Worklog: My budget briefcase PC

Discussion in 'Modding Worklogs' started by supernom, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. supernom

    supernom Member

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    Hello all.
    For many years now I have been wanting to make a PC in a briefcase. In my head I have always had the idea that it would be a silver case, and it would have a blue ring illuminated power switch. Those were my only must-haves in order to have it how I wanted.

    So anyway I got sick of having a 17" crt and a full tower case taking up the space on my table in the garage, so I finally got the motivation to build this thing, which I have now been slowly doing for the past month or so.

    I was at Bunnings one day and they had for sale these nice briefcases(not sure if that's the correct word for these things though), shiny silver outer, with a handle and locks. Perfect! So I bought one and got to work stripping out the foam insides, to reveal the wooden panels.

    I decided to keep it as low cost as possible, which worked out well as the old PC I have is a micro-ATX motherboard which I was hoping I wouldn't have to buy, so basically I used all the old parts and bits of the case to build this.

    I then decided I wanted to have a monitor inside the box aswell, to help save space on my desk, and to make it more portable. I ended up finding a cheap 19" lcd on these very forums which I bought to use for this mod. I took a gamble that it would fit, and after stripping off all the plastic bezel and coverings I was happy to find out that it fit with a little room to spare.

    My next issue was making the lid close with a graphics card (an AGP one I might add), after a bit of research into 90degree adaptors, I decided to go with onboard video. Luckily my m-ATX mobo I used from the old PC has this! Bonus! I did not think it would.

    I will wrap this up here for now, and get some pictures up later today. My switch arrived today so that is my next job, after that is done it should nearly be finished.

    Pics to come :)
     
  2. Chif

    Chif Member

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    Sounds awesome! Looking forward to the pics.
     
  3. Salad Fingers

    Salad Fingers (Banned or Deleted)

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  4. OP
    OP
    supernom

    supernom Member

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    Here are some pictures. I wired up the LED on the switch just so I can see what it looks like and test it :p I will re solder it and heatshrink the connections when I wire up the switch part. I just used the old Power LED and connected it to the switch, so I can just plug into the headers on the motherboard.

    Is anyone able to tell me if I need to connect it to the Normally closed or normally open? I can't figure it out :p

    Here is the switch I am using. It should look good in the dark.
    [​IMG]

    Here is 1 side of the case, where I cut the hole for the PSU. I only used the original 4 screws to secure it, I am yet to see if I will need to add extra support.
    [​IMG]

    And the other side, here I cut the hole for the motherboard I/O ports. I will be using the I/O shield thing when it's all done.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the layout of the inside. I used the old motherboard tray and riveted it to the case in 4 spots. As you can see there is no cd/dvd drive, mainly due to me struggling to fit it in. Anyway it's easy enough to plug it in when needed, which is very rarely on this PC as I just use it to play music and watch videos when I am in the garage. The hole you can see in the back panel next to the PSU is to allow the power and vga cable from the monitor to come out to be plugged in, and when it's not in use I can store the cables inside the case.
    [​IMG]

    Here you can see how I mounted the hard drive, I cut out the old HDD/cd drive cage and cut the cd drive parts off, then bent a couple of tabs to rivet the cage to the floor of the case.
    [​IMG]

    This is the monitor I am using, with all bezels removed.
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, it is not the prettiest work. But it serves the purpose.

    To do list
    - Finish wiring up and attach the power switch
    - Rivet the HDD cage

    Things I may do if I can be bothered.
    - Spraypaint the inside black.
    - Put some kind of rubber trim around the holes I have cut.

    I am also interested to see if you guys have any other ideas :)

    Thanks for reading. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  5. Renza

    Renza Member

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    you want it normally open, so that when you press it, it closes and becomes 'closed' but is otherwise open...
     
  6. OP
    OP
    supernom

    supernom Member

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    Thanks mate! :)
     
  7. koolkidd

    koolkidd Member

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    Looking good

    i have always wanted to do one of these for LANs either as a primary pc or just a leech box, but as LANs have died out somewhat where i am, i had to give it a miss :(

    Just some input

    -Have you thought about maybe lining the bottom with maybe a felt or some sort of material? i know you are looking to spray it, i was thinking that it may be somewhat easier and will cover any imperfection in the case itself (e.g grain of the wood, or its texture)

    -Also something i always wanted to implement was an acrylic top to the PC portion, that way when its opened, you can see the pc underneath and use the top somewhat to maybe hold a keyboard and mouse?

    Just some thoughts

    Other than that im really liking it,

    Look forward to more updates!

    Cheers
    Kk
     
  8. OP
    OP
    supernom

    supernom Member

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    Thanks for your comments!
    Yeah I had the same idea to cover it with perspex and make a keyboard/mouse holder. But I would have needed to try find a really slim keyboard that would fit in so decided to abandon the idea. I could still do it if I got one of those roll up keyboard things but dunno how well they work. Could be something to add later. :)

    Felt is a good idea, I might investigate it further. Could look real nice inside. Like one of those classy velvet box things :lol: The inside is pretty rough from scraping off all the foam and gunk so that could cover it up nicely.

    Thx :)
     
  9. koolkidd

    koolkidd Member

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    No worries

    Take a look at my Gaming chair mod thread in around a week or so,

    im covering certain panels of MDF in felt, see if you like it from that

    As for the acrylic, how much room do you have behind the screen? possibly a hinged screen in the top to utilize the space behind to hold a keyboard and mouse? im just brainstorming now :S

    I really like it though, keep up the good work!!

    Cheers
    Kk
     
  10. OP
    OP
    supernom

    supernom Member

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    Did a bit more work so far today.
    [​IMG]

    Went to Jaycar to get some heatshrink, also they had a few flexible roll up keyboards there, didn't buy one yet but had a look at them. Might get one sometime to put in this PC, should fit in ok.

    I wired up the switch. First time it didn't work, I had one of the wires on the wrong terminal. So second time round it powered up :D
    I also had to extend a couple of the wires to reach the headers on the mobo. If I could be bothered I could make them all longer still and then run them underneath the motherboard, but really cbf.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And a pic of the light, should look pretty good in the dark.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2011
  11. OP
    OP
    supernom

    supernom Member

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    Cool i will keep an eye on your project to see how the felt turns out. :)
     
  12. OP
    OP
    supernom

    supernom Member

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    Hey guys just got a little question.
    So on my switch it has the terminals as seen in this pic below.

    [​IMG]

    I just wondering what the 12V ones are for? I connected the led to + and - and the switch to NO and C.
    All it says for those 3 is 12V , no other labels. Does anyone know what they are for?

    Thanks :)
     
  13. Flecktone

    Flecktone Member

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    gonna have a stab in the dark that it's a Double-Pole switch, so the terminals are just identical to the ones on the left...
     
  14. OP
    OP
    supernom

    supernom Member

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    Yeah I think so.
    I made a thread about it in the electronic section and got some help with that.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    supernom

    supernom Member

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    Finished, version 1.0. I apologise for the phone pictures.
    I will sell it for, $1500. :weirdo:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Madengineer

    Madengineer Member

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    Thats awesome!
     
  17. kieranluken

    kieranluken Member

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    That is freaking cool... Only one thing though... Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the CPU fan on upside down? From memory of pulling them off to clean, that definitely looks like the underside of the fan...
     
  18. SNip3D

    SNip3D Member

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    I'd personally flip the LCD back to front and have a removable pannel so the briefcase can be standing upright so you dont have to open it up and see that mess. Otherwise if you leave it like that and just throw in a keyboard, you've made a giant laptop that needs AC power :(
     
  19. Dommo

    Dommo Member

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    I dont think it looks upside down... :confused:

    Great idea man, I too love the on switch! Just a thought, could you make the screen hinge out from the top so the bottom of it sits on the anterior edge of the bottom of the brief case to hide the inner workings?

    If you don't know what I mean the only was I could explain it would be like a triangle, or an ipad in one of those cases you can use in a stand.. :p


    Otherwise I still love it!
     
  20. SYF_Karma

    SYF_Karma Member

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    make a cover panel, sit a KB and touchpad on it

    opens up like a lappy

    done
     

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