This Instructable will show you how to turn an old PC case into a music gear rack, laptop stand, and computer desk organizer.
Step 1: Gather Materials
Note: You will probably realize that this project will only be good for shallow, lighter weight rack gear, and is definitely not a good option for heavy power amps or for transportation, unless you modify my design. This may work for keeping computer recording gear, such as interfaces, pre-amps and such organized and neat looking.
Materials and Tools Needed:
*An old (preferrably non-working) PC or PC case with an interior width of around 17.5" on one side, as this is about how wide a rack-mount device is. You should definitely measure whatever rack gear you will be using to get a good fit.
*Metal cutting tool (Dremel with a metal cutting wheel, Sawzall, grinder with a cutting disc, plasma cutter, etc.)
*Machine bolts, nuts, and washers OR rack mounting screws and hardware
*Drill with bit OR screw bit for Dremel tool
*Gloves (metal is sharp!)
*Saftey glasses (Please!)
*Hot glue gun or tape
Step 2: Strip the PC of Useless Components
For my project, I used an old Gateway 2000. Take off all of the side paneling and plastic and unplug all the cables. Take out the drives, the cards, fans, power supply, motherboard, everything that unscrews can come out. This particular system still worked, but with only 333 mhz and 4 gigs of hard drive space, it is pretty much useless. Time to make something fun and useful out of it!
Step 3: Measure
Figure out how your rack gear is going to fit in the case and mark your measurements with the permanent marker. I decided that my case would work best using the case sideways, and using the front as the top. The parts on the top and bottom of the pc case that fold over are where I put the holes to mount the gear, although I had to trim off part of the flange.
Step 4: Cut Away!
Grab your cutting tool of choice, safety glasses and gloves and start chopping! I decided I wanted two rack spaces, with some extra space on bottom for my external hard drive and various extras. Also, I decided I didn't want the back on it. This reduces the stability, but it doesn't matter too much once you have the rack gear holding the rack in place. One of my legs ended up being rather flimsy on its own, but with the gear screwed in it's not an issue at all. I also decided to leave the 90 degree turn and about 3/8" of a flange on the back as well, for added stability instead of just chopping the whole back off.
Step 5: Side Note: Annoying Rivets?
If your computer case, like mine, has any stupid rivets holding a piece on that you don't want, don't cut the metal off, just get rid of the rivets. I used a Dremel with a metal cutting disc to cut a slot in the rivet, an then it was just a simple tap with a center punch and a hammer and the rivet was gone!
Step 6: Make Some Holes
Put your rack gear in the new case where you want it and measure where the holes line up with the railing/flange. Then, cut a hole out to match the size of whatever machine screw you're using. I used a fairly small diameter screw, but I may upgrade to real rack screws when I get the chance. My small screws worked just fine, though. I used the center punch to make an indention, then I drilled the hole out with a cordless drill. Use a fast speed and very little pressure. Now would also be a good time to bust out the grinding bit on the Dremel and clean up the rough edges of the cut metal. I also covered any rough metal edges with hot glue to avoid being cut, although tape may work better.
Step 7: Mount Your Gear and Get Organized!
The fit was tight, but my gear mounted up just fine. I used the a washer to prevent the screw head from messing up the paint on the rack gear, as well as make the head bigger. The nut goes on the inside and holds the screw in tightly (duh!) The next step is to organize everything on your desk and get your laptop up on level with your external monitor for a sweet video editing setup! And yes, my FP10 is not mounted with screws; it just sits on top of the power strip so I can pull it out and take it places.