Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dry Run Fitting

Nearly Chinese New Year - so I will be taking a quick holiday and break from the HTPC work for a week. So I thought it worthwhile taking stock of where I am at, what problems remain, whats left to be done. Give me some time to think over things.

So, the following is a dry run of putting things all together.

Take the base metal sheet and attach the back panel. Note that the motherboard obscures the attaching screws, so it needs to be done in this order.

Next step is to attach the brass standoffs to the base of the motherboard.

And then screw the motherboard to the base metal plate.

Next is the fitting of the hard disk. I used a 'shoe horn' piece of plastic to help the disk pieces of foam slide in without getting stuck and pulling on the sides.

Next is the top metal plate, to which the power supply is slid in.

And then this whole assembly is placed on top - and screwed down - somewhat prematurely :-)

First real issue relates to the securing screws for the back plate. Basically at the top edge the nuts on the inside are not easily accessible with the power supply, motherboard all in place.

Options would be to leave the motherboard (and possibly power supply) out initially when connecting together the top and bottom halves of the metal case... attaching the back panel screws, and then inserting the motherboard and power supply...
Alternatively, the back panel nuts could be glued to the inside of the metal casing - so that there is no need to access the inside - the panel could simply be screwed on from the outside... give it some more thought.

Next was the cables... seems that the only real way to manage them is from the side and front access locations. This is fine without the outside case of the HTPC, but if the case was there - not possible.

Without the side/front access - cabling would be more of a hassle.

My original plan for attaching the outside case material was to simply glue it to the wooden uprights - however this would remove this side/front access. I think I need to keep this easy/free/open access - so probably requires a new way to attach the outside case. Could attach the power button to the case, etc, do the internal wiring connections, and then simply (??) fit the case on as one of the last steps.

Anyone any ideas on how to elegantly attach the outside case as a final step ??


  1. Maybe if the plexiglass will flex enough (and not crack either) you could adhere some more plexiglass to the inner of the sides such that it would press against the backside of the wooden supports and keep the front on by force. Getting the exterior on and off would just be a matter pulling outwards on the sides of the case until the adhered strips were clear of the wooden supports.

    As for your cable management issues it might pay to re-wire the main ATX power connector so it's shorter. Better than that would be a modular PSU.


  2. The plexiglass would probably flex OK - however there is not really much there on the front side for the plexiglass face to rest against...

    Actually what I am planning to do is very similar to what you are thinking... just about to post those ideas now.

    With the power supply... I am thinking for V2 of the design to go with a 1U form factor power supply...