_k (author)  Coffeinated4 years ago
One thing that killed me with these, besides the amount of work they were, is that about a week after I finished this computer, I found two working power supplies in my school's recycling pile that had rear exhaust fans. They were not modular, but I could have just cut off the extra cables, and then I would not have had to go to all the trouble to cut the slots. They were even high quality PSU's- PC Power and Cooling Silencers.
hintss ben_k4 years ago
:( also, attach one of those to the vent. or vent it through the mesh...
ben_k (author)  Coffeinated4 years ago
I forgot to reply to the second part of the question: The inner frame and hardware slide in and fits snugly with the mesh so that it can not move vertically. So it can not slide out, it is screwed into the base with two easily removable screws. There is a picture of this in the first picture of step 11.
manumanu7644 years ago
What for is that PS/2 looking yellow connector? by the way, nice work!
ben_k (author)  manumanu7644 years ago
S-video out.
mortale4 years ago
excelent work m8.
Some people call me crazy, but I miss wood-boxed electronics, they beat stainless steel and black plastic any day! Only change I would make would have been putting birch veneer over the edges of the plywood. Helps to prevent delamination and looks cleaner. All you really need is a good iron and a sharp knife to but it on.
Personally, I prefer black steel and chromed plastic...
Kasm279 jongscx4 years ago
Ech, chromed plastic. My favorite case for portable stuff is anodized aluminum, for stuff that stays black or blue plastic accented with some brushed steel for the black and some white for the blue.
Yeah anodized aluminium looks the best IMO, Apple know's what their doing.
I was meaning something like the Palm m515 or my blue anodized HP Jordana 548, but yeah the PowerBook G4's and up look pretty nice.
lsocoee4 years ago
Very nice work, but it looks unfinished. I would suggest using edge banding to hide the edge of the plywood. Most lumber yards sell it. They may even offer it by the foot. The product I have used is iron-on and very easy to use.
Some people actually like the way those edges look, so to each his own.
ben_k (author)  lsocoee4 years ago
There have been a few comments about the edge of the plywood, but I actually like the look of the stripes on the edges.
RyeFellow4 years ago
I love the look you have achieved. It reminds me of my first stereo kit build I built when I cam out of the service in '72. It was made by Dynaco. It was just the power amp but the complete chassis was stamped steel. The cover consisted of the "modders mesh". It was a great amp and for those days 60 watts per channel was very impressive. Still have the unit but needs repairs after an overzealous friend thought twisting the volume knob to max would be fun. It is an awesome paper weight at the moment. Have had an idea bouncing around in my head for several years to build a case with 80/20 parts. Similarly I have purchased the same switches from All Electronics. I bought 2 of the flat and 2 of the domed hoping to use on that build or anything else. Will now consider adding wooden components to build after seeing your stunning results. Keep up the good work
JTomM1294 years ago
Fantastic! The only other improvement might be to paint/anodize the frame black to make it "disappear" when it's in back of the mesh (but some tech-heads may like seeing it). Well done.
ben_k (author)  JTomM1294 years ago
That's a great idea!
This is really cool! If there is any space left in the case, It would be awesome to put some fake tubes inside that glow or dim every now and then. It would really round out the vintage electronics look.
soeinegaudi4 years ago
awesome instructable ! i think i just foud a desteny for my old pc ...
Wow excellent step by step. The finished case reminds me of the old school tube amps of the 60's and 70's. Nice work.
shteef4 years ago
Very nicely done mate, looks quite pleasing and bugger all like a PC. Actually reminds of the rear end of 1960's TVs, which is no bad thing.They built stuff to last back then. Who knows, your PC may still be around in 50 years!
ernii4 years ago
Excelent work! But, I don't understand what happend with the cd-rom...
ben_k (author)  ernii4 years ago
It's still there. The one I used is slot loading, so you can not see any of it once the computer is installed in the case. The drive in most of the pictures is just for demonstration, as I did not want to damage the actual one.
Ghost Wolf4 years ago
I love it. I now want to make one 5 stars all the way!!!
amoah4 years ago
kool bros. big ups, uve really opened my eye to something new. i think i appreciate the era of technology u've have displayed. i wish ................. lack of words to describe the fabulous work. once again i say well done
kcls4 years ago
Nice Build! You must have a steady hand... I know I couldn't cut a line tat straight and that thin with a dremel! Great job!
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