Project
2019 Case build - 3D designed - laser cut - 3D printed and fully modular
Category
Published
Jan 21 2019 by FaTe
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Quick jump
My case design last year was my 1st ever real bespoke build from ground up. However overtime living with it I did realise limitations and potential improvements. Through December I slowly designed a new case design which would give me more flexibility in swapping components and improve airflow. My major issue with the previous design was having to remove the entire front to access anything inside.

The new specification is as follows:
  • Overall size: 700mm wide x 260mm tall x 150mm deep.
  • Materials used: 6mm plywood, black as night 3D printer filament and 5mm clear acrylic.
  • Twin exhaust fans and ducted PSU intake.
  • Independent access to each case side.

Materials, 3D printing and use of laser cutters all kindly supplied by Acrylic Craft.

/theme/computer case/v2/1 case design overview 3d
I designed the new case in Rhino in 3D and converted to poly-lines for DXF output. This is the most recent output of the design with all adjustments in place.
/theme/computer case/v2/2 initial build
I laser cut out my design in 6mm plywood with tabs to hold front panels. Everything is wood glued together and two part mitre glue enforced in all corners.
/theme/computer case/v2/3 front removable panels hangers
The front panels use pass through bolts with butterfly tops which simply pin the panels in place, the left side accounts for the PSU intake fan.
/theme/computer case/v2/4 rear sound dampening
On the back I attached a fair few sound dampening pads so when the case hangs on the wall it transfers no vibration through to the wall itself.
/theme/computer case/v2/5 sata hddbrackets
For the SATA HDD's I wanted a very simple solution, so I found some brackets at the hardware store which I drilled out and tapped for the drives to mount on. In turn the brackets can be screwed in any position within the case.
/theme/computer case/v2/6 test fit components
Test fitting the bulk of the components with the PSU installed with motherboard and drives I can start to see how I need to solve wiring issues and additional pass through air vents.
/theme/computer case/v2/7 testing covers
The top down view gives me an idea of exactly what is visible. Although the 3D design gives me a good view it can't always account for all the wires and such that need to run everywhere.
/theme/computer case/v2/8 stage 1 complete
First run in the new case with the brand new 5mm thick laser engraved front window panel. Starring none other than Pickle Rick!

The case hangs well off the wall and gives me plenty of access to all sides.
/theme/computer case/v2/9 leds fitted
Next is time for LED lighting, I opted for a red blue mix to give different tones throughout the case. I used 5050 SMD LEDs for lighting in strips of 3. There is a single strip on the far left and right of the case and 2 blue strips in the centre, one on each side of the graphics card so I get a nice even blue light cast.
/theme/computer case/v2/10 psu 3d printed intake port
Now for the PSU intake area where I don't really want to be able to see between the front panel and the actual PSU fan itself which is seated against the back of the case (when hanging). So I 3D printed a bespoke to fit port tube to go between the back of the panel and the PSU fan.
/theme/computer case/v2/11 port fan fitted laser engraved window
With the port tube in place it gives a much cleaner look to the area so you focus more on the fan and front design than everything else behind you could see previously (mostly wiring)
/theme/computer case/v2/12 top additional holes extractor fan
I had to go back and amend the top design for extra ventilation in the top of the case, I also wanted space to put a 2nd case fan right above the GPU to extract. So I took my case back to the laser and came up with this which allows a much greater flow of air.
/theme/computer case/v2/13 bottom additional vents
The bottom of the case is already pretty open due to the slots for the motherboard ports and the graphics card ports, however I figured if I was doing the top I may as well add some extra on the bottom also.
At this point in the build I decided to increase thermal performance by upgrading coolers. I went with a GAMMA ARCHER CPU cooler with a wide fin base and added the 2nd extractor fan above the graphics card. The last step was to fit the new ARCTIC cooler to the 1050ti graphics card when I realised that its going to stick out of the front of the case. So I had to tweak the design to my front window panel to allow the cooler to pass through it.
/theme/computer case/v2/14 arctic mono plus gpu cooler
For a 1050ti the Arctic Accelero Mono Plus GPU cooling kit is perfect. The massive heat sink and provided SMD heat sinks (for voltage regulators and memory modules etc) all keep the card a good 9-10c lower at idle than previously with the stock cooler. Now the exhaust heat from the GPU is able to be better captured by the exhaust fan above it.
/theme/computer case/v2/temp with gta prior gpu cooling
Before the new CPU and GPU heat sinks I ran some benchmarks. You can see before my GPU would peak around 66c and the CPU peaked at 71c. However heat was the secondary issue to the noise generated by the stock CPU/GPU fans which sounded like a rocket taking off at times.
/theme/computer case/v2/temp with gta after gpu cooling
The after picture reflects the changes from fans and exhaust set-up in the case.

Now the GPU temperature peaked at 39c with a base line of around 34c and a no load temp of 25c.

The CPU has seen the largest gain with a peak of 61c, average of 55c and a no load temp at 15/16c and during the night down to 8c!
/theme/computer case/v2/15 finished front fascia
Final tweaks completed for the front perspex panel to fit around the GPU cooler which has a nice 5mm buffer all round to make it easy to get on and off, also lets in a bit additional airflow. The unintended benefit however is part of the GPU radiator heat is now being dumped directly outside of the case.
/theme/computer case/v2/16 final led glow effect
Although the room light is still on, with my desk lights off it has a nice faded glow between the red and blues being cast all around. The camera makes it seem brighter than it actually is and isn't distracting, if it had of been distracting I would of reduced the LED count inside.
Overall the new design ticks all the boxes from ambient sound, cooling, accessibility, modular and smaller foot print than the original design.

So no more sounding like a rocket during heavy usage!
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