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This summer I was in need of a new computer.  The Hewlett Packard Touchscreen Envy 17 inch was falling apart from the moment I got it and I needed more power.

 

I bought Grand Theft Auto 5 in 2015 and my computer was too slow for it.  Fast forward a year and a new emulator came out called cemu.  It is a Wii U emulator that just became functional.  I watched all the little mouth breathers whining cause their computers were running 5 fps while a few elites were playing at maximum speeds.

 

I set out to build a computer.  Starting with the box I chose acrylic also known as polymethyl methacrylate.  It is like plexiglass.

 

This stuff is brittle and every hole that needed to be drilled needed to start with 1/32, then 1/16 then 3/32 and so forth.  Acrylic is strong stuff but because it his made up of long fiber, it chips very very very easy.

 

MEK or Methyl Ethyl Ketone is used as a paint thinner and solvent.  Another use for it is welding plastics together like Acrylic, Lucite and Plexiglass.

When you apply MEK to a smooth flat piece of Acrylic and then hold it to another piece of acrylic without moving, it will never be coming apart again.

 

Acrylic will not bond well or be strong if any piece is narrower than 10 - 12 mm, about 1/2" It needs to dry naturally for at least 1/2 hour and 12 hours for maximum bond.

 

I first cut the piece that the mother board would be attached because this was more of an experiment.

I drilled holes where the standoffs go. 

I cut some 1/8" ABS water softener tube about 3/4" long each.

I bonded the standoffs into the softener tube with a crazy glue type.

I glued the softener tubes into the acrylic piece

After the mother board was secured I lay all the parts out that needed to fit in the case

 

After I got the math figured out I cut all the pieces with a finishing blade saw blade.  Use nothing less.

I cut some strips 1/2" wide by 4 feet and welded them together 3 Ply like toilet paper.

Then I sanded them smooth so I could weld 1" pieces to form an L shape.

This L shape is needed to secure two perpendicular pieces.

 

For the cover I made a recessed opening with a gasketed panel to fit.

 

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The port side is not finished.  I will add a proper face plate and find a home for that power switch.  Getting the cards to secure is tricky business. 

I also have a plan for cable management.

 

This case is a vacuum with minimal turbulence.  The CPU fan draws air in from the port side on bottom and then the heat spreads upward where it is expelled from the Power supply and the exhaust.  The GPU also works with this flow.  My goal of having a truly... silent computer is made.

 

As for the parts list

 

Acrylic sheet 8 mm

CPU 6700K 14 nm

Motherboard Asus Z170-E

Power  EVGA 850 G2  This one has a switch for passive mode. The fan turns off unless it's too hot and it remains silent...

Memory DDR 4 16 GB 2666

CPU Cooling  Noctua NH-D14 I upgraded the fans in the box to 4 pin fans.

Fans  3 Cooler Master Silencio FP 120  800-1400 RPM 6.5 dB     These are sooooo quiet....

Graphics Card   HIS Radeon RX 480 8GB  IceQ X2      This model has built in passive fans.  They stay off unless needed

Hard drive 1  Samsung Evo 850  250 GB 

Hard Drive 2  2 TB 2.5 inch mechanical hard drive containing Hyperspin and emulators

Hard Drive 3  2 TB 3.5 inch mechanical containing bulk downloads.

Audio Card   Asus Xonar Deluxe 7.1 Fully Analog RCA outputs

 

*Edit 1 December 14 2016*

I finished the faceplate side by building the pieces out while allowing room to negotiate cards.

The faceplate fits snug but some of the pieces I fused together have what looks like air trapped in between.

My theory is I clamped them too tight.

I bonded the power button with JB Weld Plastic Bonder and fused some bosses for the zip ties to slide through

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Usually when people say they built a compter, they don't mean they built the actual case as well! Impressive!

 

I would love to build a desk where the computer is built into I, with a glass top so I cold see all the parts..

Thanks.  This was a learning experience with thermo plastics for me. 

Now that I know how this stuff works, my next project is going to be dial controllers for Arkanoid, Tron, Sprint style games. 

Or possibly a minimalistic custom keyboard with Cherry MX keys that are labeled for my special needs.

 

How do you plan on designing you're desk?

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I was coming into this thread expecting a discussion on everybody's PC and what they've done to it. Was not expecting (at all) what you posted here Jake. I gotta say, you make some oddball posts man, but good gravy, that thing is sweet.

 

Plus, I learned something new. Never knew MEK could be used for such a purpose. Kinda gives me some ideas for an airbox on a car...

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I was coming into this thread expecting a discussion on everybody's PC and what they've done to it. Was not expecting (at all) what you posted here Jake. I gotta say, you make some oddball posts man, but good gravy, that thing is sweet.

 

Plus, I learned something new. Never knew MEK could be used for such a purpose. Kinda gives me some ideas for an airbox on a car...

 

I like hearing about computer builds.  Humans have the upper hand in tasks that require strategic planning, decision-making and multitasking. 

To choose the right parts for anything with a chip in it, you need to decide on 3 things;

 

Needs - The most important thing.  Your goal, what is it you do with this computer?

 

Price - The next thing is budget.  Pretty self explanatory.

 

Sacrifices - Most people need to sacrifice performance to meet budget but it could be wattage, acoustics or design choices.

 

 

Some more tips with the acrylic sheets.  If you slowly heat the plastic with a torch, you can make nice curves with it.

When you weld these acrylic pieces together, the parts must be polished flat and at least 10 mm of material to bond.  12.5 is better.

Sometimes I have to hold pieces by hand for 5 minutes before I can leave it set.

After a table saw cut I'm left with a nice edge but it should be glazed with a MAG Torch.  This will polish the surface.

Acrylic sheets can be a foot thick and still transparent.

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You say the material needs to be 10+mm in order to bond. Do you mean the thickness? That's quite thick, I can't say I've ever seen a sheet of acrylic that thick...

 

You wont get a good seal unless at least 10 mm squared wide of material are together.  Thickness is irrelevant except certain instances.  This perpendicular arrangement will bond poorly.  You would need a brace inside or

 

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build the material out in layers until you get the thickness you need.  Now I can lay another piece perpendicular and it would bond nice.

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