Companion Case, a briefcase solution

Briefputer

What's an ITX?
Original poster
Jun 1, 2016
1
5
Hello!
I have visited this forum a couple of times and was told that this is the place for indie case manufacturers. So here is a brief presentation of my Kickstarter project; Companion Case

The case I'm building is in short a computer case with a monitor stand and storage space for gear all built in a equipment case. I was inspired by custom briefcase "laptops" but figured it was possible to actually make a standardized case fitting a mini-ITX system, a real monitor and real gear (standard keyboard, mouse and a headset). It should contend as the ultimate LAN-party case as you can pack it fast, without disconnecting a lot of cables and have it well protected during transportation.

I first got the idea about a year ago. I then did like 200++ sketches of different layouts over a long summer vacation. At the time I worked as a private teacher, not many hours per week and wasn't really happy with my life. I then got the laughable idea of starting a company and trying to work with this for real. I believe in my design, and couldn't think of good reasons not to try, accept the usual fear and disbelief. And so I started.

First I want to show the latest prototype and explain what features the Companion Case "must" include in order to work as a standard case. And further down I'll show the CAD's and design details.







The very foundation is enough room for powerful components and efficient design to be able to pack it fast. I can pack the entire PC including gear in about 1 minute. As the case is built to move the computer the components and monitor must be well protected. The screen is facing the foam covered "lid" away from sharp objects threatening its surface.

Full specifications for the components fitting the case:
- 24" Monitor: Max 575x350x65 mm with VESA 100x100 mounting holes.
- 2 Slot Graphics card up to 32 cm.
- AIO Water cooling with 120 or 240 mm radiator or Air cooler up to ~80mm above motherboard.
- Mini-ITX motherboard.
- SFX or SFX-L power supply.
- 2 SSD's and 1 HDD, with options for up to 4 additional HDD's.
- Full size keyboard up to 450x195x40 mm (including cord).
- Headset, max size depends on monitor thickness and how the cables are connected. My ATH-M50 fits easily and my brothers Corsair Vengeance 2100 too.
- Mouse and mouse pad.
- The case outside dimensions: 665x500x210 mm.

Here is a picture of the components currently in the prototype:




It's an requirement that the case can be moved easily and safely, both by car and train/subway/bus. I use a moulded ABS plastic equipment case that's resistant to water and dirt, and very durable.




The case need to have room for standard keyboards. I want to stay away from as many limitations as possible, so TKL or 60% keyboards are not required. This is the design I settled for; the keyboard is stored under the radiator, secured during transport. And when removed it lets the rad breathe. The case must also have room for gaming headsets and mice, and the prototype fits at least Corsair Vengeance 2100 (the largest headset I tried so far).


Here is the layout of the components, its tight but manageable.

I'm starting on a very small scale and the assembly will be done by myself. The equipment cases will be ordered from China. The base is made from 1mm sheet metal and the the top panels are 2mm aluminum. The designs of these parts
are simple too keep the costs down, I'll have them made locally. And to connect everything I'll be printing plastic parts with 3d printer(s). This way I have control over the design and can keep the cost down for a low production quantity. Here are the CAD's of the inside (with some small upgrades compared to the prototype):







The features not included in the protoype are:
- GPU cover plate. Protects the back of the card and looks cleaner.
- Fan hole for air cooler.
- New VESA mount with a latch to secure the monitor. A spring will be mounted between the 2 tiny cylinders.

So that's the basic design. I will print most of the parts with durable ABS plastic. As the equipment case is also made of ABS I have welded the 2 red mounting bits to the case with acetone. As the work continues I will update the design of some parts, to make it more durable and print efficient. I have been my prototype for several months now without big problems, but some adjustments needs to be made:
- The axis that holds the monitor must get sturdier. It works, but at the moment I must be careful when I flip the monitor up and down.
- The parts holding the radiator bracket must have more smooth feel when detaching the keyboard.


To keep things flexible it will be possible to use an air cooler instead of AIO watercooling and mount up to 4 hard drives instead of the radiator. That will require a fan hole in the panel above the CPU (included on the CAD but not on the prototype). I'm considering either choosing between 2 different sets of panels when ordering or just have one set with holes ready. I'd love to hear your opinions on this one.


I hope this is just the beginning, and I will post updates and discuss more in detail different solutions when I get there in the process. In the meantime I'll happily answer questions and hear your thoughts about the design and idea in general.

Kind Regards
Linus Lager
 

Phuncz

Lord of the Boards
Editorial Staff
Moderator
Gold Supporter
May 9, 2015
5,183
4,519
I saw this on another forum, awesome work ! You went beyond most previous one-off projects by using the monitor hinge.