Briefcase PC Mod

Introduction: Briefcase PC Mod

I couldn't afford a laptop, and I wanted the performance of my desktop anyway, so I built "or" shall I say "rebuilt" my PC into this Aluminum Electricians case I picked up from my local "Home Depot" for $25 +sales tax. I can't emphasize Enough the old DIY rule "Measure Twice, Cut Once"  I partially ignored this rule,and...Well.....The portable PC could look alot better than it does. As you can see, it works though. the monitor is an AOC 18.5" LCD thats mounted in the very large hole cut in the lid of this case. with the front bezel/case removed so it could be flush with the inside of the lid panel. there are also grooves in the side rails that normally hold the paneling in place. I cut out the outside wall of this groove on both right & left sides of the lid, leaving the inner side of the grooves alone, they serve as a holder for the monitor,and doesn't let it fall all the way through the lid.  I found out later as I was making my first cut, that the panels in this case are high strength cardboard with a thin aluminum venier.That being said, the only issues I ran into were: (Expansion Card Clearance) and (The cardboards and hinge integraty when mounting the screen). The monitor's power cord shares the same socket the 500Watt supply uses. It just took a little soldering and some electrical tape. Except for its cover (for fan mounting purposses) the supply's casing has been completely removed, and the curcuit board mounted directly to the bottom of the case using fine thread machine screw with matching nuts and lockwashers.
There is no modding to the VGA cable. It has been coiled up and hidden behind the motherboard tray. That tall expansion card you see in the middle of the case is my GT220 Graphics Card. It created the biggest clearance issues. I'll later swap it out for a low-profile version. This one of the biggest reasons for mounting the screen the way I did. "The biggest" reason for this however is that I want to eventually install a pretty plexiglass cover over the mobo, disc drives,etc. for static and dust protectin. Not to mention electrical saftey. The strings that you see on each side of the case are neccesary for structural support of the monitor "it weighs 10lbs." and the hinges, and cardboard can't support the screen on their own, hence the guide wires.It also helps shift the weight toward the enter of the case. This makes it less likely to tip back and fall. I learned this the hard way when I had my project sitting on a TV tray. If it weren't for my quick reflexes...I wouldn't be writting this instructable. Sorry there is no step by step how to... but the design and layout will vary from person to person, depending on what parts you use and the physical size of your motherboard. Though I'd suggest a "Micro ATX" MoBo, as space is at a HIGH priemium inside this particular case. There are larger cases availible but they cost a whole lot more than this one did. The total weight of this project as it is now. is about 20 lbs. But it is still considred portable becaus it closes up and is easily carried to a car or into a library. OH! I almost forgot a very important piece of info on this "Porta-PC" Yes I just made that up, LOL :-p, anyway the monitor is held in place by 2 straps of NYLON WEBBING from and old backpack. More of those machine screws and nuts hold the ends to the top and bottom edge of the case lid. Make sure your straps are as tight and taught as you can get them or your screen may work its way free of the case, and fall off. "trust me" You don't want to have to replace this $100 beauty.($99.99 WalMart special) Tightning the straps may take more than one person to do though. someone has to work the wrench/screwdriver, and the other pulling their heart out on the straps. good luck, and happy building.
Windows 7 Home Priemium Edition 64-bit System builders OEM
Zotac GeForce 6100 value Motherboard AM2
Zotac Nvidia GeForce GT 220 512MB 128-bit GPU w/HDMI, DVI, D-sub/VGA
4GB 800Mhz DDR2 RAM 2x 2GB
500Watt CoolMax PSU
500GB 7200 rpm Western Digital SATA2 Hard Disc
ASUS 24x DVDR-RW Burner Drive SATA 2
Rosewill 54Mbps Internal WiFi N-link Card PCI
AMD Athlon X2 2.8 Ghz Dual Core CPU AM2
AOC 18.5" widescreen HD LED backlit LCD Monitor w/ HDMI, DVI, D-Sub/VGA
Logitech Wired USB 2.0 Optical Mouse
InCom Silscone Foldable/Roll-up USB 2.0 KeyBoard
2.1 Dolby Digital Speakers W/Sub-Woofer (not installed when photos were taken,but its there)
USB XBOX360 Common Controller (for gaming)
Case: HUSKY 20"x12"x8" Aluminum Electrician's Attache (Home Depot)

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    7 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    How is the case holding up? Also how did you make sure that this is grounded?(I'm doing basicly the same project in the same case)


    6 years ago

    This is awesome!! It helped inspire how I made mine! Check out my channel to see


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah they came out with those in the early 80's mine is vastly more powerful though.