Need a custom 2U computer "type" case for custom project. Self fabrication looks like only option

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by RogueRose, Sep 12, 2015.

Would you be interested in a docking hub like this or one larger or smaller?

  1. HECK YEAH!!!

    100.0%
  2. probably

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. if price is right

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. sounds like a great project, want some help!

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. a scaled down version

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. as long as it is upgradeable

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. RogueRose

    Thread Starter Member

    Oct 10, 2014
    189
    4
    For those that don't know, the "U" designates "1 standard unit" for a rack-mount computer system which is ~ 1.75" per unit, so 2U is 3.5" x 19" wide and I can do 21" deep max. IT will look something like this but will have all kinds of inputs and outputs on the front panel and rear panel. This unit will fit directly under my central monitor stand (2 monitors stacked on top of each other. There are 2 more identical spaces on either side of the monitor stand which can allow for placing some components in those spaces should it be necessary. Basically just a slim panel that has some items that may not fit in the main central docking hub.

    This system is going to bring all the ports of my tower computer to the front of this case which sits under my monitor as the PC is not easily accessible.

    It is much more beneficial to make this case out of aluminium and or steel/Al combo possibly with some acrylic top, sides or front in some places.

    It could look something liek this - but with a lot more connections on the front panel.

    [​IMG]

    I have a long list of components going into this that will make this "hub/docking station" totally awesome!
    and I'm goig to have to make a number of PCB's which will be a challenge since I've never done this before.

    I' need to know if any has any experience making cases like this (outer shell, I can handle the inside) and if so, do you do them yourself or do you have a person who can do it. I'm willing to pay, so any help here is appreciated.

    If anyone finds this interesting I will post a list of all the items that I will be adding to the mix, it quite a selection!!!!!! and should be compatible for at least a decade or so in the future, in my estimates.


    The hub/dockig station will have the following:

    Front Panel
    Computer power & reset switch,
    HDD LED from computer,
    (2) PCI-E x1 risers
    (1) PCI-E x4 riser
    DVD or Bluray drive,
    3.5" HDD slot w/ caddy & converter for 2.5" drive,
    memory/SD/microSD card & Compact Flash readers,
    Sata controller card connected to PCIe x1 slot
    SATA data & power connections,
    USB 2.0 & 3.0 hubs,
    4 pin molex power.
    Cat6 ports (pass through to back panel, where they connect to router, 5-8 port managed switch (optional - to jump to one of the RJ45 connections to give more ports),
    1/4" head phone plugs,
    Mic input,
    Line-level input,
    line level output, audio selector for speakers vs headphone or for both,
    HDMI in & out ports on front & back panel (depends upon build needs),
    AC power outlet
    System Tep readouts (CPU, video, HDD, etc)
    Front facade will probably have some kind of carbon fibre veneer which comes in many colors.



    Rear panel
    AC power input with fuse/breaker to power everything inside
    120v outlet for monitors
    RJ45 connections (# needed dependent upon set-up)
    USB 3.0 (maybe 3.1) to connect to System
    HDMI inputs from computer (VGA or DVI-x if needed)
    HDMI outputs to monitors (VGA or DVI-x if needed)


    Internal components
    DC power supply (PC supply) 12, 5, 3.3v & ground outputs
    48v DC PSU - 875w ( ~ 18A)
    Variable voltage output - 1.2v - 37vdc (Might be able to get something better here)
    Internal fans possibly (SILENT FANS!!)
    Possible PC fan controllers - speed & temp readout
    Multimeter w/ 3 wire terminals


    Possibilities:
    2-5 channel audio amplifier for speakers (2 x 30w or 5 x 20)
    Raspberry Pi B+ unit with ports "broken out" to front panel for access
    component A/V inputs & outputs, digital, S-video & optical (depending upon needs)
    Some neat LED lights and possibly neon accents if desired


    I'm sure there are some think's I've forgotten and some items might not make it into the project. I'd ove to hear people's thoughts. This is for a computer & electrnics tech so all this stuff will be used pretty often.

    If anyone has any desire of making something similar I would really like to collaborate on ideas and possibly production. I'm really stuck on the case design now as I don't have the ability to bend aluminun or steel of this size ad thickness.
     
  2. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
    2,912
    2,177
    They make xU rack cases with front I/O.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    RogueRose likes this.
  3. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,343
    6,828
    Your poll doesn't offer, "Hell no" for an option.

    Buy an empty 2U case. Find a sheet metal shop if you need one.
    I used a flat piece of aluminum and drilled holes in it for knobs, lights, and pull handles.
    The customer asked me where I had it fabricated. :confused:
    Is it that easy?
    I guess it is.
     
    nsaspook likes this.
  4. RogueRose

    Thread Starter Member

    Oct 10, 2014
    189
    4
    I've stopped at a number of local machine shops but they have said they only do large orders where they have to so a "line production" so price would have been prohibitive. I'll have to find some hobbiest maybe that can do it..
     
  5. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,343
    6,828
    Machine shops are not sheet metal shops. Ask an air conditioning company where they get sheet metal ducts and boxes made.
     
    RogueRose likes this.
  6. AnalogKid

    Distinguished Member

    Aug 1, 2013
    4,546
    1,252
    Or buy one. APW (Mupac, Gavazzi), Bud, Hammond, Schroff, Elma, Vector, and maybe a dozen other companies make standard rack-nount enclosures with flat front and rear panels that are removable for fabrication.

    ak
     
    RogueRose likes this.
  7. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    6,067
    3,836
    Machined duct work. That would be a lot of turnings and chips.
     
  8. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,343
    6,828
    Yep. Machine shops chew big pieces into little pieces. Sheet metal shops use flat sheets, then cut and fold.
     
    RogueRose likes this.
  9. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
    2,912
    2,177
    RogueRose likes this.
  10. KeepItSimpleStupid

    Well-Known Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    1,147
    204
    OK, try these guys: http://www.frontpanelexpress.com/

    A lot of rack cases have flat, rather thick, panels. The ones I used at work a lot didn't, but they were too cheap to pass up.

    You might want a sub-chassis. e.g. A chassis mounted to the side rails so when the top and bottom are taken off, the entire system is still attached.
     
    RogueRose likes this.
  11. RogueRose

    Thread Starter Member

    Oct 10, 2014
    189
    4
    Thanks for all the suggestions on this project! I think I have some really good starting points and options.

    I took some measurements of the outer casing of an old microwave, it has two sides and the top (the bottom is the "bulk" of the microwave unit and a different piece). Since this box isn't going to need to be supported in a rack via the front bracket, I'm thinking that this material might be useable for the bottom and sides and then use a piece of 3/16" acrylic I have for the top so I can see what is going on inside like if a fan goes out, dust buildup, etc.

    The front could be made from the acrylic as well or even the steel microwave oven case - I also have a 1/10" shet aluminum (34" x 26") that would work. I just figured that it would be too tough to bend myself.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2015
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