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Design-Your-Own Computer Case Kits 213

Posted by timothy
from the modular-squadular dept.
lord black writes "I was walking the aisles of the local Fry's and discovered a nifty computer-case-erector-set-thingy. Made by Aero Cool, the Lubic kit is basically a bunch of aluminum rails, acrylic panels (for mounting hardware to), and misc. screws to connect it all, for constructing a unique computer case. They have a gallery of example cases. BTW, Aero Cool also makes neat CPU coolers."
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Design-Your-Own Computer Case Kits

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  • Server errors are _much_ cooler in Chinese...
    • Especially when you don't have the language installed, then it comes in a lot of little block ascii
    • Web * * www.aerocool.com.tw HTTP 403.9 - Internet Information Services () * Web * Microsoft Support

      Interesting, if you paste the text in the foreign language into slashot and press preview, it converts it to english!
    • There's probably a better listing somewhere but I stumbled across this one [ringsurf.com] recently. Could become an art form. Then again, maybe not.
    • Yes, I ran into those 404 errors in Chinese.

      One thing I noted is that they are very "sticky" for want of a better term. Also, can anybody translate them?

      I see loads of fun coming down the /. pipe!

    • Wow, those chinese 404s (they are 404 errors, right?) look great with those multi-language fonts in OS X.

      Man, I've never been able not to understand something so clearly :)

  • Huh (Score:5, Funny)

    by metlin (258108) on Monday December 29, 2003 @12:31AM (#7825575) Journal
    For some odd reason I read that as a Lubric Kit for mounting hardware and screws :-/

    Took me a while to realize that they were talking of the other kind of hardware.
    • Re:Huh (Score:2, Funny)

      I mean common, you mean you don't have a Lubric Erector Set yet?

      Didn't you get that memo? We've only been emailing you about it for 5 years.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They have a gallery of example cases.

    You mean, "had a gallery!"

    Make-your-own computer cases: When ricing up a shitty car isn't enough.
  • Down already? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Blaine Hilton (626259) * on Monday December 29, 2003 @12:32AM (#7825587) Homepage
    Didn't take long to bring this site down. I saw some of the images and this looks like a great setup. What I don't like about cases is everything is closed up and changing things are made harder. Making art out of it, and keeping it open looks cool. Only thing is I would be worried about heat and dust buildup being in the open.

    So where can I buy a kit?

    • quick observation. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mauthbaux (652274)
      I rrecently upgraded my case from the POS that I had before. While shopping for the new case, I ran across these kits. While they sound interesting, (and I'd give them props for the concept if it weren't for the legos and erector sets that had it long before them) The finished products from their gallery are rather dissapointing visually.

      I am an art major, so that might have something to do with my bias, but as far as I can tell, you'd get much better results visually with a couple sheets of plexi, your s
    • Why would you want these? While case shopping I saw these and for the first 3 seconds I was like, "cool." Then logic kicked in and realized they don't accomplish the two main things I look for in a case, protecting my equipment from dust and other nasties (as mentioned in parent) and dulling some of the noise. These things are like a spoiler on a Ford Escort. Yeah it may help the car look a tad better than god-awful, but it doesn't really accomplish anything of use.
      • These cases have the same response from me as a spoiler on a Ford Escort:

        Someone is trying too hard and spending too much money to look cool, and failing miserably.
    • Worries.... (Score:2, Informative)

      by plsander (30907)
      Heat, Dust -- how about Radio Frequency (RF) interferance? Both in and out of the computer.

  • I have had one of these similar kits [creativebrainsonline.com] for years now!
  • Non-fucked .us links (Score:5, Informative)

    by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Monday December 29, 2003 @12:36AM (#7825605) Journal
    Some links that actually work:

    The cases [aerocool.us].

    The coolers [aerocool.us].

    The company [aerocool.us].

    Don't thank me; thank Google.
  • by Trolling4Dollars (627073) on Monday December 29, 2003 @12:37AM (#7825613) Journal
    Suggestion from the manufacturer: use blow-blow direction will perform better than blow-suck.

    From my perspective, I don't know if there's really much difference between blow-blow and blow-suck. (Gawd I love out of context quotes!) ;P

  • by andyring (100627) on Monday December 29, 2003 @12:38AM (#7825616) Homepage
    As is fairly common knowledge, one of the chief functions of a computer case is to restrict stray electromagnetic fields to inside the box. If it's all made out of plexiglas (or other compounds other than metal, as are many typical case mods), wouldn't this end up doing something like, say, causing all your sperm to mutate?

    Oh, wait, this is Slashdot. Like those spermies are ever going to end up anywhere but a tissue anyway.....

    • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Monday December 29, 2003 @12:58AM (#7825708) Homepage Journal
      Some people have managed to meaasure the EM radiation from an open computer and measured practically nothing on the scale. The thing is that the computer is also succeptible to accepting interference from other sources.

      I doubt that an open computer would irradiate anything any more than cell phones, radio waves, TV broadcasts, TVs, etc.
      • Some people have managed to meaasure the EM radiation from an open computer and measured practically nothing on the scale.

        I think the FCC and the TRS-80 will disagree with you. This thing was the only (to my knowledge, at least) computer to be known to be illegal to sell because it violated FCC RF emission laws.

        Some early games for it even made sound by having the user put an AM radio nearby, and then sent proper bit combinations through the memory bus such that the radio could pick up and play sound

        • Actually,

          I had a similar problem with my friends RC Car remote. It was one of the better cars for the hobbyist with too much money.

          This was a while ago with my over clocked celeron.

          The moment he fired up that damned car and pulled the trigger... bam... he blue screened my box. He had to be significantly close to cause this kind of interferance.

          The bus was probably dealing with errors anyway as it wasn't holding up well with the strain of over clocking. Still, we could literally push a button and send ou
        • (m-i-c-k-e-y)
          t-e-m p-e-s-t
          temp e st
    • The shielding is so your computer doesn't muck-up your next door neighbors TV reception. It doesn't have anything to do with shielding PEOPLE from EM radiation. If you're really concerned about such things, you should be more afraid of your blender than your computer.
    • Sperm, hell. Worry about what will happen when the FCC comes after you. Interfering with your neighbor's TV reception is not only illegal, but may be one of the few cardinal sins left in the US of A. And an unshielded modern machine *will* put out RF interference, big-time.
    • one of the chief functions of a computer case is to restrict stray electromagnetic fields.... If it's all made out of plexiglas .... wouldn't this end up doing something like, say, causing all your sperm to mutate?

      Someone else already pointed it it's so you don't muck with other shit.

      As far as keeping it "cool" and "clear" glass looking... all one has to do is shield it... so RF get shot to ground and not your neighbors TV.

      It's hard to say whether this is an issue realisticly. (America centric) As in
    • If it's all made out of plexiglas (or other compounds other than metal, as are many typical case mods), wouldn't this end up doing something like, say, causing all your sperm to mutate?

      It's been said elsewhere, but I'd still like to clarify.

      1) EM fields are created by AC current. (AC = Alternating Current, the kind in a wall, goes "back and forth" 60 times a second, and for this reason, any 2-prong plug can be reversed and it still works)

      2) Computers use 5 (and a little) 12 v DC current (DC = Direct Cur
  • Google Cache (Score:5, Informative)

    by dretay (583646) <drew@nOSpaM.cs.umd.edu> on Monday December 29, 2003 @12:40AM (#7825623) Homepage
    When I tried to view the pics the site had already been ./'ed. Here's the google cache for the Lubic Gallery of Case Mods [216.239.37.104]
  • by USAPatriot (730422) on Monday December 29, 2003 @12:40AM (#7825626) Homepage
    I wonder why a lot of the geek crowd has such disdain for Rice Rocket cars (Type-R stickers, graphics, super-high spoilers, rims), but case-modding is cool.

    Both are just about equally worthless. Both cost ridiculous sums of money for products eventually become worthless. It looks good, but is mostly a makeup for the user's own inadequacies. These modders just love to tell you about their mods and show it off, as if everybody else should care.

    • I wonder (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Why geeks can dump hundreds of dollars into what is effectively a glorified box, but can lay only excuses on a cause like Wikipedia's survival.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Using enough sterotypes?

      Case modding isn't just taking a standard case then adding a window and lights. Rather case ricers are a vocal subset of case modding.

      There are many other types of case modding:

      1. HiFi - Modified to reduce noise.

      2. Overclocker - modified to increase cooling.

      3. Art - modified to be an expression of the owner, in much the same way as art cars. This is distinct from tarting up.

      4. Disguise - many people shoehorn PCs in to cases that look nothing like a PC. eg: R/C car body

      5. Gee
    • whereas a "type-R" badge on a car that was never offered in that version or a giant spoiler that doesn't produce any downforce, just makes the owner look like an idiot who doesn't know anything about cars.

      a better comparison would be twords people who have "show cars". You probably think anything beyond a functional beige case is just as retarded as putting LCD screens in the headrests of a 2 seater car (where nobody can see them) and an extra one in the trunk.
    • I have no problem customizing cars and having the outcome look good. Same with cases. My only problem is where it all goes wrong. Example [riceboypage.com]
    • Rice type cars are like imacs, or maybe a gateway with like a flat screen monitor and a slim black tower that sells for only $1,000. They're just cheap pieces of crap meant to look nice. There are a lot of case mods that are just for looks that a lot of people look down on (Ooooo you have a window and a neon light! Badass!) But I'm more impressed with case mods than some decal that took 2 seconds to apply. There's actually some work to making a case mod look nice, now if you buy a case that comes pre-mo
  • Review at Tweaknews (Score:5, Informative)

    by PaintyThePirate (682047) on Monday December 29, 2003 @12:41AM (#7825629) Homepage
    Tweaknews.net did a review [tweaknews.net] of the Lubic kit last month. Apparently it's not as easy to use as an erector set, but it's still a cool product for case modders.
    • by onomatomania (598947) on Monday December 29, 2003 @01:10AM (#7825766)
      Except that the people that buy this crap are not case modders. The term "case modder" implies that you have some artistic vision to take something boring and through hard work and craftsmanship you modify it to make something unique. This, however, is a bunch of overpriced crap that's trying to cash in on the "sure, I'll pay $30 for a fan with LEDs" crowd. "Case modding" does not mean picking out your case from a menu of options in a catalog.

      Apparently, these are the same people that plaster their Civics with stickers and buy "horsepower adders", as if a gauze air filter and neon colored ignition wires actually had any (non-psychological) effect on performance.
      • Actually, the air filter can give a boost in performace, maybe 5-15 hp, but hey, it's a boost :)

        When I went to get a new air filter for my car, it was stock at $34, a KnY at $36 or a Delux performace blah blah at $112, I took the KnY and it most likly did the same as the Super Delux Blah Blah, but hey, those stupid fools help keep the normal end lower :)

  • Well, the Japanese site is already slashdotted (at least, I think it is, seeing as I can't read Japanese) and the American site doesn't have examples of what you can build from the kit. Doesn anyone know if you can build a smaller form-factor case from this kit. One that would, say, hold the inards of an Xbox snuggly?
    • Hmmm. Based on the characters (Chinese, though I read neither Japanese nor Chinese, there is a visible difference) and the .tw suffix on the domain name, it's more likely that the site is Tiawanese.

      The U.S. site has a small gallery. Click on one of the Lubic kits, then the gallery link at the top of the resulting page.
  • Now I had a quick look at the .us site and the first thing I thought was "Orac!".

    Go on, put your hands up, you know who you are (fellow old farts) ;-)
  • I followed the link, but I came away with more questions than answers, unfortunately.
  • Two-fan solution
    Suggestion from the manufacturer: use blow-blow direction will perform better than blow-suck.

    That made my damn day....
  • Looks like the real cool that these fellows need is not in the aesthetics of their finished product, but in their server farm which is causing 2nd-degree burns to anyone within 5 ft. of their "cool" cases.
  • That's right. I am.

    With how cheap beef is, I'm going to have the best tasting case on the planet.

    And I won't boot in windows, or else it will perform like it has Mad Cow Disease and get the neighbors upset.
  • The links do work fine, you just cant click on them, I guess they didnt want to get slashdoted so they banned slashdot as a referer. Just copy and paste.
  • I saw erector and lubric in subject and i had to re-read couple before i understood what hardware they offered modding kits for. :-)

    Chinese manufacturers sometimes have real gems in the names of their products. Like Asrock motherboards - every time i see one of those, goatse guy comes to mind. Or the VIAGra chipsets. No kidding - google [google.com]

  • Best Features (Score:2, Interesting)

    1.) AGP slot that has a special opening for giant sized fans

    2.) allowing multiple power supply

    3.) allowing as many as 8 fans on the side.

    4.) enable water cooling to graphics card and cpu

    5.) water tank that can be refilled externally

    6.) convenient screwless case

    7.) case that can slide the entire motherboard out easily without any recabling

    8.) 10 external and 10 internal bays

    9.) firewire, usb and headphone jack at front

    10.) case opens up top conveniently for cooling
    Damn I can go on forever.
  • I wonder if their servers were running the AeroCool setup before it was slashdotted and vaporized. (ahh, before 80 posts were made!)

    Newt-dog

  • by pcmanjon (735165)
    Wow, wonder what state you're in. Never met anyone online who has a frys in their area.
    • by l810c (551591) *
      I worked on a project in Phoenix, AZ a couple of years ago. Fry's is a geek's dream store. Think BestBuy/CircuitCity + CompUSA + RadioShack all in a store the size of a Sam's Club/Costco. I've heard rumors they are going to be opening a store in Atlanta, GA, but nothing yet :(
      • Fry's was originally a supermarket in the Santa Clara valley (what became known as "Silicon Valley"). When Safeway started to move in, the Fry brothers saw the writing on the wall and applied the supermarket model to electronics.

        The very first store was on Arques/Lawrence Expressway, very close to Hwy 101. It was before they decided to tart them up with amusement park style "themes" (in fact, when the original store moved across and slightly south on Lawrence, it became the first "theme" store done up t

  • ...that clear plastic bi-plane with RAM slots I say in Fry's actually has some redeeming value?
  • by wayne606 (211893)
    If you build your own case you had better be careful that the fans and other components are positioned so that you get good airflow around the stuff that gets hot. Case designers spend a lot of time verifying that their boxes won't overheat and it's sometimes not at all obvious how the air is going to move.
    • Are you sure about this? From what I can tell, most third party case designers do little more than follow the ATX spec and maybe stick a couple of extra fan ports wherever they have room. It's virtually impossible for them to do airflow analysis because they don't know exactly where the fan (or any other components beyond the cards) will be on the motherboard. OEMs, especially the ones that make small or fancy cases, can do this kind of testing but most Slashdotters don't buy OEM equipment (at least for
  • by alcmaeon (684971)
    I personally think case modding is kind of idiotic. I suppose it gives bragging rights in some circles, but strikes me that anyone you would really want to impress wouldn't give a crap about your computer case.

    I saw a mod on TechTV where they put the comptuer in a machine gun cartridge box. OK, what is the point of this? It doesn't make you cool, it just makes you the idiot who wasted countless hours with a Dremmel Powertool modifying a tin can to house his computer.

    I'm not criticizing someone who wa

  • by cosyne (324176) on Monday December 29, 2003 @03:40AM (#7826210) Homepage
    If you wanted more flexibility than you get from a kit, you could try 80/20 [8020.net] aluminum extrusion. They have various hardware, plastic panels, etc.
  • by KC7GR (473279) on Monday December 29, 2003 @04:18AM (#7826354) Homepage Journal
    Self-building a system, especially with a creative enclosure, is never a Bad Thing. However, there is one very important -- I would even say 'critical' -- aspect of doing so that no one seems to be paying attention to, and it applies to ANY computer case that is not a full wrap-around all-metal enclosure.

    Specifically: Unless you take explicit steps to electrically shield the transparent parts, the enclosure will never meet FCC Part 15 requirements for not radiating RF energy, or being susceptible to outside RFI (Radio Frequency Interference).

    Here's the filthy details, and some more info on why this is a Bad Thing. Early computer systems and peripherals were classed as "Unintentional Radiators" under part 15.3(z) [akamaitech.net] of the FCC regs. Later, as processor speeds climbed, an additional category of 'Digital Device' was created under part 15.3(k).

    It was under this part that two subclasses were created. You may have heard references to something being a "Class A Computing Device" in the commercial world, or a "Class B Computing Device" in the consumer world. Both of these subclasses have to do with how much RF the device radiates under normal use, and how much potential it has to interfere with other nearby devices, including TV's, stereos, etc. The ARRL's web site [arrl.org] has a page that summarizes this, [arrl.org] and provides a great explanation on the issue of what 'harmful interference' is, and what the rules say about responsibility for solving issues involving it.

    The Reader's Disgust version is this: Sure, you can build your computer into the flashiest Lexan-and-Aluminum enclosure you can find. You can equip it with all kinds of see-through parts, flashing LEDs, and other useless fluff to your heart's content.

    HOWEVER -- remember that any material other than metal, solid or mesh, is going to be pretty much transparent to whatever RF energy your system spews into the surrounding environment in the course of its normal operation. If your flashy see-through system causes interference to ANY other RF-using device that is NOT covered by Part 15, to the point where said device cannot operate properly, it is YOUR responsibility to clean it up, electrically speaking.

    Transparency to RF is a two-edged sword. You might get incredibly lucky, in that your way-cool see-through system might not be causing any interference at all. But what happens when, just as one example, the ham radio operator next door to you starts transmitting with a 1,000-watt-plus signal? (Yes, we are allowed to use that kind of power, and more).

    Another example: What happens if a cop, the paramedics, or anyone else with a portable transceiver happens to transmit with said portable and they happen to be close to your computer at the same time?

    Either way, a good chunk of the RF energy from those transmissions are going to go straight into your computer, because all that Lexan is going to let it in like a firehose stream through tissue paper. At best, your system may lock up or reboot unexpectedly. At worst, you could be looking at hard drive corruption.

    And guess who's responsible for clearing up the resultant mess? Not the ham radio op. What they're doing is covered very well indeed under FCC Part 97. [gpo.gov] (That's not to say they'd just tell you to fix it yourself -- most hams are pretty nice about helping you to fix such issues if their transmitters appear to be wreaking havoc, but the ultimate responsibility lies with the owner of the Part 15 device).

    Not the cops, paramedics, or whoever else was using the portable radio either. They're operating perfectly within the limits of their FCC license as well. No, the onus for fixing the problem lands right back on your shoulders, as the computer owner, all because you wanted a
    • Reality vs. Theory (Score:4, Informative)

      by HardCase (14757) on Monday December 29, 2003 @11:19AM (#7827559)
      While I don't take issue with the technical accuracy of what you've said, from a practical point of view, these "cases", while not the greatest thing from an RF point of view, probably won't radiate enough energy to bother a transistor radio sitting a foot away. I spent several years working in an EMI lab testing electronic components and from experience I know that a PC, even a multi-gigahertz one, radiates very little RF energy.


      As for problems with EMI reception...well, I suppose that if my next door neighbor had a kilowatt transmitter, the antenna in the backyard would be a dead giveaway and I might think twice before building one of these systems. But, apart from an extreme case like that, PCs are really quite immune from RF interference. A great deal of the design work that goes into the actual chips on the boards is devoted to EMI and ESD rejection. Critical signals are routed differentially. Signals on the PCB are (relatively) low frequency and routed with an eye toward reducing EMI transmission and susceptability.


      My current work involves designing and simulating high speed digital systems. Part of that design work is to determine both how well the network rejects EMI and how little it radiates. And, as I mentioned before, short an extreme case (like the 1000 watt Ham transmitter), it is virtually impossible to couple enough energy onto the transmission lines to cause any trouble. And the amount of energy radiated beyond a foot or so is almost unmeasurable.


      So, from a practical point (electrically speaking), these "cases", such as they are, are probably not the EMI terrors that one might thing. That being said, I sure wouldn't want one around my cat.


      -h-

  • These cases were also featured at quakecon 2003 (pic [quakecon.org])... just a nifty little tidbit..

    yes, that is a computer. Yes, it looks like an airplane... yes it works =) I saw it working with my own two eyes.
  • After looking at the site I just think it is a very bad idea to let Joe Smith built is own case. It is looking like early Internet personal web pages.

    Flashy and hugly!

    Anyone has built an Eiffel tower or Golden Gate bridge computer case?

    Unless someone can build a case looking like this one. [cisc-icca.ca] I can reconsider my position...

  • The kits need curved rods and a cutting tool that can cut the plexi in anything other than straight lines. You're too limited with straight edges.
  • This looks like a reduced-scale version of 80/20, an industrial product typically used for building custom workbenches, robot chassis and the like. I wonder how the prices compare. The 80/20 web site is here: http://www.8020.net/ [8020.net]

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