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I am new to case modding but thought I would give it a go. Instead of using real wood, I am using MDF which you can usually buy from your hardware store.
I also want to thank Thermaltake for sponsoring me with a awesome PSU (power supply unit)
Day 1
I am using the metal frame of an old case I have, and plan to fix the MDF to the frame (haven't quite worked out the details of that yet).
I am planning on carving the MDF based on one of my designs that has a Celtic Knot influence. I use the software AutoCAD to draw the design, then print out A4 sheets and stick them together so I have a 1:1 scale of the design that I can use as a template.


 
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Step 1: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 2

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 2
Day 2:
More carving the front panel today.

Step 2: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 3

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 3
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Day 3:
OK, here is Day 3. I have pretty muched finished the carving of the front panel, just need to sand it a bit. I have cut out the panel for the DVD burner. The dvd burner will be behind a MDF panel which I haven't cut out yet.

Step 3: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 4

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 4
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Day 4 :
So far today I have just sanded the front panel and applied a finish to it. I used acrylic paint and linseed oil to get an aged look. I then wiped off the excess oil and paint with a rag.

I thought the next step might be to look at the wiring as I haven't quite worked out how I am going to do it. I also need to reslove how I am going to create a button for the DVD burner to open. I have made a hole but haven't worked out the details. I also need to work out how to attach the drive door to the panel.

Step 4: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 5

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 5
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Day 5:
I haven't done a lot since last time in terms of the case itself, but I have designed the side panels and top panel using AutoCAD.

The top panel will have a cut out for a fan, 120mm diameter.
I have also trued up the front panel as it wasn't square. It's still not quite square but I've done the best I can. I made the mistake of carving the panel before cutting it out which is why it wasn't square - won't do that again.

Step 5: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 6

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 6
Day 6:
Today I have started on the top panel. I have the panel already cut out and have started the carving. I have also cut out a hole for the 120mm fan that will be fixed below.

Step 6: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 7

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 7
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Day 7:
Today I finished carving the top panel and also stained it. I still might need to sand around the fan cutout as it's a bit rough.

Step 7: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 8

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 8
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Day 8:
Today I have cut out the whole for the 120mm fan at the top of the case. I went and bought some cutting discs for my dremel. I haven't cut metal before so it was quite an experience with all the sparks flying. I ended up using 2 discs to cut the circle. The first disc broke in about 2 seconds but the disc I used after that was a reinforced disc which managed to finish the job although it is quite worn down.

I also drilled holes for the top panel and fixed the panel with brass dome head screws which I think match the colour of the case.

Step 8: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 9

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 9
Day 9:
So today I have started carving one of the side panels. I drilled some ventilation holes in the panel - not sure if they will be very effective though.

Step 9: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 10

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 10
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Day 10:
Today I finished off carving the side panel which was starting to become a chore due to it's size.
I was looking at ways to fix the side panel so came up with the idea of fixing a strip of aluminium to the existing case edges. I bought pop rivet gun to help with this and it is awesome.

Step 10: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 11

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 11
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Day 11:
Today I basically fixed some aluminium bars to the other side of the case with rivets and attached the fan to the top of the case. I have actually stuffed up the front panel. I realised when I put the side panel on. It's not square and if I was to square it up, the panel would be asymmetrical. I can't live with that so I am going to do a new front panel with a new design. It wasn't a total waste though, I made some mistakes on the initial front panel which I have learned from.

Step 11: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 12

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 12
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Day 12:
I have started carving the new front panel. The first 2 photos show the panel leaning against the case.  I should be able to finish carving and staining the front panel tommorrow and also clean up the DVD drive cutout.

Step 12: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 13

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 13
Day 13:
Not a lot done today, but I have finished carving the front panel and cut out the hole for the USB ports.

Step 13: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 14

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 14
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Day 14:
Today I printed out the pattern for the other side panel, then traced over the design with a carving knife - took about 1.5 hours. I also drilled out areas on the case for cutting out ventilation holes with the jigsaw. The jigsaw blade broke so I will have to wait until I can get to the hardware store before I can finish off the cutouts.

Step 14: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 15

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 15
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Day 15:
I have done a fair bit today. I cut out the vent holes, and filed them into shape - not before going to the hardware store to get some more jigsaw blades.
I also finished carving the panel. I also stained it. I feel pretty pooped at the moment so not sure how much more, if anymore, work I will do today.

Step 15: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 16

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 16
Day 16:
Today I realised two problems with the mod. The top panel fan is in the way of the DVD drive. I can either have one or the other as they take up the same space. I decided to go with the DVD drive as priority and just have a grill over under the fan cutout. I also realised that I drilled the hole for the DVD drive in the wrong spot. I thought I had the dimensions right but obviously not. I simply puttied the hole, and will take more care for the next hole.
Otherwise everything else is working out well. I made a cutout in the metal frame of the case behind the front panel to allow room for the USB and power and reset switches. Not the greatest cutout job, I could clean it up a little but you don't ever see it.
I also went ahead and stained the front panel, even though I haven't drilled the holes for the switches.
I epoxied the DVD drive door to a piece of MDF in the front panel.

Step 16: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 17

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 17
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Day 17:
Not a great deal done today as I am waiting for my PSU from Thermaltake before I can do the electricals. I cut out a fan grill and fixed it to the top panel. As there is no room for a fan, the grill pretty much just works as passive cooling by letting heat out - hot air rises.

Step 17: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 18

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 18
Day 18:
Worked on some electrics today, not sure if I have done it right until I hook up the switches to the motherbaord. In the photo, I just tested the wiring for the power on using a 9V battery.

Step 18: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 19

Day 19:
I received my PSU from Thermaltake. Excellent quality build and excellent prducts....I already have a 700w Toughpower PSU in my main rig. I also varnished all the panels today with a matte finish.

Step 19: Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 20

Picture of Wood Carved Computer Case - Day 20
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Day 20:
I got my clear acrylic in the mail today. I have cut it int 2 pieces and fixed it to the side panel with the holes cutout for it. Just waiting on some screws so I can fix the motherbard inside the case. I also soldered the HDD and reset headers to the switches. I also had to wire the LED's for the switches to a fan header so I can get 12V as I purchased the wrong switches.
I think overall the case is looking good with the coat of lacquer I put on, seems to give the panels more depth and contrast.
This wraps up the case modification. All I need to do now is put in the hardware. I hope you found this helpful.
mşen7 months ago

Beyond awesome !!!

I am into the same stuff provided that I furnish it with more cooling solutions in addition to my water cooling...

Way to go, masterful artistry...

nerd747311 months ago

OMG nice build... I am going to school to become a desktop support technician... and I have never seen a build like this great work... I just got my old laptop to run Linux but just barely, I had to use nvidia drivers to make it run and install...

antdada2 years ago
OMG!! This is OUTSTANDING! My 10 yr old son was walking by and seen this and said "Wow! That is Awesome!". You done great work!
Great work! Really loved this project, to the point that it has inspired me to (attempt to) carve the MDF panels on a piece of furniture I’m building…. (which I bet doesn’t work out as well as your PC, but oh well! lol)

Was there any websites, etc you got inspiration for your carving designs? I’m really struggling to come up with design ideas for what to carve out, and could do with a few examples to get ideas from!
aespie-whitburn (author)  daman29719853 years ago
Thanks, glad you like it. In terms of inspiration, I was inspired by celtic knotwork and worked that theme into my design. Just look for things that inspire you and work from there. I used google images to look up celtic knotwork and found it a great source of reference ideas.
Wo0kiE3 years ago
this reeks of sheer awesomeness...
very nicely done
Wow! Awesome!
I rellay like that it straddles the wood/leather look. It is just gorgeous.
dexter08113 years ago
This is artfully ingenious. Great.
slaitch3 years ago
Just a wild suggestion on my part, feel free to ignore it, but I think yellow or amber LEDs for the power and hard drive activity would look better than red. Maybe even those candle flicker LEDs.
I agree with you Slaitch, Ember or Yellow would look nice in this case.
This is great. did you happen to notice any difference in the heat flow on the inside after you were finished. Also were you using all stock parts or did you overclock anything. What I am getting at is that I love woodwork but I also overclock just about everything so I wonder if this would hinder that at all. Anyway it looks great! Thanks for sharing
taha_mys3 years ago
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MaXoR3 years ago
I am a 15+ year computer "nerd" as most would say, I also work as a repair tech for my local computer store... makes it sound really small but we gross over 180,000 a month in sales.

Either way, this is BEAUTIFUL.... stunning really.... I'm totally taken back at the craftsmanship in here, and the detail in your work. You're obviously an artist in your own right.

This has inspired me, I will be starting my own build on one of these. I'm not even close to the craftsman you obviously are but mine will not just be a wooden box either.

Thank you for building this beautiful case, it's really nice to see that 300 fans, and mesh sides aren't the ONLY thing you can do with a PC case!!
aespie-whitburn (author)  MaXoR3 years ago
Thanks for the compliment, I'm glad you like my case. Look forward to seeing what you come up with so make sure you put it up on here when done.
ben_k3 years ago
Looks great! I've been following the build on TBCS since you started.
aespie-whitburn (author)  ben_k3 years ago
Thanks, glad you like it. Do you have a mod or scratch build on TBCS I can look at?
Yes, I have a few. I posted one here as well:

Scratch built HTPC:

http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21741
http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-Birch-and-Mahogany-Home-Theater-PC/

PowerMac G5 to ATX conversion:

http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?t=26108

Mini iMac - I finished it, but it isn't running due to broken USB ports on motherboard:

http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?t=26252
kretzlord3 years ago
ooh, throw some nixie tubes on there for the perfect steampunk case mod. Absolutely wonderful woodwork btw
mr.frob3 years ago
elegant
lafnbear3 years ago
Amazing, outstanding work! One comment, and I totally mean this complimentarily (if that's even a word...), not critically: without any indication of wood grain, I think the result looks more like tooled leather than carved wood; still amazing!

Question: what's MDF like to carve? I would think it would be easier without grain, especially for such intricate curves, etc.; but, any drawbacks?
aespie-whitburn (author)  lafnbear3 years ago
Thanks, yes, I suppose it does look a bit like leather. MDF is quite nice to carve, like you said, because it doesn't have grain to contend with. The main drawbacks are it doesn't stain well with normal wood stains, it can get quite fuzzy in spots that are to hard to sand and that the dust is toxic so always wear a mask and goggles. Apart from that I love carving it.
dimtick3 years ago
nice project. way beyond my patience level.
good job!
aespie-whitburn (author)  dimtick3 years ago
thanks, I found if I only did a small bit every day and not push myself, the project was manageable/tollerable.
CrLz3 years ago
Beautiful work!