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Project: Server and Gaming Case

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#1
This is a project/build log for a custom case to house both a storage server and gaming rig.

This fairly compact case is designed to hold:
  • Two EATX motherboards
  • Two ATX PSUs
  • Twenty four 3.5-inch hard drives
  • Six SSDs
  • Two 120x3 water cooling radiators






The size of the case is to be kept as small as possible, which is mostly driven by the size of the motherboard trays. But until those arrive, I fabricated the PSU mounting plate from some 2.5mm aluminum sheet.

The cutouts were made via a hand held router fitted with a flush pattern bit, guided by a template.










That's it for now!
 

PVTCaboose1337

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#2
Twenty four 3.5-inch hard drives
24 drives? I hope you plan to have rubber grommets everywhere! This thing is gonna be loud, hot, and vibrating!
 
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#3
dude, you are insane. subscribed
 

t_ski

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#4
Twenty four 3.5-inch hard drives... Two 120x3 water cooling radiators... as small as possible...
You mean only in comparison to your last build? :roll:
 
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#5
The backplate of the stock motherboard tray from mountainmods.com was too tall, so I fabricated a shortened duplicate out of .10-inch thick aluminum sheet (once again, via my trusty router fitted with a pattern cutting bit):







 
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#6
This case will be shipped flat-packed so it needs to be easily assembled by the owner. The simple back frame consists of some u-channel with its ends plugged with some blocks press-fitted and pinned with a #4 screw. The blocks have a though-hole into which a #6 1-1/4-inch flat head stainless steel socket cap screw is bolted. Simple, effective, but time consuming to fabricate.








 
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#7
Great project and beautiful work Spotswood, can't wait to see more :toast:
 
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#8
Subbed.
Very informative and encouraging, since I assumed I would have to take a sheet of aluminum stock to a CnC to get good results.
 
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#9
Subbed.

I'm predicting another masterful build. Can't wait.
 
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#10
Subbed just for the hugeness of it all ;)
 
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#11
Looks like it's going to be very nice! :cool:
 
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#12
The first step toward routing-out the motherboard cutouts in the back panel was to modify a standard size motherboard router template I had made some time ago.






The modified template was used to create yet another template in 1/2-inch thick particle board.




Unfortunately the router wobbled ever so slightly in one spot, but was quickly repaired with some autobody filler:





In order to save wear-and-tear on my flush cutting router bit a first pass was done freehand (gulp!) with a standard endmill.





 
Last edited:
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#13
Subbed
 
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#14
Subbed, this is gonna be a monstrously awesome project. :toast:
 
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#16
The posts for the front frame are made from .125 x .5 x 2-inch tubes. First thing was to stuff the bottoms with the screw blocks/nuts in order to eventually attach them to the bottom sheet.

Following standard operating procedure, the aluminum was cut on my miter saw (fitted with a standard carbide tipped blade). The clamp that came with the saw is used to hold the material against the fence.




The blocks were then drilled on the drill press with the assistance of my self-centering vice (I love that thing because I don't have to waste time measuring for center).




Threads were tapped via my bench mounted "hand" tapper.




The blocks were pinned to the tubes with flat head self-tapping screws.




Always looking to improve my speed and quality, the cross supports offered the opportunity to use PEM cinch nuts. The nuts were pressed into the screw blocks.



Which were then pinned inside .5 x 1-inch u-channel.








 
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#18
this is going to be epic
 
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#20
I spent the day correcting a big mistake, which was I relied on the incorrect posted dimensions of the Swiftech MCR320-DRIVE 3x120 radiator, and thus the case wasn't wide enough by 16mm. (Swiftech has since corrected the diagram on their website).




Actually, the case was exactly the width of the rads, but that might have resulted in some pump vibration getting transfered to the side panels. So the case had to be widened by one inch.


To speedup the process of pinning the bolt blocks to the u-channel I switched to using split pins.












I also had to re-cut the back sheet.




Altogether, it only took me about a third of the original amount of time. Phew!
 
Last edited:

t_ski

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#21
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#23
The bottom support beams were made from .5x.1-inch aluminum flat bar. I wasn't keen on having to hand drill and tap them, so instead, I routed grooves to accept nuts.






I like this fastening method because its wicked strong and offers just enough "play" for easy assembly.




The frame is bolted to the front inner sheet.




And then the entire subassembly is bolted to the front frame.





 
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#24
sexy ass aluminum work, nice!
 
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#25
The sides of the HD cage consists of three pieces of .125-inch thick 1x1.5-inch u-channel held together with some threaded bolts. The cage will be bolted to the frame of the case via some .5-inch angle.




The holes in the angle were used to guide the drill bit into the side pieces.








Quarter inch slots were routed out of the u-channels to eventually accept .25-inch threaded rods.