Oak Mac Mini Case

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Introduction: Oak Mac Mini Case

Homemade Gifts Contest 2016

Runner Up in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2016

Hello and welcome to my instructable about an oak case I made for my girlfriend for Christmas. I know, super late! The project was born out of the fact that there really aren't any pretty MacMini cases out there. If you are wondering what a MacMini is, don't worry, you are not alone! It is basically a portable Mac desktop computer.

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Since coming back to university I have become sort of obsessed with the CNC router in the workshop. As such I decided I would build the case using it and knowing my girlfriend really likes the colour and texture of oak that was the obvious choice for material.

Step 1: The Design

As always I like to begin by sketching my design and then drawing it on the computer in 3D. I think this really helps figure out exactly how you are going to make something. The design is simple, I think simple is normally the best way, after all it is to house one of Apple's minimalist designs.

I have attached the Rhinoceros ".3dm" file, if you would like it in another format just leave me a message in the comments.

Step 2: Materials

There aren't all that many materials involved in this project. They are as follows:

  • Oak or equivalent hardwood: 800 x 230 x 23mm [minimum]
  • Grey felt: 200 x 200mm [minimum]
  • Zysa hinges: 2 x 18mm diameter link
  • Small cam lock link
  • Metal rod 3mmØ 25mm long

Step 3: Tools

Unfortunately this project does call for a CNC router, something I am very lucky to have access to, for now. The tools I used are as follows:

  • CNC router 6mm flat bit
  • Bandsaw
  • Bench-top disc sander
  • Sandpaper various grades
  • Wooden mallet
  • Pillar drill
  • Frostner bit 15mm
  • Drill bit 10mm
  • Drill bit 3mm
  • Adjustable wrench
  • MIG welder
  • Hacksaw
  • 2 part epoxy

I have attached the toolpath used with the CNC router as a ".dxf" file.

Step 4: Assemble

Once out of the CNC router cut off the excess on the bandsaw. Round the corners with the disc sander and neaten up with sandpaper. The zysa hinges should fit very snugly into the holes, you may need to encourage them with a mallet.

Step 5: The Lock

To fit the lock I drilled a 4mm deep 15mmØ hole with the frostner bit. The position of the hole should correspond with the recess made for the lock mechanism [see 3D model if unsure]. Make sure the hole is positioned centrally i.e. 11.5mm from the bottom if using 23mm thick wood. Following this drill a 10mmØ hole the rest of the way. You should now be able to fit your lock.

I had to do a bit of modification to my cam lock to get it to work the way I wanted.

I welded on a small piece of metal to the part of the lock that swings 90º when you turn the key. This piece of metal has a "C" shaped slot in it to anchor to a metal rod that will be situated above the lock recess. When the lock is successfully installed measure to the centre of the "C". The centre of the metal rod above will need to align with the centre of the "C" to lock successfully. Drill a 3mmØ hole 25mm deep at this point. Insert the metal rod into this hole. Glue with epoxy if necessary.

It might be possible to laser cut an alternative part to avoid the welding etc. but this method has worked well for me.

Step 6: Felt

A final touch was just to add a piece of felt in the recess for the top of the MacMini. This was actually to cover up a mistake I made when securing the wood to the table of the CNC router. This mistake meant the wood became quite thin, as such I decided to increase the thickness by laser cutting a piece of ply and gluing it in. To hide this mistake I decided to line it with the felt which I think looks great.

Step 7: Final Thoughts

Finally a few thoughts on improvements or things I would have done differently:

  • Used wood thicker than 23mm
  • The case doesn't have a space for the keyboard
  • Needs finishing in oil or varnish

But overall I'm pretty happy with it. I hope you've enjoyed having a look at my instructable, would love to hear what you think in the comments. Happy making!

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34 Comments

So you designed a magical box where you put a mac mini, close the lid, use the key to lock it and, after you turn it 360°, the mac disappears? ;-) nice case

Sorry, the file MacMiniCase.3dm, comes FDI81SJIYAFSU74.3dm...and my Rhinoceros doesn't recognize it!

Great!!!! Tks a lot!!!

Have also updated the file in the instructable