A few years ago I wanted to build a custom PC case, and this is the result!

It was originally an old 8086 (XT) case. For those of you who know anything about old PC’s, this was basically the grand daddy of your fancy pentiums and laptops we all use now. It was clunky, and very, very heavy! The case alone weighs somewhere around 10 kg just by itself!

Originally this thing had a 10mb hard drive – that’s right, the one you needed to “park” before manually switching off the power supply. The hard drive was physically about the same size as a DVD ROM drive today. The CPU was something around a whole 4mhz, and there may have been an astonishing 360k of ram in there! My, my, my – how things have changed in the last 30 years or so.

So I had this thing lying around, minus the internals, and decided it looked too full of potential to toss out.

Before pics:

Things had changed a lot since this thing was made, so while the drive bay holes were the same size as in modern PC cases, the mounting holes and other measurements had changed in the meanwhile. I had to be creative in getting the new mainboard I bought to fit properly – cutting holes and slots in the back plate to accommodate the multitude of extra plugs and ports the old boards didn’t come with – and then I had to relocate the board itself in order to line up the expansion slots with the case mounts for expansion cards!

I rigged up a cool switch panel (ATX power on and reset) for the front, and fitted a front USB panel with a lid-flap, and also a light panel. I tried to go with a sort of sci-fi/steam-punky sort of look, and added an intake fan at the center front of the case, made from an aluminum plate I cut and shaped into a rounded funnel.


For the fan itself, I patched together three green LED case fans. 2 of them were broken, so I removed the fan parts, but their bodies created an LED tunnel, with the third having its fan. It made for a pretty stunning visual effect if I say so myself!

More Power To Him!

I wanted the power supply to be more than just a plain little silver box, so I did a custom job on that too, cutting the case open some for visual appeal, painting it, and fitting another LED fan in place of the plain black one.

The mainboard was topped off with a huge heatsink on the CPU, with the coolest shape I could find! I replaced the boring black fan with a blue LED fan.

The lid of this horizontal case opens up like a car hood, and I wanted it to be something spectacular! I cut a panel hole in the lid, and fitted a specially cut glass pane (6mm thick) for it. It’s fitted from underneath with aluminum brackets and hexagonal-head bolts.

I simply covered over the gap at the back of the door plate where the hinges are with skateboard grip tape (which is thin and flexible) and painted over that too.

I added a trap-door type recessed handle for coolness, as well as two cupboard door locks for security.

The whole thing was painted with red acrylic paint. A lot of creativity, painting, shaping, cutting and fabrication went into this case as you can see!

I hope it inspires you to make something similar of your own!

If you’d like to send Christina Engela a question about anything on this site, or her life as a writer or transactivist, please send an email to christinaengela@gmail.com or use the Contact form on her author website.

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