I considered painting my cardboard box or somehow making it look like it isn't cardboard, but then I decided it would be pretty cool if it really just looked like a cardboard box, so that is the design I went with. I hope you like it:)
If you like this 'ible, Please vote for it in the Cardboard & Duck tape, Up! 3d printer, and the Make-to-Learn Youth Contests.
For the Make-to-Learn Youth contest I have to answer four questions about what I learned doing this project:
What did you make?
I made a case for my computer out of cardboard. The case the computer had was big, ugly, and weighed a ton! So I decided to make a smaller better looking case for it. In fact, the whole computer in its new case weighs less than the old case alone! I wanted it to look cool, but also be obvious that it was made of cardboard. That was why I didn't paint it. The case is made entirely of cardboard, except for the catch I used to hold the lid down, it is a magnetic snap that was supposed to be used for a purse. I used an Xacto knife to cut out the parts, and used mostly hot melt glue to hold it together.
How did you make it?
I came up with the idea of making a case out of cardboard when I was looking through the contests on Instructables a few days ago. I saw the Cardboard contest and knew I just had to make something for it, and I came up with this! I made this without any help, and it took me two days:) Some of my ideas for it changed as I went along, for instance at first I was going to cut all of the holes in the cardboard sort of squiggly, but then I decided straight lines and geometric shapes would look better (and curved lines are WAY to hard to cut;).
Where did you make it?
I made it this completely at home.
What did you learn?
Wow. I learned a LOT from this! I never thought I would be able to do it! It was much easier than I thought, the hardest part was remembering where everything went. It was also a challenge to fit everything into the cardboard box, and mounting the parts in the box so that everything was sturdy enough. I learned a lot about how computers work when I was looking up guides for taking the old computer apart. I also learned that the only time super glue sticks to ANYTHING is when you don't want it to. Like sticking my fingers together, for example;) Seriously, though I had a great time with this project, and learned a lot:)
Step 1: What You Need
- A computer in need of a newer, awesomer, case, or the parts to build a computer if you are making one from scratch
- Misc. cardboard boxes and pieces of cardboard - My box was 11.5 x 9 x 10.5 inches
- peice of white cardboard or painted cardboard for the accents
- Hot melt glue gun and glue
- Super Glue
- Magnetic purse snap or two small round magnets
Step 2: Disassembling the Old Computer
Disclaimer: There is the potential for harm either to you, or to your computer. I am responsible for Neither! Do NOT disassemble the power supply, as this can shock you across the room, or kill you. Don't open your computer case until you have unplugged your computer and let it sit for 20 min. Pay attention to what you are doing so you know how to reassemble your computer when the time comes. Be gentle! these are fragile parts, treat them as such!
There is the risk of fire since this is made of cardboard. Make sure the computer stays cool. There should be a vent on the side like I made in mine. If you notice it getting hot, turn it off and add another fan. Also, make sure you cover the empty power supply plugs like I did. If you do this you'll be fine:)
There, that's it for the disclaimer, just use common sense and you'll be fine;) Now back to the cool part. Unplug your computer and leave it for about 20 minutes. After that unlatch the removable side panel on your case and slide it off (picture 1), yours may unscrew. Unplug all the wires going to the power supply, a metal box either on the upper or lower back side of your case, picture 2. If it isn't obvious were each plug goes, take a picture, make a note, whatever. My favorite method is marking both halves of a plug with the same color of sharpie, picture 3. Just make sure you know where each plug goes so you aren't reduced to yelling "stupid wires!" later on, people will look at you weird;) Unscrew the power supply (picture 4) and lift it out.
Next unplug all the wires from your mother board (picture 5), and then unscrew it. There may be hidden screws. If it doesn't just lift out, and you can't find any more screws, google how to remove your computer's motherboard. Mine had four screws under the heat sink that I NEVER would have found without looking up a guide. Set your motherboard in a safe place that won't cause static electricity.
Unscrew then remove your hard drive and any other drives your computer may have. Mine had a hard drive, floppy drive, and an optical drive, although I left the optical drive and floppy drive in the case, because they were very heavy and I couldn't figure out how to fit them in the cardboard box I used.
Pop off the front of your computer case. Mine just snapped out, but yours may unscrew so take a good look at it:) You can now remove the power switch, picture 6, and the front ports, picture 7. These should snap out easily. If you can't get the front ports out its not really a big deal, but its kind of a problem it you can't get the power switch out...... Mine just clipped in so it was easy to get out, hopefully yours will be to:)
Next, unscrew the nuts that held the motherboard in and away from case wall (picture 8). Keep them in a safe place, we will use them to secure the motherboard into the cardboard box. That's it! your computer should be completely disassembled now, time to move the parts to their new home!
Step 3: Fitting the Parts in Your Box
Step 4: Mounting the Mother Board
Set your mother board back in it's safe place, then press the screw part of the nuts into the cardboard box where you marked, picture 2, then use hot melt glue to secure them in, picture 3. Measure and cut out a hole on the back of the case for the mother board ports. I originally cut a squiggly hole but later on I decided that a rectangular hole would look better:)
Screw in your mother board (picture 4), taking care that anything that needs to be screwed in with the mother board, in my case the heat sink catch, is. That's it for the mother board! Next trial of your patience: The hard drive!
Step 5: Mounting the Hard Drive
So to get started, we are going to cut a view hole though the side opposite the mother board, the side that we will mount the hard drive on. Decide where to make the hole, outline it (picture 2) then put the hard drive where you are going to mount it and make sure it doesn't cover where the hole will be. Go ahead and cut out for the hole, picture 3. Later we will add skewers to it to keep hands out, but for now it's nice to leave it open so you can reach in from that angle if you need to.
Measure where the screws will need to go for your hard drive, poke holes for the screws then screw in the hard drive, picture 4. That's it for the hard drive!
Step 6: Mounting the Front Ports and Power Switch
My power switch had small indicator LEDs attached to it with a piece of plastic, picture 2. Pop the power switch out of the plastic, picture 3. Poke a hole where the power switch will go, big enough for the larger end of the switch to sit in (picture 4), then mount the power switch so that the actual button is about a quarter inch out of the cardboard. Use a dab of hot melt glue to secure the power switch, picture 5.
Next, poke holes for the LED indicator lights, then hot melt glue the plastic LED holder to the cardboard, picture 6. Now connect the wires coming from the power switch and front ports to their sockets on the mother board. That's it for the front ports and power switch! Now we just need to mount the power supply!
Step 7: Mounting the Power Supply
Measure for the screw holes on your psu, poke holes in the box for the screws to go through, then screw in the psu, picture 2. Ok, so now that the power supply unit is in, plug all the wires coming from it into their sockets. Hopefully you can remember where everything goes......;)
If you have any wire coming from the power supply that don't plug into anything, cover the plugs with, everyone's best friend, Duct Tape! (insert applause here;) See picture 3. This is to keep them from shorting anything out, and, while it's probably fine, better safe than sorry, right? The next step is mounting the fan to the back of the box, if your fan mounts over the CPU heat sink, you can skip the next step.
Step 8: Mounting the Fan
First, cut out a hole that is big enough for the fan clips to clip on, picture 2. Mine is extra wide since I had messed up and made the original hole to far too the right;) Don't worry if the hole you cut isn't pretty, we'll take care of it:)
Next, cut out a piece of the cardboard you decided to use for accents, I used white cardboard, but you could also use painted cardboard, or cover some cardboard with Duct Tape, etc, about a quarter inch bigger on all sides than the hole you made. Line it up with the hole and then outline a small hole for the fan to show through, then cut out the hole, picture 3. Poke holes in all four corners of the piece of cardboard then push a screw through each hole. I used screws that originally held in the mother board, but that I didn't use. The screws are just for decoration, they don't actually hold it on:) Now hot melt glue the piece of cardboard over the where the fan goes, picture 4. That's it for the fan! Next step: Decorating the case!
Step 9: Finishing Touches
Now take the magnetic purse snap and flatten with the pliers it so that the prongs that would hold it onto the purse are flat, or if you can, just break them off, picture 9. If you don't have a magnetic purse snap you can use two small round magnets. Set the big half of the snap on the back flap of the box, then mark the side flaps so that you know where to cut to make them lay flat, then cut them out, picture 10. Now glue the big half of the magnetic snap to the back flap, picture 11. snap the little half down on top of the big half that's now glued to the box, put some hot melt glue on the little half(picture 12), then fold the accent piece of cardboard where you scored it down on top of the box so that it sticks to the snap. The box now has a great looking lid that is easy to open for hardware upgrades and the like!
Next, we are going to use skewers to make a grill to keep hands out of the view hole on the side of the box. Take one skewer and break it so that it is about 2 inches longer than the hole is tall (picture 13) then break it at that length. Stick it down in between the pleats of the cardboard on the bottom edge of the hole, then up between the pleats on the top edge, picture 14. If you want to, you can use a dab of super glue to keep it in place, but mine didn't need it.
Now all that's left is adding a power button. Sure the little switch would work, but it doesn't look very good. To make your power button, cut out a piece of plain cardboard 1x1 inch square, then you can write on/off on it like I did mine, picture 15, or leave it blank, You could really decorate it any way you want:) Put just a tiny dab of super glue on the power switch then press on the button and hold it for 30 seconds, picture 16.
That's it! Your computer is fully functional and looks great! In fact, I'm writing this on my cardboard computer right now!
Step 10: All Done!
If you liked this Instructable please vote for it in the Cardboard contest, Up! 3d Printer contest, and the Make-to-Learn Youth contest! :)
Have a great time using and showing off your no-longer-boring-looking computer! Thank's for reading!