Steampunk has been a favorite style of mine for quite a while, and I have always wanted to make a full blown custom PC case. I thought I would combine the two and see what I could come up with. I did this on the cheap, I probably spent about $50 on parts for the case (the PC was my current desktop) and was pretty happy with the results. Below are some photos of the final result:
I love LED lighting and fans and the like in my PC cases, so I wanted a way to incorporate those in. At the same time fans are noisy and annoying when they aren’t needed. So I decided that I wanted to have switches to turn the fans off when they weren’t required. In the steampunk style I needed a gauge, so I went with a volt meter. I also had a little gear chain that came out of a timing mechanism for a water level meter, so I needed a motor to run that. Also one of my biggest gripes with my current case was the lack of USB 3 front ports, so I needed some of them. Then to tie the whole thing together I needed some dark timber, so I got some ply wood and a dark stain to make it look the part. Below is a picture of the front panel mock up (minus the USB Ports).
Below is the list of parts that I needed:
- Illuminated Switches
- Drive Motor
- Power Switch
- Reset Switch
- USB 3 Ports
- Jarrah Timber stain
- Liquid Nails
- Various wires, screws, old PC parts, etc
- Scroll Saw
- Drill (Drill Press is ideal)
- Soldering Iron
- Caulking Gun
- Panel Saw or Power Saw
- I used a lathe to make the motor adapter part, but probably not needed if you are trying this yourself
Cutting the Panels
I cut most of the panels for this project with a panel saw. I was worried about the tear out a power saw might create. The trickiest part of this whole build was the front panel. There were so many holes of different sizes to make. The scroll saw got a good work out here, but a jigsaw or coping would work too. I would drill a hole inside the area to cut out, then feed the scroll saw blade through and remove the bulk of the material. I would then use a file to bring the hole to the final size required. Any of the smaller round hole were simply created with the drill and a standard drill bit. The holes for the power and reset switches were 16mm diameter. I didn’t have a drill bit that size, bit I did have a 16mm router bit. I was able to drill a 10mm hole and then use the router bit to open it up. Below is a mock up after the panels were all cut.
Staining the Panels
Staining is a pretty straight forward process. Give the panels a quick sand and then clean. Then apply the stain. I used one of my cutouts to test the color before committed to it. Two coats of stain seemed to give a color that I wanted. This is what they came out like after the stain:
Assembling the Box
Assembling the box was one of the harder parts of the process. The plywood I had chosen was probably a little bit thin and had warped. Also some of my cuts weren’t very square, so some trimming was required. I made good use of these corner clamps, as well as a few standard quick grip clamps. The whole thing is held together purely by liquid nails. I did quite a few test fits to make sure everything was square. This also helped to make sure I had a plan on how everything was going to together once I started the glue up. Below is a few shots of the glue setting and my clamp setup. As I didn’t have enough clamps I had to do it in two goes, front and side first, then the back later.
This post is getting quite long now, so I think I will break this into two. Stay tuned for part two.