The "Clockworkers Server"





Introduction: The "Clockworkers Server"

About: I am a home constructor, an inventor and a dreamer. If you ask me who guided me and who inspired me then this people comes in mind: Carl Benz, Guglielmo Marconi, James Watt, Thomas Alva Edison, Nicolas Tesla...

Even modern clock workers need servers to store their data.
I would like to have a server that can be switched on by a winding key for clocks.

Unfortunately you can´t buy such a switch. But you can build it! :-)

The server is a tower with the following dimensions:

16 cm to 16 cm and 50 cm high.
The case is made from multiplex wood.
It is stained with black stain and painted with shellac.

Step 1: The Parts for the Computer

You need:
  • atx mini power supply
  • a fan
  • one ore two harddisks (I used two hard disk´s 512 GByte for the data and 60 GByte for Windows 2000 and the storage for the FTP - Server and the Web Server.
  • a motherboard (3,5 inch formfactor) This MB will fit exactly the size of a 3.5 ´´ harddisk. It has LAN 10/100, VGA and one IDE Connector on board. I attached 512 MByte RAM.
  • two jointer for woodwork (steel)
  • some pieces of wood
  • Windows 2000 server (I bought one package with 5 CAL´s for 30.- EUR) WIN 2000 Server has two free RDP connections for administration.
  • Filezilla Server (FTP)
  • Apache (WEB - Server)

Step 2: Building the Frame

I mounted everything between the two jointer. The only thing I have to do (to make the hard disk´s fit) is to widen the holes a bit.
With the hard disk´s in place I have had a perfect frame for mounting the power supply and the fan.
There is only one fan that cools the power supply and the mother board as well.
After the cabling I installed WIN 2000 server, apache and file zilla server on it. Then I made a final test and everything was OK. :-)

Step 3: Building the Stand and the Case

The stand was made from 2pieces of 21mm multiplex wood. The frame was mounted with two pieces of wood on the stand.
After I tried the right position for the frame I stained and painted the stand and did the final mounting.

The case was made from thin multiplex and stained and painted as well. On the top is a wide opening for the air flow. Later covered by another piece of stained and painted multiplex.

Step 4: Building and Mountig the Switch

For the switch you need:
  • a piece of wood (for mounting everything together)
  • a micro switch
  • two adjusting collars (6mm diameter)
  • a piece of 6mm round brass
  • a 6mm bracket
  • some screws
  • a spring
Firts file the round piece of brass to square so that it fits the winding key.
Than mount it together as shown on picture four.
Connect it to the power on switch of your computer.

I mounted the switch in my case so it lays exact behind a hole in the middle of my tower.
See pictures 5 - 7.

Now you can turn the winding key to switch the server on and off. It looks like a clockwork. ;-)

With kind regards,

Horatius Steam



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    24 Discussions

    Incredibly elegant case design! I have a wonderful old victorian-era key I would love to use in a case build to turn on my computer, but the on/off switch on my monitor is "touch sensitive." Any suggestions on how to use a key to turn on a touch sensitive switch?

    I think you could create a whole Instructable on how to create a "key switch" to turn on a computer... I'm sure there are plenty of other steampunk modders who would benefit from your expertise.

    Absolutely love this "Clockworker's Server"... 5 stars!

    1 reply


    may be yes. I you touch the key and turn it against the touch sensitive area it must switch on or of.
    Try it with a piece of metal in your hand...

    Kind regards,

    Horatius steam

    So, that motherboard is a Pico-itx form factor(3.9 × 2.8 in)?

    I absolutely adore your use of the old clock key for the on/off switch.

    Any chance we could get a picture of the backside?
    I know it's the least steampunk part, but I'd like to see how you designed the PSU fan cover.

    2 replies

    I uploaded the picture of the back and placed it at the last page.

    You ca see there are only two hole for power and the LAN cable.
    The air intake is in the base plate. The airflow is from the hole in the base plate against the CPU and then it flows up to top.
    Quite effective.


    H. Steam

    You might need to "unpublish" and "re-publish" this instructable to correct the spelling in the title. There are probably a lot of Makers out there getting in big trouble at work right now! LOL

    Great project!

    1 reply

    first that mini pc, now this epic thing?
    man, you are on fire! im still working on mine and youve already done 2!

    epic job here.

    It's called "Baltic Plywood" in the US. Looks similar to "regular" plywood except that it's made of birch and the plies are thinner than typically seen in regular plywood. More expensive, but better quality and finer grained, so it can be cut into more detailed shapes.

    You could cool the tower better by elevating the hardware higher on the frame and putting a large fan under the hardware with enough space on the bottom to draw air up from the cooler ground. The tower of course would need open space in the bottom to draw the air in. Also, you could add a fan that blows the hot air upward and out of the frame. These two fans would act as a draw and push for the air cooling of the system.


    What is the adress of your website?

    ...and where can i get the brass corners you used for your server? (die Messing-Eckenschützer...)


    1 reply

    My website is

    The brass corners are from Kock & Sack in Hamburg

    They have a lot of brass nuts, bolts etc. as well.

    Nearly every object you present surprises new with its funny ideas!
    Great job;-)))

    Nice build! I'm curious, why use Windows 2000? It's past its end of lifetime and no longer gets security updates.

    1 reply

    It was there and for internal purposes (intranet on conventions and RPG´s) its save enough and it´s only 30.- EUR including 5 CAL´s.
    And FREENAS is not running on that motherboard.

    With kind regards,

    Horatius Steam

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest the title should be "Clockwork Server" rather than "Cockworkers Server". I could be wrong though.

    3 replies

    no, there is no clockwork in the server (what a nice idea) it should be a server for a clock worker. :-)

    Thank you and kind regards,

    H. Steam

    To add further clarification, in the title of the instructible there is no lowercase "L". Certainly some people will be disappointed if they arrive here expecting something of a different er... nature.