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Wood case

Joined
Jul 11, 2016
Messages
4
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z170X-UD3
CPU
i7-7700k
Graphics
GTX 960
Hi everyone, I've been using my Hack for work for ~3 yrs now, but my wife encouraged me finally (and I quote): "go get your s*** online." So here's the build!

Big thanks to the community here for all that you do. Without the build guides and forums here, I never would have been able to get the machine running in the first place.

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“Compline” is my wooden PC case design. The case is genuine maple hardwood (no veneer or fiberboard here). The lighting elements are ⅜” (10mm) acrylic, edge-lit with LEDs. It all fits to the ATX form factor spec, so I can swap out hardware in the future.

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I used a table saw, sliding compound miter saw, router, and wood glue to make the wooden parts. I loved the grain and color of the maple so much that I left it in its natural color, and just used polyurethane to protect it. The obvious exception is the outer corner, which is stained maple.

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Some seamless photos for my webpage. (I couldn’t help it. I’m in the video & photo industry - see below for backstory).

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I made the frame from aluminum extrusion. I absolutely love the color and texture and smooth lines of extrusion, and I’m so pleased I got to use it in the design.


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The panel slides on a linear rail driven by a small servo, which is governed by a simple Arduino board and switch.

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My personal rig in the case

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I experimented with a lot of internal configurations in this first model. In this one I made the drive cage from aluminum bar and home-poured silicone caulking (for vibration isolation), but in future iterations of the design, I think for simplicity’s sake I’ll go with pre-built drive cages and vibration dampeners.

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I learned a lot from working on the physical design, so I picked up CAD (Fusion 360) to help me finalize the next iteration.

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I’m making the internal assembly totally removable, so you can pull the computer out of the case to make hardware changes, and drop it back in when you’re done.

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Personal system specs in my signature. I'm a freelance video editor on Premiere Pro, so my hardware is geared for that. The more hardware-savvy among you might ask why I don’t have the latest i9, 2080Ti etc. etc., but truth is I’m really efficient with 4.9 GHz and 48GB RAM, it’s all I need :) The 7700k is de-lidded and overclocked.

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From the first test in the shop

Backstory: I’m a freelance video editor by trade, and a few years ago I started an aerial videography company that made drone videos for real estate brokers. In 2016 I started building a Hack to keep up with the video editing, with plans to slowly upgrade the hardware over time, as-needed. I was helping my wife through grad school and we scrimped every way we could. I migrated my files from macOS over to my Hackintosh machine, and Skylake literally provided our bread and butter for a while.

After a few months, though, I felt that my cheap black plastic case was an eyesore in our studio apartment. I wanted a user-serviceable, standard-form-factor case that was aesthetically pleasing to have in our cozy home. So I built one.

At first the enclosure was just a “shell” clamped around a brutally modded Corsair case, but this year I finally replaced the frame with aluminum extrusion :)

The final design represents several years of part-time tinkering and many revisions to my prototype model, but I’ve been very happy with the results. The physical “presence” in the room is very friendly and calm.

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Thanks for reading, everyone! I've absolutely loved working on the project, and I'm looking forward to making a few more of these this summer for a couple of folks who have requested it.
 

trs96

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Joined
Jul 31, 2012
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That's one thing you can't get when you buy an iMac or Mac Pro from Apple, the satisfaction of having built it yourself. There is no brushed AL enclosure that anyone makes that is as beautiful as real wood IMO. Really a work of art. Nice job. What I'm wondering is how much air gets into and out of the case ? Is the opening in the front large enough ? What kinds of temperatures do you get when doing video work in Premiere Pro ?
 
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Joined
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Dell 7040 MT (Q170)
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That’s a beautiful Hackintosh sir!. I thought about doing a ‘Nintendo Labo’ Hackintosh with cardboard and rubber bands but this is so much better. Great job.
 

trs96

Moderator
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
17,057
Motherboard
GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
CPU
i5-4690K
Graphics
HD4600 / RX 570
Mac
iMac, Mac mini
Mobile Phone
Android
That’s a beautiful Hackintosh sir!. I thought about doing a ‘Nintendo Labo’ Hackintosh with cardboard and rubber bands but this is so much better. Great job.
I've seen some people make their case from Legos. My preference would be real Maple wood as shown in the OP.
 
Joined
Dec 20, 2018
Messages
177
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NUC7
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i5
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HD 620
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What an incredibly beautiful case and build. I love the these two worlds ... natural wood and hi-tech .... Brough together so well. Thank you for sharing. My brother is an amateur / home hobby woodworker and I'm going to share this with him, with a little hint hint that I wouldn't mind if he built me something similar, inspired by your work!
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2016
Messages
4
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z170X-UD3
CPU
i7-7700k
Graphics
GTX 960
That's one thing you can't get when you buy an iMac or Mac Pro from Apple, the satisfaction of having built it yourself. There is no brushed AL enclosure that anyone makes that is as beautiful as real wood IMO. Really a work of art. Nice job. What I'm wondering is how much air gets into and out of the case ? Is the opening in the front large enough ? What kinds of temperatures do you get when doing video work in Premiere Pro ?
Thank you! It feels much more "at home" than my old Macs ever did.

I haven't quantified CFM or anything, but since the 3 intake fans are sealed on all sides, the static pressure difference draws sufficient air through the slot. When I'm rendering in Premiere / AME I think the CPU gets up to 72C. I saw it get higher in the initial overclocking torture tests, but admittedly I'm a complete novice in overclocking and I suspect someone more knowledgeable could do better
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2016
Messages
4
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z170X-UD3
CPU
i7-7700k
Graphics
GTX 960
What an incredibly beautiful case and build. I love the these two worlds ... natural wood and hi-tech .... Brough together so well. Thank you for sharing. My brother is an amateur / home hobby woodworker and I'm going to share this with him, with a little hint hint that I wouldn't mind if he built me something similar, inspired by your work!
Thanks! There's more photos on my site too for reference. If it interests you and/or your brother, I shamelessly drew inspiration from the "Chiaroscuro" build (with apologies to Nick Falzone) and the "Tenuis" build by Gtek, although I wanted mine to take after James Turrell
 
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