Thread: Completed The Lounge.
View Single Post
  #2 (permalink)  
Old September 8, 2010, 05:15 PM
tzetsin tzetsin is offline
Hall Of Fame
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: AB
Posts: 1,212

Ok, got some time for this next part.

Another issue I was having was deciding on which case to use for the project. Also whether I should put the case outside the cabinet or inside.

If I leave it outside It's going to look like a computer on a desk, which I DONT want (remember this is supposed to be arcade style) and is going to disappear inside a week.

I tried to find an inexpensive case to put inside, but because of the dimensions of the interior of the cabinet (remember this was designed for a record player, not as a storage unit) It didnt go very well. I would have likely had issues with heat, so it wasn't an ideal solution anyway

The solution? Screw the case.

At this point i decided that the cabinet was going to BE the case. The cabinet is about 5 feet long, a foot and a half wide and about 2 and a half feet tall. I dont know what it weighs, but it was built in the days before furniture material became OSB board. This thing is made out of solid hardwood and takes 2 people to lift it BEFORE anything else is added.

Using the cabinet as a case had a number of advantages.

1: controlling airflow. Because of the nature of high end computing, heat is ALWAYS an issue. by removing the obstructing walls of a computer case I was better able to direct airflow in and around the computer and exhaust as well.

2: Theft control. It is quite literally impossible for a single person to move this cabinet. The completed unit is so heavy that one person cannot even lift a SINGLE END of this cabinet. If someone was to try, they would well deserve the hernia that will likely follow.

It also had one fairly substantial disadvantage. Because the unit is so heavy and cumbersome, hard mounting the computer would make it 100% field serviceable only. A public location isnt the most ideal place to be working on a computer so to solve this, and to make mounting the components easier, I decided to buy a HighSpeed PC Tech Station. Will it make it easier to steal? No. I bolted that baby in there good. It can be removed as a unit, but must be disassembled from the cabinet.

There were a number of things that had to be done to make this cabinet a viable computer case for use in a public pub.

1: It had to be made WATERPROOF. Oh yeah, bet you didnt think of that eh? Guess you dont spend enough time in the pub. ;) Yes, This baby had to be proof from liquids, at least in the electronic area anyways.

This was made easier, and harder because it was originally a stereo. It was hard because of the lid. Two breaks in the table top to pop the lid up make excellent places for water to flow. Because I wanted to use the lid as an access to a roll out keyboard and mouse, I wasnt able to seal them. The original electronics sat into a second floor inside the cabinet about 4 inches from the top. When they were removed, they left a big hole in that second floor though, so another board had to be installed and sealed to prevent fluid from entering the electronics area in the event of a spill.

Squaring up the original cutout in preparation for the patch board.

The patch board. Yes, that is OSB. Yes, I know that its the perfect material for catching spills. (sarcasm) Anyway, I sealed the top part, so we wont have any swelling issues.

2:Sub floor. The original sub floor of the cabinet was made out of cardboard. Obviously that material is not designed to be load bearing so it was replaced by a piece of 3/4" partical board.

3: Cooling. The volume of air inside the cabinet far exceeds what conventional computer fans were designed to move quickly. Again, this unit was expected to create a large amount of heat, so the ability to move the air in and out quickly is paramount to the project. Moving that much volume fast enough would require a blower. Anyone who's been around a blower knows that they are NOISY. Like noisier than is plausible in a piece of equipment that is meant to be enjoyed.

To solve this was pretty simple. Decrease the volume of air required to move by adding a partition inside the cabinet where the electronics will reside.

I just want to add here, because I didnt get a picture of it, that the partition now has a 92mm exhaust fan along the bottom/center edge of it. The PSU ended up creating alot more heat than I expected because it was exhausting into a dead airflow space. The PSU was operating within safe temperature specs, but to increase reliability of the psu and decrease total partition ambient temperature, I decided that a 92 mil exhaust fan was needed. Exhausting into the second partition wasnt an ideal solution, but space constraints made it the best possible option.

Shot of the tech station in the electronics partition.

The table top was a bit roughed up over the years, so I decided to strip it down and restain it.

Because I want to share with you the beauty of my Pal Tia. Not her best shot. ;)

After lacquering the bejesus out of it.

That pretty much sums up all the case mods. Stay tuned for more!

vista 64 on these rigs
Q9450 @ 3.5Ghz | E8400 @ 4.2Ghz
8gb Muskin Redline. | 2gb Kingston Hyperx
________________________________|_________________ ______________
EVGA 780i FTW ----\--||___||--/---- EVGA 780i SLI
Antec TP Quatro 1000W \ :==^==: / Antec TP Quatro 850W.
Nvidia 9800 GX2 X 2 SLI \|--o--|/ Nvidia 8800 GTS X 2 SLI
1X 500GB Western Digital. \_____/ 3X 150GB WD RAPTOR RAID-0

Last edited by tzetsin; September 8, 2010 at 10:32 PM.
Reply With Quote