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Desk modding!

Fusion-

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System Name Toshiba Satellite running Linux Ubuntu 9.10
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Video Card(s) ATI Radeon 3100
Storage 250 gig internal and 1Tb My Book external
#1
Alright, so I've been browsing these forums without taking part for quite some time now, looking at various mods and ideas. Not having a desktop, I couldn't take part in modding much, or so I thought.

Recently, my laptop cooling pad started making an annoying noise at times... Sounded almost like an angry cow? :| So I started shopping around online for a new one and came across a forum documenting a DIY version. At that very moment, my brain clicked on and I had the idea to build my own.

In thinking about this, and how I could do it, I realised I have no means to bend acrylic/plexi glass, no real means to bend metal, either. So that leaves me with flat metal/acrylic or a box. That idea didn't sound like something I wanted to do. So I thought about it a little more and came up with a plan. Why couldn't I use my desk as a cooler? Just drill a hole and put a fan in it...

Well, this idea spawned a monster. :| I've still got the original plan for the hole and fan, but I now have further plans to solve other issues I have daily.

Here's what I'm going to do:

Drill a hole in the desktop for the fan to blow up through. (This is where it goes off a bit.) Then, mount the outer case of an old Vtel desktop PC (just the part of the case you would take off to get at the innards) to the bottom of the desk to create a box on the bottom of the desktop. Then drill another hole in the desktop, and yet another in the PC case. The hole in the PC case will be used for an intake fan. The second hole in the desktop will be used to run wires from the laptop into the box.

So basically, the fan on the case will be pulling air into the box, an the fan on the desk will be pushing it out.

In the box will go all of the usual desktop items. External hard drive, usb hub and a power strip. So this will completely clear my desktop of everything but the laptop itself. My front speakers (Logitech X-530 surround) are mounted to the bottom of my desk, upside down, so they are out of the way.

The main idea here, is to cool the laptop and clean up my desk. This will help me manage my cables and wires as well.

I'll be mounting the front valance of the desktop to the case as well to use for mounting switches and possibly other gadgets.

Here's where your help will come in:

I'd like to have the fans be adjustable with a knob. So I can adjust the speed when it's not needed as much. I'm planning on using some fairly basic fans that I had laying around, both of which are 12v and have only positive and negative wires. How could I do this? I plan to have a switch installed as well. So I'll need to know how to wire it up using a 12v power supply. Also, will I need anything between the power and the fans? I have a 12v wall plug.

The next step will be lighting. I've ordered some LED lights to mount under the desk for "mood lighting" I guess? These come with a power supply and everything needed to use them, but they are WAY too long. How would I got about shortening them? These will also be wired through a switch mounted to the front of the box.

Thanks in advance for the help! When I get the things I need to get started, I'll be posting pics of the build.
 
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#2
Any of these fan controllers would do just what you need:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=fan+controller
There are a ton, ranging from stuff you would never need, to some nice ones around $20, and an el cheapo no frills at $7.

As far as getting power to the fan controller, do you still have the PSU that was in the Vtel? That would be the easiest solution to power your accesories. If not, I have seen some low watt PSUs in the FS thread that cost next to nothing. A PSU would save you from having to do any hardwireing.

Edit: Check this out: http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=74847 More than you are planning, but awesome!
 

Fusion-

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Joined
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Location
South Dakota, US
System Name Toshiba Satellite running Linux Ubuntu 9.10
Processor AMD Turion X2
Cooling Custom laptop cooling desk.
Memory 3gigs
Video Card(s) ATI Radeon 3100
Storage 250 gig internal and 1Tb My Book external
#3
Ok, I knew about the actual fan controllers, what I'm asking is there was another way to do it without spending the extra cash. I'm trying to spend as little as possible on this and I'm sitting at right around $20 right now. (Had to buy the hole saw bits, and it was cheaper than buying a Dremel or something.

The PSU from the Vtel is shot, the previous owner did who knows what to it. When I got it, it was missing half a stick of ram (yes, half a stick) and the PSU was fried. I do have another old PC floating around I could snag a PSU from.

That brings up another question entirely! What ELSE could I do using that PSU? I mean, what other desk mods could you guys come up with that I could do on the cheap?
 

Fusion-

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Location
South Dakota, US
System Name Toshiba Satellite running Linux Ubuntu 9.10
Processor AMD Turion X2
Cooling Custom laptop cooling desk.
Memory 3gigs
Video Card(s) ATI Radeon 3100
Storage 250 gig internal and 1Tb My Book external
#4
Ok, so I got SOME of my stuff in the mail today. ( The L-brackets, my drill bits, and zip ties)

What I need now, is to know how to do one of two things. How do I wire up the fan to either a PC power supply, or a 12v adapter to plug into the wall.

Could I just wire it right up to the 12v wall plug?

Is it safe to use the PSU out of a case?

What else could I do if I used the PSU?
 

Fusion-

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Location
South Dakota, US
System Name Toshiba Satellite running Linux Ubuntu 9.10
Processor AMD Turion X2
Cooling Custom laptop cooling desk.
Memory 3gigs
Video Card(s) ATI Radeon 3100
Storage 250 gig internal and 1Tb My Book external
#5
Got it worked out. I hacked up a Targus laptop cooler and snagged the power set up out of it, which conveniently has a USB hub on it. :D So that solves 2 problems in one.

I'm still going to have an issue with the lights, though. Any help would be appreciated.
 
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#6
this is probably a bit too late but i've only just stumbled across this thread. you can bend plexi using a hairdryer and any straight edge and some clamps
 

Fusion-

New Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2010
Messages
9 (0.00/day)
Likes
0
Location
South Dakota, US
System Name Toshiba Satellite running Linux Ubuntu 9.10
Processor AMD Turion X2
Cooling Custom laptop cooling desk.
Memory 3gigs
Video Card(s) ATI Radeon 3100
Storage 250 gig internal and 1Tb My Book external
#7
this is probably a bit too late but i've only just stumbled across this thread. you can bend plexi using a hairdryer and any straight edge and some clamps
Unfortunately, yes, I've already modded my desk. Thanks for the reply, though.