How to Build a Computer Case From Scratch

by Larry Amon

Building a computer case from scratch is either an exercise to see if you can do it or because you have very specific size or style requirements that want in your case. Hundreds of "ready to use" computer cases are for sale; most are inexpensive and will satisfy a wide variety of needs. Nevertheless, if you want to build you own computer case, you can do it but be prepared for a project that will take some time and will be more expensive than if you purchased a prefabricated case.

Obtain a sufficient size and quantity of the material you will use to build your case. You can use a variety of materials, including a pre-built wooden box or other container, but choose a non-combustible material that can withstand the heat generated by the chips and other components inside the computer.

Draw a schematic or diagram of what parts you need to install and where they will be placed inside the container. Begin by measuring the motherboard and allowing for sufficient space, as this is usually the largest piece of hardware in a computer.

Build a bay, rack or several shelves to hold your hard drive and optical drive. You will also need a shelf for the power supply to rest on, unless you decide to screw it into a corner of your custom container, in which case you will need mounting brackets to secure it in place.

Cut out a hole to allow air circulation for the power supply fan. Cut another opening to expose the back of the motherboard where the various ports are located so that you can connect your mouse, keyboard, speakers, printer, modem and other devices. Cut openings in the front of your custom case so your CD/DVD drive tray can open out. Don't forget to cut additional openings for airflow and for any case fans you may want to install.

Drill holes of the appropriate size in each location where you intend to connect something. For example, you will need to screw the motherboard to the case, as well as any drives, fans, internal speakers and other components that you wish to install.

Make an opening for a door or fabricate a cover that can be screwed to the side of the case allowing easy access to the internal hardware for repairs and upgrades. You can make a door with hinges and a latch, one that uses thumbscrews, or one that is screwed in place. A see-through acrylic side-panel allowing you to view the internal hardware might make a nice finishing touch.

Tip

  • check How you build your custom computer case depends on your available materials and the limits of your imagination.

Items you will need

About the Author

Larry Amon has been working in the computer field for more than 10 years and has experience writing scripts, instructional articles and political commentary. He has been published online, as well as in "NRB Magazine" and "Delmarva Youth & Family." He started a nonprofit media organization in 2000.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera three black computer cases 02 image by WaD from Fotolia.com