DWPG.Com - Copper Tube Case Mod, Part 3
By: Alan Vincent

Conclusion

Alright, so it's not a cube. I know I promised to make a cube, but this little wood table was just begging to be modded. This one was bought from Lowe's Home improvement store for $15 about a year ago. It came in a box as an unassembled kit and the unfinished wood appears to be poplar. The little table never imagined a future quite like this, I bet.

The table

The table


This sure doesn't look like three hours worth of work

As is customary in all of my projects, a cheap 40$ ATX 'donor' case is stripped of its motherboard backplate/expansion slot sheetmetal, the CDROM and hard drive brackets, and the powersupply. Pop-rivets are defeated by drilling out their center with a 1/8" bit. The 'power' and 'reset' switches can be very handy, as can the LEDs. This time I used a full-tower case that came with swivel casters (wheels) - so I grabbed those, too.

The first step was to fit the sheetmetal thingy that holds the motherboard and expansion cards. Hopefully, on your donor case it is a separate piece(s) from the 'body' of your donor case - a "swing-out" mount is best.

I adjusted the position of the bottom wood shelf so that the sheetmetal bracket would fit into the opening. The motherboard tray extends across the entire length of the side of the table, by pure luck mostly. The rear of the table will need to be "cleaned-up" by framing the opening with aluminum angle stock and fitting panels made from aluminum roof flashing. While I was back there, a provision was made for
mounting a standard case fan...mostly because I had a pair of chrome fan
guards begging to get used.

This sure doesn

This sure doesn't look like three hours worth of work


Making the side panels

With the rear of the table finished, I concentrated my attention on the other three sides. It seemed natural to make the very same panels I used on Copper Case #1; bright aluminum (not the more common fibreglass) windowscreen stretched across copper tube frames. Simple and visually appealing, I figured, just like before. Access to the hardware inside the table would be accomplished via a hinged panel in front of the motherboard tray. A shiny brass knob for the hinged panel looked well-suited for the task, so I used it.

hinged panel in front

hinged panel in front


Family reunion

During construction the table was given the opportunity to meet its kinfolk. This type of symbolic "reunion" of objects is a hillbilly tradition, tracing its roots to southern pre-Civil War America when Yankees were scarce and times were good. Today, they call it "The New South" because Yankees want to take advantage of all the goodness (pretty girls, warm weather, etc) the South has to offer - but they don't want the stigma attached to living in the "Old South". Stop laughing. It's all true.

The reunion

The reunion


Painting the wood

Here's the point where it occurred to me that the wood needed to be stained and finished before I went any further with its assembly. I sanded the wood with #200 sandpaper on a rubber sanding block. Then I wiped it down with a rag soaked in Minwax 'Red Oak' stain and let it dry for about an hour. The shiny finish is courtesy of a spraycan of high-gloss spar (waterproof) polyurethane. The tabletop was sanded lightly (after drying) between each of the seven coats of polyurethane. This is the only way to achieve a deep gloss. Thick, heavy application of polyurethane promotes runs, air bubbles, and week-long drying times, but does nothing for the shine.

High gloss finish

High gloss finish


High gloss finish, alternate view

High gloss finish, alternate view


Looking good?

The swivelling casters look right at home at the bottom of each leg. Since the mounting base on the casters was wider than the bottom of the legs, I let the mounting bases protrude from the sides of the legs and used copper tubing to form a hoop that sits on top of the protruding bases. As I type this article, the copper tubing along the front is functioning as a footrest. Cool, huh? I'm typing this in my underwear, by the way. Seriously. I'd post a pic but the fan mail from all of the admiring girls would overwhelm my ISP's mailserver. Again.

The footrest

The footrest


Attention to details

The front panel was kinda ordinary looking so I dressed it up a little. I still had one chrome fan guard left and I was determined to use it. The square hole was sized to fit a case fan and the rest of the frame was covered with screen and roof flashing. Scissors, a drill, tubing cutter, and a pop-rivet tool were all I needed for the entire project. That and beer, naturally.

Copper tube frame with blowhole

Copper tube frame with blowhole


Copper tube frame mounted

Copper tube frame mounted


Conclusion

With the fancy front panel attached it suddenly started looking alright. I was quite concerned with the final appearance of this project since the last one went so horribly wrong. Considering the assembly time was under 12 hours from start to finish and the results weren't hideous, I'd call this project a success. The total cost was about $80 US including the $15 table and $40 ATX 'donor' case.

"But Alan", you say, "What's it good for?"

It helped me stall for time after I promised you guys a "copper cube" two projects ago. ha.

The finished case

The finished case


The finished case, alternate view

The finished case, alternate view

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