Description

Blackwood has been a long time coming, I picked up the CPU, mobo, GT 610, a trash PSU and a CM N200 case up off a friend for $50 in June 2017 with the intention of making a gaming rig out of it, but the more I thought about it, the more I decided to make it into a HTPC instead. By this time it was about August.

I started scouring gumtree (basically craigslist for you Americans) to see what decent hardware I could get on the cheap and in the end managed to pick up the WD red and the RAM for a guy who was parting out one of his older rigs, for a pretty decent price. Also ignore the warnings about the RAM not working with the board, it runs quite happily at 1333MHz (it also means I have a single stick of the RAM left over, so if someone wants it and is in Australia, PM me).

I also decided I wanted to make this machine as quiet as possible due to the use case which is why the cooler was chosen and as was the passive cooled GPU and the noctua fans, with fan controller. But the biggest and hardest decision was what to do about a case. I had decided basically straight away that it wasn't staying in the original case that I had the parts in, it was too ugly and large. I had been wanting to build a wood case PC for a long time and I plan on building more (next rig I plan on building for myself will be a water cooled PC built into a desk but that's probably 2019). Plus I figured that I might as well make it the centrepiece of the whole show which is why I chose some of the timbers that I did, more on that later.

I had great fun coming up with a design that I felt was easy enough to build and to cool the components effectively as well. I did consider a design where all the cool air was drawn in the sides and vented out the back but in the end I decided against it even though it would have been quieter on the grounds that I would have had difficulty with PWRLED and PWRSwitch placement and how to do an effective, easy to remove dust filter for the front. Thus the design you see in the pictures was born. I do have to thank my brother for the suggestion of using a ring of PVC water pipe to hold the tulle (which makes up the filters) in place.

The choice of timber was probably one of the easier parts, the top and sides are made out of red stringybark (Eucalyptus macrorhyncha) timber which would have been harvested off the property that my parents live on currently and were pulled out of the house when my parents renovated it and saved as it was a shame to burn or throw away so much beautiful timber. As for the front, it is made up of two timbers sourced from Tasmania, the blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) and King William (Billy) pine (Athrotaxis selaginoides). These days the king billy pine is quite rare due to excessive clearing and slow growth rates, it makes up the small highlights on the sides. I used some old Oregon plywood to make up the inside of the sides, base, motherboard tray and back, because it was easy to work and you can't see those areas.

The blackwood which makes up the majority of the front panel was a very interesting timber to work with, especially due to the way that particular piece was sawn, the the fact that it is a very hard wood. You could only run the timber through the thicknesser one direction otherwise you get chips coming out of the timber, it would burn if you work it the wrong way and it is very difficult to remove once that happens- you need to strip 1/4mm off minimum to remove it. The other timbers were really easy to work in comparison, a knife through hot butter comes to mind...

Most parts of the case build came together pretty well, a few hiccups aside, like a bent 115mm hole saw... RIP $40... Some things really didn't go to plan though, like measuring the wrong length for the side panels and lid and thus having to change how I did the back to make it all work, but hey, I managed to get to work out alright in the end. The one thing that I'm really not happy with still is the I/O shield and PCI-E slots, they were taken from a defunct HP prebuilt that no longer functioned and I didn't want the case for anything. The problem was I couldn't come up with a good way to fasten it in place and the cut out I made ended up being too large as I was 2mm out with my positioning. It did work out in the end but wasn't ideal. I also had to add the fan controller late in the build process when I discovered I couldn't get all the fans to behave well off the mobo fan headers and the splitters I was using. I ended up using a semi-gloss lacquer for the case, which I felt was the best compromise between a matt finish and full gloss, which I find just a little bit unpleasant to look at on dark and really light coloured timbers.

So far this build has been used mostly for netflix and a bit of gaming, using steam home streaming for a bit of casual gaming with friends and does very well at that, ubuntu has been plenty fast enough for that and was much better once I worked out how to fix the auto login bug in 17.10.

Overall, I'm happy with the way this build turned out and I certainly learned a lot about how to design and build a wooden case, and most importantly, what I would change if I was to build it all over again, which was a lot lol. A big thanks to my brother and father for their assistance with this build, from using a tools that I didn't have the skills for, to providing suggestion and another set of hands when I needed it. And thank you to the reader, for having made it through me blathering on for far too long.

TL;DR: Wooden cases look nice, are harder work to put together than they look but I feel like they are worth the effort and would do it again.

EDIT: Blackwood got featured, that you very much everyone for all the upvotes and support for this build and I don't imagine I'll manage to top this with my next build.

Part Reviews

Video Card

The card seems to run just fine and being passively cooled is a massive bonus, especially being the only one that has HDMI and DP. But the star comes off for MSI making you take the heat sink off to install the low profile bracket on it.

Comments

  • 19 months ago
  • 9 points

It never ceases to amaze me just how creative people on this site can be. +1

  • 19 months ago
  • 5 points

Thanks, I certainly agree with you

  • 19 months ago
  • 5 points

You did a nice job building that wood case. Take my +1

Featured maybe? =P

  • 19 months ago
  • 7 points

Ha, I wish but I wouldn't bet $5 on it making that when there's so many other rigs, with all the pretty lights etc.

  • 19 months ago
  • 5 points

you should have bet the $5 BRO

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Lol

Wooden cases have been featured before though...

  • 19 months ago
  • 3 points

That is certainly true

  • 19 months ago
  • 4 points

HA

I was right lol =P

  • 19 months ago
  • 3 points

Not a big fan of wood cases. They seem like so much effort and they don't turn out as well as a 25 dollar steel case. To each their own! Congrats on the feature, take my plus one for that.

  • 19 months ago
  • 3 points

Nice work, always gotta love a DIY computer case! +1 :)

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice job!

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks Matt, coming from you, that's high praise indeed

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Hello

I'm Carcraftz if you remember me. Do you have discord?

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice job on the build!

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks :)

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Congrats on a project of passion. Amazing work.

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you, many hours were spent on it, that's for sure

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Great looking home made case. There definitely is great sense of pride when making something by hand! I love wood working. So please have my +1

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Id definitely argue that this deserves to be featured. Muuuuch nicer than some 5000 dollar rgb rig that gets featured just cause it has every colour discovered by mankind flowing out of it! For real though, This looks bloody nice mate, Good freakin job!

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, I really appreciate the support for this build

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

I LOVE the duct tape cable ties! Awesome build, very interesting compared to the usual feature. +1!

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, I didn't really have much choice with the duct tape, cable ties really weren't going to work in there with only 10mm below the mobo tray

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Well... tbh that woodwork is somewhat okay, but the "interior" ... it made me uncomfortable.

I still hope ur happy and maybe Rev. 2.0 is a lot cleaner

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

I know I was pretty lazy with the inside, mostly because I don't plan on seeing it too often :P And don't worry, rev 2.0 will be a lot neater as I learned a lot of the do's and don't for a wood case.

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

FELLOW WOOD WORKER TO ANOTHER.... Props. +1

Iv'e been working on another pc chassis made of wood. Thinking of using a fire proof coating on the raw wood ahead of time just to be safe.

Remember with a wooden chassis not to leave it on when your not home in the unlikely event of a fire.

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Honestly, I don't think the fireproof coating would make much of a difference if a fire does start as it will still get out the air vents and light up everything around it, it's still a problem with steel cases and besides, it is a only on when needed PC anyway.

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

I was thinking more in the case of an internal fire from a dust bunny or a fried component. That way the chassis wouldn't go up with the internals quite so bad.

Good call not leaving it on all the time : P

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

I think that you're more likely to have issues with a short or something like that then a fire personally, and with a wooden case, it is a major issue as most of them don't have any earthing from the mobo to PSU

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

true this is a very unlikely thing to happen

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Wow! You make me regret my plywood project and I'm not working on it yet. I'll keep my eyes open for better pieces of timber like you did.

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

I'll be very keen to see what you come up with there and even if you can't find some nice solid timber, keep your eyes out for a nice veneer and cover the ply with that, you can still make it look amazing at less cost.

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 for respecting the value of rare wood!

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks, too many people don't these days, or throw away furniture that's made out of amazing wood because they have no idea of what they have

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Heh, he has wood.

I know, I'm horrible.

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

WOOD you look at that, a feature!

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

It happened just as I LOGGED on

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Great description story. Nicely done.

Thumbs up and congrats on the featured spot!

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Great work here bud. Love self made cases and the dedication that goes into them. Nice work +1

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

I do too, as they're not always another generic water cooled, rig that is lit up like the Vegas strip

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Got wood? Sorry couldn't help it. I love it and I love the little red light but I literally was just at a restaurant and the toilet flush button looked just like your power button. Sorry can't be unseen. It's amazing though great job +1

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh wow, that's certainly something else right there lol and certainly not a comment I ever expected to see on this build.

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Points for being super unique. Very nice build here

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Dat ducktape wire management.

Seriously though, big props to actually taking a risk and building something from scratch like this. Crafting things by hand is always an adventure, and it was a pleasure to see the build process. Kudos!

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

It was one of those things that I've been wanting to do for ages and that really made the risk worth it in the end, even though I was using rare timbers for some parts of it

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Sometimes more prestigious materials are just what a project needs. I don't think you would have been very satisfied if you just went with the first choice of wood that you had available, you had in mind exactly what you wanted and you sought out to make it a reality. It's the attention to detail like this that really gives a project heart and character.

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

I see wood case, I upvote! Our builds could be siblings! The figure in the front plate looks awesome. I think I'd like to build a wooden case for my HTPC now. Great job!

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

You really should do it, your wood case build is awesome and I wish it was mine lol

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Amazing! Just have a few questions. Where is the fan hub located? What did you use for the filters and how does it stick in place? And lastly, where did you get that power button? (can't find anything looking that nice on amazon)

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

The fan hub is located between the mobo (at the ram slots) and the PSU, as I used the ATX power connector cut out to run the cables.

I used some black bridal tulle fabric, each one is about 7-8 layers thick and is held in place with a piece of black painted PVC storm water pipe that has a break in it (so it is easy to get in place, but also still remains tight).

The power button is from jaycar electronics and is this one here and is massively over-rated for the job but hey, who cares lol

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

That's pretty damn cool

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Very nice. If I had any woodworking skills, I would definitely do one of these. My dad is awesome at woodworking, has a whole shop. If he didn't live on the other side of the country, I would definitely be working with him to make one.

I like the creativity, and always enjoy a build that sets itself apart from the rest.

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Honestly, I do one anyway and get your dad's help on it, as it is a fun experience to build your own case and learn that it isn't quite as easy as it looks to do a good job of it

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice job, what an inspiring idea :)

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

It is beautiful work man.

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Noice

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

At first I thought you were building it as a drawer to put inside your desk

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Ahaha, I certainly could modify it to that in future if I feel the need, but currently I'd rather it as a HTPC,

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  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Duct tape always does it’s job

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

Unless it's cheap duct tape, then it's crap.

  • 19 months ago
  • 3 points

Very true, which is why I used the good nitto stuff for this

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

damn dude, congrats w/ this :P

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

wow nice woodworking +1

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

how did you get that CPU so cheap!? Great job on the build. +1

  • 19 months ago
  • 1 point

Someone who didn't know exactly what they had and just wanted to get rid of the system

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