Project mATX: An interview with Jeffinslaw

Jeffery is a member of a variety of forums (including SFF Forum), and has recently entered the realm of PC case design with ‘Project mATX’ – an enclosure meant to bring the ethos and principals of the acclaimed Compact Splash to the mATX form factor. In contrast to our debut interview with Josh Sniffen of NFC Systems fame, Jeff’s first strike at case design provides an insightful window into the fundamentals of the design process, as well as some of the minutiae that comes along with learning as you go.

Joshua Ramirez: Thanks for speaking with us! Let’s start by talking about what inspired you to create Project mATX, and work towards designing an enclosure.

Jeffery: Well, my inspiration for the case really started with the Compact Splash, which is a case designed by a member of OCN. When I saw it, I really liked how robust it was, and loved (of course) the size – but for me, it was just a little too small. I really needed what the mATX form factor could provide, above and beyond mITX.

Because of this, I found that I wanted to basically create an mATX version of the Compact Splash. And, other than size, I really wanted my case to mimic it closely, since I loved all of the other features of the case – the design of its vents, the placement of the PSU over the motherboard, and so forth.

Thus, ultimately, I ended up creating a case with all of the same design features of the Compact Splash, with enough added enough changes and conveniences to be able to provide a case that is unique.

Project mATX

JR: What are some of the larger challenges you’ve faced while working on the case?

J: By far, the biggest challenge in designing this case was teaching myself how to use various 3D modeling software. I had used Rhino 4.0 in the past as a student, but I knew that it wasn’t an industry standard, and wouldn’t have much practical application for Project mATX.

Still, when I first thought about making a case myself, I noticed that Kyle (Ed. note: The creator of the Compact Splash) had mentioned that his largest cost for making his case was actually the 3D design work done by engineers, who were trained to use sophisticated software for this purpose. But I didn’t want that to be a large cost of my own case production – so I ended up setting out to create a workable 3D model myself!

This involved teaching myself the in’s and out’s of SolidWorks, the platform that’s pretty much standard in industry. Luckily, however, it wasn’t as difficult to learn as I imagined, and I was able to bust out the design of the case in just a few weeks.


Project mATX rear

JR: That’s pretty impressive turnaround for SolidWorks! I take it you were happy to work on the model yourself, but were there other things you did that you wish you had done differently?

J: The only thing I would have done differently for this case was the timeline. I really wish I would have received the prototypes about two months ago, as I could have had at least two batches of orders in by now. Delays can really shake up working on a product like this – and, of course, people are left waiting as well!

As far as the case itself, there’s really not a single thing I would change about it, believe it or not. In my opinion, it is perfectly designed for what it is meant to be and do.


JR: Speaking of, tell me when people can look for your case!

J: The case should be available to purchase within the next two weeks! Prices will be $300 shipped for residents of the continental US, and $300 + additional shipping for everyone else. Note that this covers all three color options: black, grey and white.


JR: Fantastic! It’s wonderful to see this sort of cross-pollination of ideas in industry, and to see enthusiasts bring their ideal cases to market themselves. I wish you luck with your project, and look forward to following your work!

J: Thank you!

For more info about Project mATX, you can check out out the build logs here. If you are interested in purchasing one of these cases please check the pre-order thread over on OCN.

Thoughts? Discuss them here.