Convert Old Computer Cases to Useful Furniture

In this Instructable (also my first one) I am using the side panels and other parts of old computer cases to create a basic table-like furniture.

The furniture can be modded even more to work as a nightstand or a shelf or small dresser. or what ever you like it to be.

The idea behind this Instructable is not only to show how this furniture was created, but also to give you ideas on how you can create your own designs with the supplies you got available.

Supplies:

  • Old unused computer cases (In this instructable I mostly use the side panels)
  • Pop rivets
  • (Optional) Screws
  • (Optional) other materials for structural and decorative purposes i.e. wood
  • (Optional) Spray Paint for decoration

Tools:

  • Riveter / Rivet Gun
  • Hammer Drill and drill bits for metallic surfaces. I personally prefer Cobalt drill bits for metal
  • Hammer
  • (Optional) Other tools needed to process the material you are going to use

Safety Equipment:

  • Gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges
  • Protection glasses to protect your eyes from metal fragments

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: (Optional) Dismantle the Computer Cases Completly

In case we want to use some parts of the computer other than the side panels (i.e. the 3.5" HDD bay ) that are not easily removable we have to dismantle the case.

Computer cases are held together by a lot rivets, screws and and plastic clips.

Plastic clips are removed by squishing them out of their position

Screws are removed with the help of a screwdriver.

Rivets on the other hand are a tough cookie to crack. The safest way to remove rivets is to drill through them with the hammer drill (drill bit for metal required, in my case I used a 3.5mm drill bit) starting from their head (like the picture above).

As we remove rivets, screws and plastic clips the parts of the case will come out one by one.

Step 2: Make a Shematic of the Desing

The design we are going for in this Instructable is as shown in the picture.

It consists of 3 side panels and a long horizontal metal part (it was found in one of the cases) to increase the structural strength and keep the Left and Right side panel from bending.

The Top panel will be our main surface for the table, so we want it to be as clean as possible. In order to keep it clean we will connect the L and R panels underneath it so that no edges extend out of the surface of the Top panel. We will place our new rivets in the positions indicated by the orange cylinders in the second picture.

In case you want to make a different design it is advised that you make a schematic first.

Step 3: Prepare Our Parts

To use the rivets for connecting our design we have to drill holes in the panels.

  • For the R and L panels we will make use of their back side where they have at least 2 holes ready for us (the side that has the corner and is placed on the back of the computer case).
  • For the Top panel we will have to drill the surface (the rivets' heads will be visible on the final build)

I decided to connect each R and L panel to the Top panel in 3 points. That means 3 holes on each side on the top panel and 1 extra hole in the middle of the back side corner on each R and L panel (2 holes already existed).

For the R and L panels we also have to make a hole in each to connect the horizontal metal part as shown in the schematic.

All the drilling is done with a 4.5mm drill bit for metal.

If the existing holes are not at the right size you will have to make them bigger by drilling them too.

TIP: It is recommended to start drilling slowly at first while at the same time applying vertical force to the surface you drill in order to keep the drill bit in place. If you drill to fast the drill bit will bounce of the surface and cause harm to the panel or even result in physical injury. Be Careful!

The image above shows the Top panel and the drilled holes marked with letter L and the Left panel and the corresponding holes marked with L and an arrow indicating the front side.

(Optional)For the Top panel I decided to flatten the metal pieces sticking out. In order to do that I used a hammer. They could also be cut out and then smoothed with a twin cutter saw.

Step 4: Putting Together the Pieces.

After we drilled all the holes it is time put all the pieces together. I am going to use 4mm width * 5mm height pop rivets.

We start by connecting the R and L panels to the Top panel with the rivets. I start from the outer holes first and leave the middle hole for last. Then we connect the long horizontal metal part to R and L panels.

To place the rivet:

  1. Bring the 2 metal surfaces close together align the holes and keep them like that.
  2. Place the rivet pin through the hole.
  3. Place the riveter on the rivet mandrel.
  4. Squeeze the riveter fully repeatedly until the rivet mandrel breaks.

And that's it.

Step 5: Finish and Polishing

This is my final build for now.

A small table that can also support inner shelves, or it can be hanged on a wall and be used as a shelf itself.

The weight it can handle without bending isn't that great, because of the thin metal used, but it does it's job.

I may add some extra metal bars for durability later. I may paint it too, but this will be a story for another Instructable.

Step 6: More Ideas

Instead of making the same design as this guide you can create your own.

I got a few more ideas to show you, that implement a table using 2 side panels and wood.

The possibilities are infinite!

If you happen to like this Instructable and make you own unique furniture, please share it with us!

Metal Contest

This is an entry in the
Metal Contest

Be the First to Share

    Recommendations

    • CNC Contest

      CNC Contest
    • Make it Move

      Make it Move
    • Teacher Contest

      Teacher Contest

    Discussions

    1
    None
    jessyratfink

    3 days ago

    I never would have thought to use old computer cases as building materials!