Introduction: Home Made PC Troubleshooting Case.

Picture of Home Made PC Troubleshooting Case.

I have a troubleshooting computer that I use to test other computer components. Until now I just connected the motherboard, power supply, and periphrials togther on my desk. for easy access. I have seen cases made specifically for this purpose like the Tech Station. I did not want to spend that kind of money. I also have found some do it yourself cases that were close such as this one. But I think I have come up with a cheaper, easier to manufacture and more adjustable version.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials

1- 7/16 " Plastic sheet.
2 - 3/8" all thread 3' long
16 - 3/8" nuts
16 - 3/8" washers
4 - 3/8" plastic caps
6 - 6-32 x1" nylon screws
12 - 6-32 nylon nuts

3/16" drill bit
1/2" Forstner Bit
Table Saw
1/8" roundover bit
Drill Press
Double sided tape

Some notes:
1) I would not recommend the plastic I used. It was a 2x4' sheet of recycled plastic I found at Menards. It was not square so my pieces were slightly trapezoidal. It also proved to be too warped to work with effectively. I had a bear of a time routing the edges. I would recommend using some 1/4" Lexan. It would stay much flatter and be easier to work with. It would also be a neat trick to drill a bunch of holes in the back side of one piece of lexan and stick some LEDs in. This would make the sheet light up with a cool glow.
2) You don't need the router and 1/8" roundover bit. I just thought it would give a more finished look to smoothe the edges of the plastic.
3) Any saw that you can cut plastic would do.
4) Although a drill press will give you neater perfectly perpendicular holes, a hand drill would suffice.
5) A forstner bit is what allowed me to drill the overlapping holes. I did not intend to do that; I miscalculated. Any old 1/2 bit would probably do, but I like the clean holes Forstner bits create.

Step 2: Cut Out the Platforms

Picture of Cut Out the Platforms

On my table saw I cut two 14 x 9.5" slabs from the 2x4 sheet.

Step 3: Ease the Edges.

Picture of Ease the Edges.

I used a 1/8" roundover bit to ease the edges of the plastic.

Step 4: Drill the Column Support Holes

Picture of Drill the Column Support Holes

I taped the two pieces of plastic together with double sided tape. At each corner, I placed the center of the hole column at 3/4" from each edge. I used a 1/2" Forstner bit to drill through both slabs. Unfortunately, I miscalculated and my motherboard wouldn't fit between the columns so I remarked holes at 1/2" from each corner and redrilled.

Step 5: Mark and Drill for Motherboard Supports

Picture of Mark and Drill for Motherboard Supports

I aligned the side of the motherboard that the cards overhang with one of the long edges of the platform. I also made sure that the motherboard was centered between the column support holes. I marked the location of six motherboard supports on the platform and used a 3/16" bit to bore the holes. Then I put the 6-32 nylon screw in the motherboard support holes and double nutted them.

Note: I over sized the motherboard support holes because I figured it would be hard to align all six supports accurately.

Step 6: Cut the Column Supports

I cut the all-thread into 4 12" lengths with a hacksaw.

Step 7: Assemble the Case

Picture of Assemble the Case

I spaced the bottom nut and washer to give about 1" underneath the case. I then stuck all the supports through the bottom platform and put a nut and washer on the other side to secure each colum. I then set the next nut and washer 5-1/4" above the bottom platform. Then I secured the top platform with the last set of nuts and washers. As a finishing touch I added come rubber caps to the supports so I would not scratch my desk.

Step 8: Finished

Picture of Finished

Here is the finished working PC. The reason the supports stick up another 6" is that I was planning to create a card support, but I decided that I really didn't need it. I leave that up to your imagination.


bwpatton1 (author)2009-10-06

Cool! I need to build one of these for my ageing inferstructure of 8-10 computers at my house, they are all in vairous states of disrepair, LOL. B.P.

hcaz-301 (author)bwpatton12011-07-28

You should make them all into one and then cluster them, might give them a new kick of life :P

abadfart (author)hcaz-3012011-08-30

i have been wanting to do that just have never had the time

hcaz-301 (author)abadfart2011-08-31

Ive allways wanted to but never really understood what i could do with this :P

abadfart (author)hcaz-3012011-09-01

play games if you relay wanted to... all of the special affects in titanic were don that way

hcaz-301 (author)abadfart2011-09-04

I dont do gaming, and most laptops now a'days can preform that much :)

iamjelo (author)2011-06-18

could i use fiberglass instead? just asking. thanks.

hcaz-301 (author)iamjelo2011-07-28

You could use anything that is solid :)

ichibon (author)2009-03-30

ok now this is awesome for a geekgirl2u. this tut is soo kewel that i am gonna modify my own station & give or take a few of your ideas. omg awesome, ichibon

SuperFungus (author)2009-01-24

Wow a metcal soldering station. I'm very jealous.

Gotta love Ebay!

kostassk8 (author)2008-12-07

where is the power button?

It's a pair of tweezers or a screwdriver that I use to short the leads on the motherboard's front panel header.

omnibot (author)2008-12-04

Nice. I like. Used to keep mine screwed into the back of a shelf.

teknoman (author)2008-09-12

Great Job. Personally i think this design is better than the actual expensive ones because you can move the top level up and down to better accommodate anything you want to add underneath. That and by having those long threads you could pretty much add any accessories you could want (switches, fans, LCDs,ect...). I gve you wicked props for this, and i defanately am going to mae one for myself.

benjamenjohnson (author)teknoman2008-09-12

Hey, thanks for the praise!

stone3408 (author)2007-02-22

Great idea. I've seen a few like this before but, very nice design. Great use of materials for building the rack. Maybe a slightly higher rack (for motherboard access) with a third shelf for the monitor, mouse, keyboard, or speakers. I like the ideas of the power strip too, that will make it much more portable. With custom length power/monitor cords you could cut down on the clutter. Every complete shop should have one. Very nice instructable.

HamO (author)2007-02-21

Excellent, very well done! I just used a plain piece of plywood with a PS on it and all other parts just loose on the board. I will make one like this. Thanks for sharing.

LasVegas (author)2007-02-21

Great job! I never considered aesthetics when building a test jig. Just the use of plastic for the bases rather than plywood makes it look cool while still functional.

mikesty (author)2007-02-21

Pretty cool. Attach a power strip and a little bin for converters and supplies such like zipties and you're set :)

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