First project - I carved a computer!

I finally got around to building the computer case that I started designing about a year ago for use in my HTPC build… It’s a mini-ITX case that incorporates a “slim” DVD, a front I/O panel, a Flex ATX power supply, etc. This particular build is effectively a “prototype” bound for use as my workshop CNC computer being as, after correcting lots of mistakes, I was left only with crappy pieces of pine to work with, which is more than apparent from the images below. That works out ok because I really don’t want the HTPC case to be made of pine. It needs to be produced from a harder, more attractive wood.

There are a number of things that aren’t exactly ideal regarding this prototype including that I had originally intended for the power/reset switches to look more similar to those seen in the following image:

Anyway, the case is kind of cool in that the electronic components (in particular, the DVD drive, the front panel and the solid state hard drive) are all held in place by two “latch plates”; each one being just a piece of wood having a narrow “ledge” upon which a component rests. In addition, each latch plate pivots on wood dowels allowing a spring to be employed so that the component is “latched” in place, thus keeping it from being pulled out of the case (such as when removing a USB cable for instance). As for the SSD or hard drive, I went a step further in adding two small “lock plates” that keep the “drive cage” from moving forward, backward or upward. As a result, this assembly just kind of snaps into place like something you’d find with a commercial computer case. I was pleasantly surprised that all of this just worked as planned… :slight_smile:

You’ll notice from this next image that there’s a set place for locating the case badge which I hope to create eventually. Though the case would be considered large by today’s standards, it’s actually a nice size, both for use as a desktop or HTPC system and for ease of building and maintaining the system (which BTW, the cable snarl you see in the images is mostly the result of my having used a power supply that didn’t have all of the connectors required).

Following is a view with the top removed. Note the springs that are used to apply tension to the latch plates.

This next view is of the back of the computer. Note that the case can accommodate a low profile add-in card (although this feature has yet to be tested as I don’t have such a card for testing purposes and nor do my systems even require one).

In this next image you can see how the DVD drive rests on the two ledge plates. Here, the DVD drive has been slid mostly out of the case.

Next, the front I/O panel is being removed…

Sliding the front I/O panel mostly out of the case provides access to allow you to unlatch the hard drive enclosure…

The drive enclosure is unlatched by gently pivoting the latch plate to the left as shown…

The hard drive just slides right out of the enclosure thus providing access to the motherboard below…

The drive enclosure itself is just two pieces of 1/8" MDF separated by four C-shaped spacers. Note the notch cut in the bottom MDF plate that allows the cables to be run to the hard drive. Incidentally, I had to use small washers to assemble the enclosure because the only screws that I had were too long and the washers kept the opposing screws from interfering with each other.

So that’s my first project – a computer case I’ve dubbed the “ENIAC II” in memory of the first general purpose computer built in the U.S. And of course, it was built on the X-Carve…

… in my little workshop housed in a remodelled, single-car garage…

BTW, hats off and thanks to Inventables for designing and building a great little hobby CNC machine. For the first time ever, my workshop actually feels complete. :wink:


Nice job on the case! I like the latch idea – clever. Where is the air intake for the power supply? Is the front panel perforated?

Thanks! Although it can’t be seen in the images, the 8-inch wide “vent panel” to which the two switches are attached is perforated. It’s just a standard, 19" “1U” rack vent panel cut down to 8 inches.

1 Like

I’m with you, nice CNC machine. And, you have a great shop!

Thanks! Great might be a stretch, but I’ll take it. :wink: