Posted on January 19, 2004
Note the countersunk holes and the rubber washers on the mounting rails. The hard disk floats and is insulated from direct shock. The aluminum case was so stiff that I feared the slightest jar would be transmitted directly into the hard disk. A stamped metal case has natural give and shock resistance. A solid aluminum case does not.
The case is assembled in two halves, one with the hard disk, the other with the mainboard. As the frame is on the outside and all parts screwed to the inside, it's almost impossible to assemble the frame first and then affix the components to it. Here is the half with the hard disk.
The power supply, front and rear panels are also attached to the same half of the case. It would have been convenient to have quick disconnect plugs in the wires between the front panel and power supply. But I was lazy and just soldered everything in place, keeping the wires long enough to make assembly not too difficult.
Here you can see how the master power switch to the power supply sits right above the hard disk. If all of these geometric relationships had been worked out ahead of time, it would have made construction easier. As it was, I'd discover that something didn't fit and be forced to do more machining. This is not a good thing after you have wired and soldered the electrical circuits.
The rubber washers hold the power supply away from the aluminum rails of the frame and also make for a nice secure and flexible point of attachment. This is another one of those design features that was improvised. I originally envisioned the power supply in a different position.
The other half of the frame holds the mainboard. It too stands off of the rails with rubber washers.
The fan is screwed into the mainboard half of the frame, opposite the power supply heat sinks. The cabling is messy between both sides of the frame, another result of a project without a design that evolved as it progressed.