Concept Amateur custom 14L case

musashin

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Oct 1, 2020
5
3
Hey folks, welcome to my build log. I know this spot is designated more for production-focus and that's not likely my situation, so I'm happy to move the thread elsewhere if needed.

This is actually going to be a lot of firsts for me.
First build log!
First custom-built case!
First SFF build at all!

I have always been a bit of a ‘maker’ and really enjoy doing things myself if I’m at all able to. COVID has left me with a (tiny) bit of additional time at home, and I’ve done a few larger projects than usual through it. I am now motivated to build my own SFF case!

I have always been interested in the SFF concept, being able to pack as much firepower into a small space as possible. As is my nature, I have been researching SFF builds and components for ages to plan out how I envisioned my own future build. However, there are a few parts I tend to be disappointed in the majority of SFF cases / builds. They tend to sacrifice noise and temperatures for the sake of size. Sub-10L cases often require undervolting, sacrificing performance as well. Flex ATX PSUs have pretty severe noise profiles because they can only accept tiny fans. Low-profile downdraft CPU coolers just can’t keep up with modern high-end processors. I don’t want my build to sacrifice on any of that. Ultimately the design is sub-14L, will fit full size 300mm+ 2-slot+ GPUs, 140mm intake fan, 2.5 and 3.5” HDDs, SFX PSU, and full-size CPU coolers.

Current parts list:
Intel Core i9 9900k
Scythe Fuma 2 CPU Cooler
Aorus z390 Pro Wifi ITX Motherboard
2x16GB G.Skill Ripjaws 3200MHz CL16
Asus Strix RTX 2060 OC
Samsung 970 Evo 500GB NVMe
Samsung 860 Evo 500GB 2.5” SSD
Toshiba 2TB 3.5” HDD
Corsair SF600 Gold SFX PSU
Scythe Kaze Flex PWM 140mm intake, 92mm exhaust
Custom Aluminum Case

Design inspiration for this case comes from the visually engaging GPU shrouds that modern GPUs have, especially the Strix cards which are a favorite of mine. The Antec Striker case has a vertical GPU setup in the front, which is a design concept my case will mirror. The trouble with that case is that it’s water-cooling focused, as well as being nearly 40L! Hardly an SFF case at that point. I am also a big fan of air coolers vs AIO water cooling, so I wanted to make sure the design had plenty of room for a tower air cooler.

These concepts led me to an initial MS Paint layout design:


The design has evolved quite a bit from there, when I built the design in SketchUp:




I then worked to test-fit parts against the sacrificial case that is providing my motherboard tray and PCI slots:



My latest progress is fabricating the aluminum framing pieces that will then be riveted together to create the base frame:



Once that frame is fully together, the motherboard tray will be anchored into the case and fitting of storage drives and PSU will be done, followed by fabrication of brackets for those to be mounted. I have some idea of magnetic attached side panels to allow for easy access to components and further customization of front plates and side panels. I have extracted a power button from an old Fractal Design case to use, but am planning to forgo all other IO outside of the motherboard ports to simplify the design.

I have a wife and 2 kids and run a completely unrelated small business so progress may ultimately move slowly here, but am hoping that beginning the build log will motivate me to push forward on progress!

Thanks, will check back in soon!
Jacob
 

musashin

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Oct 1, 2020
5
3
Case frame is constructed! Currently working on preparing the motherboard tray mount and IO shroud.



I'll want to attach the motherboard tray to the frame with removable hardware, and a bit of a spacing from the back edge. What kind of spacer hardware do people tend to use for a project like this? Where would I be able to purchase a rather small number of them and not a giant bulk order? I have all the traditional hardware stores near me, is there a standard that is often used?
 

musashin

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Oct 1, 2020
5
3
Initial layout and part installation is complete. Still working on psu and hdd mounts but after that next step is side panels and project completion :)