PC case: case modding

PC case: case modding: case

Our PC should be more beautiful: Although Case Modding is actually not one of the classic tasks of the handyman, here is plentytechnical precision and creativity asked.

Case modding is by no means limited to simple visual effects on the PC: even tangible technical Improvements in cooling and ventilation as well as in the usability can be achieved.

We give you a little insight into the fascinating world of case modding and a few suggestions for your home PC.

Plexiglas PC: case modding with Plexiglas

Acrylic glass is a highly sought-after material for case modders. The material, which is comparatively easy to process, can be processed and shaped using handyman tools. In addition, acrylic glass is deformable under the action of heat (thermoplastic).

Materials and tools

PC case: case modding: housing

PC case: case modding: power


Plexiglas plates, thickness 0.8 mm:

  • 2x 210 x 490 mm (bottom & lid)
  • 2x 434 x 210 mm (front and back)
  • 2x 474 x 434 mm (side walls)
  • 4 Plexiglas strips, 474 x 20 x 20 mm (fixing strips for side walls)
  • Plexiglas adhesive (e.g., Pattex for Plexiglas)
  • Mainboard tray (metal holder for motherboards)
  • ATX slit diaphragm for plug-in cards
  • Drive brackets for 3.5 "and 5.25" drives
  • Screw sleeves for machine screws M8
  • 4 knurled screws M8, 20 mm
  • Slit panel for plug-in cards
  • housing switch
  • Operating condition-LEDs
  • LEDs for lighting
  • PC components of your choice

Tools for the construction of a Plexiglas housing:

  • Jigsaw with plastic saw blade
  • Plastic hole saws (120 mm, 100 mm)
  • drilling machine
  • soldering iron
  • measuring stick
  • triangle ruler
  • Tape measure

Glue together Plexiglas housing

First, the Plexiglas housing is preassembled as a frame:

Put one of the Floor or cover plates on an exactly flat surface, Then glue the Front and back with Plexiglas adhesive exactly flush at the back and front on the edge. A helper is useful here, alternatively, objects can be used to support the pages.

Below left and right are now, with a distance of exactly 0.8 mm to the edge, the two Plexiglas strips for screw mounting (see picture) glued. Now glue the Housing cover on top of the front and rear wall on. Then the two remaining strips are glued. The frame is now ready and should dry overnight.

Mount housing sides

PC case: case modding: housing

To assemble the side covers, you must first four holes at a distance of one centimeter to the back wall and 0.5 cm to the lid drill into the four corners of the Plexiglas strips (see picture). Pay attention to the drilling depth: 10 mm are sufficient, use a stop.

Then be here with gentle pressure and something plexiglass adhesive the screw sleeves inserted. These must be glued exactly flush with the surface of the strips. Then you can test the two housing covers and mark the drill holes for the thumbscrews. These must then be set absolutely exactly. So go with extreme peace of mind and precision as well as a slowly rotating cordless drill and a sharp one 8mm plastic drill in front.

Then the knurled screws are screwed into the housing protected with a plastic washer - the plexiglas cube for your computer is already finished. If everything is sitting straight and has minimal clearances, you can now continue working on the Plexiglas PC.

Install mainboard tray and drive brackets

To accommodate the motherboard must have a so-called Motherboard tray to be built in. This is usually screwed firmly in the right half of the housing to the bottom and lid. Since the specifications of the various motherboards are individual, we can not give any more details here. For fixing both screws and Plexiglas adhesive are recommended.

The Drive tray for 5.25 and 3.5 inch drives is mounted on the lid and front; corresponding openings must be sawn precisely in the front. Here also the power switch and the various operating status LEDs must be installed.

For a good one "Draft" in the housing can be attached to the Front also an additional fan to be assembled. This "scoops" cooling air into the housing, which is blown out by the rear fans again.

ATX bezel and plug-in card slots

At the back of the housing now has an opening for the Panel connectors be sawn; after ATX standard their position is relatively the same for all motherboards. Also the Plug-in slots for the PCI cards are standardized. Here you can possibly take measurements and distances from an old ATX case. Also the openings for Case fan and power supply are now sawn into the back wall, openings for a PC lighting or LED holes should now be made.

Plexiglas engraving: Engrave housing parts made of glass

Plexiglas can be easily and with "Home remedies" Engrave - ideal conditions for case modders who want to add a personal touch to their finished case. The engraving will be either freehand or from a template in the sandblasting process executed.

Freehand plexiglass engraving

Engravings in Plexiglas can easily and with a little manual skill with a commercial Gravurset be executed. It should, however, to one low speed and short material contact be respected: Plexiglas tends to be at temperatures 100° C to thermal deformation and can melt on the surface. Special plastic engraving attachments are available on the market.

In more complicated processes engravings can also be transmitted by machine. Graphics created on the computer are in this case transferred to the material by a computer-controlled engraving head. However, this procedure is quite complex and can only be carried out professionally - for home users, the purchase of an engraving machine hardly worth.

Sandblast engraving with stencil

PC case: case modding: case

Engraving by sandblasting

When engraving with a sandblasting gun, any complex motifs can be transferred to the Plexiglas surface by means of a template. This will only one Sandblasting gun, a compressor and suitable masking material needed.

When carrying out the work, please note that theClose the template tightly with the Plexiglas surface and can not be destroyed by the blasting material; thick, coated cardboard or better plastic sheets are a good choice.

The remaining part of the Plexiglas disk must be very carefully covered to prevent scratches in the rest of the material. Again, sufficiently stable material should be used for masking; For example, tissue adhesive tape and dense cardboard.

Sandblasting should be done with fine-grained quartz sand be performed - in the best case in a blast cabin. Those who do not have such a device, sandblasting can also perform outdoors, for example, on a large meadow.In this case, it is absolutely necessary to wear protective goggles and a mask suitable for quartz sand - inhaled quartz sand dust is very harmful to your health!

After completion of the blasting process, the masking material can be removed. Sand residue should be blown off with compressed air - anything else can cause scratches. Now the motif is ready and can be installed in the mod PC.

PC lighting: UV tubes, cold cathode lamps and LEDs

PC case: case modding: power

Neon and cold cathode lamps have been popular with Case Modders since the very first hour of their hobby: in all the colors and shapes that neon lights are available in, Plexiglass PC cases or Plexiglas windows can be imaginatively illuminated.

Housing illuminate with neon tubes

PC case: case modding: housing

The most classic design of the fluorescent tube is the neon tube, which radiates a rich, orange-red color through a filling with the noble gas neon. The colloquially also under the term "neon tube" designated, differently colored noble gas tubes are produced by the use of other gases or their combination:

  • Helium: Pale red light
  • Argon and mercury: Intense light blue glowing
  • Krypton: White light
  • Xenon: Bluish-violet light

Unfortunately, neon tubes have tangible disadvantages when installed in a PC: So they need a ballast, colloquially Neontrafo or NST called. This is quite clunky and must be operated with 230 V voltage; a connection to the PC power supply is therefore not possible. In addition, neon tubes and ballasts are not cheap; certainly not in individual forms. Also, the glass tubes are prone to breakage and heat up in operation.

The advantages lie in a rich and warm light radiation and the individuality of the design possibilities. For demanding Casemods therefore also on neon tubes is used.

Housing illumination with cold cathode tubes

Cold cathode tubes are used billions of times as backlighting of the displays of notebooks, monitors and flat screen televisions. They are also used in scanners and fax machines.

With low voltage, low power consumption and correspondingly little waste heat However, functioning luminaires have also been used for years in case modding: With special adapters, they can be connected to the existing computer power supply with an inverter and have a power consumption of approximately 5 watts at 30 cm Length.

In a PC can therefore also several Cold cathode tubes operate in different colors. They create such a beautiful play of light and consume on top of that little power.

Case modding with LEDs

LEDs are also used in normal computer cases as a status indicator. In case modding, however, banal PC parts only really come into their own when they are illuminated with LEDs.

A good example is the adjoining fan, which becomes an eye-catcher with blue LED lighting. Equipped with a controller, LEDs can also conjure up entire plays of light in or on the PC.

Quiet PC: case-modding for the ears

PC case: case modding: housing

Modern PCs are small power plants - also as far as the noise level is concerned. The ever more powerful components set in High-end PCs convert up to 30 percent of their electrical power into heat.

This is not only inefficient, but also very loud: Electric fans in the housing, the warm air must be transported outside. But hard disks, CD and DVD drives and the power supply contribute to the noise from the computer.

PC insulation: tips and tricks

A PC usually has a metal housing that acts as a resonator in time with the vibration of hard disks and fans. A large part of the operating noise comes thus only from the sound amplifying effect of the housing.

One can with so-called "Silencing mats" Counteracting bitumen: Available in every DIY store, they are actually intended for use in the automotive industry, but they can also be easily adapted to complicated mounting positions with a hot air dryer and cutter.

By using a Festplattenentkopplers Further noise can be reduced: Hard disks operate at speeds above 10,000 rpm and get into vibration during the scanning process. These are transferred to the housing during rigid installation methods. With a hard disk decoupler, the direct connection between the case and the hard disk is interrupted by rubber - now nothing drones anymore.

Silent fan

In many finished PCs from the electronics discounter, although good components for the computing power are installed on fans and housing but saved. A whole lot of noise can be alone through the Replacing the case fans and power supply to reach.

High-quality, noise-optimized case fans can automatically adjust their speed to the internal temperature and the load of the PC. Also the simpler variant, the Setting the speed by means of a switch on the fan, brings relief: The optimum setting is reached when the internal temperature in the housing no longer increases with the gradual increase in speed.

Processor cooling: It does not always have to be air

The comparison with the automotive industry shows that air cooling with blowers is simple and quite effective, but also very loud. So a modern middle-class car is significantly quieter than a VW Beetle from Wirtschaftswundertagen.

The processor cooling, with high-performance PCs also the cooling of the graphics processor (GPU), is one of the main noise factors in the computer case: Small, cheap fans annoying here with high speeds and a sound that reminds rather of a bad bee than a PC.

To offer a way out of this problem Passive coolers: These dissipate the heat over as large a radiating surface as possible, are heavily ribbed and often have so-called "heat pipes", which additionally dissipate heat in the housing air. The disadvantage of these coolers, especially the price and space requirements: the better the cooling performance, the larger and more expensive the device. For small enclosures a real argument.

A useful combination offers the commonly used "Hybrid solution": A relatively large heat sink is installed with a slower rotating, large fan. Thus, even at low fan speeds sufficient cooling is achieved, the system is also cheaper and significantly more space-saving.

Quiet power supplies

As mentioned at the beginning, PCs today are small power plants: power supplies with 800 watts of power consumption are no longer a rarity. So that the voltage converter gets enough air, most of the power supplies have large or multiple small fans installed.

In any case, low-cost manufacturers try to save on these: If too few fans are present, simply the speed is increased. The result is a pesky hum.

With the Replacing the power supply with a high-quality model with a well-mounted, slow-rotating and large fan In terms of noise reduction is usually already much won.

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Video Board: PC Modding Basics: What tools you need to start modding