I have been slowly setting up a clean 1994 486 VLB system, but had some doubts about the casing.
Never owned branded PCs. Custom builds all the way, tuned for maximum performance. All bells and whistles removed - only the essentials left.
The standard metal cases were always a point of annoyance. Lids were rarely closed, many internals removed for convenient access to hardware.
So, when the retro bug bit me a while ago, i started looking for a proper alternative to the big-bulky-clumsy cases - i have a fridge in the kitchen already. 😀
At the end i decided to make a 3D printed PC case to my liking: austere and functional.
- simple shapes that can be easily augmented into other designs
- easy to print objects
- economic on filament - fit within 1 and a half spools, including some reprints
- structural strength
- easy to assemble
- functional and easy to use
Ok, here goes nothing:
As i said - design is minimalistic.
I stopped using HDDs and moved to CF cards long ago, so there is no holder for HDD in there, but space is allocated on the side of the PSU separator, if one day i decide to go back to HDDs.
The design allows to easily add/remove the PSU. Reason is - i have more systems than PSUs. When want to fire-up one of them i grab an available PSUs and play.
Ventilation is secured by the PSU - sucking "hot" air from the inside and expelling it.
There are countless brands and types of 3D filaments. Most of them are not great, but there are few that are just right.
My 3D filament of choice is Polymaker PolyLite PLA 3D, 1.75mm, temperature 220/70:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01IAVQIWE/ … 0?ie=UTF8&psc=1
It is the easiest thing to print with using Prusa I3 MK2 (and later models) - precise clean shapes, does not bend at all, sticks really well - you can literally print on a cookie and it will be fine.
My first pick was natural transparent filament, but wife said "looks old at first sight", the printing quality was superb.
Black looks cool, but absorbs too much light and the case gets too dark on the inside. This compromises the requirement for "functional", so ended up going with white filament. Next time when I drop a screw by accident inside the case it will not be lost for good 3 minutes.
Everything needed for the case - bunch of printed parts, couple of screws, "reset" cable, Loctite glue.
The "reset" button consists of 4 pieces + cable. The contact surfaces that will be glued together required a bit of smoothing - scraped them few times with a knife.
The slot for the PSU's power switch. Took some trial and error to make a design that allows easy insertion and removal of the switch, but keep it tight fit while in place.
The individual panels glued and drying for few minutes.
This is perhaps the most tricky part of the whole assembly - the screw sockets for the motherboard.
I have printed markings on the bottom panels indicating where the slots should be glued, but wanted to double check in case my blueprints were off.
Inserted the back panel into the corresponding slots and placed the sockets.
Put the motherboard on the screw sockets. The two inserted cards helped me position the mobo precisely in the right place.
Notice the green sharpie with extended graphite.
Used the sharpie to mark the places of the sockets. Turned-out my printed markings were correct.
Test assembly - inside. Don't pay attention to the messy cables, this will be sorted out later on.
Test assembly - outside. Didn't spend time to completely fit all panels, that's why they look a bit dislocated, but In fact the panels fit and hold onto each other so well that the case can be used like that without further gluing.
In case any of this is interesting to you - here is the blueprints (Maya ASCII format), triangulated OBJ files, factory file (Simplify3D), gcode files ready to print:
https://www.petershipkov.com/temp/retro_pc_im … _at_pc_case.zip
Leaving the final assembly for the next post, when the 486 system is in complete order.