Cyberpunk Themed Briefcase Computer

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Introduction: Cyberpunk Themed Briefcase Computer

Originally, I used to own a gaming laptop; it cost more than I thought it was worth considering its specifications. Being a laptop, when it wasn’t plugged in, it would lower the amount of power the components would draw in order to conserve battery life. Of course, this would cause a significant performance hit when gaming. So, I almost never used it away from a power outlet for the few years that I owned it. On top of that, its keyboard stopped working after little over a year without any obvious explanation. I had babied the thing. I had always kept the screen clean and would never place food or drink on the same table as the laptop. Anyway, the cost to replace the keyboard was over $250. I thought this was ridiculous. So, I thought it would be great to make a portable desktop computer that used cheaper desktop components. I also found appeal in the idea that I could upgrade the PC indefinitely with standard desktop components. Bear in mind that this intractable is a rough guide. Please don’t follow it to the letter. I’ll walk you through my process, the parts I used, and a few recommendations for Improving upon my build. This is a first attempt prototype. I’m already in the process of making a revision with an improvement to the design.

Supplies

PC Hardware:

Flexible PCI-E Rizer Cable 16x (EZDIY-FAB PCI Express 16x 20cm 90 degrees fit for FD R6 Case)

15.6 Inch USB Powered Portable Monitor ( Cocopar 15.6” Portable Monitor Matte)

power button (Warmstor 2 Pack Desktop Computer Case Motherboard Power Switch 2 Pack)

fan splitter 4 pin (Noctua NA-SYC1 4 pin Y-Cable 2 Pack)

hdmi cable of appropriate length

M.2 NVME SSD (500gb samsung 970 evo)

2x 120mm Case Fans (EZDIY-FAB 120mm PWM Purple LED Case Fans 3 Pack)

SFX form factor Power Supply (evga SuperNOVA 550 GM 80 Plus Gold)

Mini ITX Motherboard (MSI B450I gaming AC wifi motherboard)

CPU (Ryzen 2700 non x 200)

low profile CPU cooler (noctua cpu cooler NH-L9a-AM4)

Memory Pair (corsair vengeance 32gb)

Double Slot Video Card under 8” in length (evga 3060XC)

Keyboard (eagletec KG011 mechanical keyboard)

RGB LED Strip 3ft

LED Strip Connector Kit (NIAVIKA LED Light Strip Connector Kit for 5050 RGB LED 4 Pin)

Tools:

Phillips ScrewDriver

Electric Hand Drill with Assorted Drill Sizes

table saw

105mm 4 1/8” Circular Saw Drill Bit

Dremmel with Basic Tip Kit

Jigsaw with Blades for wood and metal

Sand paper

Metal file

Materials:

1/2” plywood 9” x 14” (monitor mount)

½” Plywood 18” 14” (Base Board Insert)

½” Plywood cut to produce two 3” x 5” pieces (Reinforcement pieces)

¼” plywood 20” x 4” (IO Shield)

¼” poly carbonate or similar material 20” x 9” (Holds Fans)

¾” Aluminum Angle Stock cut to produce two 5” pieces (Holds wooden Reinforcement Pieces)

¾” Aluminum Angle Stock Cut to a 9” piece (magnet holder)

½” Aluminum Angle Stock Cut to produce two 5” pieces (left and right lower poly carbonate support)

½” Aluminum Angle Stock Cut to a 12” Piece (rear lower poly carbonate support)

Aluminum Trim Channel for ¼” plywood cut to a 12” piece (rear upper poly carbonate support)

¼” square aluminum bar stock cut to a 12” piece ( left and right upper poly carbonate support)

½” solid wood or plastic cut to produce two 4 ¼” x 7/8” pieces (support and spacer for video card)

Wood glue

Electrical tape

Small pull ties

Magnetic tape 1/8” (Kraftex)

Epoxy Glue

General Hardware:

8x brass standoffs (for motherboard mount)

4x motherboard screws (fastening motherboard to standoffs)

4x #6-32 x 3/8” machine screws pan head *use washers for spacing* (mounting power supply)

8x #6 ½” sheet metal screws pan head (front lower aluminum support brackets attached to baseboard)

8x #6-32 ½” machine screws Phillips flat head *include hex heads*( securing magnets to holder and keyboard)

6x #6 x ¾” sheet metal screws pan head (2x secures magnet holder to front lower support brackets and 4x adds reinforcement to handle area from the exterior into the front lower wood supports)

11x #6-32 x ½” machine screws pan head *include 7 hex heads*(for aluminum pieces that support the poly carbonate)

8x #10 x 1” sheet metal screws pan head (for securing fans to the poly carbonate)

4x #8 1 ¼” machine screws pan head *include 4 hex heads* (will secure the base board to the case)

4x 1 ¼” exterior construction screw (securing gpu support to the baseboard)

4x machine screws pan head 3/8" long (used for attaching wood
monitor mount to the vesa mount on the monitor)

4x machine screws pan head between 5/8" and 6/8" long *include 4 hex heads (used for securing wood monitor mount to the top part of the case)

Step 1: Building the Base Board

The first step that I took in making this briefcase PC was to measure and cut the base board to fit the inner contour of the bottom of the case. This will of course vary from case to case. Using the Board measurements, I planned out the arrangement of components with consideration to vertical and horizontal dimensions to ensure everything would fit and function properly. Next, I measured out and drilled holes of appropriate size all the way through the base board. I then filled the holes with wood glue before inserting the 4 standoffs. I added additional wood glue to the back of the standoff for extra material strength. I proceeded to screw in the other 4 standoffs into the already glued ones. This would serve to appropriately elevate the motherboard from the base board.

Next, I drilled two small holes through both of the 4 1/8" long wood or plastic pieces. Then, I drilled two more holes through them. I used the exterior construction screws to secure the pieces of wood to the baseboard. I made sure they were recessed into the wood. I proceeded to drill 4 more holes this time through the baseboard and the case. I used the 1 1/4" machine screws with hex heads to secure the board to the case. Then I primed and painted the board.

I then cut a rectangular hole through the left side of the case using the hand drill and then the jigsaw to make room for the power supply to ensure their was adequate air flow. I measured it out carefully and drilled 4 small holes for the #6-32 x 3/8" machine screws to hold the power supply in place.

See pictures for details. Notice I used a small piece of

Step 2: Fan Mount

Using a drill, I drilled 4 holes on the left and right side of the case. These will hold the ½”aluminum angle stock and the 1/4" square bar stock that will secure the piece of poly carbonate. I also drilled 3 holes on the rear to hold a 12" piece of 1/2" aluminum angle stock glued to the aluminum trim channel piece with epoxy. This acted as the rear support for the poly carbonate. Upon cutting the poly carbonate to size, I drilled two large 105mm holes and 4 small holes around each where the fans would be mounted. I used long #10 1" sheet metal screws for this. One fan would be the intake and the other the exhaust. I then cut out a small portion of the poly carbonate and glued the power button in place with epoxy. Also, I added a small amount of electrical tape were the poly carbonate would contact the aluminum supports to ensure a snug fit as well as to eliminate scratches. See pictures for details

Step 3: Adding GPU, PSU, and Motherboard

Next, I fastened the GPU to the two wood blocks using small pull ties that run through opening on the backplate and the small holes in the wood blocks (I also used electrical tape for protection and grip). I wanted to make sure there was even support. Then I mounted the power supply in place over the rectangular hole cut with the jigsaw using the mentioned #6-32 x 3/8" machine screws. I also used a thin wooden piece to act as a spacer for the power supply so I wouldn't have to cut through the aluminum. You're mileage will vary depending on the case you're using. Ensure you use washers for spacing to ensure the screws only go in as far as they need to. I used 3 for each screw. Finally, I mounted the motherboard as you would in any case to the 4 standoffs.

Step 4: Structure

The next step should be self explanatory from the images. I used the pieces of aluminum to secure the wood supports to the base board. I also have screws running from the outside of the case to add further strength to the handle area. Another aluminum piece is used to hold the magnet and serve as a magnetic support system for the keyboard. These sections that are created from this support system are intended to be used as storage for mouse, flash drives, etc...

Step 5: Keyboard

I used this particular keyboard for aesthetic purposes. I would recommend using a shorter one that allows you to use a piece of polycarbonate that covers the entire rear PC component section. I opened the keyboard and re positioned the wire off to the size for ease of use. You should probably use a wireless one if you can. It will make the computer easier to use. Also, used screws to secure the other part of the magnet system to hold the keyboard securly in place when carrying the computer around.

Step 6: Mounting the Monitor

I used a board to distribute the weight stress on the case caused by the monitor. The monitor mounts to the board. The board mounts to the case with screws that are spread further apart. Before mounting, I added an RGB LED light strip for back lighting. This color changing is controlled via MSI software available on their website.

Step 7: Conclusion

Overall, I'm pleased with how it turned out despite its weight. However, I intend to make a lighter and more compact version using a case made from scratch using all 90 degree angles. It will still use readily available desktop components of course. I also plan to design these builds using Tinkercard instead of pencil and paper. I'm considering making 2 versions. The first will be thinner than this one but will contain a full size 24" display. The second will be thin as well but will use a 15.6" display. However, it will use a significantly smaller keyboard and will use integrated graphics instead of a discrete GPU. The last thing I forgot to mention is the clear vinyl sticker. You should add whatever you like. I added this Cyberpunk decal to fit with the aesthetic I was going for. This is for demonstration purposes only. I do not take credit for the artwork. This instructable was my first one. I would have preferred to have added more detail but I ran short on time. I apologize that I couldn't have gone into more detail. Please ask any questions you have.

Step 8: Thermals and Benchmarks

I used Unigene Superposition to benchmark the GPU and Prime 95 for the CPU

The temperature for the CPU never went over 71 C during my tests for 30 minutes

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    9 Comments

    0
    AuxiliaryPanther
    AuxiliaryPanther

    4 months ago

    The only downside to this appears to be the depth below the keyboard. What would you think of flipping it so the keyboard is on the lid and the computer internals are hidden behind the display? That would make the keyboard feel much better when placed on a table.

    0
    Patrick Vernae
    Patrick Vernae

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thanks, I appreciate your recommendation. I completely agree with
    the keyboard aspect issue. I'll work that into the revision.
    However, I do think that having the top part of the lid change shape partway to
    accommodate the ideal position of the keyboard might work better. Because the case will be
    made from scratch, I'll cut in such a way that the top half of the case
    will taper down slightly to provide more room to use the keyboard. It will
    also serve as a monitor hood that will help to block out light and
    reduce glare. That's the idea anyway. I've included a basic side view of
    what that might look like. Again, thanks for sharing.

    I uploaded this comment previously but it didn't go through for some reason

    0
    Patrick Vernae
    Patrick Vernae

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thanks, I appreciate your recommendation. I completely agree with
    the keyboard aspect issue. I've worked that into the next revision.
    However, I do think that having the top part of the lid change shape partway to
    accommodate the ideal position of the keyboard might work better. Because the case will be
    made from scratch, I'll cut in such a way that the top half of the case
    will taper down slightly to provide more room to use the keyboard. It will
    also serve as a monitor hood that will help to block out light and
    reduce glare. That's the idea anyway. I've included a basic side view of
    what that might look like. Again, thanks for sharing.

    I uploaded this comment previously but it didn't go through for some reason

    0
    Patrick Vernae
    Patrick Vernae

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thanks, I appreciate the your recommendation. I completely agree with the keyboard aspect issue. I've worked that into the next revision. However, I do think that having the top part of the lid change shape to accommodate the ideal position of the keyboard. Because the case will be made from scratch, I'll cut in such a way that the top half of the case will taper down slightly to make it easier to use the keyboard. It will also serve as a monitor hood that will help to block out light and reduce glare. That's the idea anyway. I've included a basic side view of what that might look like. Again, thanks for sharing

    BriefcasePC_2.jpg
    0
    Patrick Vernae
    Patrick Vernae

    Reply 4 months ago

    I completely agree. The usability could be improved by having the keyboard closer to desk level. Thanks for pointing it out. I was considering this for the second version that I plan on making. While I could have the internals placed behind the monitor, I want everything to be as concealed as possible while the case is closed. I'd rather not have exposed fan intakes and exhaust. I was thinking that with a custom case from wood or aluminum I could use a custom shape for how the case would close. I was specifically thinking of cutting out some of the lower half of the case that would widen part of the top of the case at the same time. this would make room for the keyboard that would allow it to be used more comfortably. It would also serve as a monitor hood while the computer is open.

    BriefcasePC_2.jpg
    0
    Patrick Vernae
    Patrick Vernae

    Reply 4 months ago

    Thanks, I'm pleased with how the aesthetics turned out

    0
    seamster
    seamster

    4 months ago

    Very nice work! : )

    0
    Patrick Vernae
    Patrick Vernae

    Reply 4 months ago

    Thanks, the second version will be even better